Farmers from four communities in North Malaita now know the best method to plant on hillsides, prevent soil erosion and improve their yields. This is possible thanks to the establishment of demonstration plots through a national project that enhances the resilience of local communities to adapt to climate change and ensure food security. A team of agriculture officers led by the Strogem Woaka Lo Community Fo Kaikai (SWoCK), Malaita Provincial project Coordinator Mary Fa’alimae established the demonstration plots last month in the communities of Fa’alau, Mbita’ama, Malu’u and Loina where for many years people have been farming on hill side slopes. The four demonstration centers or plots will serve thousands of people in the northern region of Malaita. Other farming methods which will be included in the demonstration plots are fertility soil pits, composting and mulching which will be introduced later. The SWoCK project, funded from the Kyoto Adaptation Fund, with US$5.5 million for the period 2010-2014, is implemented through the UNDP and executed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology of the Solomon Islands. Besides the introduction of climate resilient crop varieties and enhanced farming systems, the project supports a range of practical adaptation measures, such as climate-resilient land-use planning, climate early-warning and information system, germ plasm collection and agriculture food banks, national assessment of soil types and their vulnerability to degradation, enhanced food processing and storage techniques, amongst others. Read press release. For more information contact Frank Wickham, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
Women in the Pacific have shown over and over again that it is they who foster peace in a myriad of ways. Women’s roles in bringing lasting peace in strife-torn societies need to be given a greater recognition. These comments were made by the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Fiji, Knut Ostby when he delivered opening remarks at a regional consultation on women and the culture of peace and non-violence in the Pacific. “The Leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum recognized the importance of women’s equality in their 2012 Declaration on Gender Equality and called for ‘new determination and invigorated commitment to efforts to lift the status of women in the Pacific and empower them to be active participants in economic, political and social life’.” The consultation on Women’s Empowerment for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence in the Pacific is designed to promote and strengthen a culture of peace at the country and regional level in the Pacific. It is jointly organized by UNESCO, UNDP and UN Women. The consultation is attended by development professionals and representatives from governments, national and regional women’s organizations, academic institutions and development partners. Delegates at the meeting are from the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu. The event, which ends on June 15th, is expected to enhance better understanding and agreement on a range of actions at national and regional level that could be adopted to promote increased dialogue amongst leaders and policy makers on the contribution that culture and heritage can make to address gender inequality and reduce-gender based violence. Click here to read the press release. Read Knut Ostby’s opening address. Click here to listen to the Radio Australia and Radio NZ interviews with UNESCO’s Dr Sue Vize. With thanks to Shobhna Decloitre
The UNDP Pacific Centre assisted the Government of Palau in costing the implementation of the country’s recently adopted Family Protection Act. The Act defines domestic violence, introduces specific offenses, and it provides for protection mechanisms for victims. Costing the implementation of laws is an important tool to ensure the allocation of adequate resources for legislative implementation; to provide guidance to all stakeholders (government and non-governmental) on how to coordinate implementation of the law; and to delineate responsibilities among Government offices in implementing the law. UNDP Pacific Centre previously assisted the Governments of the Marshall Islands and the Cook Islands in costing the implementation of laws related to domestic violence. With thanks to and for more information contact, Simone Troller.
