City2City
HLPF 2020 Side-Event: Imagine a post-COVID-19 city—with women's human rights
08 July 2020 - This panel discussion will challenge us to imagine the post COVID-19 city that respects women’s human rights, builds resilience and prevents crises, and puts feminist and women’s movements’ aspirations into local action. Panelists will include representatives from the feminist and women’s movement, UN agencies and mayors. The event will open up to a Town Hall meeting using Zoom and will have simultaneous interpretation.

08 July 2020 - This panel discussion will challenge us to imagine the post-COVID-19 city that respects women’s human rights, builds resilience and prevents crises, and puts feminist and women’s movements’ aspirations into local action. Panelists will include representatives from the feminist and women’s movement, UN agencies, and mayors. The event will open up to a Town Hall meeting using Zoom and will have simultaneous interpretation.

This side-event to the High-Level Political Forum 2020 is being organized by the International Alliance of Women, Feminist and Women's Movement Action Plan, NGO CSW/NY, Habitat (To Be Confirmed) and UN Women (To Be Confirmed).

Event Details:

COVID-19 and Human Development: Assessing the Crisis, Envisioning the Recovery
02 July 2020 - This note takes a capabilities approach to document the severity of the unfolding human development crisis. Such an approach implies an evaluative framework to assess the crisis and shape the policy response that emphasizes the potential for people to be and do what they aspire in life as opposed to material resources or economic activity.

02 July 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic is unleashing a human development crisis. On some dimensions of human development, conditions today are equivalent to levels of deprivation last seen in the mid-1980s.

But the crisis is hitting hard on all of human development’s constitutive elements: income (with the largest contraction in economic activity since the Great Depression), health (directly causing a death toll over 300,000 and indirectly leading potentially to an additional 6,000 child deaths every day from preventable causes over the next 6 months) and education (with effective out-of-school rates – meaning, accounting for the inability to access the internet – in primary education expected to drop to the levels of actual rates of the mid-1980s levels). This, not counting less visible indirect effects, including increased domestic violence, yet to be fully documented.

The pandemic was superimposed on unresolved tensions between people and technology, between people and the planet, between the haves and the have-nots. These tensions were already shaping a new generation of inequalities—pertaining to enhanced capabilities, the new necessities of the 21st century, as defined in the 2019 Human Development Report. But the response to the crisis can shape how those tensions are addressed and whether inequalities in human development are reduced.

This note takes a capabilities approach to document the severity of the unfolding human development crisis. Such an approach implies an evaluative framework to assess the crisis and shape the policy response that emphasizes the potential for people to be and do what they aspire in life as opposed to material resources or economic activity. To assess the crisis, the note draws from original simulations that are based on an adjusted Human Development Index—with the education dimension modified to reflect the effects of school closures and mitigation measures—and that incorporate current projections of gross national income (GNI) per capita for 2020.

The simulations suggest conditions today would correspond to a steep and unprecedented decline in human development. With almost 9 in 10 students out of school and deep recessions in most economies (including a 4 percent drop in GNI per capita worldwide), the decline in the index –reflecting a narrowing in capabilities-- would be equivalent to erasing all the progress in human development of the past six years. Importantly, if conditions in school access are restored, capabilities related to education would immediately bounce back – while the income dimension would follow the path of the economic recovery post-crisis. The simulations also show the importance of promoting equity in capabilities. In a scenario with more equitable internet access—where each country closes the gap with the leaders in its human development category—the decline in human development would be more than halved. This would be eminently affordable. In 2018 it was estimated that $100 billion would be needed to close the gap in internet access in low- and middle-income countries—or about 1 percent of the extraordinary fiscal programmes announced around the world so far.

The note suggests three principles to shape the response to the crisis:

  • Look at the response through an equity lens.i Countries, communities and groups already lagging in enhanced capabilities will be particularly affected, and leaving them further behind will have long-term impacts on human development.
  • Focus on people’s enhanced capabilities. This could reconcile apparent tradeoffs between public health and economic activity (a means to the end of expanding capabilities) but would also help build resilience for future shocks.
  • Follow a coherent multidimensional approach. Since the crisis has multiple interconnected dimensions (health, economic, and several social aspects, decisions on the allocation of fiscal resources that can either further lock-in or break free from carbon-intensive production and consumption), a systemic approach—rather than a sector-by-sector sequential approach—is essential. A recent survey conducted in 14 countries found that 71 percent of adults globally consider that climate change is as serious a crisis as COVID-19, with two-thirds supporting government actions to prioritise climate change during the recovery. ii

The United Nations has proposed a framework for the immediate socioeconomic response,iii with which this note is fully consistent and meant to inform and further flesh out both the analysis of the crisis and possible responses.

