A pine cone on a tree

Encroachment upon forested lands is one of the main threats to natural forest in Pakistan. In realizing the need for practicing sustainable forest management, the SFM project was launched and implemented by the Pakistan Ministry of Climate Change. Working with multiple partners, UNDP supports efforts to sustain resilient forest ecosystems to benefit local economies, protect biodiversity and address climate change by providing technical assistance, policy advice, and governance support to developing countries.

In Tutin, one of the poorest and least developed municipalities in Serbia, children with developmental or behavioural disorders cannot fully enjoy their childhood and develop their potential because of the lack of a suitable environment in the preschool educational system. “The main reason behind this is the lack of financial means and professional staff,“ says Mila Hadzic, a defectologist and speech therapist. To remedy this situation, UNDP Serbia, in partnership with the Municipality of Tutin, is supporting the Kindergarten launch and equipping a sensory room through a crowdfunding campaign.

drawing of white board with sign NEW YEAR, NEW PLAN

As the new year opens, the world is battling a global pandemic and confronting a planetary emergency. Both COVID-19 and climate change are contributing to rising inequality, conflict and fragility around the world. These interconnected challenges require integrated solutions. In 2022, UNDP puts its new Strategic Plan into action, grounded in our commitment to eradicating poverty and helping countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Here are some key moments to watch in the year ahead.

A woman in indigenous clothes walks across a sand dune

Peru is among the world’s 10 megadiverse countries. But despite its many resources some 4.5 million people face severe food insecurity. Several communities are advancing towards sustainability for Peruvian food systems.  

It was a challenging year for families everywhere. Alongside a pandemic that has taken millions of lives, the broader socio-economic effects of COVID-19 reversed decades of important gains for the most vulnerable. UNDP doubled down on its commitment to build forward better, working with partners at all levels of society to ensure people have the means to live in dignity, and the skills and resources to recover from crises and create fulfilling lives. Here are some of their stories.

masked woman with megaphone moving among crowd

2021 was dominated by two crises that the world could not ignore – COVID-19 and global heating. From unprecedented floods in Germany, to out of control fires in California and Greece, extreme weather increased in intensity and frequency. The pandemic laid bare other inequalities. Rich countries hoarded vaccines and poor countries went without. Global food systems struggled to cope with the twin crises. The digital divide became more pronounced; the pandemic also showed that we can change quickly, but only if we have the resources and the vision. 

herder community members

For nomadic herders in the mountains of Mongolia, traditional cheeses offer a sustainable alternative to tourism income, with benefits for snow leopard conservation. The majority of people in this region live in semi-nomadic subsistence communities that make a living from livestock herding. For these communities, ecotourism represents an increasingly important part of the economy that simultaneously promotes the conservation of local biodiversity. But when the pandemic hit, the dramatic loss of international tourists shuttered the ecotourism industry in Mongolia.

A hand smooths a textile on a hand loom

UNDP works with local communities in Indonesia’s Kalimantan forests to protect biodiversity and generate sustainable livelihoods. Recognising that naturally-dyed textiles are in high demand (and thus fetch higher prices) on international markets, weavers from the Ensaid Panjang village started a programme of forest rehabilitation and enrichment by planting and cultivating natural dye-producing plants. The KalFor project, which is supported by UNDP Indonesia and partners, bolsters the Government's program to preserve the remaining forests in Kalimantan that are outside state forest zones.

A Siberian musk deer pictured in the middle of a forest.

The Siberian musk deer, because of its constant vigilance and unique alarm call, has been termed ‘the forest police officer’ by Mongolian biologists and veterinarians. Its whirring whistle alarm call rings out through the Mongolian forest, alerting others in its herd – and its fellow forest-dwellers - to predatory threats, allowing all those within earshot to escape. But this role makes the deer especially vulnerable to predation and poaching. The Ensuring Sustainability and Resilience (ENSURE) of Green Landscapes in Mongolia project applies a multi-focal area approach by integrating biodiversity conservation and sustainable land and forest management, through the application of best practice and innovative green development approaches at the landscape scale. The project is supported by UNDP.

woman planting mangroves

The UN Climate Conference – COP26 – has wrapped up in Glasgow, with a new agreement to limit global heating. It has been described by UN Secretary-General António Guterres as an important step, “but not enough.” “We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees,” he said. 1.5 is the biggest small number of our lifetime. Scientific consensus says we cannot have a healthy planet with a temperature increase higher than 1.5°C. We are already at 1.2°C.

The world spends an astounding US$423 billion annually to subsidize fossil fuels for consumers – oil, electricity that is generated by the burning of other fossil fuels, gas, and coal. This is four times the amount being called for to help poor countries tackle the climate crisis, one of the sticking points ahead of the COP26 global climate summit, according to new UNDP research. The main contributor to the climate emergency is the energy sector which accounts for 73 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuel subsidy reforms would contribute to reducing CO2 emissions

a black toucan with a yellow neck and a colourful beak on a tree branch

Environmental protection is frequently presented as a choice between benefits for the natural world or for humans. But the Republic of Costa Rica is showing that symbiotic relationships between environmental protection and economic development are possible. And the world is taking notice. The Government of Costa Rica was honoured with the Earthshot Prize, a Nobel-like award founded by renowned British naturalist Sir David Attenborough. UNDP values the leadership of developing countries in finding solutions that work for people and for the planet.

illustration of solar powered house and electric car

The evidence is irrefutable. We cannot address the climate crisis without looking at the true cost of our addiction to oil, coal and gas. Fossil fuel subsidies are a major obstacle to our climate and sustainable development goals because they encourage investment in pollution and discourage renewable energy. Phasing out fossil fuels and taxing carbon will spur growth and innovation. The world will spend trillions of dollars to recover from COVID-19. This investment can build the green economies of tomorrow.

Composite of black and white portraits

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that poverty isn’t just about income. Within and across countries, poor and marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic in terms of infection rates, economic losses and access to vaccines and other health care imperatives. Understanding the multidimensional nature of poverty can help us design a more resilient recovery that leaves no one behind. And UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) gives us a critical tool to measure and monitor poverty in all its forms.

women with handmade sweets

The wildlife-based tourism sector has been devastated by the effects of COVID-19. As tourism collapsed, related jobs and income were lost, conservation project funds were withdrawn, and as a result, poaching increased in many places around the world. These three consequences of COVID-19 were followed by a further knock-on effect: widespread food insecurity. Reversing degradation of land, soil, & forests is at the heart of ensuring people have enough to eat. It is also at the core of protecting wildlife. Read how nine projects are working to tackle both.