You are on page 1of 32

UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021

DRAFT Signature Solutions Guidance Package (26 June)

Table of Contents
OVERVIEW
UNDP Strategic Plan and Signature Solutions
Key principles / criteria
Interlinkages (development settings, other signature solutions, and platforms)
Programmatic application

SIGNATURE SOLUTIONS 1-6

I. Definition
a) The development issue(s)
b) Addressing issues through the signature solutions

II. Applying the Signature Solution


a) Application across development contexts
b) Interlinkages with other signature solutions

ANNEX
A) Illustrative Country Examples
B) List of Resources – tools and links

1
OVERVIEW

This Signature Solutions guidance package is part of the overall Strategic Plan rollout package, which will
include guidance on the Theories of Change, IRRF linkage and SP monitoring, as well as Country and
Global Platforms.

It is intended to provide UNDP country offices with guidance on how to adapt and apply signature
solutions outlined in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021. It elaborates on the conceptual approach –
emphasising its integrated nature and contribution to the SDGs, and how it can be tailored to the various
development contexts and delivered through UNDP programmes and projects. It includes country
examples and relevant tools and processes (in an annex) to facilitate the application of signature
solutions.

It is a living document, to be updated as the Strategic Plan is rolled out, reflecting experiences and lessons
learned from country implementation. Additional guidance will be shared as they are developed.

UNDP Strategic Plan and Signature Solutions


The UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021 aims to help countries achieve sustainable development by eradicating
poverty in all its forms and dimensions, accelerating structural transformations for sustainable development and
building resilience to crises and shocks. UNDP’s six signature solutions outlined in the Strategic Plan have been
crafted around the organisation’s core competencies and mandate, and demonstrate its integrated approach to
assist countries accelerate progress on nationally defined priorities and SDGs. They can be configured and
combined in various ways to meet the unique challenges and advance the priorities of the country and the specific
development context.

The signature solutions are:

1. Keeping people of out poverty: address interconnected social, economic, and environmental challenges
faced by the poor and vulnerable, by focusing on determinants of both “exiting” poverty (e.g. access to
basic services, jobs and livelihoods) and “falling back” into poverty (e.g., assets, social protection, security).
2. Strengthen effective, inclusive and accountable governance: strengthen governance processes and
institutions to ensure equal access to quality services that promote equity, trust and social cohesion, and
build societies in which all people benefit from peace, justice and security.
3. Enhance national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies: promote risk-informed
development and strengthen capacities of people, communities and countries to anticipate, prevent, and
recover from shocks and stresses.
4. Promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet: support the creation of a virtuous cycle of
healthy ecosystems that impact human wellbeing, equity and human rights (including life, health, food
and water), through protection, restoration, and sustainable management of land, rivers and oceans.

2
5. Close the energy gap: promote transition from predominantly fossil fuels to more sustainable energy
systems, by making them more accessible and affordable, leveraging private sector investment, and
addressing climate change.
6. Strengthen gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls: improve capacities to prevent
and respond to gender-based violence, empower women economically, promote women’s participation
in all forms of decision-making, and strengthen their resilience to crisis.

The six signature solutions may evolve and be further refined during the Strategic Plan period. Moreover, based
on demand from countries, additional signature solutions to address issues such as urbanisation, migration,
demographic transition, and the connection between disease outbreaks and environmental degradation may be
developed.

Key principles / criteria


Figure 1: Criteria for Signature Solutions

The six signature solutions have been selected based on a set of criteria: they address complex issues in an
integrated manner across all development contexts; they are transformative in nature and expected to lead to
significant and quantifiable change; and they leverage partnerships across the UN system and beyond.