To assess the performance of Partners for Prevention (P4P) in achieving its outputs in capacity development, communication and research, and to help inform the design of a new phase of the programme, a forward-looking evaluation of P4P, the UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women and UNV Asia-Pacific regional joint programme for gender-based violence prevention (2008-2013), was conducted. An external team of experts with relevant skills and thematic knowledge implemented the evaluation between November 2012 and May 2013. The evaluators visited countries where multiple project activities have taken place - Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, and conducted Skype and phone interviews with P4P partners. Amongst those interviewed were representatives from global and regional networks related to gender-based violence prevention, national governments, civil society organizations, research and academic institutions, and UN regional and country offices. The evaluation assessed the performance of the P4P project implementation under the criteria for relevance, efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability. It also documented lessons learned and examples of good practices and results from the first phase of the programme, in order to make use of the findings to present forward-looking and actionable recommendations for designing P4P’s strategic priorities for a new phase. Overall, the evaluation found that the P4P programme has added significant value to UN partner agencies’ knowledge, awareness and acknowledgement of the issue and that P4P’s work has brought attention to the roles boys and men can – and must– play in GBV prevention: they can no longer only be portrayed as ‘the problem’, but also need to be included as part of ‘the solution’. The evaluation recommended implementation of a second phase of the P4P programme to test P4P’s theory of change and to translate the outputs of the first phase into new policies and programmes that are owned in-country and are sustainable. A concept note based on the recommendations is now being circulated among partners. For the full evaluation report, see http://bit.ly/13B5q4r; for the summary & recommendations report, see http://bit.ly/1buWjVW. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 5 June, UNDP Viet Nam organized a National Dialogue on legal and social challenges facing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LBGT) community in the country. The event in Hanoi, which was preceded by a preparatory dialogue in Ho Chi Minh City, was organized by the Information Connecting and Sharing Centre (ICS), a Vietnamese civil society organization for the LBGT community, as part of the Being LBGT in Asia initiative which is implemented by APRC with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Participants came together from all over Viet Nam and all sectors of the LGBT community to discuss the difficulties that LGBT people face in education, health care, jobs, domestic issues, media, society and politics, approaches to address those over the next five to ten years, and the role that different stakeholders, including the community itself, NGOs and INGOs and the UN should play. In the concluding session of the dialogue, participants identified a concrete series of actions for each group of stakeholders, together with partnerships and financial and technical support needs for implementation. Viet Nam is one of six countries in Asia taking part in the HIV,Health and Development/Democratic Governance cross practice initiative, with a previous National Dialogue held in Bangkok, Thailand in March and other dialogues scheduled to be held in the other participating countries in the coming weeks. Submitted by email@example.com
The National AIDS Program, in collaboration with UNDP and UNAIDS, held a 2-day long national legal consultation on AIDS with a view to develop a time bound plan of action for the amendment of priority punitive and discriminatory laws that are impeding the HIV response. Around 70 participants from government, judiciary, law enforcing agencies, civil society, UN agencies, media, women rights organizations, faith based organizations, Bangladesh Parliament and SOGI community attended this event. Advocate Md Qamrul Islam MP, State Minister, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs opened this occasion, and Barrister Sara Hossain, leading Human Rights activist of Bangladesh, facilitated this 2-day long event. This follow-up event to the Global Commission on HIV and the Law was supported by UNDP under the South Asia Multi-Country Global Fund Programme (MSA-910-G01-H). Submitted by firstname.lastname@example.org
With an electrification rate of somewhere around 13 percent (few can say the exact number because reliable, updated statistics are hard to come by), it is safe to assert that Myanmar’s energy challenges are daunting. 95 percent of the population is dependent on solid fuels such as wood and charcoal to do household cooking and heating, which depicts a difficult national energy situation in terms of economic growth, but also in terms of inclusive growth and the fight against poverty. How can Myanmar overcome its’ energy challenges? This was the subject of a two-day International Workshop on Achieving Universal Access to Electricity in Myanmar organized recently by the World Bank in Nay Pyi Daw. Development is happening at a staggering pace in Myanmar, and with the booming activity levels comes a surge in energy demands, particularly in central areas. However, 65 percent of Myanmar’s population lives in rural areas, and the question of how to address energy access for this part of the population was an equally important question on the workshop’s agenda. Inspiring experiences from countries like Rwanda, Vietnam and Thailand were shared - Thailand managed to increase village electrification from around 20 percent in the early 1970 to 99.98 percent in 2011. Under the umbrella of the joint World Bank-United Nations’ initiative Sustainable Energy for ALL, development partners and bilateral donors showed their support to the Government of Myanmar in the challenging effort of achieving universal access. Developing a national energy policy and an energy master plan for large scale on-grid electrification, and designing off-grid energy projects for rural energy access while the national grid is expanded, were agreed upon as priorities for the Government of Myanmar and development partners present at the workshop: the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the Asian Development Bank, the Japanese Cooperation JICA and UNDP. Sustainable Energy for All, SE4ALL, aspires to achieve three goals by 2030: Universal access to energy, double the share of renewables in the global energy mix and double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency. Read more about SE4ALL here. With thanks to Mina.Weydahl@undp.org
Judges from the highest national courts of 16 countries in Asia and the Pacific joined in Bangkok, Thailand from 2-4 June to discuss the role of the judiciary in the AIDS response. They deliberated specific actions that can be taken by judges to create a more supportive legal and social environment for people living with and vulnerable to HIV, including people who use drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and transgender people.
The meeting, convened by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), comes as part of efforts to address widespread existence of punitive laws, policies and practice across the region, that dissuade and obstruct access to HIV services by people living with HIV and from key populations at highest risk of infection. Of the 38 United Nations member states in the region: 11 impose some form of restriction on the entry, stay and residence of people living with HIV based on their HIV status; 37 criminalize some aspect of sex work; 18 criminalize same sex relations; 11 impose compulsory detention centres for people who use drugs; and 15 provide the death penalty for drug-related offences.
