Fear and Cajoling in Kabul: Bringing HIV Services to High Risk Groups

1 December 2016, Kabul – Edris is a young man living in Kabul. Last year, he broke his nose trying to break up a fight, but when he went to hospital, doctors found out he had HIV and refused to treat him. “It really disappointed me,” he says. “Not just the bad treatment, but because I know that other people with HIV also run into the same kind of discrimination.” Edris knows this because he’s seen it. Just four months before, one of his friends died of appendicitis because doctors weren’t willing to operate.

Businesses To Play Greater Role In New Development Era In Asia-Pacific, Says UNDP At Responsible Business Forum
Businesses To Play Greater Role In New Development Era In Asia-Pacific, Says UNDP At Responsible Business Forum

At the fifth Responsible Business Forum, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) today called on business leaders to take a greater role in the new development era in order to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This Forum, opened in Singapore by UNDP and Global Initiatives, aims to address a sea change in the nature of development funding by creating a new partnership for sustainable development.

While foreign funding (Official Development Assistance) is still essential for the development system, it now accounts for 0.7 percent of total financial flows in Asia-Pacific (down from 13.5 percent in 1990), while domestic public and private finance accounts for 89 percent, according to a UNDP report launched last month.

Haoliang Xu: Opening Plenary Address At The Responsible Business Forum
Haoliang Xu: Opening Plenary Address At The Responsible Business Forum

It is one year since every country in the world signed up to the Sustainable Development Goals. They form a blueprint for addressing the most significant challenges facing our planet and its people. Challenges like climate change. This is likely to be the hottest year on record and here in Asia, climate change is a cause of the natural disasters that have claimed half a million lives in the last decade. Challenges like inequality, which has been growing for four-fifths of Asia-Pacific’s population over the last 20 years. Challenges brought on by the accelerating process of ageing, which will make it harder for many Asian states to provide basic services to their people. The 17 SDGs will address these challenges and other interlinked issues, including education, hunger and security. But governments cannot implement this blueprint on their own. Nor can the UN and other development organizations.

Malaria
Winged/Wicked Things: UNDP and the Global Fund Provide Malaria Tests and Drugs Where They Are Most Needed

Jalalabad, November 2016 – On a scorching July afternoon several years ago, a farmer rushed into a laboratory in downtown Jalalabad with his two-year-old son, Sabawoon, fainting in his arms. “I’m here to test him for malaria!” he blurted out. Sabawoon had already been sick for two months in his rural village, but no one knew what was wrong. Even though Afghanistan has the fourth-largest malaria burden outside of sub-Saharan Africa, diagnostic facilities were extremely limited. This laboratory in Jalalabad was the only place in the whole province with a track record of diagnosing the most severe form of malaria. Just one sharp-eyed technician and his ageing microscope meant the difference between diagnosis and disaster. When Sabawoon’s doctors got the result – positive for a severe strain of malaria – they were strangely relieved, because now they knew what to do. With the right treatment, Sabawoon was soon out of a coma and recovered within a week.

Video Update: Religious Leaders Promote Women in Sport and Education

Masooma and her friends in Bamyan started skiing in 2012. But village gossip made it hard for them to continue. Then local mullah, Abdul Rahman Redwani, started preaching on women’s rights, changing people’s minds and getting the girls back on the slopes. Watch the video to see how this UNDP programme is helping young women make the most of their lives.

Female Nurses in Demand: UNDP Trains 200+ Young Women to Save Lives in Rural Areas

23 October 2016, Jalalabad City, Nangarhar – In a very ordinary hostel in Jalalabad, something extraordinary is going on. A young woman is sitting on her hostel bed, bent over a textbook. This is Abida and she is training to be a nurse in a country where most women haven’t even finished primary school. Abida has just finished a long day of classwork and on-the-job training. She’s exhausted, but determined to carry on because nurses are hard to find in her home village, more than 100 kilometres away in Nuristan. In this isolated province, woman commonly die because basic healthcare is unavailable – either because there are no doctors or because women are not allowed to be treated by a man. Thinking about this situation keeps Abida going when her eyes are heavy and her brain numb.

UNDP Opens SDG Knowledge Exchange in Bangkok
UNDP Opens SDG Knowledge Exchange in Bangkok

The Knowledge Exchange is part of a week-long Regional SDG Forum hosted by UNDP in Bangkok from 21 to 27 October. The Forum features also a conference on youth engagement in SDG implementation and a meeting on finance for development focused on how countries can mobilize the required financing for the envisioned transformation to sustainability.

17 Ways Urban Afghanistan is Working Towards 2030

Human security remains Afghanistan’s major challenge to development. However, Afghans are more optimistic about their future than in the past. You can see that optimism in our bustling, energetic cities. UNDP supports the people of Afghanistan as they face old challenges and work to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. See these 17 inspiring ways Afghans are improving their cities and contributing to the SDGs, with a little help from UNDP.

A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall in Panjshir: How UNDP Is Helping Farmers Weather New Storms

Afghanistan is one of the most vulnerable countries for climate change; even here, in beautiful, mountainous Panjshir province. The Panjshir valley starts about 2 hours’ drive from Kabul and winds north into the Hindu Kush. Isolated and poor, its 140,000 people, mostly farmers, get by on a string of small-scale farms by the side of the river or hacked into the mountainsides. Their lives have always been hard, but they are made even more difficult by desertification and regular floods.

