Haiti: 3 months after Hurricane Matthew, 7 years after the earthquake

11 Jan 2017 by Yvonne Helle, Country Director, UNDP Haiti

The road to recovery is a long one. UNDP provides conditions for long-term recovery, resilience and sustainable development. Photo: UNDP Haiti
Hurricane Matthew was the first Category 4 storm to landfall in Haiti in 52 years, creating the worst humanitarian crisis in the country since the 2010 earthquake. At least 546 people died and the lives of 2.2 million people were affected. Of course, key infrastructure was damaged: in some areas, 90 per cent of homes were destroyed. Farming, fishing and small scale commercial activities were severely hit, depriving people of livelihoods and income. For instance, the Grand’Anse and Sud departments have seen 70 and 100 per cent of crops being destroyed. Three months after the disaster, people in the most affected areas still need immediate help to meet their basic needs, and, not less urgently, access to new opportunities to make a sustainable living. While the humanitarian response is still gathering pace, rehabilitation and recovery must also start immediately to reduce dependence on relief. Drawing on the lessons of the 2010 earthquake, our post-Matthew response was designed and is being implemented in close partnership with national and local authorities. Here is a snapshot of what UNDP has done since October … Read more

To leave no one behind, Least Developed Countries need new financing tools

14 Dec 2016 by Pedro Conceição, Director of Strategic Policy, UNDP Bureau for Policy and Programme Support and Philippe Orliange, Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Communication, AFD

To leave no one behind, the least developed countries need new financing toolsLike other Least Developed Countries, Zambia has pursued major structural reforms to attract the investment needed to finance sustainable development. UNDP photo
At the UN General Assembly last September, 193 countries adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an ambitious new agenda for sustainable development to be achieved over the next fifteen years. The central aim of the so-called “2030 Agenda” is to “leave no one behind”. And while it will be a challenge for all countries to meet the targets of the 2030 Agenda, it is clear that it will be especially difficult for the 48 Least Developed Countries (LDCs) most of which are in Sub-Saharan Africa. These are countries where levels of deprivation are acute, infrastructure is inadequate, economies are vulnerable and capital is in short supply. To enable the transformation of these countries to middle-income status, considerable investments will be required within a short time-frame. Many LDCs have made considerable social and economic progress over recent years: poverty has declined, more children are now in school, health indicators have improved and many have enjoyed sustained periods of unprecedented economic growth. At the same time, considerable challenges remain. For example, LDCs remain very vulnerable to shocks and stresses, such as extreme weather events, fluctuations in commodity prices, and disease outbreaks – as the recent Ebola crisis in West Africa demonstrated. Shocks can cause significant development setbacks. … Read more

Climate-Smart Loans for Smallholders: How we are Going to Scale for Impact in a USD 200 billion Market

23 Nov 2016 by Mark Ellis-Jones, Co-founder, F3 Life

A pilot client signing land management agreement in which the client agreed to build out an incremental system of soil and water conservation measures which will protect her soils for increased crop yield. Credits @ F3 LIFE
Obadiah Ngigi and I met whilst working in the environmental sector in Kenya. We both realised how financial systems for agricultural activities inadvertently contributed to environmental degradation by being blind to unsustainable use of natural resources. With a few tweaks, we thought, eco-conscious loans for agriculture could play an important role in protecting the environment and climate. Out of this realization originated our idea to start F3 Life – a company designed to help lenders provide agricultural finance to farmers, fishers and forest-users (the 3 “Fs” to which our name, F3 Life refers) on terms that specifically sought to improve environmental sustainability. In November 2014, at the Lima Climate COP 20, our organisation was selected for the UNDP and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities Co. Ltd Climate Change Finance Innovation Award in recognition of our work in designing and helping pilot a system of eco-loans. While under the conventional financial system, farmers take a loan and repay it with interest, farmers under the F3 Life system also sign an agreement under which they promise to farm their land in a sustainable way. This includes practices such as soil management to enhance soil fertility and to increase absorption of carbon emissions in … Read more

How Social Enterprises and Impact Investors can move the needle to achieve the SDGs

03 Nov 2016 by Sarah Bel, Communication Specialist, UNDP

Photo credits: Adam Kane
Last month the UNDP and Impact Hub organized the first Social Good Summit in Geneva, bringing together impact investors, international organizations and entrepreneurs to discuss how to scale up and finance impact-driven ventures to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There was a great appetite at the summit to exchange ideas. Investors were looking to meet with innovative ventures and discuss how to create a reliable pipeline of investable entrepreneurs. Bilateral and international agencies were eager to learn how to increase funding sources and leverage their resources to implement the SDGs. Not to mention the presence of five entrepreneurs, selected through the rigorous #Accelerate2030 programme, who hoped to identify partners and supporters to scale up their respective ventures. SDGs are good for business, how do we put that in motion? Betting on social entrepreneurship to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs makes sense from an impact and a financial return perspective, but the sector requires both financial and non-financial support. To put it simply, entrepreneurs need to unlock three doors: finance, market and talent. When asked about key impediments to growth, Verena Liedgens, CFO of Agruppa, sees the key challenge as professionalization. “Everything related to back office – … Read more

Microfinance institutions offer an amazing infrastructure to channel funds for the SDGs

07 Oct 2016 by Maria Teresa Zappia and Patrick Elmer

Why did you decide to create an Education Fund? BlueOrchard mission is to channel funds to developing countries. It has USD 1.5 billion of asset under management across six funds, the majority is in microfinance activities. “We started with financial inclusion but realized that there are a set of needs that are as important as access to financial services that we can serve through microfinance. People need more than banks account to improve their lives. It is a journey, there are not so many funds focusing on these needs” notes Patrick Elmer, Head of Business Development. BlueOrchard started in the last two years two thematic funds: a regional education fund for Africa and a climate insurance (weather and climate insurance products) fund both focusing on Bottom of the Pyramid beneficiaries. Data from UNESCO and the World Bank shows the need and the opportunity for education finance in sub- Saharan Africa: out of 58 million primary school aged children not in school globally, 28 million live in sub- Saharan Africa. The asset manager realized that financial institutions and NGOs in developing countries had started a new line of business and were seeing loans to schools as a business opportunity, thought they lacked … Read more