UNDP Annual Report 2019

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Foreword

Development choices will define the future

 

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.

 

Achim Steiner

Administrator

United Nations Development Programme

 

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Partners News

Publication of the Study Package: Letter from the CBFP Facilitator

I want to thank the authors for their dedicated and high-quality work that went into the production of these studies, as well as UNIQUE consulting for their tireless and engaged support, which made all of them possible. The studies provide valuable and urgently needed insights into some of the most pressing issues in central African forest policy. But they also show up opportunities and solutions for the future of the beautiful tropical forests of the Congo Basin, which are of such immense value, as the second great green lungs of the world, to all of humanity

Sub-regional forum of traditional chefferies and local actors of the transfrontal transhumance in favour of the construction of a dialogue (Nigeria, Central Africa, Chad, Cameroon), Rey-Bouba (Cameroon) from 25 to 28 October 2021

The GIZ Support Project to the BSB YAMOUSSA complex, in collaboration with the Lamidat of Rey Bouba, proposes to organize a sub-regional forum of direct local actors of transboundary transhumance and traditional stakeholders from the grassroots communities, with a view to exchanging, sharing experiences and reflecting on the construction of dialogue in favour of a peaceful transhumance.

42 NGOs alarmed at the EU for possibly abandoning the fight against illegal logging and failing forested countries - FLEGT

In this letter to the Slovenian and French Presidencies of the EU, 42 civil society networks and organisations from countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America call on the European Union (EU) to strengthen support to the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation and its Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs), the EU’s key legal instruments to fight illegal logging, and the associated trade.

Global Forest Watch: perspectives from the developed (Northern) and developing (Southern) countries

This is a second polite reminder to let you know we are conducting an anonymous evaluation funded by the World Resources Institute (WRI) of forest monitoring information and tools, and their usefulness, with a particular focus on Global Forest Watch (GFW), and stakeholder perspectives.

CBFP Study Package - Publications available for download

The German CBFP Facilitation has commissioned a package of 6 thematic studies on pertinent issues in Congo Basin forest politics (namely REDD+ in the Congo Basin, Land Use Planning, Transhumance, Ecotourism, Sustainable value chains, China´s role in Central African forestry) as well as an overarching synthesis study. Each study consists of a full study report as well as a short policy brief. Please download the CBFP Study Package…

Protecting the forests of the Congo Basin: Synthesis report of studies conducted during the German Facilitation of the CBFP in 2021

...In addition to this effort at the global policy level, the facilitation commissioned six thematic studies related to specific opportunities and challenges for the forests of the Congo Basin and the people who depend directly on the products, biodiversity and ecosystem services the forests provide. The six studies and a policy brief for each study were prepared between December 2020 and August 2021. They focus on the following topics...

Advancing Sustainability in China´s Engagement in the Congo Basin - CBFP

Over the last 10 to 15 years, China has increasingly taken note of the potential environmental and forest impacts of its overseas trade, investment and other economic activities. However, timber trade between China and Africa has so far not met the requirements of international legality and sustainability standards. Furthermore, China is highly involved in investment and construction of infrastructure projects that may have caused forest conversion due to a lack of comprehensive, effective management measures and a lack of environmental impact analyses.

Tourism in the Congo Basin Rainforests: How to accelerate tourism and make it regionally sustainable- CBFP

This study was performed with the intent of understanding the challenges to developing eco-tourism in the Congo Basin, and of identifying actions and recommendations to overcome these challenges. A background study of the existing literature, research articles, reports and national strategies (where available) was performed to ascertain the political strategies and academic understanding of ecotourism in the region.

The Dynamics and Impacts of Transhumance and Neo-Pastoralism on Biodiversity, Local Communities and Security: Congo Basin - CBFP

This study was carried out to shed light on issues related to this activity and provide basic knowledge of various aspects relating to livestock rearing, neo-pastoralism and unsustainable transhumance. The study area covers the Sudano-Sahelian region of Africa – specifically, the area stretching from the northern fringes of the Congo Basin (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic) and the south-eastern part of the southern Lake Chad Basin, namely the Sudano-Guinean savanna mosaics. The methodology adopted was to collect data from various sources, including from key stake-holders and literature review.

Promoting sustainable value chains in the Congo Basin: An analysis and set of recommendations based on three case studies in producing and importing countries – CBFP Study

The first case study is dedicated to the spectacular policy announcement by Gabon that it would make FSC timber certification mandatory from 2022 onwards for all concessionaires willing to keep operating in the country. Such certification is relatively advanced in Gabon and this unprecedented policy stands as an intriguing and promising example in the region. The second case study relates to a prominent approach that has emerged and grown over the last decade, namely corporate zero-deforestation commitments. This is complementary to the first case study as it refers to a process initiated by the private sector itself, and we apply it to the oil palm sector in Cameroon. For the third case study, we move to the importation side of things with the most advanced policy effort to take action in consuming countries, namely the French National Strategy against Imported Deforestation (SNDI).

