UNDP's Strategic Plan 2018-2021 sets out the direction for a new UNDP, optimized to help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Plan describes how UNDP will better adapt to the range of country contexts in which we work, part of which is a series of signature solutions that define the core work of UNDP.

The first signature solution will target the barriers and vulnerabilities that keep people in poverty or that push them back into poverty, including when shocks and crises occur. It will use a mix of solutions including improving rural and urban livelihoods, strengthening gender equality, building social protection, ensuring access to water, clean energy and other basic services and strengthening financial inclusion, in order to help build resilience to economic, environmental or health shocks.

In rural areas which are largely dependent on agriculture and natural resources, this signature solution will be closely related to issues of food security and the resilience of agricultural systems. In contexts where the dominant challenge has moved beyond addressing poverty thresholds, this signature solution will assist with transitions and structural shifts including economic diversification, redressing widening inequalities including gender inequalities, technology and skills alignment, etc.,

Investing in new technologies, including those that help reduce emissions, and supporting climate policies will be critical for sustainable poverty reduction. The technical capacities of agencies such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization will be valuable in the work on emissions reduction, to complement the technical and implementation capacities of UNDP. 

In the context of crises, securing incomes and assisting recovery efforts for building resilience to reversals will be an important entry point so that once stabilized, countries can return to sustainable development pathways. In delivering this signature solution, UNDP will work in collaboration with key sister agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), UNICEF and UNFPA on livelihoods, job creation and social protection, UNCDF on financial inclusion and UN-Women on the gender dimensions of job creation and crisis recovery, amongst others.


Spinning my way out of poverty

Bindeshwor Pandit is an icon of success for many in this small village of Sunsari slowly rising out of poverty in the south of Nepal.

Pottery has been a profession for him and his fellow villagers for generations. “We have been in this business for as long as our memory serves,” says a smiling Bindeshwor, as his hands give shape to a clay pot over a spinning electric wheel. “However, until a few years ago, it was barely supporting our livelihoods. We used to have a manual hand-held wheel which was not helping us scale up our production.”

Things however changed when they merged themselves into a group, introduced few modern machines, including an electric spinner and a mud mixer, learned some enterprise and marketing skills and built a common facility centre to house the factory. Thanks to the support from Micro Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP), a joint anti-poverty programme of the Government of Nepal and UNDP funded by Australian Aid. READ MORE


Hand-made happiness

Sushma Shrestha considers herself one of the “lucky ones”. The micro-entrepreneur from Dolakha, who was helped by UNDP’s Micro-Enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP) to acquire the skills necessary to start a successful lokta or handmade Nepali paper business in her village, says the opportunity helped her to turn her life around. “It was just the push I needed,” she says.

At one point, Sushma says she had felt bereft of hope. “It was a struggle just to get by, and I didn’t have any guidance or support,” she recalls. That support came through in 2012, when she enrolled in a skill-development training offered by MEDEP in the area. And to further her skills, she took up a few more trainings, reflected in the high quality of her products.

Over the last few years, Sushma Handicrafts has seen steady growth in popularity. It offers a range of lokta products today, including general items like stationary and lamps, but also more innovative pieces, such as jewelry—which has proved a hit with customers for their lightweight, waterproof qualities and affordable price. READ MORE

Interview: Australian Ambassador to Nepal Peter Budd

Australian Ambassador Peter Budd talks to UNDP about the proliferation and impact of micro-enterprises in Nepal thanks to support from UNDP's Micro-Enterprise Development Programme and funding from the Australian government.

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