Finally, the note also highlights the importance of collective action—at the community, country, and global levels. And the response to this crisis is showing how people around the world are responding collectively. The adoption of social distancing behaviour—which in some cases started before formal policies were put in place—could not possibly be fully enforced. It depended on the voluntary cooperation of billions of people. And it was done in response to a shared global risk that brought to the fore as a priority something other than having economies grow more rapidly. If we needed proof of concept that humanity can respond collectively to a shared global challenge, we are now living through it.

Read the full report here or download the attached PDF of the report.

COVID-19 and Human Development: Assessing the Crisis, Envisioning the Recovery
02 July 2020 - This note takes a capabilities approach to document the severity of the unfolding human development crisis. Such an approach implies an evaluative framework to assess the crisis and shape the policy response that emphasizes the potential for people to be and do what they aspire in life as opposed to material resources or economic activity. 

02 July 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic is unleashing a human development crisis. On some dimensions of human development, conditions today are equivalent to levels of deprivation last seen in the mid-1980s.

But the crisis is hitting hard on all of human development’s constitutive elements: income (with the largest contraction in economic activity since the Great Depression), health (directly causing a death toll over 300,000 and indirectly leading potentially to an additional 6,000 child deaths every day from preventable causes over the next 6 months) and education (with effective out-of-school rates – meaning, accounting for the inability to access the internet – in primary education expected to drop to the levels of actual rates of the mid-1980s levels). This, not counting less visible indirect effects, including increased domestic violence, yet to be fully documented.

The pandemic was superimposed on unresolved tensions between people and technology, between people and the planet, between the haves and the have-nots. These tensions were already shaping a new generation of inequalities—pertaining to enhanced capabilities, the new necessities of the 21st century, as defined in the 2019 Human Development Report. But the response to the crisis can shape how those tensions are addressed and whether inequalities in human development are reduced.

This note takes a capabilities approach to document the severity of the unfolding human development crisis. Such an approach implies an evaluative framework to assess the crisis and shape the policy response that emphasizes the potential for people to be and do what they aspire in life as opposed to material resources or economic activity. To assess the crisis, the note draws from original simulations that are based on an adjusted Human Development Index—with the education dimension modified to reflect the effects of school closures and mitigation measures—and that incorporate current projections of gross national income (GNI) per capita for 2020.

The simulations suggest conditions today would correspond to a steep and unprecedented decline in human development. With almost 9 in 10 students out of school and deep recessions in most economies (including a 4 percent drop in GNI per capita worldwide), the decline in the index –reflecting a narrowing in capabilities-- would be equivalent to erasing all the progress in human development of the past six years. Importantly, if conditions in school access are restored, capabilities related to education would immediately bounce back – while the income dimension would follow the path of the economic recovery post-crisis. The simulations also show the importance of promoting equity in capabilities. In a scenario with more equitable internet access—where each country closes the gap with the leaders in its human development category—the decline in human development would be more than halved. This would be eminently affordable. In 2018 it was estimated that $100 billion would be needed to close the gap in internet access in low- and middle-income countries—or about 1 percent of the extraordinary fiscal programmes announced around the world so far.

The note suggests three principles to shape the response to the crisis:

  • Look at the response through an equity lens.i Countries, communities and groups already lagging in enhanced capabilities will be particularly affected, and leaving them further behind will have long-term impacts on human development.
  • Focus on people’s enhanced capabilities. This could reconcile apparent tradeoffs between public health and economic activity (a means to the end of expanding capabilities) but would also help build resilience for future shocks.
  • Follow a coherent multidimensional approach. Since the crisis has multiple interconnected dimensions (health, economic, and several social aspects, decisions on the allocation of fiscal resources that can either further lock-in or break free from carbon-intensive production and consumption), a systemic approach—rather than a sector-by-sector sequential approach—is essential. A recent survey conducted in 14 countries found that 71 percent of adults globally consider that climate change is as serious a crisis as COVID-19, with two-thirds supporting government actions to prioritise climate change during the recovery. ii

The United Nations has proposed a framework for the immediate socioeconomic response,iii with which this note is fully consistent and meant to inform and further flesh out both the analysis of the crisis and possible responses.