Countries across all development settings and geographical regions face challenges that are increasingly complex
and interconnected. While established solutions that are focused or sectoral in nature may have worked in the
past, and in some cases may still be effective, countries are recognising that the solutions need to be integrated
and synergistic to address the multiple dimensions of a development issue simultaneously. Furthermore,
solutions must be tailored to the specific development context, based on a rigorous analysis of root causes of the
issue(s) particular to each setting – even within the same country. Focusing on structural or systemic issues,
signature solutions are transformative in nature, causing shifts in values, priorities, investments, etc. that are
intended to have a significant impact on the country’s development trajectory. Signature solutions are
implemented through UNDP’s programming instruments and lead to quantifiable change that can be measured

3
at the country level, as well as regionally and globally. Integrated solutions cannot be delivered by UNDP alone;
partnerships will be leveraged to draw on the expertise, networks, and resources of other UN agencies (in line
with comparative advantages and operational capacities, and in response to country requests) as well as with civil
society, academia / research institutions, private sector, IFIs, etc..

The signature solutions, with its emphasis on addressing complex challenges in an integrated manner, are
designed to contribute to multiple SDGs. The UNDG MAPS approach and engagement, including the MAPS
missions that help to identify accelerators and develop a roadmap for the country, will be important vehicles for
designing and delivering the signature solutions.

Figure 2: Signature Solutions contribution to the SDGs

Interlinkages with development settings / outcomes, other signature solutions, and platforms
The development challenges countries face range from meeting the basic development needs of all members of
society, to achieving structural transformations for sustainable development, to preventing and recovering from
shocks and crisis. In each development setting, the signature solution (or set of solutions) will be employed in
different ways. For example, in countries / localities where basic needs are not met, the poverty solution may
focus on improving income levels, strengthening and diversifying livelihoods and improving the welfare of the
most poor and vulnerable through social protection systems. In certain countries / localities, solutions may be
introduced to help them shift to more inclusive and sustainable economic growth models. In countries / localities
with high exposure and vulnerability to risks, providing protection against shocks and disasters is critical to avoid
people falling back into poverty; on the other hand, post-crisis recovery can present opportunities to improve
access to basic services, restore socio-economic assets and strengthen the resilience of livelihoods. Regardless
of the signature solution adapted and applied to the development context, the fundamental principles of UNDP’s
intervention will remain the same: focusing on leaving no one behind and reaching those left furthest behind first,

4
promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment, and respecting, protecting, and fulfilling the rights of all
peoples.

Figure 3: An Integrated Approach - Signature Solutions and Development Settings / SP Outcomes

The UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021 Theories of Change document elaborates on the development pathways that
lead to results anticipated under each development setting, connecting the SP outputs to the SP outcomes. The
signature solutions link the outputs across the outcome areas, demonstrating how certain interventions can be
tailored to the unique context defined by the geography or time in the country’s trajectory, while being part of
the overall solutions package.

5
Figure 4: Application of Signature Solutions across Development Settings
Signature Solution Signature Solution Signature Solution Signature Solution Signature Solution Signature Solution
#1 Poverty #2 Governance #3 Resilience #4 Nature-Based Solutions #5 Energy #6 Gender
Promotes integrated solutions that Strengthens quality, inclusiveness Addresses socio- Ensures access to natural Supports and offers Addresses women’s unpaid care
connect income and and accountability of institutions economic, environmental resources, as well as fair and solutions to provide basic work; increases access to
multidimensional poverty and governance processes at and governance equitable rights to land and clean, affordable and education, decent work, financial
eradication strategies that tackle national and sub-national levels to challenges that keep water, providing the basis for sustainable, energy resources and social protection;
POVERTY

exit and falling back into poverty. advance the effectiveness and people poor, exclude subsistence and sustainable jobs access, both electricity invests in gender-responsive care
These include integrated solutions sustainability of policies to eradicate them, undermine their and livelihoods, including and clean cooking fuels, services, basic infrastructure,
for vulnerable groups, urban/rural poverty. rights or render them farming, fisheries, forestry and and in doing so enable including clean and affordable
poverty solutions, and sub- vulnerable to falling back ecotourism, and thereby human and economic energy; addresses gender-based
national/local solutions based on into poverty. providing means of staying out of development including violence, discriminatory laws,
evidence. poverty. livelihoods. policies, attitudes, practices and
stereotypes; addresses overlapping
dimensions of discrimination.
Addresses structural barriers Promotes strong focus on Addresses inequalities Fosters national, sub-national and Helps to de-risk and Addresses structural barriers and
which are hindering the realization governance, anchored in a human- and exclusion; supports sectoral development plans and remove barriers to discriminatory practices; advances
of the full potential of sustainable rights-based approach and geared zero carbon development policies in order to promote energy efficiency and women’s political participation and
development and inclusive access towards the meaningful and inclusive green growth; promotes renewable energy decision-making power at all levels
TRANSFORMATION

