Sustainable energy: derisking investment is more cost-effective than providing subsidies

21 Apr 2016

With an ambitious yet aspirational goal to keep global temperatures within 1.5 degree rise by 2100, a global shift to renewable energies is essential to achieving the Paris Agreement. Yet, undertaking such a monumental shift requires a combination of both public and private resources. This can be a challenge, especially for developing countries that may be deemed ‘risky’ by investors. However, these challenges are not insurmountable. Efforts can and should be taken to address perceived risks and to leverage both public and private resources. This blog post was originally published on, coordinated by Agence Française de Développement. Seizing the ‘Energy Revolution’ The climate case for investing in renewables is well known. Both the Paris Agreement and the SDGs note the capacity for renewable energies to limit carbon emissions and tackle climate change. Increasingly clear, however, is the economic boost that renewables can offer to developing countries, especially those who currently lack access to affordable and clean energy. Local economic development, green jobs, innovation, and a shift away from fossil fuels imports are all on offer, and many countries are reaping the rewards of massive shifts towards renewable energies. And this trend is only expected to grow. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recently announced that capacity to generate renewable energy increased … Read more

Next Steps toward Implementing NDCs

20 Apr 2016 by Michael Comstock, Consultant / Project Coordinator at UNDP

This week world leaders and ministers from around the world are descending on New York City to sign the much-lauded Paris Agreement – the first-ever global climate change agreement that aspires to put the world on a zero-carbon pathway while taking into account countries’ development priorities. In the context of the agreement, an astounding 189 countries have come forward with Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) that lay out national plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve resilience to climate change (these intended contributions will become NDCs once the Paris Agreement is ratified). UNDP played a central role in the preparation of INDCs in the lead-up to Paris. We provided technical and financial assistance to 43 countries with generous support from donors, hosted 12 international workshops around the world to build technical capacity and exchange experiences among countries, and developed pioneering guidance with the World Resources Institute (WRI) on how to go about preparing INDCs. UNDP’s on-going work with countries on climate change mitigation and adaptation actions, sustainable development strategies, monitoring systems, and related areas also contributed to countries’ ability to submit INDCs. Although the Paris Agreement and INDC submissions are important milestones, the challenge going forward will be turning the … Read more

Make Airports fit for Emergency, a success story of 10 years of public-private partnership

25 Jan 2016 by Uthira Ravikumar, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Cluster in UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

  In March 2015, Nepal was hit by two major earthquakes that required a fast and large humanitarian response. However, the authorities were forced to close the only international airport that could accommodate large aircraft as its runway was deteriorating under the weight of the large planes. This caused some delays in the arrival of both relief goods and personnel. Nepal’s situation is not unique. During major disasters, authorities and relief suppliers often face serious delays due to the strain on capacities, leaving relief supplies piling up or emergency materials and personnel held up at customs. Managing the logistics of large scale disaster response is a complex operation. It involves both military and civil agencies leading an effort that includes dozens or even hundreds of stakeholders. The logistics are further hampered by a number of other factors: the lack of capacities to manage the huge inflow of relief materials from a variety of players, the inability to effectively coordinate with so many stakeholders, the need to ensure compliance with customs and immigration regulations, and the inability to properly store and move goods, not to mention distribute them on to the people in need. Airport preparedness is thus a key element of … Read more

Food Security in Laos in a Time of Climate Change

23 Dec 2015 by Keti Chachibaia, Regional Technical Specialist for Climate Change Adaptation

Rice production as part of micro-watershed management in Kang village. Credits: Keti Chachibaia
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) is in a period of dynamic change. Economic growth has been robust and poverty has declined by nearly half during the past decade. And yet chronic malnutrition (especially among children) remains a pervasive challenge, and Lao PDR continues to have the second-highest rate of malnutrition in East Asia and Pacific. Farming is synonymous with life for many Laotians—80 percent of livelihoods are associated with some form of agricultural activity—which means that, as crops go, so does the well-being of the population. Climate change is disrupting farming significantly, with increasing rainfall variability making it harder for farmers to recover from failed yields. Farmers are now the most vulnerable segment of Lao PDR’s population, and food security is even more tenuous than before. I’m proud to say that I have been part of the effort to address this. For the past four years my team has worked on the Global Environment Facility-financed project, “Improving the Resilience of the Agriculture Sector”. We have learned valuable lessons along the way.  For example, we researched and experimented with local rice varieties and found which ones perform well under local conditions and have prolonged resistance to droughts and floods. We … Read more

Securing prosperous and resilient future for our kids – with our kids

23 Dec 2015 by Natalia Olofinskaya, Regional Technical Specialist – Adaptation to Climate Change, UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub.

Kids are opening the Climate Box, UNDP's new educational kit on Climate Change. Credits: Natalia Olofinskaya
The education and empowerment of children is key to ensuring that the world’s development is both low carbon and climate resilient. Since 2003, when we launched the first UNDP-GEF project in Russia focusing on energy efficiency in the educational sector, UNDP has produced a broad array of educational tools that engage primary and secondary schools, universities, off-curricula and professional courses. As a member of the UNDP-GEF team, I’ve visited numerous school lessons on climate change. I am always amazed by how inquisitive, engaged and creative the kids are when discussing global environmental challenges like climate change. I’ve spoken with parents who told me how their kids became “impossible" at home—switching off the lights and fixing leaky taps after being taught about the environmental benefits of doing so. Indeed, children who I first met years ago at educational summer camps are now becoming young leaders of environmental NGOs. For many years and in many countries UNDP has been piloting and promoting educational projects for school children and university students on sustainable development, water stewardship, biodiversity conservation and energy efficiency. During the UNFCCC-led Education Day at this year’s climate conference in Paris, UNDP presented the next step in its educational effort on climate … Read more