Finally, the note also highlights the importance of collective action—at the community, country, and global levels. And the response to this crisis is showing how people around the world are responding collectively. The adoption of social distancing behaviour—which in some cases started before formal policies were put in place—could not possibly be fully enforced. It depended on the voluntary cooperation of billions of people. And it was done in response to a shared global risk that brought to the fore as a priority something other than having economies grow more rapidly. If we needed proof of concept that humanity can respond collectively to a shared global challenge, we are now living through it.

Read the full report here or download the attached PDF of the report.

Cities as bridges between SDGs and citizens in a post-COVID-19 world: elements for socio-economic recovery

The Venice City Solutions Series is a yearly event addressing issues that are central to the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local level, with specific focus to the

role of local and regional governments as key drivers of the 2030 Agenda. In 2019, the event focused on how the SDGs can be an instrument to create citizenship and to promote the values of the Agenda as well as on strategies to bring the SDGs closer to the people.

Each year, the organizers of Venice City Solutions 2030 bring the recommendations of the event to the formal mechanism of the HLPF. This year, this official side event has adapted the narrative of SDG role in creating citizenship to the situation created by the COVID 19 pandemic. 

As the COVID-19 global health crisis has demonstrated, we live in an uncertain world; and recovering from the current crisis is going to require both strong individual action and a monumental collective effort. The contribution and collaboration of citizens in the recovery phase of the pandemic is going to be even more relevant than in our recent past. Local and regional governments are responding to the emergency by keeping essential services going, caring for the most vulnerable and finding rapid solutions to adapt to changing and unpredictable needs. Socio-economic recovery, with a global economy that has come to a sudden stop, is going to require local development and a lot of local action. Local and regional governments are going to play a substantial role in bringing the citizens along, on one end, and to support local businesses and local economic action, on the other. Within this new context, coordination between spheres of government and policy coherence between central and local governments will be more important than ever. Multi-level governance needs to be strengthened both vertically and horizontally.

The event will gather representatives of local and regional governments, their associations, Mayors, Governors and other governmental representatives and selected partners to discuss the way ahead for SDG implementation at local level.

This HLPF side event is co-organized by AICCRE, UCLG, UNDP, UN-Habitat and the UN SDG Action Campaign.

Tackling Social Norms: A game changer for gender inequalities
02 July 2020 - The Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education, and contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 percent of the world’s population. The analysis reveals that despite decades of progress closing the equality gap between men and women, close to 90 percent of men and women hold some sort of bias against women, providing new clues to the invisible barriers women face in achieving equality. The publication also includes the GSNI trends for 31 countries, representing 59 percent of the global population. The trends show that while in some countries there have been improvements, in others, attitudes appear to have worsened in recent years, signaling that progress cannot be taken for granted.

02 July 2020 - Gender disparities are a persistent form of inequality in every country. Despite remarkable progress in some areas, no country in the world—rich or poor—has achieved gender equality. All too often, women and girls are discriminated against in health, in education, at home, and in the labour market with negative repercussions for their freedoms.

This is the time for a reality check. The commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (Beijing+25) provides an opportunity to reassess the path to gender equality and adjust actions to close gender gaps.

The Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) measures how social beliefs obstruct gender equality in areas like politics, work, and education, and contains data from 75 countries, covering over 80 percent of the world’s population.

The analysis reveals that, despite decades of progress closing the equality gap between men and women, close to 90 percent of men and women hold some sort of bias against women, providing new clues to the invisible barriers women face in achieving equality.

According to the index, about half of the world’s men and women feel that men make better political leaders, and over 40 percent feel that men make better business executives and that men have more right to a job when jobs are scarce. 28 percent think it is justified for a man to beat his wife.

The publication also includes the GSNI trends for 31 countries, representing 59 percent of the global population. The trends show that while in some countries there have been improvements, in others, attitudes appear to have worsened in recent years, signaling that progress cannot be taken for granted.

Read the full report here or download the attached PDF of the report.

The State of Climate Ambition: Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Global Outlook Report 2021
This report makes clear that higher-quality NDCs and more inclusive processes are underpinning ambition goals, but developing countries still require significant support to deliver on their targets. Finance remains a fundamental barrier to NDC ambition and acceleration of climate action in developing countries. Developed economies must therefore address their financial obligations in this context, while the G20 must show much greater leadership by acting urgently and boldly on climate action if the world is to have any hope of achieving the Paris Agreement’s global goals. Finally, truly transformational change does not happen without change-makers; those most impacted by the climate crisis – and by climate solutions – must have a seat at the table.

