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Purpose

“It [follow-up and review] will mobilize support to overcome shared challenges and identify new and emerging issues.”

“They [follow-up and review] will maintain a longer-term orientation, identify achievements, challenges, gaps and critical success factors and support countries in making informed policy choices.”

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Identifying risks and emerging issues, and adapting to them, will be a critical part of achieving The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Additionally, careful reflection of lessons learned during the implementation of The 2030 Agenda and making timely course corrections along the way, are integral to effective follow-up and review.

The purpose of this section is to provide basic guidance for assessing risk and fostering adaptability in the pursuit of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Guidance

The 2008 global economic crisis, the 2014 Ebola outbreak, and the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis served up stark reminders to the importance of understanding and addressing risk in development planning. Refugee and migration crises for example, represent not only increasing pressure on host countries and communities to adapt development targets and resources to the changing demographics, but also on countries of origin suffering from “brain drain” and the negative impact of conflict on the development process, in human, social, political, economic and ecological terms. Issues that emerge slowly over time can be just as crippling – the costs of adapting to climate change, for example, are upsetting the development trajectories of even the wealthiest of nations (IHDP 2013).

The path to achieving the SDGs by 2030 can ill afford to experience such crises along the way. Yet in reality, such risks are ever-present, and every effort must be taken to detect, manage, and ultimately avoid them. Fortunately a variety of approaches and tools have been created over the years for such purposes.

Member states can explore a range of approaches for assessing risk and fostering adaptability at the plan and policy level. Guidance for UNCTs in this regard is three-fold:

  1. Adaptive Governance: to provide a general framework for effectively navigating uncertainty, change and surprise across all of the guidance areas covered in this document (B1-B7);
  2. Risk analysis and management: for the systematic identification and management of the risks facing the implementation of national, sub-national and local plans; and
  3. Scenario planning and stress testing: to be applied regularly in the development planning and policy-making process for detecting emerging issues and examining the ability of plans, policies and programmes to perform under a range of plausible future conditions.

Adaptive Governance

“Recognizing that humanity is encroaching on critical planetary boundaries, new modes of adaptive governance are needed to initiate transition management and achieve internationally agreed goals and targets.” 5th Global Environment Outlook, UNEP

Acknowledging the inherently unpredictable nature of development, the 5th Global Environment Outlook report of the United Nations Environment Program stated that “it is nearly impossible to create a fail-proof blueprint or to formulate optimal policies. What is required instead is an inclusive, learn-by-doing process with careful monitoring of policy effects, and an ability to make critical choices and improvements consistent with the trajectories leading to established goals (UNEP 2012).”

The UNEP report further elaborated the core elements of adaptive governance (below) and each of these elements serves serve this Guidance Note either as additional rationale and context for guidance areas previously presented, or as new guidance that can be incorporated into the formulation of development strategies, plans and supporting policies and programs.

  • Multi-actor deliberation and agenda building. “Many stakeholders influence societal change. Governance must, therefore, be participatory to recognize advantageous leverage points, the levers for change and the correct direction to move them; to achieve coherent coalitions for creating shared notions of goals and ambitions; and to strengthen policy design and implementation.” This element is reflected in Section B2 of this Guidance Note and it also amplifies the importance of applying multi-stakeholder approaches in the process of adapting SDGs to national, sub-national and local contexts (Section B3).
  • Futures analysis and long-term collective goal setting. “Integrated and forward-looking assessments are critical tools that inform ongoing processes of change by systematically reflecting upon the future and developing shared notions of future goals and targets.” This element is covered directly later in this section on guidance for scenario planning and stress testing of plans and policies.
  • Enabling self-organization and networking. “Creating opportunities for cooperation and replicating successes, ensuring that social capital remains intact, and guaranteeing that members of the population are free and able to interact, are all fundamental elements of building the capacity of actors and policy itself to plan for and adapt to surprises.”

This element is perhaps the least intuitive of the adaptive governance elements, but it is critical for scaling up the impact of policies and plans. It speaks to the important role that social capital plays in helping stakeholders adapt to unanticipated shocks (i.e., natural disasters, pandemics, economic crises) and even slower, more subtle change (i.e., climate change adaptation). This social capital comes in many forms such as through informal networks, faith-based groups, and professional associations and grass-roots civil society organizations in helping stakeholders respond to unanticipated events. Additional guidance for enabling self-organization is provided in the Toolkit section (Swanson and Bhadwal 2009).

