Improving Energy Efficiency in Kosovo

11 Nov 2015 by Xheva Berisha, Project Manager for the Support for Low Emissions Development Project and Michelle O’Dea, Programme Officer for Environment, Energy and Disaster Risk Reduction

Kosova B was built in the early 1980s and produces emissions four times higher than EU limits. The emissions from the Kosova A plant are 40 times higher than EU limits.
It’s springtime and Kosovo’s* countryside is littered with white apple blossoms. We have come here, to the Municipality of Obiliq/Obilić, to meet some of the families involved in a UNDP project focused on Supporting Low (carbon) Emissions Development (SLED). Most of the houses we pass along the highway are in various stages of reconstruction, a process that have been ongoing since the 1999 conflict. Over the past 16 years, people have been rebuilding their houses in bursts – refurbishing when there is money to work, sitting tight when there isn’t, and then starting up again when there is money again. There are many houses with exposed bricks, unfinished steps and windows that are still wrapped in plastic. And while houses can be raised quickly enough, long-term planning measures - such as insulation - are a luxury few can afford. Indeed, Kosovo is the youngest, poorest nation in Europe, with an average annual per capita income of US $7,160 and an unemployment rate around 30 percent.   We arrive at the village of Breznicë/Breznica to make our first call. A smiling man in a traditional Albanian plis hat comes out of his home to warmly welcome us. He has met the project … Read more

Paris and what it means for our future

02 Nov 2015 by Mariana Simões, Climate Change Adaptation Specialist for the Global Environment Finance Unit, UNDP

Viet Nam is disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change and is considered an extreme risk country. Credits: UNDP
While many of us feel that the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UN Climate Change meeting in Paris will not affect us directly, the decisions made over the next couple of weeks will actually impact us all – these decisions will influence the future of economic growth and human development. In Asia, increasing temperatures and variability in rainfall are resulting in floods and droughts, impacting crop yield. Rising sea level and increased incidence of extreme events are damaging assets and disrupting economic activity. The cost of responding to these climate change impacts is formidable. Developing countries especially struggle with these costs, as they must balance the immediate needs of disaster response with the longer term investments of sustainable development, such as health and education.          In 2009, the COP recognized this challenge and agreed to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 to support the response to climate change. This finance would be a “balanced allocation between adaptation and mitigation”, with funding for adaptation to be “prioritized for the most vulnerable developing countries.” Mitigation refers to reducing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions. Adaptation refers to taking measures to strengthen resilience, to impacts of climate change which are already occurring and … Read more

There is no Planet B: Why I decided to run 3000 km

15 Oct 2015 by Erlend Moster Knudsen

Most people book a plane ticket when they want to go to Paris. I decided to run instead. Temperatures in the Polar Regions are rising twice as fast as the global average. Every year, land ice in Greenland and Antarctica melts faster in summer than it refreezes in winter, contributing to accelerated sea level rise. Sea ice is diminishing, too, thinning at an alarming rate in the Arctic and in parts of the Antarctic. For some, this means new opportunities for resource exploration or easier access to new markets; for others, it means a livelihood destroyed. For a climate researcher, it opens up for new job opportunities as oil and gas companies look for people to tell them when they can drill in the Arctic. But I can’t accept such offers. Instead, I decided to run 3000 km, supported only by the backpack I'm carrying and climate neutral parcels sent to me every week. I will run on average 30 km per day, suffering from aching muscles and Hobbit feet, trudging through pouring rain, 8 degrees C temperatures and gale-force headwinds, over soggy marshes, hard asphalt and ice-cold rivers. Earlier this year I launched the climate awareness campaign Pole to Paris … Read more

Why we need to save Africa’s historical climate data

09 Oct 2015 by Excellent Hachileka, Programme Specialist at RSCA

Climate archives in Gambia.
Climate data is the lifeblood of any early warning system and the cornerstone for any resilience building effort. It not only allows us to monitor adverse impacts across development sectors, populations and ecosystems, but also helps countries prepare for and adapt to the realities of climate change and protect national development gains and goals. Climate data generally falls into two categories: historical data and data from recent and current observations. While most people understand the importance of current and recent climate data, fewer appreciate the equal importance of historical climate data. Historical data allows us to establish long-term trends, which in turn help us understand and better plan for future changes in climate. Historical climate data records help us develop climate models, satellite-based instruments and seasonal forecasts, as well as provide foundational data for adaptation studies at local, national and regional scales. For example: Climate models are mathematical representations of the interactions between the atmosphere, oceans, land surface, ice and the sun. Once a climate model is developed, it has to be tested to find out if it works. And since we can’t wait for 30 years to see if a model is any good or not, the models have to be tested against the past in … Read more

Ending LGBTI discrimination is key to achieving SDGs

29 Sep 2015 by Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

Transgender activists in downtown Porto Alegre, Brazil, during a mobilization campaign for civil registry change and LGBT rights. Photo: Daniel de Castro/UNDP Brazil.
The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals embody a powerful commitment to achieving a life of dignity for all. This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. That's why we at UNDP are pleased to join in the UN statement on ending violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The statement has been endorsed by 12 UN entities - UNDP, OHCHR, UNAIDS, ILO, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, UN Women, UNODC, WFP and WHO. The new sustainable development agenda includes everyone, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. As noted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, "the challenges faced by any become the challenges faced by each of us - sometimes gradually, but often suddenly." In short, the inclusion of LGBTI people is important so that they can contribute to and benefit from sustainable development. Without inclusive processes we will not be able to help countries to achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequality and exclusion. Both UNDP's Strategic Plan 2014-2017 and the UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017 require us to place particular emphasis on those experiencing the greatest inequality and exclusion – LGBTI people are one such group. UNDP is already making contributions to LGBTI inclusion … Read more