Judges and members of the judiciary present at the meeting affirmed the critical role of the judiciary in ensuring that the application of the law is based on scientific evidence on HIV and upholds the principles of justice for all. Discussions and dialogue sessions were supported by interactions and active involvement of representatives from communities living with HIV and key populations at highest risk, together with the United Nations agencies and partners, who underlined the importance of the judiciary’s active support to the revision and removal of punitive laws in Asia and the Pacific.
A key component of future action will be efforts to ensure sustained judicial engagement in the HIV response through enhanced judicial education and sensitization. The UNAIDS/UNDP/ICJ Asia Pacific Judicial Dialogue on HIV, Human Rights and the Law is the first of its kind in Asia and the Pacific and one of a series of Dialogues being carried out in other regions of the world, including Southern and Western Africa. Based on the press-release written by Beth Magne-Watts (UNAIDS), submitted by Rebecca.Nedelko@undp.org
In response to recent extreme weather events in Southeast Asia, the Crisis Prevention and Recovery team of UNDP APRC is implementing a regional project to strengthen national capacities for monitoring and analyzing disasters and their impacts. Last week in Cambodia, the National Committee for Disaster Management (NCDM) organized a national technical training workshop on disaster loss database –CamDi in collaboration with the UNDP Country Office with technical support from UNDP APRC. About 35 representatives of key national agencies – NCDM, health, environment, public works, information, as well as from UN and bi-lateral partners attended the workshop. Several of these agencies shared information about availability of the past disaster loss and damage data during a stakeholder consultation workshop in December 2012. As of now, data collection from 11 provinces is underway and data from the remaining 11 provinces will be collected once the current data is entered in the database. In the next coming weeks, the database will be made available online for allowing wider access to everyone working on reducing disaster risks in the country. The NCDM is the lead agency in the country to provide guidance and support to the implementation of disaster loss and damage database. Following earlier discussions with NCDM in 2012 and consultations with key stakeholders, a full-time Database Officer was recruited by UNDP Cambodia and has been working at NCDM in developing the database. Following the training workshop, the Database Officer will continue to building the database for the country. The CPR team of UNDP APRC has been providing technical support and guidance to the implementation and will oversee and support the processes until the institutionalization of the database at NCDM.
UNDP supported databases have been institutionalized in several countries of Asia, viz. Iran, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Tamil Nadu and Orissa states of India, Indonesia, Timor-Leste and several other countries are in the process of setting up such databases with UNDP support. In addition to being useful for the country, UN’s Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction has been utilizing these databases for analyzing and deriving useful conclusions for global policy advocacy through its 2009, 2011 and 2013 editions. With thanks to Rajesh.Sharma@undp.org
MY World (www.myworld2015.org), the ongoing global option survey facilitated by the United Nations, continues inviting citizens from around the world to vote on the issues that make the most difference to their lives. To date, over 560,000 people from 194 countries voted in one of the largest global surveys ever undertaken, providing real-time and real-world intelligence on what people think are the biggest development challenges. Three key issues emerged so far. First, accelerating the progress to achieve the MDGs by the end of 2015 is a must. Second, the future goals need to address challenges like sustainability, governance, security from violence and jobs. Third, people want to participate, both in agenda-setting as well as in monitoring progress toward the future development goals.
In order to draw people from the most marginalized communities in India into this global conversation, Bollywood celebrity and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Ms. Priyanka Chopra launched the mobile application of the MY World survey in Mumbai on 27 May 2013. At the event hosted by the SP Jain Institute of Management Research and co-organized by the UNICEF and UN Millennium Campaign, Ms. Chopra said, “This is a truly ground breaking initiative. I am thrilled that by making a simple phone call people can take a virtual seat at the UN to participate in a global conversation on a roadmap for the future. For the first time I feel we have an opportunity at hand to think ahead, think together yet individually and have a truly impactful plan for a future without poverty and suffering.” In India, the votes so far have indicated that the single largest transformation would be “better education” followed closely by “better job opportunities” and “better healthcare.” The wealth of data from the MY World global conversation is feeding into the process of shaping the future development agenda that will be put in place after the MDGs target date in 2015. The preliminary results are available in the Global Conversation Begins report, which was recently presented to the UN member states, the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda and the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development. During the UN General Assembly meeting in September 2013, the final report from the conversation will be delivered to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and world leaders, who will ultimately negotiate the future development agenda and goals. With thanks to email@example.com