  • Variation, experimentation and innovation. “Diversity of responses [i.e., policies and programs] forms a common risk-management approach, and continuous reflection and improvement helps to develop a context in which innovation for desired change can thrive.”

This element provides guidance for the selection of policies and programmes in support of development strategies and plans (see Section B3 in relation to the formulation of strategies and plans using systems thinking).

  • Reflexivity and adaptation. Systemic [i.e., formalized] review of past, present and future sustainability conditions and policy performance through interaction and cooperation with a range of stakeholders is critical for continuous improvement and social learning.

This element of adaptive govern amplifies the important function that follow-up and review plays in The 2030 Agenda and within that, the importance of applying multi-stakeholder approaches in the design, implementation, review and improvement of policies and programs. Many stakeholders have developed platform for knowledge and experience sharing in implementing monitoring and evaluation of development policy and programmes. These systems could be better disseminated and tailored to fit SDG purposes.

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Innovative Case Examples: Kyrgyzstan

Following the 2010 inter-ethnic violence in the south of Kyrgyzstan, it was recognised that a multi-sector approach was needed to help build bridges between communities involved in the ethnic conflict, and to support sustainable peace. In a 6-month inception phase, a number of reports, surveys and assessments were conducted to understand the context and needs of vulnerable children, women and their families. The resulting programme design addresses inequitable access to basic services and lack of opportunity, which was identified as a driver of conflict.

The long inception phase allowed interventions to be tailored to specifics of municipal contexts. The preparatory work, and the engagement with stakeholders at the assessment and design stage, allowed UNICEF to achieve more than it had originally planned in less time than anticipated.

India

A Risk Informed Development Planning System (RIDPS) was developed by UNICEF in India as a system that aim at producing real-time data for risks and vulnerabilities using climate and other hazard indicators and child risk indicators. It is designed to: support risk informed development planning; analyse multiple sectors in one tool at the same time; and identify data collection gaps and enhance data collection and analysis skills. The tool allows users to access, analyse, visualize and export data to meet risk informed analysis, planning and reporting needs, quickly and easily. It allows users and sector specialists to select, aggregate, disaggregate and cross-analyse multiple indicators into composite indexes; and supports the identification of correlations and composite levels of vulnerability across sectors, contributing to risk informed development programming.

The system has been developed initially for use in Bihar and Rajasthan States, with indicators relating to WASH, education, health and nutrition sectors together with demographic and economic indicators which are child focused, and which have been selected because government data exists already or, where there is no government data, it is needed to make informed decisions. The picture of disaster proneness produced is constantly updated in the light of real time data, meaning that the State Governments have a current overview on levels of vulnerability. The system includes previously uncollected data collected via SMS from front line workers in remote areas (e.g. government health workers) so that vulnerabilities from these remote areas inform regional government planning.

From 2014, RIDPS data has informed state planning. The RIDPS has wide potential applicability in multiple risk settings.

Source: UNICEF.

Risk Analysis and Management

Risk analysis involves the identification and study of uncertainties that can impact negatively on performance. It is a practice that governments can use not just in the early stages of formulation development plans, but as a regular and formalized process for ongoing improvement. The annual Global Risk Report of the World Economic Forum is a good example of the type of information and exercise that countries can pursue at national, sub-national and local levels to help navigate the complex and dynamic terrain of the 21st century (see Innovative Case Example below).

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Innovative Case Example: 2015 Global Risk Report – World Economic Forum

For a decade now the World Economic Forum in its Global Risk Report has been “highlighting the most significant long-term risks worldwide, drawing on the perspectives of experts and global decision-makers” and in the context of economic, environmental, societal, geopolitical and technological issues. The 2015 report warns that the world is “insufficiently prepared for an increasingly complex risk environment”, stressed by renewed concerns of inter-state conflict, the emergence of cyber-attacks, failure of climate change adaptation, and strained public finances and rising unemployment in the wake of the 2008 economic crisis.

Source: WEF Global Risk Report (2015)

Risk management is a process that includes the identification, assessment and prioritization of risk, combined with the allocation of resources to minimize, monitor and control risk (Douglas 2009; see also ISO 2009). Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) is the more formal terminology, and while it grew out of the private sector, many government audit departments, at all levels, undertake some form of risk management at the programme and project level.  It is a process that can be incorporated as part of follow-up and review (see Section B7).