The State of Climate Ambition: Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) Global Outlook Report 2021

by UNDP | October 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Against a backdrop of increasing scientific concern and public awareness about the climate crisis, UNDP set out to review if policymakers were keeping the promises they made in 2019 when the global state of climate ambition was assessed with UNFCCC in the first NDC Global Outlook report, The Heat is On. We were curious. Is the Paris Agreement working? And if yes, then who is doing the work? Which countries are leading the way on ambition – and which ones are falling behind?

UNDP had also launched the Climate Promise initiative at the UN Climate Ambition Summit in September 2019 as a commitment to ensuring that lack of funds and/or capacity would not be a barrier for any developing country that wished to prepare a more ambitious national climate pledge, or NDC. The Climate Promise quickly became the world’s largest offer of support to countries for the NDC revision process.

At that time, there was no warning that the world would soon be facing a global health pandemic and that UN climate negotiations would be postponed a full year to November 2021 in Glasgow. But even as countries began to indicate that they would miss the original UNFCCC deadline of December 2020 for submission of so-called “second-generation” NDCs, the intentions of Climate Promise countries to submit more ambitious climate pledges kept growing.

The key findings presented here unpack the concept of “ambition” against reality on the ground, drawing upon UNDP analysis and experience in Climate Promise countries. Do higher-quality NDCs result in more ambition? Do more inclusive approaches to NDC revision lead to greater ambition? Did the COVID-19 pandemic impact countries’ intentions? And what opportunities are emerging to accelerate NDC implementation? 

The Paris Agreement’s “ratchet mechanism” is working …

On the surface, the overall global trend of climate ambition appears promising. A key principle of the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 was that nations would “ratchet up” their efforts to combat climate change every five years. The aim is to demonstrate a progression beyond the previous pledge, and to reflect a country’s “highest possible ambition.”

Figure 1 compares global ambition intentions in 2019 to 2021. The number of countries intending to enhance their NDCs – either by increasing their GHG emission reduction targets and/or by strengthening their adaptation goals – rose from 75 countries in 2019 to 178 in 2021. In 2019, 37 countries planned to update without raising ambition – ultimately, only three have done so. The unclear and/or no information category fell from 71 countries in 2019 to 15 in 2021, showing that even amidst one of the most devastating global health crises, countries continued to define their climate pledges. Finally, the number of countries with no intention to submit currently stands at only one, compared to 14 in 2019, many of which included some of the world’s major emitters.

Another positive trend is the increasing ratification of the Paris Agreement: Angola, Kyrgyzstan, and Lebanon ratified the Paris Agreement in 2020 and South Sudan and Turkey in 2021, while Iraq is well-advanced towards that aim. This leaves only four countries out of 197 still pending: Eritrea, Iran, Libya, and Yemen. For all UNFCCC ratification dates, see here.

NDC submissions are strongly aligned to UNFCCC deadlines

The COVID-19 health pandemic left most countries grappling with the timing of their NDC submissions, as government priorities shifted to minimizing the economic fall-out and human impact of a world in lockdown. Despite this major challenge, as of 12 October 2021, 143 countries had submitted second-generation NDCs to the UNFCCC (including four interim NDCs) – a significant increase from the two that had been submitted by September 2019. It is anticipated that 38 more countries will submit NDCs by the end of 2021, with the majority still aiming to do so by the COP26 negotiations in Glasgow in November. As shown in Figure 3, this would bring the total number of submitted second-generation NDCs to 181 – representing 92% of all Parties to the Paris Agreement.

The timing of NDC submissions aligns strongly with deadlines established by the UNFCCC for the inclusion of NDCs in the NDC synthesis report. At the end of 2019, four countries had submitted second-generation NDCs, but by December 2020 – which was when COP26 was initially expected to take place – 67 more countries had made submissions, of which 84% were submitted in Q4. Similarly, in 2021, 40 countries submitted NDCs (excluding interim submissions) by the UNFCCC deadline of 30 July for inclusion in its synthesis report and an additional 32 countries made a 12 October deadline to be included in an update to the report.

… but the world needs even greater ambition and faster action

The updated ladder of ambition for 2021 (Figure 2) shows the potential significance of having 90% of the world submitting, or planning to submit enhanced NDCs to the UNFCCC. In total, these 178 nations are responsible for nearly 80% of global GHG emissions. Figure 2 unpacks country intentions further by examining whether these 178 countries are pledging to raise mitigation ambition – that is, are outlining commitments in their NDCs to curb their emissions of the GHGs that cause global warming – or more focused on ramping up their plans to adapt and become more resilient to climate impacts. As shown, 90% have raised mitigation ambition, or plan to do so, while 97% are incorporating stronger adaptation goals. A small subset have focused solely on strengthening either mitigation or adaptation plans, but not both. Figure 2 also shows that the three countries that are updating their climate pledges but not raising ambition represent only 4.3% of global GHG emissions. As of 12 October, only one higher-emitting country had not signaled any clear plans to submit an enhanced NDC. For the remaining 15 countries where intentions are unclear, or no information is currently available (representing 11.7% of global GHG emissions), there is still a possibility that more ambitious NDCs could be put forward.