Current State, Barriers and Perspectives for REDD+ in the Congo Basin - CBFP

The report draws on a thorough review of the available literature. It is complemented by 21 semi-structured anonymous interviews with key REDD+ experts. The authors conducted the interviews between November 2020 and February 2021. Interview partners include represent-atives of Congo Basin countries, donor states, academia, NGOs and independent technical experts. Instead of going to lengths in elucidating the entire range of options for reducing deforestation and forest degradation, the study report lists concrete courses of action which might be pursued in the future.

Full NDC Synthesis Report: Some Progress, but Still a Big Concern – UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 17 September 2021 – UN Climate Change today published a synthesis of climate action plans as communicated in countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The NDC Synthesis report indicates that while there is a clear trend that greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced over time, nations must urgently redouble their climate efforts if they are to prevent global temperature increases beyond the Paris Agreement’s goal of well below 2C – ideally 1.5C – by the end of the century.

World Religious Leaders and Scientists Make pre-COP26 Appeal – UNFCCC

UN Climate Change News, 5 October 2021 – Faith leaders representing the world’s major religions yesterday joined scientists at the Vatican to call on the international community to raise their ambition and step up their climate action ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in November in Glasgow. Almost 40 faith leaders signed a joint Appeal, which was presented by Pope Francis to COP26 President-Designate, the Rt Hon Alok Sharma, and the Italian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Luigi Di Maio.

SEI Report Assesses Transboundary Climate Risks in Commodity Flows - IISD

The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has published a report providing a global assessment of transboundary climate risks in agricultural commodity flows. Its authors explain that the material risk posed to food security, particularly in low-income, import-dependent countries, is such that adaptation to transboundary climate risk becomes a matter of public policy.

Responding to Crises Starts Years in Advance: 2021 Goalkeepers Report - IISD

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has released its annual Goalkeepers Report, which tracks progress on 18 SDG indicators and reflects on trends influencing the Goals. In the introduction to the 2021 Goalkeepers report, titled ‘Innovation and Inequity,’ Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates write that the past year has shown that “progress is possible but not inevitable. The effort we put in matters a great deal.” The report aims to highlight learnings from the successes and failures of the pandemic so far.

Poor charcoal production techniques fuel tree cutting in Kenya – CIFOR

A new study conducted by scientists from the Center for International Forestry Research and World Agroforestry (CIFOR-ICRAF), and partner organizations shows that charcoal producers have little or no support to engage in the replanting of trees, which could lead to a lower rate of deforestation in the already tree-scarce areas where most charcoal is produced.

Vienna Convention, Montreal Protocol Offer Lessons for Climate Agreements -IISD

The latest ‘Still Only One Earth’ policy brief from IISD looks back at when “the world was struck with fear” in 1985 after scientists discovered a massive hole in the ozone that forms a protective layer over the Earth. The brief reviews the steps taken to heal the ozone layer through two intergovernmental agreements – the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer – and what else must be done. It also highlights lessons for addressing climate change.

Appeal made for international commitment to protecting the Congo Basin ecosystems and their vicinity at the IUCN World Conservation Congress

Jointly organized by COMIFAC, CBFP, GIZ, CAFI and IUCN, as part of the Congo Basin Special Day at the World Conservation Congress, a high-level session on the Congo Basin, was held from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m on 05/09/2021., at the SPACE CENTER, Exhibition HALL 3.

Geopolitics of the World’s Forests: Strategies for Tackling Deforestation – IFRI

Deforestation continues at a worrying pace worldwide, except in temperate and boreal countries. It is caused by the race for land, underpinned by population growth and rising global demand for “deforestation-prone” products. Moreover, with climate change, mega-fires are now posing unprecedented threats to forests.

A second high-level session on the protection of the Congo Basin: Representatives of bilateral donor countries come together to help protect forests and wetlands in the green heart of Africa at the World Nature Congress

Jointly organized by COMIFAC, the CBFP, GIZ, CAFI and the IUCN, as part of the Congo Basin Special Day at the World Conservation Congress, a second high-level session on the preservation of the Congo Basin’s ecosystems took place on 05/09/2021 at 6:00 p.m. local time at the PAVILLON NATURE BASE SOLUTION, Exhibition HALL 3.