The International Standards Organization (ISO) has established ISO 31000 on risk management principles and guidelines. The basic steps of risk management as outlined in ISO 31000 are depicted below and elaborated as follows: “All activities of an organization involve risk. Organizations manage risk by identifying it, analysing it and then evaluating whether the risk should be modified by risk treatment in order to satisfy their risk criteria. Throughout this process, they communicate and consult with stakeholders and monitor and review the risk and the controls that are modifying the risk in order to ensure that no further risk treatment is required (ISO 31000 – 2009).”  

These guidelines can be applied within any type of public or private organization. In regards to application by governments to manage risks associated with achieving their development plans and nationally-adapted SDGs, this scope is set within the first step on ‘Establishing the Context’. This includes both the internal context–the “internal environment in which the organization seeks to achieve its objectives (ISD 31000-2009)” and the external context–“the cultural, social, political, legal, regulatory, financial, technological, economic, natural and competitive environment, whether international, national, regional or local; key drivers and trends having impact on the objectives of the organization; and relationships with, and perceptions and values of external stakeholders (ISO 3100-2009).”

ISO 31000 on Risk Management

Furthermore, the ISO 31000 notes the following in relation to the application of risk management in organizations: “Although the practice of risk management has been developed over time and within many sectors in order to meet diverse needs, the adoption of consistent processes within a comprehensive framework can help to ensure that risk is managed effectively, efficiently and coherently across an organization. The generic approach described in this International Standard provides the principles and guidelines for managing any form of risk in a systematic, transparent and credible manner and within any scope and context (ISO 31000 – 2009).”

Disaster risk management is one area that has seen the creation formal risk assessment and management institutions and processes, although not necessarily according to the ISO standards. See the innovative case example below featuring the Ecuadorian Secretariat for Risk Management.

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Innovative Case Example: Ecuadorian Secretariat for Risk Management

The Ecuadorian Secretariat for Risk Management[1] is the Governmental institution that is concerned with risk reduction and emergency and disaster management. Its mission is to ensure the protection of people and communities from the adverse effects of natural or man-made disasters, through the generation of policies, strategies and standards that promote the identification, analysis, prevention and mitigation of risks, emergency situations and disasters.

In Ecuador three volcanos are experiencing eruption processes and the El Niño is approaching strong category strength. Today the UN system is supporting the National Risk Management Secretariat and other public entities in developing scenario planning and potential damage estimations and costing of potential natural disasters (UNDG and UNDP 2015).

Source: UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (2015).

Tools have also been developed for broader risk assessment and management. One example is the INFORM risk analysis model.

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Innovative Case Example: INFORM – Index for Risk Management

INFORM is an open-source index for risk management. It is “the first global, objective and transparent tool for understanding the risk of humanitarian crises.” It was developed by the UN Inter-agency Standing Committee Task Team for Preparedness and Resilience and the European Commission.

INFORM uses 50 indicators to better understand exposure, hazards, vulnerability and coping capacity in a given country. Data and country profiles are available for 191 countries, showing trends, comparisons with countries having similar risk, regional and income-group averages and more information at the indicator level.

INFORM can also be used at the sub-national level to show how crisis and disaster risk varies across a country or region. Current sub-national applications include Sahel, the Greater Horn of Africa, Lebanon and Colombia.

Source: INFORM (2015).

Scenario Planning and Stress Testing

Scenario planning is a participatory approach designed to create “frameworks for structuring executives’ perceptions about alternative future environments in which their decisions might play out (Ralston & Wilson, 2006).” It is commonly applied in environmental planning and management, and more recently, for stress testing strategies and policies in the financial sector. As such, this Guidance Note recommends the application of scenario planning in the formulation of development strategies and plans as a means for detecting and addressing emerging issues and identifying a variety of policies and programmes that are robust across a range of plausible futures.

The general steps of scenario planning can be parsed into the general phases of foresight to insight to action (Institute for the Future 2013). There will be differences in the implementation of scenario planning depending on the purpose of the exercise (IISD 2014): “the steps will vary somewhat if the exercise is meant to illuminate vulnerabilities of an existing strategy or plan (stress testing), versus if the exercise is meant to explore plausible futures that might unfold to provide context for policy recommendations (scenario analysis), or to develop a vision of the future and back-cast a plan for getting there (visioning). In practice, there is often a little of each of purpose imbedded in any exercise.”