to development dividends. This engagement and empowerment of governance; leverages innovative data and technology investments at scale, to of public administration and
STRUCTURAL

includes functional and responsive marginalized groups as a foundation technology for policy to ensure robust planning; achieve long-term economic activity; deepens legal,
governance systems and to move beyond poverty eradication making and investments promotes a shift to a more structural and policy and institutional reforms to
sustainable and inclusive zero and into structural development that are risk-informed, environmentally sustainable sustainable market remove gender-based
carbon economic growth in transformation. rights-based and people- growth model through zero- transformation through discrimination; increases women’s
sectors that provide employment, centred. carbon development. leveraging large flows of access to finance at scale; ensures
production and entrepreneurship low cost capital, primarily development policies, plans, and
opportunities to the poor and from private sources. budgets incorporate gender-
most vulnerable, while fostering responsive solutions for
and/or consolidating social sustainable development.
protection measures.
Provides protection against Promotes inclusive and effective Places prevention at the Promotes low-cost, zero-carbon [Re]establishes energy Considers the differentiated
negative shocks and disaster risks governance – reflected in stronger centre of development infrastructure for a variety of access for crisis-affected impact of crises on women; builds
to avoid slowdowns or reversals in government functionality, respect efforts; develops national natural shocks, including famine populations and women’s resilience and helps
poverty reduction. Seeks to utilize for rule of law, equitable access to and sub-national risk and food insecurity; drought and strengthens resilience of ensure shocks do not exacerbate
the post-crisis or post-disaster justice and security, risk-informed management capacities; water insecurity; natural disaster energy systems to gender inequalities; supports
RESILIENCE

recovery and reconstruction planning and decision-making, supports the risk reduction from storms and climate and other shocks. women as agents for building
window to advance access to basic participation in political processes, development needs of floods; as well as conflict and Offers solutions for risk- resilience; ensures women’s
services, boost the resilience of an enabling environment for civic crisis affected war. Equips communities with the informed recovery participation and leadership in
livelihoods and socio-economic engagement, strengthened local communities; and natural resources, including efforts. crisis prevention and recovery,
assets to facilitate return to governance capacities, and integrity supports efforts to build genetic diversity, species and peacebuilding, and prevention of
sustainable development in public management – as an back better in post crises ecosystems, that are required to violent extremism, so communities
pathways within the framework of essential ingredient to address the settings. foster resilience, to prepare for can “build back better.”
national policies and priorities. main drivers of disasters and crises shocks and to recover from
and ensure sustainable resilience. disasters.

6
Figure 5: Influence and Dependence of Signature Solutions

INFLUENCE
Keeping people out of Strengthen effective, Enhance national prevention Promote nature-based Close the energy gap Strengthen gender equality
poverty inclusive and and recovery capacities for solutions for a sustainable and the empowerment of
accountable governance resilient societies planet women and girls
Keeping This solution addresses Inclusive and Enhancing resilience through With an overwhelming Providing access to Strengthening gender
people out of interconnected social, participatory risk reduction, crisis dependence of the poor affordable clean equality through female
poverty economic, and policymaking, strong prevention and socio- on natural resources for energy services (e.g. labour participation,
environmental institutions and economic recovery enable their lives and livelihoods, solar, wind, and addressing unpaid care
challenges faced by the governance processes the poor to escape protecting the hydro) to the poorest work, improving women’s
poor and vulnerable, by and systems are required persistent poverty and environment and ensuring can improve economic access to financial and non-
focusing on for sustainable poverty prevent them from slipping their access to and activity and financial assets and leveling
determinants of both reduction and reaching back into poverty. management of natural livelihoods, and make the playing field for
“exiting” poverty (e.g. those left farthest resources and eco-system a qualitative opportunities, rights and
access to basic services, behind. services can be key to difference in their assets is indispensable for
jobs and livelihoods) reducing poverty. lives including in the sustained poverty
and “falling back” into areas of health and reduction.
poverty (e.g., assets, education (e.g. clean
social protection, cooking, collection of
DEPENDENCY

