Addressing multiple and interlinking crises

While there are conducive organizational policies to promote resilience, intersecting elements of crises and their linkages are yet to be prioritized in implementation.The LDCs, for example, have experienced natural and climate-related disasters (both rapid-onset disasters and droughts), health pandemics and conflict. To better understand the scale of the problem, over half of the LDCs are subject to multiple crises including recurrent disasters, in addition to poverty, the volatility of commodity prices and aid flows, and severe structural challenges. The macroeconomic impact of these episodes of extreme drought and flooding is not only significant by itself but exacerbates the impact on poverty in the context of conflict or early conflict recovery. At any given point in 10-12 LDCs, UNDP programmes are implemented in the context of multiple fragilities.21 UNDP has programmes in the areas of climate-resilient agriculture and livelihoods, inclusive growth and income- generation initiatives, economic revitalization and peacebuilding; it is also progressively adopting ways to improve resilient development. Despite the range of support provided, opportunities were not used to enable an integrated approach to address intersecting linkages between drought and poverty or drought-conflict and poverty.

Poverty and drought can potentially become drivers of conflict when attention is not paid to nexus issues. In Mali, while each of UNDP’s initiatives (in the areas of poverty, crisis and environment) is relevant individually for the development priorities of the country, opportunities were lost in enabling a focus on linkages between multiple fragilities, such as food security, resilience and vulnerability, and conflict. While the humanitarian situation is fragile, the socio-political instability in the northern region of the country, coupled with recurrent floods and pressures due to the events in the Central African Republic and northern Nigeria, have impacted the lives and livelihoods of over 3 million people. UNDP is better positioned to raise the importance of balancing development and crisis support and to advocate for more integrated policies, instead of getting subsumed in the larger conflict- centred development discourse at the country level.

UNDP’s resilience approach aims to reduce development risks, prevent crises, avert major development setbacks and promote human security. This approach provided an impetus to closely align climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction frameworks in livelihood support, and to position policy advice on these intersecting areas with a risk-sensitive approach to poverty reduction. Despite these policies, UNDP’s poverty reduction efforts in the context of multiple crises are yet to address the combined effect of multiple crises and resulting vulnerabilities.

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