The UN Environment Program’s Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System highlights the importance of scenarios in their recommendation to governments to undertake stress testing across financial sectors and markets (UNEP 2015). Specifically, they recommend to “develop scenario based tools to enable a better understanding of the impacts of future climate shocks on assets, institutions and systems.” Additionally, in 2015 the European Financial Review recommended that “Leaders need to anticipate major market shifts, looming crises, and changes in regulation or disruptive offerings by rivals. War gaming, systems thinking, and scenario planning are some of the tools that can help accomplish this urgent need.”

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Innovative Case Example: Environment Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean

The Division of Early Warning and Assessment of the UN Environment Programme undertakes regular scenario analysis via their Global Environment Outlook (GEO). The GEO process also works with national governments to undertake regional outlooks to help inform policy development.

The 2010 Environment Outlook for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) considered the socio-economic and environmental implications of four plausible future scenarios, namely: (i) relegated sustainability; (ii) sustainability reforms; (iii) unsustainability and increased conflicts; and (iv) transition to sustainability.

In applying scenario analysis the LAC outlook report provided the following guidance:

“The scenarios must be prepared with the necessary detail when making the basic characterization of the object under study at different spatial and temporal scales; they must be plausible, coherent and reflect – as far as possible – how the disciplines of the natural, social and other sciences are integrated. They have a qualitative component, where experts in different branches of learning explain what they know about the driving forces, their potentialities and inter-relationships; and a quantitative component fundamentally based on the results of statistical models and that, as a guiding element, takes into account the basic assumptions defined in the qualitative analysis.”

Source: UNEP (2010).

Toolkit

Scenario Planning

  • Scenario Planning Handbook (Ralston and Wilson 2006)

Risk Analysis and Management

  • ISO 31000 – Risk management (ISO 2009)
  • A Structured approach to Enterprise Risk Management and the Requirements of ISO 31000 (AIRMIC, ALARM, and IRM 2015).
  • INFORM index for risk management (INFORM 2015).

Adaptive Governance and Policy-making

  • Creating Adaptive Policies: A Guide for Policy-making in an Uncertain World (Swanson and Bhadwal 2009)
  • ADAPTool – the Adaptive Design and Assessment Policy Tool (IISD 2015)

AIRMIC, ALARM, and IRM (2015). A Structured approach to Enterprise Risk Management and the Requirements of ISO 31000. The UK  Association of Insurance and Risk Managers (AIRMIC), the public sector risk management association (Alarm) and the Institute of Risk Management (IRM). 

Hubbard, Douglas (2009). The Failure of Risk Management: Why It’s Broken and How to Fix It. John Wiley & Sons. p. 46.

IHDP (2013). Land, Water and People: From Cascading Effects to Integrated Drought and Flood Responses. International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change. Summary for Decision-makers. UNU-IHDP: Bonn.  Available at: 

IISD (2014). GovernAbilities: The nexus of sustainability, accountability and adaptability – Essential tools for successful governance in the 21st century. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD): Winnipeg. 

IISD (2015). Applications of the Adaptive Design and Assessment Policy Tool (ADAPTool). International Institute for Sustainable Development.

INFORM (2015). Index for Risk Management. Inter-agency Standing Committee Task Team for Preparedness and Resilience and the European Commission.

ISO (2009). ISO 31000 – Risk management. International Standards Organization. 

Ralston, B. & Wilson, I. (2006). The scenario planning handbook: Developing strategies in uncertain times. United States: Thompson-Southwestern.

Shift (2013). Long-term scenarios for a Swedish green economy. 

Stockholm Environment Institute. (2013). Scenarios for a Swedish green economy: Commentary.

Swanson, D. and S. Bhadwal (2009). Creating Adaptive Policies: A Guide for Policy-making in an Uncertain World. Sage: New Delhi / IDRC: Ottawa.

UNDG and UNDP (2015). Retreat report on early Country Experiences in Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) for the 2030 Agenda. United Nations Development Program., New York, 1-3 December 2015.

UNEP (2010). Latin America and the Caribbean: The Environment Outlook. United Nations Environment Program. 

UNEP (2012). Chapter 16: Scenarios and Sustainability Transformations. In Global Environment Outlook 5. United Nations Environment Programme. Available at 

UNEP (2015). The Coming Financial Climate: The Inquiry’s Fourth Progress Report. United Nations Environment Program.

UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (2015). Knowledge Portal: Space-based Information for Disaster Management and Emergency Response.

[1] See http://www.gestionderiesgos.gob.ec/

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Silo Fighters Blog

Powering up data collection systems in Palestine

BY Subhra Bhattacharjee | July 11, 2018

In 2016 we prepared a Common Country Analysis (CCA) for Palestine. A CCA is UN speak for a detailed analysis of a country in preparation for a multi-year action plan of the UN. It identifies key development challenges and where the UN needs to focus its development investments. For our analysis this time, we decided to look at people. In hindsight it appears to be the obvious thing to do, but we were not the first to think of this. The Nepal UN Country Team did it before us. For our CCA we asked ourselves two questions: Who are the most vulnerable groups in Palestine? What are the structural drivers of their vulnerability? We thought if we could identify the most vulnerable groups and analyze the structural drivers of their chronic vulnerability, we will have a good sense of what it will take to ensure that our sustainable development investments leave no one behind. The first call for ideas brought out 61 proposed groups, each backed by passionate arguments as to why they are the most vulnerable. We merged some groups, reduced duplications, clarified categories, tinkered with definitions, and after extensive discussions, honed our focus to 20 vulnerable groups. This gave us a window to the factors that keep some groups in Palestine systematically at a disadvantage. Next, we did a deep-dive to understand why development was leaving some groups behind. For some groups, including out-of-school children and children in the labour market, the lack of adequate data makes it difficult for government to formulate specific policies and programmes for these groups. Alternative data collection methods for groups that are small compared to the population After a comprehensive exercise to account for the data, especially looking at Sustainable Development Goals indicators, we noted that relevant data on smaller groups couldn’t be collected only through existing surveys. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) uses representative samples for each geographical area of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), and even though it produces high quality data consistent with international standards, there is a lack of up-to-date and periodic disaggregated data on several smaller groups. Take for example, the fishermen of Gaza. There are some 4,000 registered fishermen in Gaza, accounting for 0.2 percent of Gaza’s population of two million. If PCBS samples 1,000 people from Gaza for one of its quarterly labour force surveys, it will have at most two fishermen in its sample. We cannot draw any reliable conclusions about the socio-economic conditions of fishermen in Gaza from a sample of two people. And if PCBS included more fishermen in their sample, the percentage of fishermen in the sample will be larger than the percentage of fishermen in Gaza’s population. To create a large enough sub-sample for fisherfolk, PCBS will need to do a new level of sub-sampling by profession or sector on top of the two layers it is already subsampling. This would significantly increase its cost of surveys. Are you still tracking with us? Keep reading.   Flash surveys to the rescue So, for the smaller groups, we at the UN looked for an approach to gather data that would not cost too much, would not create too much additional work and most importantly, that is able to produce good quality data. The first thing we tried is a series of flash surveys – with small samples, and short questionnaires. These flash surveys had several benefits over the more traditional surveys with bigger samples and longer questionnaires: They allowed us to test our systems for collecting primary data and iterate quickly and cheaply if necessary to work out the flaws in the system. They enabled our enumerators to get hands-on training at a relatively low cost to us. They are also particularly suitable for understanding the smaller groups that don’t get adequately represented in the bigger surveys. We chose four vulnerable groups: adolescent girls, children in labour, the elderly and persons with disabilities as pilot cases. UNFPA took the lead in this. They engaged the Sharek Youth Forum, a non-profit, and one of UNFPA’s implementing partners to conduct the surveys. OHCHR, FAO, UNRWA, helped with the quality control. 