security). firewood).
Strengthen Reducing barriers and This solution strengthens Crises prevention measures Policies and decisions Action to promote Bringing in the voices of
effective, multi-dimensional governance processes can promote social cohesion regarding natural equitable and women and girls into
inclusive and vulnerabilities that keep and institutions to and expand civic space, and resources and ecosystem universal access to equitable decision and
accountable people in poverty or ensure equal access to post crisis and recovery can management (e.g. clean energy can have policy making processes
governance push them back into quality services that be opportunities to restore enforcement of land a positive impact on can ensure gender-
poverty allow people to promote equity, trust governance institutions, tenure and rights) can the trust between responsive legal, regulatory
meaningfully and social cohesion, to improve basic services ameliorate contestation state and society. and institutional
participate in build societies in which delivery and help (re)build over power, increase trust frameworks and
governance at all levels. all people benefit from trust between government in government, and institutions.
peace, justice and and society. reduce corruption.
security.
Enhance Improving rural and Inclusiveness and This solution promotes risk- The protection of Increased reliance on Addressing gender
national urban livelihoods, social effective governance at informed development and ecosystems, forests, renewable energy, inequalities can reduce the
prevention protection, access to national and sub- strengthens capacities of mangroves and more distributed impact of shocks and
and recovery basic services help build national levels can people, communities and biodiversity can provide energy systems (away enable countries to better
capacities for resilience to shocks and improve risk countries to anticipate, effective barriers to from centralized respond to crisis, ensure
resilient increase the coping management, prevent prevent, and recover from protect against natural energy grid), and they do not exacerbate
societies capacity of people and and/or mitigate crisis shocks and stresses. hazards and strengthen reduced reliance on gender inequalities, and
communities. (including PVE), and resilience, and equitable, fossil fuels increase contribute to sustainable
ensure transparency, transparent and resilience and reduce recovery and durable
accountability and accountable natural vulnerability to peace, including prevention
7
inclusion in recovery and resource management climate change and of and response to gender-
resilience building (e.g. mining, oil, gas) can external shocks. based violence.
processes. prevent conflict.
Promote Poverty reduction Tackling policy and Risk assessments provide This solution supports the Promotion of Ensuring women’s access
nature-based strategies such as governance failures (e.g. critical information to better creation of a virtuous sustainable renewable to land tenure rights,
solutions for a safeguarding land and land grabs, illegal logging manage, conserve and cycle of healthy energy-based finance, markets and
sustainable tenure rights, and and fishing, rehabilitate ecosystems, and ecosystems that impact solutions reduces extension services
planet providing equitable unsustainable recovery efforts can help human wellbeing, equity pressure on contributes to sustainable
access to credit, agriculture) is critical to restore ecosystems and and human rights ecosystems and management of natural
training, extension addressing biodiversity related services that have (including life, health, provides incentives for resources, as women play
services and markets loss and ecosystem been destroyed or food and water), through improved key roles in its
can contribute to better degradation. negatively impacted by protection, restoration, management of management and are
management of natural hazards/shocks. and sustainable natural resources primary custodians of
resources. management of land, knowledge on nature-
rivers and oceans. based solutions.
Close the Poverty solutions can Good governance can Reducing overall risk can Improved water and land This solution Gender-differentiated
energy gap help to accelerate the create strong policy and make energy solutions more management, and promotes transition perspectives on energy use
transition to clean regulatory conditions sustainable and lower the sustainable forest from predominantly are required for adoption
energy sources by that are required for a cost of the transition, and management are essential fossil fuels to more of sustainable energy
changing energy sustainable energy recovery can present to promote sustainable sustainable energy solutions, and financial
consumption patterns transition opportunities for energy solutions based on systems, by making inclusion and legal rights
and promoting green introducing renewable water (mini hydro- them more accessible for women are a key pre-
growth. energy sources, and electricity) or biomass and affordable, requisite for new scalable,
strengthening preparedness (e.g. wood, charcoal, crop leveraging private private sector off-grid
and early warning practices residues). sector investment, solutions in energy.
in the energy sector. and addressing
climate change.
Strengthen Efforts to reduce Governance reforms and Women’s leadership and Nature’s goods and Equity in access to This solution improves
gender poverty can enhance advancing women’s participation in crisis services (e.g. for clean energy capacities to prevent and
equality and gender equity through political participation (as prevention, recovery agriculture and fisheries, resources can respond to gender-based
the multiple channels voters/ candidates, in planning and action can forest, water) are promote household violence, empower women
empowerment including: addressing governance institutions), enhance adoption of important to women for equality that economically, promote
of women and unpaid care work, are critical to addressing gender-responsive solutions subsistence, livelihoods translates directly into women’s participation in all
girls increased female labour gender inequalities and and investments that and jobs, and increasing broadening socio- forms of decision-making,
participation, decreased their structural causes reverse previously their access to resources economic and strengthen their
pay gaps, and improved and discriminatory discriminatory laws and contributes to their opportunities for resilience to crisis.
women’s access to practices. practices. empowerment. women/girls, and
financial and non- improve their health
financial assets. (e.g. clean cooking
solutions).