Nonetheless, despite this progress, the latest analyses of NDCs reveal that much greater ambition is needed across the board. The UNFCCC (2021) reports that global emissions will be 16% higher in 2030 than they were in 2010 based on current climate pledges – far from the 45% reduction by 2030 needed to limit warming to 1.5°C. UNEP (2021) similarly acknowledges that while countries show some progress in their new climate pledges, the aggregate effect on global emissions is disappointing.

Climate ambition is nuanced and context-specific

However, beneath the surface of these promising trends lies a more nuanced picture of climate ambition. This report dives into what ambition looks like through the lens of countries’ NDCs and the revision processes that defined them. Specifically, we find that:

  • Vulnerable nations are leading on NDC ambition – the role expected from the G20;
  • Second-generation NDCs are of higher quality, but finance remains a hurdle;
  • For many countries – but not all–inclusivity drives ambition;
  • NDCs can provide a blueprint for sustainable development and green recovery, but countries must lock in this pathway now.

Access the full report here: https://climatepromise.undp.org/state-of-climate-ambition

Next Practices: Innovations in the COVID-19 social protection responses and beyond
This paper aims to systematise the social protection innovations implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which can be leveraged to build more inclusive and sustainable systems in the medium and long term.

Next Practices: Innovations in the COVID-19 social protection responses and beyond

by UNDP | 27 October 2021

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated large-scale, rapid responses from governments to ensure that the negative effects of the crisis on people’s livelihoods are mitigated. Countries with more well-established social protection (SP) systems in place prior to the crisis (e.g. through the use of social registries) were able to respond faster, but almost all countries required innovative practices to quickly deliver SP to those usually excluded from benefits, such as informal sector workers, refugees, and migrants.

This paper aims to systematize the SP innovations implemented in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which can be leveraged to build more inclusive and sustainable SP systems in the medium and long term. It highlights the factors that enable ‘inclusive innovation,’ focusing on the levers of success, and the lessons learned from the process for the future—i.e., the ‘next practices.’ The paper also calls attention to innovative lessons from countries in the Global South on how to include traditionally excluded groups in SP responses, especially in times of crisis. It also shows how innovations can inform the sustainable expansion of SP systems to help countries achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 1.3: “Implement nationally appropriate SP systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable.”

Innovations in the context of the COVID-19 crisis specifically should be understood as changes and practices that rapidly and effectively enhance the inclusion of those in need into SP systems. Throughout this report, ‘innovation’ is understood as a multidimensional concept, including technologically-focused innovations, governance innovations and process innovations. The last two include institutional changes to decision-making processes and hierarchical structures that enhance citizen engagement, and changes to the planning and implementation of a service/programme, including its structure and/or administrative processes, to ensure the most vulnerable populations can be reached. Thus, this report looks at inclusive innovative measures in beneficiary identification and registration, payment mechanisms, communication, case management, and grievance redressal mechanisms (GRMs).

Main Findings

Section 2 provides an overview of the SP measures implemented in the Global South, including the main instruments used and the population groups targeted, as well as the coverage of those responses and the benefits provided. Across the 961 measures mapped, social assistance (54 per cent) was the most frequent SP component used in the response, followed by labour market and employment protection (35 per cent) and social insurance (11 per cent). Regarding SP support, the three most common types of responses provided across all components were cash transfers, liquidity alleviation and in-kind transfers. In general, the measures implemented exhibited a marked shift from targeting only the poorest people to providing support for groups that are traditionally neither covered by social assistance programmes nor contribute to social insurance, such as informal workers.

Section 3 looks at fiscal space and coordination as important prerequisites that need to be in place for successful and rapid implementation of SP measures in times of crisis. The measures mapped mostly relied on public sources of financing (69 percent), followed by international sources (18 percent). The use of social security (5 percent) and private financing (8 percent) was comparatively low in most regions. Within public sources of financing, many countries established ‘extra-budgetary funds’ to collect donations from the public and private sectors, as well as the donor community, and to facilitate more expeditious public financial management procedures. Innovative financing practices included those that provided liquidity rapidly (e.g. budget reallocation), combined financing from different sources (e.g. extra-budgetary funds), were proactive in their approach (e.g. contingency funds), or were economically sustainable (e.g. unconventional tax revenues).