37 university students (28 from the West Bank and 9 from Gaza) were recruited from Sharek’s network and trained as enumerators by an expert. The survey questionnaires in Arabic were uploaded on KoBoToolbox, a free and open source suite of tools for collecting data. Many of the young enumerators owned smartphones so they downloaded the app on their phones and entered the data for each person they surveyed into their smartphones. Sharek provided the others with tablets. A village, a town and a refugee camp were selected in each governorate. Sharek’s enumerators visited schools to survey adolescent girls, reached out to the elderly in their local communities, and found persons with disabilities through support groups. ILO provided information on the areas with high concentration of child labour. The enumerators collected the data over a period of two weeks, and, in some cases, they used paper forms to collect the data and documented problems as they arose. The enumerators collected data on a small number of key demographic variables for each group. For the data on the four groups produced by Viz for Social Good, click here, here, here, and here. Before even looking at the data, we noted a few things. First, we now have 37 trained enumerators who can be deployed again at short notice to conduct other flash surveys. The investment in training and the hands-on experience they got has started the process of creating systems to collect data on vulnerable groups. Second, we need to finesse our sample selection if we want to use the surveys to provide baseline indicators and monitor progress. Third, we need to think through how to combine the data from smartphones and paper surveys. Fourth, we need to figure out how to identify our target groups based on more rigorous definitions. For instance, not all work done by children should be classified as child labour. According to ILO, child labour refers to work that “deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development”. Fifth, flash surveys need more quality control if they are to serve the same purpose as traditional surveys. This is because with smaller samples of flash surveys, the choice of location will need extra attention to ensure that the sample is indeed representative. This year, we will work through these wrinkles. Engaging people in their own data analysis In data circles, we often hear the idea of engaging communities to collect and use their own data. But the instances of it being done in a meaningful, low cost, sustainable way to generate usable data are few and far between. Could we pull it off? We decided to experiment with combining data collection and empowerment for one of the most vulnerable groups in the oPt, namely, Area C communities. Area C accounts for 60 percent of the West Bank. It has some of the most fertile agricultural land and almost the entirety of Palestine’s natural resources. An estimated 300,000 Palestinians live in Area C and a greater number depend on its resources for their livelihoods. Area C is controlled by the Israeli military,  which has exclusive control over land, planning and construction. Significant portions of Area C land are allocated for Israeli settlements and declared as Israeli state land. Only about 30 percent of Area C is available for Palestinian construction, but so far Palestinians have been issued permits to build on less than one percent of the land. Since construction permits in Area C are closely tied to Israeli spatial plans, spatial plans driven by Palestinian communities have been used in recent times to empower communities, and to rally the Israeli Civil Administration to issue permits to Palestinians for construction. In addition to Israeli military orders, land ownership in Area C is governed by a complex legal framework resulting in insecurity of land tenure and confusion about ownership and user rights of private land. Consequently, land registration has been a long-time priority of local and international development actors in the oPt. As the next activity of our project, we integrated a community-driven process to map land ownership and user rights. UN-Habitat took the lead in developing a system called the Social Tenure Domain Model. This participatory tool is a pro-poor, gender responsive system based on free and open source software, which means that all the data collected and stored is available to the communities and owned by the users. The system is based on information and evidence shared by local communities making them a part of the decision-making process. The system records and analyzes the social tenure relationship of people and land, and the social services/amenities that available to the inhabitants of a location. It fits the oPt’s highly complex tenure system, because it supports a continuum of land rights ranging from formal to informal. An Arabic interface was created for the system so it can easily be deployed in other Arabic-speaking countries. UN-Habitat also provided training for the Palestinian Land and Water Settlement Commission staff. This system for community mapping of land rights with a special focus on women and youth will help us empower the community, build social cohesion, and generate data on land rights. The resulting database will serve as a shadow land register, support land valuation, raise awareness about land governance in Area C, and inform advocacy efforts to defend land rights of Palestinian communities. These efforts are supported by the ‘Road Map for Reforming Palestinian Land Sector’ of 2017. Right now, the background work is still ongoing. The model will be piloted in 2019. Will this actually work? We don’t know. For now, we know that we now have the systems in place to replicate or update the data collection of smaller groups through flash surveys, we can engage communities participate in collecting and analysing their own data and integrate a community-driven process to identify land ownership and user rights, at a lower cost than in the first run. And we will use whatever we learn from these initiatives to finesse our methods in our next set of data collection initiatives in 2018.

