I write this foreword from home. The doors to UNDP’s Headquarters in New York are locked, as are the doors of our offices across the world, for the first time in our history. But that does not mean we are closed for business. In the past three months, I have seen an organization that is more dedicated and vibrant than ever as we work remotely with our partners to tackle the unprecedented impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Looking back, 2019 seems like a year from a much simpler era. But just like the decade it ended, it was a year of turbulence. City by city, people came onto the streets to protest rising inequality, stretched social services, a deficit of trust and a damaged climate. Today, a few short months later, the same streets are quiet, and life has changed utterly for billions of people on the planet.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the consequences of building societies on the backs of people who have less; of weak health systems, tattered safety nets, violence against women and digital divides. It, like climate change, offers proof — if proof were still needed — that all life on Earth is connected.
Last year, through an intense period of UN reform, UNDP worked hard to support the people of 170 countries and territories around the world to get on their feet and stay there. We continued to push the boundaries of how we think, deliver, invest and manage as #NextGenUNDP to deliver on our Strategic Plan, reaffirming UNDP’s financial stability and taking steps to make UNDP nimbler and more responsive. Today, as we support the UN System and help countries prepare, respond, and recover in the face of COVID-19, our investments are proving their worth.
The 2019 Human Development Report’s deep dive into the changing faces of inequality sharpened our thinking and action, including on social protection. With nine out of our ten largest programmes in fragile or crisis-affected countries and a new Crisis Bureau in place, our humanitarian and peacebuilding partnerships deepened.
With the Accelerator Lab Network, established across 78 countries in just 12 months, UNDP’s creativity in sourcing local solutions to tackle complexity is now stronger and available to our partner countries and the broader UN Development System. UNDP’s Global Policy Network, remotely connecting 8,800 specialists across the organization and a further 5,000 beyond, and our Digital Strategy, helped to keep our teams operational and our doors ‘open’ during these past months.
In 2019, UNDP demonstrated the importance of economies of scale in tackling the world’s biggest development challenges. Our Climate Promise is an illustration. In September 2019, we promised to support at least 100 countries to raise their climate ambitions within a year. By February 2020, we achieved our target. Our collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh saved nearly two billion workdays by digitalizing access to public services, while in Yemen, UNDP and the World Bank created over 10.7 million workdays of emergency employment and helped to stabilize the local economy.
#NextGenUNDP is designed to achieve integrated results at speed and at scale during both quiet and turbulent times. As always, we are stronger together. That’s why UNDP works with passion and purpose, hand-in-hand with our sister UN agencies under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator in the countries we serve and with an increasing array of public and private partners.
All of our skills will be tested as the world charts a course through COVID-19. If inspiration is needed, the 75th anniversary of the United Nations this year should provide it. From shepherding de-colonization to eradicating smallpox, the UN has set the standard for things we take for granted every day.
It is time to write the story of the next 75 years and chart the way to the Future of Development. UNDP is committed to making it one we will be proud to have our children read aloud.
I hope that this snapshot of our progress in 2019 will encourage you to join us.
The ministerial meeting of the eighth special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) was held on 4 December 2020. In view of the evolving global situation with regard to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the meeting was held online.
UN Climate Change News, 16 December 2020 – The Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) concluded its 108th meeting this Monday and agreed on temporary measures to apply to CDM activities generating emission reductions after 2020. These measures will be applied until the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) provides needed guidance at its next meeting in Glasgow in November 2021.
Meeting restoration targets requires a holistic system to track and document progress while consistently improving management practices. Tracking restoration will help governments, local communities and NGOs show the progress made on their commitments and scale up successful projects, and positive results will inspire donors to continue investing (WRI 2020).
On 28 December 2020, five park rangers accused of raping and torturing four women in DRC’s Salonga National Park were convicted by the Military Court in Mbandaka, following a long battle for justice supported by the Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) and its local partner Actions pour la Promotion et Protection des Peuples et Espèces Menacés (APEM).
This week Ursula von der Leyen signalled the EU’s desire to lead the world in the fight against global deforestation. But if the key drivers of deforestation aren’t addressed, progress will remain limited.
We use the term ‘community forestry’ as when “communities have the right to manage the forest resources upon which they depend, with a view to improving their living conditions.” This definition was agreed when Fern's partners met in 2014. Participants wanted to highlight that the term ‘community forestry’ refers to forest management by and from the point of view of communities.
Cambridge UK, 5th January 2021 – The course ‘Prevention on Wildlife Trafficking’ launched by FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations and TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network, is now available free of charge in seven languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish).
China / UK, 8th January 2021—Customs officials in China and Laos met in a ground-breaking virtual forum to discuss the future measures both countries can take to combat illegal wildlife trafficking across their borders.
Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Republic of Korea, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and Sweden have communicated their long-term low greenhouse gas (GHG) emission development strategies (LEDS) to the UNFCCC, bringing the total number of LEDS to 28. According to the Paris Agreement on climate change, “all Parties should strive to formulate and communicate long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies” to the UNFCCC by 2020.
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution providing guidance to the UN Development System for the next four years. The 2020 Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR) resolution lays out how the UN system should be helping countries implement the 2030 Agenda and respond to COVID-19.
After more than a decade of working toward qualifying for payments under the REDD+ (Reducing Emissions caused by Deforestation and Forest Degradation) scheme, Indonesia received its first results-based financial rewards last year.
The Sahel region's Great Green Wall Initiative received a major boost from the African Development Bank on Monday. During a forum hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, the Bank pledged to assist in mobilising up to $6.5 billion over five years, to advance the landmark initiative.