More detailed matrix available here (provide link).

8
Each signature solution is interlinked with the other five signature solutions; they both influence and depend on
each other in various ways. For instance, inclusive, responsive and accountable governance (SS2) is critical in
ensuring that the poor have access to quality basic services (SS1) as well as in addressing issues of exclusion and
discrimination based on gender (SS6). Women play a vital role in the management of natural resources, and are
often the primary custodians of knowledge related to nature-based solutions (SS4). Natural resources and
ecosystem services can provide effective solutions for managing risks and strengthening resilience (SS3), and
effective institutions improve management and mitigation of climate, disaster, health, and conflict related risks.
Equal access to clean and renewable energy services (SS5) can drastically improve the lives of women and girls
and promote sustainable natural resource management practices, and productive use of energy such as electricity
can become vectors for economic development.

The signature solutions will be delivered through two platforms: (a) country-level support platforms for the 2030
Agenda; and (b) a global development advisory and implementation services platform. The country platforms
are intended to ‘help countries to design and deliver integrated solutions to complex development problems that
require multi-sectoral actions across economic, social and environmental issues’. The global platform will provide
‘high-quality technical and policy advisory support to country platforms and UNDP country programmes’ as well
as support ‘global knowledge, innovation and partnership-building efforts within the UNDS… with IFIs and a wide
range of other partners’.

Programmatic Application
The development of a theory of change (ToC) can help to design a programme / project that looks at development
challenges in an integrated manner. The ToC must start with identifying the principal challenge in the specific
development context associated with the relevant Strategic Plan outcome, and all major contributing factors - not
limited to UNDP’s mandate.

UNDP may be well placed to address some of these factors, but partners may be better placed to address others;
the signature solutions help identify UNDP’s corporate offer where it has a comparative advantage. Strategies to
deliver results should identify a broad range of partners and financing sources, including government partners,
UN agencies, private sector actors, IFIs, and civil society.

The analysis underpinning the ToC should draw on available evidence and through engagement with stakeholders
including the Common Country Assessments. Using the UNDG/UN SDG guidance on Leaving No One Behind, the
analysis must specify what groups are left furthest behind, and how they are uniquely affected. The root,
underlying and immediate causes of the principal development challenge should be identified, particularly
pertaining to the areas addressed through the signature solutions. This should be incorporated into the rationale
of the programme or project document.

The signature solutions help in formulating UNDP’s corporate offer and anticipated results, based on what has
worked and what has not in different contexts. The outputs and indicators to measure progress towards achieving
results will be incorporated into the results framework for programmes and projects, and linked to UNDAF and
Country Programme results frameworks. One or more outputs from multiple signature solutions may be featured
in the solution pathways of the ToC, keeping in mind that not all signature solutions are relevant in all
development contexts.