No Lingering! UNDP and Religious Leaders Promote Women in Sport and Education

Bamyan, 9 October 2016 – Bamyan, in central Afghanistan, is a province of snow-capped mountains and difficult travel. But it’s not just the rugged terrain that keeps girls from going to school and taking part in sports. The mind also has mountains that girls need to climb if they want to get equal treatment. “At first, the villagers were really annoying, telling me that a girl in sports clothes is against Islam and our culture,” says 18-year-old Masooma, who just wanted to go skiing. “They said, ‘Girls don’t have the right to ski – only boys can do sport. Girls are born to learn household chores, like cooking and cleaning.’”

Come On, Bovine, Light My Fire: UNDP Biogas Systems Turn Manure into Cheap, Clean Power

21 September 2016, Dara Noor, Jalalabad – For most rural Afghans, having a cup of tea, or a bath, or a warm house means you have to cut down some trees. With mains power covering only 35% of the countryside, wood remains the primary source of heat and fuel.

From the Spent and Unconsidered Earth – a Forest!

15 August 2016, Jalalabad – The Gamberi Desert, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, is home to 1,000 families. It’s a land of extremes: harsh, dry, sandy, and hot, making life a struggle for the people who live there. Many years ago, it was different. The Gamberi Desert was a forest of indigenous bushes that held the soil together and allowed life to grow. But decades of conflict and poverty forced communities to cut down the bushes and use the wood cooking and heating. Deforestation led to desertification, sand storms and the erosion of agricultural fields.

UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Director for Asia and the Pacific Visits Afghanistan

6 September 2016 – Haoliang Xu, UNDP Administrator and Chair of the UN Development Group, has concluded a five-day visit to Afghanistan where he met with the CEO Abdullah Abdullah, other senior government officials, development partners, UNDP Staff, and ongoing UNDP projects.

ASG Haoliang Xu Helps Launch SDGs in Afghanistan

September 5 2016, Kabul – Yesterday, on the occasion of the visit to Kabul of UNDP Regional Director in Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Haoliang Xu, the Ministry of Economy (MoEC) of the Government of Afghanistan hosted a roundtable discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Aliceghan
UNDP and Australia UPGRADE Alice Ghan IDP Camp (PHOTOBOOK)

August 2016, Kabul – This week, UNDP and the Australian Government kicked off several new projects to improve life and job prospects for the 300 residents of Alice Ghan, a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) about an hour’s drive from Kabul.

Solar Powered Education: Nangahar University Blazes a Trail

Nangarhar University, on the outskirts of Jalalabad, is the second largest University in Afghanistan. Covering a whopping 40 hectares of land and serving 15,000 students, its tree-lined avenues stretch on for miles. But at night, they are pitch black, leaving both students and professors feeling unsafe in the dark. Public spaces are empty and no one spends much time outside.

UNDP Joins Fight Against Tuberculosis in Afghanistan

Fifty-year-old Musa Khan Panahi wears a smile of hope because he’s reclaiming a life he nearly lost. Meanwhile, Muhammad Rustam, an emaciated bedridden teenager, struggles with his health at a hospital on the western outskirts of Kabul.

A Day in Mazar with the Korean Ambassador

25 July 2016, Mazar-e-Sharif – Last week, we were in Mazar-e-Sharif, where, thanks to generous support from the Republic of Korea, UNDP has helped to improve local governance and support local women as they build successful businesses.

Gender and Women's Studies at Kabul University: A Step Towards Addressing the Gender Gap

Kabul, 10 July 2016 – Afghanistan is one of the most challenging countries in the world to be a woman – and for a woman to get an decent education. According to World Bank data, net enrollment at the end of the Taliban regime in 2001 was 43% for boys but a miserable 3% for girls.

The Story Behind the Story: The Bridge that Enabled Bahara to Go to School

In March 2014, UNDP Afghanistan made a 2-minute video called “Choices”. The short film captures how UNDP’s programmes have given more options for a better quality of life to the Afghan people. The film was mostly shot in the scenic valley of Panjshir, about two hours drive north of Kabul. Here, in Ghozo Omerz village, UNDP has built a 40-meter bridge built that’s used by 120 families.

Afghanistan’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest

5 June 2016, Kabul – Today is World Environment Day and here in Afghanistan we celebrated with the country’s first-ever Environmental Short Film Contest. Organized by UNDP in partnership with Saba TV and the National Environment Protection Agency (NEPA), the contest aimed to raise awareness and encourage action to tackle environmental challenges facing Afghanistan

Fastest Population Shift In History Means Make Or Break For Asia-Pacific

The report, entitled “Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics Can Power Human Development”, notes that Asia-Pacific countries now have more working-aged people and fewer dependents than at any point in history, providing a springboard for growth. Region-wide, 68 percent of people are of working age and only 32 percent are dependents.

Thank, you EU! Power for Panjshir

Panjshir, 19 April 2015 — Before 2015, Pyawasht village in Panjshir had no electricity. Doctors stumbled over mountain roads to reach their patients, kids couldn’t study after sundown, and women gave birth in the dark.

UNDP to Launch Report on People-Centered Development in Asia-Pacific

14 April 2016 The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced today that it will launch its new human development report “Shaping the Future: How Changing Demographics Can Power Human Development,” on April 26 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Once Were Hunters – Now Conservationists

17 March 2016, Kabul – Daud killed his first ibex when he was only 12 years old. His father would wake him up in the middle of the night to go hunting, and they’d set out together in the dark, Daud so afraid that his hands would shake. Later on, he’d learn to kill with calm efficiency.

Even nurses need lawyers: UNDP funds legal aid for women

Nangarhar, 6 March 2016 – At 19 years of age, Gul Bashra had completed school, finished two years of midwifery training, and was all set to realize her lifelong dream of bringing better healthcare to her fellow Afghans in Nangarhar. There was just one problem. As a child, she’d been engaged to one of her cousins....