Universal Basic Income: A Viable Policy Option for Poverty Alleviation?

04 Aug 2017

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By Patrick Haverman - Technological breakthroughs and innovations have been changing the way we live since the invention of the steam engine. They have changed the way we live and disrupting business models while challenging old systems to make them better, faster and more efficient in a challenging future. My interest and search into the “future” started 2 years ago when I participated in the World Government Summit in Dubai, an annual event bringing together prominent leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as globally-recognized thought leaders and pioneers. During the summit, I also took time to visit the Museum of the Future. The Museum of the Future takes you into a world where mankind has grasped the real value of innovation, re-inventing existing technologies and transforming the world into a place where everybody’s lives have improved dramatically. It is a future where we have challenged norms and found solutions for long-term sustainability. The future of work is a hot topic at the moment. According to Jack Ma, 30 years from now people will work a 16 hour week, while Kai-Fu Lee, founder of venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures, predicts that Artificial Intelligence could replace 50% of all jobs  READ MORE

Leave no persons behind, with or without disabilities

10 Jul 2017

image China Disability and Sustainable Development Forum

Last week I spoke at a symposium on the rights and entitlements of persons with disabilities in China, organized by UN agencies and the China Disabled Persons Federation (CPDF). The World Report on Disability estimates that there are 1 billion people living with a disability, 15% of the global population. Together with UN agencies, the China Disabled Person Federation (CPDF) we discussed how to mainstream the rights of 85 million men and women with disabilities in China in sustainable development. With growing inequality in the world, as Oxfam reported in January that just 8 men own same wealth as half the world, often the people with disabilities are the most vulnerable.  11 years ago, the world adopted the groundbreaking Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and then in 2015 agreed on a set of common goals, the Sustainable Development Goals. This new global agenda emphasizes “leaving no one behind" and should be used to move forward the progress needed for the people with disabilities. As UNDP we took a look at the economic and legal aspects of disability. Often families with members living with a disability have a lot of extra expenditures for care and less access to  READ MORE

Harnessing the Belt and Road Initiative as a Platform for Sustainable Development: Opportunities and Challenges

06 Jul 2017

image Credit: Xinhua

By Nicholas Rosellini - Last month the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation took place in Beijing, hosted by China with over 29 heads of state, the UN Secretary-General and many heads of international organizations and businesses attending. I was fortunate to be part of the UN delegation, which helped me see more clearly the enormous potential of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a platform for enhancing regional and global trade and connectivity as well as its potential to act as an accelerator for the 2030 Agenda. BRI represents a move away from standard development models that emphasize policy and institutional issues (and often accompanying conditionalities), towards a more investment-driven approach focusing on infrastructure, trade and jobs creation. It involves multiple sources of finance from the public and private sectors. While others are also looking at blended approaches involving public-private finance, BRI is by far the most ambitious. Realistically, both hard and soft investments are needed, but BRI responds to a strong interest in countries for more attention to infrastructure and economic development. The numbers themselves tell a compelling story. By 2016, Chinese investment in BRI countries totaled RMB 51.1 billion, whilst in 2015 bilateral trade volumes exceeded  READ MORE

The “Geeks” in our works

15 Jun 2017

image "Geek for Good", China’s first ever UN-led open design challenge.

By Louise Xi Li - Communication and Innovation Officer, UNDP China A giant, intelligent, multifunctional six-legged robot which can be deployed for early-stage recovery in disaster situations A device for converting sign-language hand signals into a phone type input to facilitate smooth communication for people with hearing and/or speaking difficulties A machine-learning system continuously collecting agriculture-related data to provide tailor-made solutions to farmers, reducing cost on both finance and the environment and cultivating eco-friendly farming behavior The above might sound like “geek” works from SXSW or TechCrunch, or any of those silicon-valley-style tech events, but these are just a few contributions of winning teams from a UNDP-led prize challenge: “Geek For Good”! In China, “innovation” is a buzzword, one of the most frequently-used words in government policy documents. In the “13th Five-Year” National Science and Technology Innovation Plan launched on August 2016, the government laid out its vision for leveraging innovation as a prime force for development. The aim is to substantially improve China’s technological capacity and raise the country’s innovation capabilities into the world’s top 15. Initiated and promoted by Premier Li Keqiang, China also adopted a top-down nation-wide innovation strategy. The “Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation” strategy calls for harnessing innovation  READ MORE

Sharing the Planet, One Bike at a Time

23 May 2017

image An Ofo bike parked outside the UNDP China office, Beijing

By Patrick Haverman - Bike sharing runs in the family. My brother is the inventor of bike sharing in the Netherlands, and in the 1990s he started a system where at most of the train stations you could rent a bike for 23 hours at relatively low costs to get from the station to your destination and back. The system is popularly known as ‘The Last Mile.’ When I first arrived at UNDP China, I was determined to follow in the footsteps of my brother, and soon with the office we introduced a bicycle-share scheme. First a quick prototype and later scaled up to 30 bikes for all UN agencies in China, donated by Giant Bikes. The bikes are free to use for meetings and staff can even use them to go for lunch, encouraging healthy habits and a low-carbon lifestyle. The world is moving at an astonishing pace, with new ideas and innovations appearing every day. While there are currently around 1.2bn petroleum-emitting vehicles on the world’s roads, in September 2016, Beijing witnessed a sudden explosion of bicycles, with thousands of colorful bikes covering the streets and hutongs in orange and yellow. The yellow bikes, rolled out by ofo, a  READ MORE

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