Silo Fighters Blog

Making money move: New financing to achieve the SDGs

BY Richard Bailey | July 3, 2018

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Regardless of where you grew up, we all learn about the importance of securing every penny, rand, real, euro, yen, ruble, or rupee. And the saying is particularly relevant today since development organizations like the United Nations (UN) must mobilize more than US$3.0 trillion every year if we hope to achieve the ambitious goals laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Official development assistance (ODA) is still an important finance mechanism but only $140 billion are secured each year. If we, the UN, intend to accelerate progress so no one is left behind, ODA needs to be used more strategically, and other sources of finance must be secured. There also needs to be an organizational shift from strictly funding programmes and initiatives to an approach that involves “funding and financing” to tap into international, national, private and public financial flows. Perspective shift: from funding to financing A growing number of blended finance sources have helped advance development aims in recent years.[1] Private sector guarantees, syndicated loans, and shares in collective investment vehicles mobilized $36.4 billion,[2] while socially responsible investing exceeded $6 trillion between 2012 and 2014. Impact investors and development finance institutions created a new investing asset class that is projected to grow to $400 billion by 2025. When it comes to financing, the rules are changing, and the UN is looking at new ways of aligning financial flows and attracting new investors. UN Country Teams (UNCTs) in Kenya, Indonesia and Armenia explored ways of helping national governments and local partners secure broad, non-traditional funds for development purposes. They mapped out challenges, unlocked new types of financing and used resources in a timely and innovative manner. The three most successful tools adopted were impact investing, Islamic financing, and sector-specific fund modalities. Impact investing in Armenia In the last few years, Armenia has turned into a thriving tech start-up hub and financing initiatives have followed two major trends: venture philanthropy and impact investing. To capitalize on these new forms of funding, the UNCT set up a country platform for SDG implementation that is aligned with national reform and SDG efforts. The collaborative space allows the UN, development partners and civil society to strengthen relationships and develop new ones with international financial institutions, donors and philanthropists. Other innovations: SDG Innovation Lab, the Kolba Social Innovation Lab, ImpactAim Venture Accelerator. Islamic financing in Indonesia Home to the world’s largest Muslim population and the tenth largest economy, the Government of Indonesia recently turned to inclusive and ‘green’ financing to accelerate the SDGs. The UNCT saw the potential and embraced new forms of finance to support sustainable development initiatives. Good practices include employing blended finance instruments and Islamic financing (Baznas).[3] In 2017, UNDP channelled zakat (charitable funds) for a micro-hydro energy project to improve access to water, renewable energy and livelihoods in some of the most remote parts of Indonesia. Other innovations: Financing Lab, “Bring Water for Life” and #TimeforTigers crowdfunding campaigns. Primary health care financing in Kenya One million people in Kenya fall into poverty every year because of a fractured health care system,[4] which is why the national government prioritized rolling out Universal Health Care in the “Big 4 Action Plan.” The UNCT supports the government by working with private sector partners on the Private Sector Health Partnership Kenya initiative and SDG Philanthropy Platform. Bringing together the private and public sectors together has opened doors to new cross-sectoral opportunities in the health, tech, early childhood development, nutrition, and technical and vocational training sectors. Make it rain: harnessing the potential of innovative financing The cost of solving the world’s most critical problems currently runs into the trillions, forcing development financing into a new era. There are no other options if traditional development aid no longer makes the grade. The UN has to pivot and embrace the changes taking place or risk becoming redundant and irrelevant. Luckily there are many opportunities to seize, and the UN has plenty of comparative advantages to bring to the table. The organization has a long, successful history of bringing together partners, training and recruiting experts, scaling up projects, and imparting technical knowledge. UN staff are skilled in advising, brokering knowledge, innovating, analysing data, and measuring impact. As we have seen in Kenya, Armenia and Indonesia, capital can be mobilized through impact investing, attracting early investors, or securing funds for larger investments in sectors identified by the central government. Embracing the latest tech innovations (e.g. e-health or mobile diagnostics) can turn unattractive investment areas into “bankable propositions.” Perhaps the most important takeaway is to not “let perfection be the enemy of the good.” Change may take time but UNCTs can’t wait for everything to be in place before embarking on new initiatives or adopting innovative types of financing. Steps to secure the right kind of capital have to be taken because time is running and “business as usual” no longer works—the numbers tell the whole story. Societal progress involves taking calculated risks, and achieving the SDGs is no exception. Unlocking new sources of funding is one way the UN can make sustainable gains and help governments make returns on the 2030 Agenda. ---- [1] Discussed in detail in “Financing the UN Development System. Pathways to Reposition for Agenda 2030” (September 2017), Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in collaboration with the MPTF Office, http://www.daghammarskjold.se/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Financing-Report-2017_Interactive.pdf. [2] Amounts Mobilised from the Private Sector by Official Development Finance Interventions: Guarantees, syndicated loans and shares in collective investment vehicles’, OECD working paper, 2016. [3] Baznas was established by the government based on Presidential Decree 8/2011. The agency is responsible for collecting and distributing zakat at the national level. [4] Thomson Reuters Foundation, February 2018, http://news.trust.org/item/20180209112650-s1njv/.