Our Perspective

"Necessity is the mother of invention”: tradition, women in public life, and the space for innovation

15 Jan 2018

FATA is a remote mountainous region which sweeps down western Pakistan, hugging the border with Afghanistan. It has historically faced political and socio-economic development constraints which have caused poverty to be pervasive and private and public infrastructure and livelihood opportunities have been limited in the area. The women of FATA have been disproportionately negatively affected by these circumstances; they live on the margins of the tribal public life due to cultural limitations imposed on their social interaction and mobility. The notion of “private woman and public man” explains the situation well; women’s voices on important issues including their perspective on development remain unheard at all levels. … Read more

Empowering youth through design thinking

13 Dec 2017

ImgSecond youth dialogue session, Karachi
What do young Pakistani entrepreneurs need to ease their journey to success? How can they contribute to the country’s sustainable development and build a brighter future for themselves? Through design thinking, a revolutionary framework for innovation, we can envisage what can be, and chart out the actions required to achieve that future. The first requirement is good policy. Design thinking can help us understand how policy support from the government can facilitate start-ups. Whilst Pakistan has a Youth Policy, there is a need for a policy framework that acknowledges youth-led start-ups as economic contributors and addresses the challenges they face. UNDP Pakistan has a crucial role in advocating for the cross-sectoral planning required, engaging with academia and the private sector, and amplifying the voices of entrepreneurs to strengthen the entrepreneurial eco-system and introduce “start-up packages” for youth entrepreneurs. … Read more

Engage, innovate, co-create

30 Nov 2017

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The energy was infectious at the National Incubation Centre, in Islamabd, where young people had gathered to design solutions for the start-up ecosystem in Pakistan. The event was first of its kind organized by UNDP Pakistan that used design thinking—where young entrepreneurs shared their challenges with stakeholders and worked with them to co-create solutions. The event was part of UNDP’s Regional Youth Co:Lab initiative, which supports young social entrepreneurs in Pakistan. Pakistan’s ‘youth bulge’ offers a unique opportunity for socioeconomic growth as a large population of energetic, creative and tech-savvy young people can play a major role in sustainable development. Through its Youth Empowerment Programme, UNDP Pakistan is engaging thousands of young people to harness their dynamism and unlock their hidden potential, empowering them to solve their own problems. The programme utilizes design thinking sessions to respond to young people’s needs, encouraging inclusion and innovation by making young people part of the solutions and experimenting with ideas for improved results. … Read more

The ground is laid for SDG achievement in Sindh

21 Aug 2017

In 2015, Pakistan was at the forefront of setting a new global agenda – the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through Agenda 2030, Pakistan and other nations committed to building a more prosperous and equitable world, with sustainable development benefiting all. In February 2016, Pakistan’s National Assembly marked the country’s commitment to this ambitious agenda, endorsing the SDGs as national development goals. Recognizing that achieving the SDGs needs coordinated and careful planning in every province, the Government of Sindh committed Rs 594 million to support SDG implementation in the province in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Achieving the SDGs in Sindh requires balancing the three dimensions of sustainable development the social, economic and environmental, in all strategies and policies. This needs a structured and integrated approach. With support from UNDP, the Mainstreaming, Accelerating and Policy Support for SDGs in Sindh Province has established a provincial SDG Support Unit in the Sindh Planning and Development Board. This aims to mainstream the SDGs into provincial development plans and strategies; strengthen coordination, monitoring, and reporting; support integrated and innovative approaches; and support policy, research, and knowledge management. The unit has led three consultative workshops with line departments, UN agencies, civil society organizations … Read more

In northern Pakistan, the provincial assembly is championing better monitoring of Climate Finance

11 May 2017

The Khyber Pass may elicit images of remote beauty to many of us. I have been lucky to make a couple of visits to Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KP), one of the provinces that the Pass cuts through. This beautiful part of Pakistan, like the rest of the country, is susceptible to the devastating effects of climate change, but luckily, the elected representatives in KP are taking things in their own hands. Last  month in Islamabad, we had a vibrant interaction with a number of   members of the Khyber Pakhutunkhwa (KP) Provincial Assembly in Pakistan, a selection of cross-party representatives who make up the newly established Working Group on Climate Change Finance. I was there as part of UNDP’s efforts to increase the engagement of KP Assembly Members on the issue of climate change finance. I was hoping that there would be enough interest to kick start and grow from this initial interaction, but I need not have worried. Once the discussion began – ideas and questions started to fly: ‘How can we better address climate change through our assembly?’ “How can we ensure other members of our Assembly have the right information on climate action?” “What about public … Read more

A new year, a new approach: It’s time for innovation!

02 Mar 2017 by Ignacio Artaza, Country Director, UNDP Pakistan and Beenisch Tahir, Innovation and Communications Consultant, UNDP Regional Bureau Asia & Pacific

UNDP’s New Year’s resolution for 2017 is to push for innovation in Pakistan - not only as a way of tackling development challenges, but also as a way of thinking and working at the office. A new landscape has been emerging in Pakistan as social innovators, entrepreneurs and businesses seek innovative solutions to addressing problems that affect community groups. Led largely by young Pakistanis, there has been a rapid rise in start-ups, innovation labs, hackathons and the use of web-based and mobile phone applications for information, services and finance. Entrepreneurial activity has increased as well as incubators and co-working spaces are set in place. Many social enterprises are addressing critical challenges in health, education and poverty. The Government has also revealed an appetite for innovation as Vision 2025 introduces e-solutions to education, health and citizen engagement. UNDP kick-started its innovations portfolio to remain responsive and relevant to people’s needs in the development context. UNDP’s Asia-Pacific innovation experts arrived in Pakistan last month to showcase and explain tools and ideas being used successfully elsewhere. For UNDP, innovation is not an end in itself; it is about finding better ways to create impact for people by providing new opportunities to start-up businesses, improving … Read more

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