A rigorous analysis of how risks interact must feed into a holistic understanding of the development challenge and
the design and implementation of risk-informed signature solutions. The revised Enterprise Risk Management
9
(ERM) Policy aims to help identify, analyse, monitor and report on existing and emerging risks. Tools such as the
Social and Environmental Standards (SES) and Social and Environmental Screening Procedures (SESP) focus on
potential risks that may affect people and the environment (e.g. human rights, gender, environmental
sustainability, climate and disaster, health and safety, displacement). Based on an analysis of risk levels, the tools
help to identify where support should be targeted, and based on types of risk, what expertise is needed. Risks
identified in programming documents will be managed throughout implementation, and emerging risks will
continue to be monitored and addressed.

The UNDG programming principles (leave no one behind as the central principle; human rights, gender quality &
women’s empowerment; sustainability & resilience; and accountability) must be incorporated in the analysis as
well as the solution(s) proposed for the specific development context.

Other programmatic processes and tools specific to each signature solution is elaborated on in the respective
sections.

10
SIGNATURE SOLUTION 1: KEEPING PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY

Address interconnected social, economic, and environmental challenges faced by the poor and vulnerable, by
focusing on determinants of both “exiting” poverty (e.g. access to basic services, jobs and livelihoods) and
“falling back” into poverty (e.g., assets, social protection, security).

I. Definition

a) The development issue(s)


Globally, about 650 million people across 120 countries, 9 percent of the world’s population, live in extreme
poverty. Additionally, about 800 million people are close to the poverty threshold, vulnerable to social, economic
and environmental shocks, and 1.5 billion people in developing countries are considered multi-dimensionally poor.
Deprivation, vulnerability and exclusion continue to serve as obstacles in eradicating poverty in all its forms.
Shocks such as economic setbacks, environmental disasters and climatic change, armed conflicts and exposure to
landmines and UxO (unexploded ordnance), or catastrophic health expenditures and widespread conflict and
crises reverse development and poverty eradication gains while also pushing millions of people back into poverty.
Across development contexts, people and communities remain poor due to a range of inter-connected factors,
including identity, ethnicity, geographical location, vulnerability, socio-economic status and environment,
development and governance processes.

b) Addressing issues through the signature solutions


UNDP’s support through signature solution 1: keeping people out of poverty aims to address the three
interconnected sustainable development dimensions – social, economic and environmental – along with the
governance challenges that keep people poor, push them back into poverty or make them vulnerable. UNDP will
address both determinants of “exiting” poverty (e.g., access to basic services, including water, energy and health,
decent jobs and livelihoods, political participation, social exclusion) and of not “falling back” into poverty (e.g.,
assets, social protection, risk buffers, vulnerability reduction, security). While addressing the multi-dimensional
nature of poverty, UNDP will pursue cross-cutting and coherent initiatives to eradicate poverty which will also
promote equity to break patterns of discrimination, foster equitable participation of all people in the development
process to benefit from economic growth, reduce exposure and vulnerability to risks preventing reversal of
development and poverty eradication gains. The approach will draw upon UNDP’s cross-cutting thematic expertise
and experience on sustainable development, poverty eradication, risk reduction, climate change, governance and
other practices. Building on the latest data and statistical analysis, UNDP will promote inclusive economic and
development policies, improve delivery of public services and social protection schemes, secure access to natural
resources and eco-system services, ensure livelihood security and diversification while advancing risk-informed
development to build resilience to multiple risks. De-risking investments, and harnessing the potential of
technology and innovation will be key elements.