In terms of coordination, the pandemic has given rise to ‘SP coordination committees’ and the greater contribution of both the private sector and local actors. Coordination committees facilitated inter-and intra-governmental coordination, as well as multi-sectoral coordination between national and international agencies. In some countries, local actors and private sector representatives were also involved in the development of policy responses. They turned out to be particularly important in identifying beneficiaries and delivering assistance to people that have been traditionally excluded.

Section 4 analyses inclusive innovative measures in terms of beneficiary identification and registration, payment mechanisms, and communication. It provides country examples for each innovative practice and lists several important factors that are necessary for better and more inclusive implementation in the future. Digital technologies were implemented in most countries for both registration and payment mechanisms, in some cases complemented by other approaches. Across the Global South, 38 percent of measures relied on registration through web portals; while 52 percent and 18 percent relied on bank transfers and mobile money, respectively, to deliver cash support. Communication case management and GRM processes were adapted and implemented mostly through websites, call centers, and local actors.

Recommendations

The unprecedented socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis have led to a window of opportunity in SP policymaking. The pandemic has shown that redundancies, while sometimes less efficient, (i.e., a multiplicity of registration or payment mechanisms) are necessary to make sure that no one is left behind, since they guarantee that programmes are accessible and coverage is widespread; and also to account for unforeseen delays, challenges or flaws in implementation mechanisms.

  • Financing: No single innovative practice can succeed in financing shockresponsive SP, but rather countries should combine multiple financial instruments that correspond to the severity of the shock and the frequency of its occurrence. The positive aspects of an ‘innovative practice’ are entirely dependent on the way it is designed and implemented. For example, while extra-budgetary funds may weaken fiscal control, if designed well they can enhance transparency and accountability, being more suited for short-term responses. The reallocation of public expenditure should focus on replacing high-cost, low-impact investments with those that are more relevant in crisis contexts considering developmental consequences in the medium and long-term. Community-based financing, such as through the use of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and/or Zakat financing in relevant countries might relieve the public burden and the fiscal deficit, and should therefore be explored and facilitated. Countries should also consider alternative tax revenues, such as ‘sin taxes’ and/or ‘monotax’ measures to incentivise the transition to formal labour, accompanied by long-term strategies to enhance efficiency in public spending.
  • Coordination mechanisms and partnerships played a pivotal role in enabling quick responses and facilitating multi-sectoral coordination. Newly established SP emergency response committees should streamline their work with that of existing disaster risk management units. Policy design processes should be participatory, engaging different actors— especially representatives of traditionally marginalised groups, such as migrants. Partnerships with the private sector, local actors and NGOs are necessary to ensure rapid delivery and better outreach. Nevertheless, countries should consider establishing these partnerships carefully, providing adequate compensation, and considering existing and surge capacity. Countries should build on such partnerships to develop standard operating procedures for future collaborative shock-responsive efforts.
  • Beneficiary identification and registration have demonstrated the importance of digitised IDs, social registries, online portals, and mobile platforms. Nonetheless, for more inclusive mechanisms of beneficiary identification and registration, practitioners should go beyond ‘technosolutionism’ and also consider their complementarity with adapted manual systems. Countries and their international partners should invest in digitised civil registration systems, disability registries and single registry development and database interoperability as these are long-term strategies that are instrumental in facilitating SP expansion. The role of local actors, complementary mechanisms such as telephone registration, and social workers should not be overlooked in future crises or normal times, as they facilitate the identification of those who are hardest to reach. Alternatives to ID-based registration, such as reliance on a voter database or employee IDs ought to be adopted in countries with limited ID coverage to ensure that those without IDs can still be included.
  • Safe and fast payment delivery would not have been possible without digital delivery modalities such as bank transfers and mobile money. However, the reliance on digital modalities for assistance delivery has inevitably emphasised the digital divide and excluded certain groups. Consequently, future crisis response and long-term SP expansion must be made more inclusive by complementing digital delivery modalities with non-digital ones, creating an enabling environment for digital payment modalities. This could include ensuring the wide coverage of cash-incash-out (CICO) agents, the availability of e-payments at merchants, and formalising and regulating the establishment of tiered accounts with mirrored tier-based customer due diligence mechanisms and eased know your customer (KYC) regulations.
  • Communication, case management and GRMs. In future crises, countries must employ a variety of channels to communicate with the public in different languages, set communication strategies that clearly indicate changes to eligibility criteria for existing social assistance programmes and work on ensuring the continuation of GRM processes and their adaptation, especially through the use of multiple forms of contact, including helplines, emails and mobile apps.