African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina has been announced as a champion of Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative. The appointment was made at a forum held in the margins of the One Planet Summit 2021 to mobilise support for the ambitious project to plant an 8,000 km swathe of trees and other vegetation across the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa.
Washington, D.C. (December 16, 2020) – Recognizing the Adaptation Fund’s tangible and effective adaptation actions on the ground for the most vulnerable and its growing portfolio of work, several contributor governments came forward with new pledges to the Fund totaling nearly US$ 116 million.
The Adaptation Fund received new pledges from several contributor governments totaling nearly USD 116 million. The pledges coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement and Climate Ambition Summit 2020….
Millions of poor farmers living in the world’s most climate-impacted parts of the Sahel have cause for hope today because of their governments’ support for accelerating Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW), an area covering 11 countries from Senegal and Mali in the West to Ethiopia and Djibouti in the East. A new investment programme is planned to support Sahelian governments through a partnership between the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in order to boost climate finance for these rural populations.
The ambitious Great Green Wall for the Sahel and Sahara Initiative has received at least 14.326 billion United States Dollars in new funding. The funding will fast track efforts to restore degrading land, save biological diversity as well as create green jobs and build resilience of the Sahelian people. Emmanuel Macron, President of France, made the announcement at the just concluded One Planet Summit for Biodiversity on 11 January 2021, co-organized by France, the United Nations and World Bank.
The negative image of the Sahel is a stranglehold on the great potential for development in the region. A more balanced narrative can trigger action for a productive Sahel and can be based on innovative approaches and a conducive policy environment to value natural resources.
On 21 December, 2020. the UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted a resolution on the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), forwarded for consideration by its Second Committee (Economic and Financial) at the conclusion of its session in December.
Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Ibrahim Thiaw welcomes the announcement that the Government of Canada is set to invest up to 55 million Canadian dollars in the Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund. The Fund supports private sector projects in developing countries that use sustainable land management techniques to restore degraded ecosystems and adapt to green economies.
This publication outlines the GEF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and provides a snapshot of progress toward operational goals, and in support of enhanced fiduciary oversight and safeguards of environmental projects.
GEF-convened civil society consultations focused on the need to prioritize voices of indigenous peoples and to integrate traditional knowledge into efforts to conserve biodiversity, address climate change, and combat other threats.
In collaboration with the Forest is life scientific team from the Faculty Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (University of Liège), Nature + published at the end of 2020 a book entitled "Development and implementation of a management plan de la fauna - Technical guide for managers of production forests in Central Africa ”.
Since the landmark Paris Agreement of 2015, there has been a dramatic increase in private sector interest and action related to climate change. In just five years, hundreds of companies have set targets to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and have outlined science-informed plans to achieve them.
The Sino-African Sustainable Timber Online B2B Meeting jointly organized by China Timber & Wood Products Distribution Association (CTWPDA) and the International Tropical Timber Association (ATIBT), was successfully held on 17-18th December.
Organized on the sidelines of the 8th Meeting of the CBFP's Governing Council, the Side Event on "Experiences in taking into account human rights in the processes of sustainable management of forests and protected areas in the COMIFAC area" was an appropriate opportunity for the different programs, projects and non-governmental organizations involved in biodiversity conservation activities and protection of indigenous heritage, including REPALEAC, GIZ-BGF, GIZ-COMIFAC and GIZ-COMIFAC-BSB-Yamoussa to share success stories, key challenges and work sites they are facing.
Here, we describe how the crisis creates a perfect storm of reduced funding, restrictions on the operations of conservation agencies, and elevated human threats to nature. We identify the immediate steps necessary to address these challenges and support ongoing conservation efforts.
In this festive season at the end of the year 2020, we are pleased to get back to you to express our appreciation, because from our interactions during this year 2020 that is drawing to a close, we have benefited from your diverse and rich contributions and proactive engagements that have enriched and enhanced our joint partnership. Together, we have moved forward and the successful implementation of the CBFP meetings in Kinshasa has confirmed this conviction. This is our joint success! Together, we have moved forward! Together, we have raised the standard of the Congo Basin and its peripheries.
Renewed clashes between herders and farmers have reportedly left 11 dead in southern Chad. Eleven people were killed in fresh clashes between herders and farmers in southern Chad, which is gripped by deadly conflicts between the two communities.
A side event was organized on Thursday 10 December, in room Panorama 3 of the Fleuve Congo Hotel in Kinshasa. Held on the sidelines of the 8th CBFP Council and its related meetings, the side event was entitled 'Community conservation as a possible solution to the sustainability of conservation and local development actions: Standard-setting tools for managing PAs, the experience of ICCAs in the DRC '. Moderated by Ms. Sarah Mam-bu, participants in the event discussed community conservation approaches that can help reconcile biodiversity conservation with local development.
For the third time this year, over 80 people - donors, partner countries, agencies and technical experts – met online from November 9 to 13 for CAFI’s 17th Board meeting. Assessing progress and charting a path towards a new phase for CAFI phas...
Convened by the Cameroon Minister of Forests and Wildlife, Acting Chairman of the Central African Forests Commission (COMIFAC), with the support of the Federal Republic of Germany, Facilitator of the Congo Basin Forest Partnership (CBFP), an extraordinary session of the Council of Forestry and Environment Ministers of the COMIFAC member countries was held on 10 December 2020 in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the wings of the 8th CBFP Council meeting.
The Executive Secretary of the Sahel G5 took part in the 39th Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA), held on 1 December 2020 in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, and chaired by Mr. M. Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chairman of the Council of Ministers.