11
II. Applying the Signature Solution

a) Application across development contexts

On average, between 1 out of 3 and 1 out of 6 people who exited poverty, fall back in because of political crises,
natural hazards, sickness or economic downturns. 1 Thus, poverty solutions need to focus on both exit and
reversals (development context 1). At the same time, poverty solutions impact structural transformation
(development context 2) and resilience (development context 3) because the determinants of exiting poverty are
different from the those of falling back into poverty. Strategies that tackle income poverty reduction measures
and multidimensional poverty reduction efforts are interconnected in nature. However, it is important to
recognize that over the years, the state-of-the-art of poverty reduction strategies has moved from a “growth and
social transfers” approach to a stronger focus on the dynamics of the labour market/livelihoods, gender, youth
and social protection systems2. At the same time, the state-of-the art on multidimensional poverty reduction
strategies has moved from metrics to geo-referenced policy interventions at the household level3. Housing, water
and basic sanitation, electrification have been tackled with both public provision and/or subsidized private
provision (under development context 1). Efforts to increase access to education, health and nutrition increasingly
employ a life-cycle strategy. Poverty eradication requires cross-cutting and coherent initiatives that make people
less vulnerable, reduce the risks of setbacks (development context 3), break patterns of discrimination, and enable
all people to fully participate and benefit from economic growth (development context 2).

Development Context 1: Advance poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions

UNDP will promote integrated solutions that connect income and multidimensional poverty eradication strategies
that tackle exit and falling back into poverty. UNDP’s interventions will focus on improving the income levels of
people, strengthening and diversifying livelihoods and increasing their welfare over time. The principle of leaving
no one behind will underpin the approach. Solutions will be tailored to the specific vulnerable groups, particularly
the poor, women, people with disabilities and displaced so they are empowered to gain access to basic services
as well as financial and non-financial assets to build productive capacities and benefit from sustainable livelihoods
and jobs (1.1.2). In specific LDC, LLDC and SIDS contexts, the approach will include promoting trade and economic
diversification, improving access to information about market and transport, and facilitating regional and sectoral
integration. Addressing the financing challenge will be key part of the strategy, as well as strengthening
governance systems and promoting a whole of government approaches. Using innovative approaches and
technological advancements will help engage citizens and stakeholders, improve targeting, accelerate
implementations and strengthen accountability of SDGs implementation (1.1.1) and basic service delivery.

Development Context 2: Accelerate structural transformations for sustainable development

Structural transformation is key for sustained economic growth, which is necessary, but not sufficient for poverty
eradication. Often progress is impeded by structural barriers which are hindering the realization of the full
potential of sustainable development and inclusive access to development dividends. UNDP will support

1 Each country has a unique “slide” back into poverty. World Poverty Clock, http://worldpoverty.io/.
2 The key drivers of reducing income-based poverty cluster often revolve around four types of interventions: access to the job market
(particularly expanding female and youth employment), access to assets (both physical and financial), access to social protection (cash
transfers as well as life-cycle interventions, like systems of care, unemployment insurance and pensions) and protection against risks
(natural disasters, conflict, sickness and economic downturns).
3 The key drivers for multidimensional poverty reduction are expanded social service access –usually targeted by locality or municipality,

improvements in social service quality, with more appropriate and fiscal sustainability of expanded services – one of the key weakness for
sustainability over time.
12
sustainable and inclusive low-carbon economic growth and integration of zero emissions and climate resilient
objectives in national, sub-national and sectoral development plans and policies to promote economic
diversification and green growth (2.1.1). UNDP will focus on sectors that provide employment and
entrepreneurship opportunities for the poor and most vulnerable, and the informal economy which accounts for
substantial employment. Specific interventions will include expanding access to legal and social protection (2.1.2)
and formal financing instruments and services, transition from informal to formal economies, and creating
opportunities for revenue generation for governments. An enhanced role for the private sector and promotion of
public-private partnerships will be the cornerstone of this approach.