Read the full report here: https://www.undp.org/publications/next-practices-innovations-covid-19-social-protection-responses-and-beyond

UNDP Handbook on Smart Urban Innovations
The UNDP Smart Urban Handbook explores how any city can be a smart city. Cities on this smart city journey can learn from and leverage a global toolkit of smart urban innovations and applied insights to tackle key city challenges or address citizen priorities.

Handbook on Smart Urban Innovations

by UNDP | 20 October 2021

‘Smart Cities’ are much more than digital solutions and cutting-edge technologies. A smart city is citizen-centered - responding to the needs, realities, and aspirations of its citizens; using technology and innovation to improve their lives and livelihoods. The UNDP Smart Urban Handbook explores how any city can be a smart city.

Cities on this smart city journey can learn from and leverage a global toolkit of smart urban innovations and applied insights to tackle key city challenges or address citizen priorities. The Handbook is a tool to support policymakers, civil society organizations, and urban innovators in shaping livable, inclusive, and sustainable cities.

In this Handbook, we explore how different kinds of smart urban innovations are shaping urban spaces in cities across the globe and from different income settings. Each of these innovations is driven by a combination of multi-stakeholder partnerships, local resources, and strategic data usage. UNDP has grouped these unique combinations into four different frameworks, which aim to support city leaders, public officials, and citizens to find ways to catalyze innovation and identify solutions to problems faced by their cities. Users can delve into the different elements that enable innovations to emerge in cities. The Handbook also features an exciting set of case studies, setting out how to create the conditions needed for urban innovations to scale and generate long-lasting impacts. It also includes a wide range of examples of how urban authorities have leveraged their current assets to deliver innovative solutions.

Urban authorities can leverage the benefits of global interconnectedness by exchanging impactful initiatives to combat present and future challenges. South-South and triangular cooperation can enhance current efforts and replicate successful solutions in local contexts. This Handbook aims to facilitate this exchange of ideas and knowledge. UNDP has supported local authorities in the implementation of the development agenda since the organization's founding - including working closely with the leaders of Singapore following the country's independence. Through initiatives such as the City2City peer learning network, the NextGenCities program, our new collaboration framework with UN-Habitat, and the UNDP Global Centre in Singapore, UNDP is connecting cities and providing targeted support in developing impactful solutions for urban challenges.

Read and access the full handbook here: https://www.undp.org/publications/handbook-smart-urban-innovations

Revisiting Urban Local Governance in South Asia: Lessons from the Pandemic for Furthering Resilience
The Scaling City Institutions for India Sanitation initiative at the Center for Policy Research (CPR) conducted a study to understand the specific vulnerabilities of the urban poor in the context of past pandemics and during COVID-19 in order to craft specific urban governance recommendations to build greater resilience in cities in South Asia and India. Their research covered primary surveys in 10 cities/towns in India that were selected to ensure representation of various geographical regions, urban settlement sizes, densities and economic activities. It also reviewed press coverage and other secondary sources from India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. Their findings indicate a need to build urban resilience through sixteen actions across three broad areas, which are (a) Building urban resilience through integrated planning; (b) Attenuate Formal Vs Informal categories to universalize access to public services; (c) Enable legal reforms and revisit governance responsibilities, scales and interfaces.

Expert's Corner: Exploring Impacts and Institutional Responses to COVID-19: "Revisiting Urban Local Governance in South Asia: Lessons from the Pandemic for Furthering Resilience" with CPR

Date and Time: 17 November 2021 | 8-9 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Description:

As part of Expert’s Corner, an initiative to have external experts share their insights with UNDP, the Governance Community of Practice is collaborating with the Crisis Bureau’s Conflict Prevention, Peacebuilding and Responsive Institutions (CPPRI) team to deliver a series of events on the theme of “Exploring Impacts and Institutional Responses to COVID-19”. Four events, delivered in partnership with leading researchers in the field, are taking place throughout November and early December. They will communicate evidence from large-scale comparative analysis on the impacts of and institutional responses to COVID-19, whilst also reflecting on implications for UNDP policy and programming.

This third event of the series will focus on “Revisiting Urban Local Governance in South Asia: Lessons from the Pandemic for Furthering Resilience” and will take place on 17 November 2021 from 8.00 to 9.00 am EST. The Scaling City Institutions for India Sanitation initiative at the Center for Policy Research (CPR) conducted a study to understand the specific vulnerabilities of the urban poor in the context of past pandemics and during COVID-19 in order to craft specific urban governance recommendations to build greater resilience in cities in South Asia and India. Their research covered primary surveys in 10 cities/towns in India that were selected to ensure representation of various geographical regions, urban settlement sizes, densities, and economic activities. It also reviewed press coverage and other secondary sources from India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Nepal. Their findings indicate a need to build urban resilience through sixteen actions across three broad areas, which are (a) Building urban resilience through integrated planning; (b) Attenuate Formal Vs Informal categories to universalize access to public services; (c) Enable legal reforms and revisit governance responsibilities, scales, and interfaces.

Register here

All roads lead to sustainable transport

Pandemics leave lasting societal upheaval in their wakes. And even while the world is still coming to grips with the health and socio-economic costs of COVID-19, we are starting to see some of the ways it has produced positive change. There’s a renewed sense of urgency to shift the way we move and drive.

All roads lead to sustainable transport

by UNDP | Originally posted here on 15 October 2021

There’s a renewed sense of urgency to shift the way we move.


To achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we must transform how we move ourselves and our goods. Photo: UNDP Moldova

Pandemics leave lasting societal upheaval in their wakes. And even while the world is still coming to grips with the health and socio-economic costs of COVID-19, we are starting to see some of the ways it has produced positive change.

There’s a renewed sense of urgency to shift the way we move and drive. Electric car registrations increased by 41 percent in 2020, despite a pandemic-related downturn in car sales, according to IEA’s Global EV Outlook 2021.

Despite an overall downturn in car sales during the pandemic, electric car registrations increased by 41 percent in 2020. Photo: Mike/Pexels

The International Civil Aviation Organization has recently welcomed the new net-zero 2050 air industry commitment, and the pandemic has led many European cities to plan expanded bike lanes. Since 2020 Paris has seen a 70 percent increase in bicycle use, and Italy will invest in 1,014 kilometres of new lanes.

As we head towards the UN Climate Conference (COP26), the UN Sustainable Transport Conference in Beijing, China, provides an opportunity to show how transport can become more sustainable.

Emissions from the transportation sector are a major driver of climate change. UNDP is working with countries to make urban transport greener. Photo: Shun Idota/Unsplash

Pedaling to work

In Chisinau, Moldova, UNDP is developing a new strategy for an alternative transport infrastructure: can you imagine going safely to work by bicycle throughout a 200 kilometres network of routes connecting all sectors of the capital on exclusive lanes?

In Ukraine, 90 to 95 percent of city air pollution is created by road transport. UNDP is working with the European Union to boost the first national cycling strategy that not only prioritizes sustainability but combats traffic congestion.

Traditional vehicles and new technology

One of the main barriers to people using electric vehicles is reluctance to adopt a new type of automobile. In Uruguay, the MOVÉS project has created a combination of incentives to build trust by showing the viability of electric vehicles and to make the switch financially worthwhile.

Montevideo has introduced 30 electric buses and aims to have 110 by 2025, as well as 550 electric taxis and 900 electric utility vehicles.

In Bhutan, around 40 taxi drivers in Thimphu have registered with the Ministry of Information and Communication to replace their fossil-fueled cabs with electric vehicles.

And some tuk-tuks in Guatemala, the conventional moto-taxis, are moving to solar energy, with electric motors, battery banks and solar panels.

Dedicated lanes for bikes and public transport are part of Ukraine’s strategy to increase sustainability and reduce traffic congestion (left). Photo: UNDP Ukraine. Some tuk-tuks in Guatemala are switching to solar power (right). Photo: for Tomorrow

Cities are primarily about people, not cars

Egypt had zero cycle tracks and no network of quality public buses. But that’s changing.

In Fayum, 100 kilometres outside of Cairo, the Government of the Netherlands, the GEF Small Grants Programme and UNDP are working on various initiatives to encourage non-motorized transport. The initiative has established high quality public buses, 14 kilometres of cycling lanes, student loans for buying bicycles, as well as pioneering a university bike-sharing scheme.

The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be reached without a complete overhaul of how we move ourselves and our goods. The path to the future can lead us away from fossil fuels towards clean cars, bike lanes and convenient public transport powered by green energy.

Retrieved from https://undp.medium.com/all-roads-lead-to-sustainable-transport-bac69012f71f