Development Context 3: Strengthen resilience to shocks and crisis

Development contexts characterized by high exposure and vulnerability to risks exacerbate poverty, including
conflict, disasters, climate change, fragility, economic and catastrophic healthcare costs etc. Evidence shows that
it is the poor and the marginalized who face higher exposure (compelled to settle in hazard/risk prone areas) and
vulnerability (low coping capacity due to socio-economic factors, fragile livelihoods). A key strategy UNDP will
employ is to provide protection against negative shocks and disaster risks to avoid slowdowns or reversals in
poverty reduction. Solutions applied in this development context will also utilize the post-crisis or post-disaster
recovery and reconstruction window to advance access to basic services, develop capacities of local governments
(3.1.1), and boost the resilience and diversification of livelihoods and socio-economic assets to facilitate return to
sustainable development pathways within the framework of national policies and priorities. UNDP will support
the restoration of socio-economic services including micro-finance instruments, productive resources, justice
institutions and grievance redressal mechanisms, and facilitate access to risk information for prevention and
preparedness.

b) Interlinkages with other signature solutions

Signature solution 2: Strengthen effective, inclusive and accountable governance


Disempowering, non-participatory and discriminatory socio-economic, political and administrative processes and
systems leads to unaccountable development processes. Consequently, the poor, the marginalized and the most
vulnerable are unable to benefit. Sustainable poverty reduction requires inclusive and participatory policymaking
as well as strengthened governance processes and systems at national and local levels. Public institutions need to
ensure better targeting to reach those left farthest behind. Barriers and multi-dimensional vulnerabilities that
keep people in poverty or push them back into poverty can prevent people from meaningfully participating in
governance at all levels.

Signature solution 3: Enhance national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies
Enhancing resilience through risk reduction, crisis prevention and socio-economic recovery can help secure
incomes, restore livelihoods, and protect the poorest. Structural causes of multi-dimensional poverty erode the
resilience and coping capacity of people and communities; poverty eradication strategies need to be pursued in
tandem with resilience building interventions. Investing in reducing exposure and vulnerabilities of the poor and
the marginalized will enable them to escape persistent poverty and deprivation and prevent them from slipping
back into poverty.

Signature Solution 4: Promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet

13
With an overwhelming dependence of the poor on natural resources for their lives and livelihoods, protecting the
environment and ensuring their access to and management of natural resources and eco-system services will be
key to reducing poverty and marginalization. Nature-based solutions can not only improve the quality of life of
the poorest, but also lead to sustainable economic inclusion, transition to green economies, and provide a buffer
to shocks that drive people back into poverty.

Signature solution 5: Close the energy gap


Poverty solutions can help to accelerate the transition to clean energy sources by changing energy consumption
patterns and promoting green growth. Providing access to affordable clean energy services (e.g. solar, wind, and
hydro) to the poorest can improve economic activity and livelihoods, and make a qualitative difference in their
lives including in the areas of health (e.g. clean cooking, collection of firewood) and education.

Signature Solution-6: Strengthen gender equality and empower women and girls
Strengthening gender equality through female labour participation, addressing unpaid care work, improving
women’s access to financial and non-financial assets and leveling the playing field for opportunities, rights and
assets is indispensable for sustained poverty reduction. With a majority of the poor and rural households being
increasingly women-led, poverty eradication efforts must empower women and girls, which can have positive
multiplier effects on poverty eradication, breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

14
SIGNATURE SOLUTION 2: STRENGTHEN EFFECTIVE, INCLUSIVE, AND ACCOUNTABLE GOVERNANCE

Strengthen governance processes and institutions to ensure equal access to quality services that promote
equity, trust and social cohesion, and build societies in which all people benefit from peace, justice and
security.

I. Definition
a) The development issue(s)
The quality and inclusiveness of governance institutions and processes at all levels matters greatly for the
sustainability and effectiveness of policies to eradicate poverty, ensure the sustainability of the environment,
reduce the risk of disasters, adapt to climate change, and build and preserve resilient and peaceful, just and
inclusive societies. Failures in governance express themselves in the form of discrimination and marginalization,
vertical and horizontal inequalities, including unequal access to public services, land grabbling, unsustainable
environmental management, climate-change and disaster-blind development. Ineffective, unaccountable, non-
transparent institutions and processes hamper the ability of a state to fulfill internationally ratified human rights
obligations, address persistent structural inequalities, 4 including reducing gender inequality 5 and empowering
girls and women. While there have been important advances in women’s leadership, women make up only 7.2
per cent of Heads of State and 6.2 per cent Heads of Government.6 Predatory and exclusionary forms of political
and administrative governance can lead to violent contestation over civic space and power, corruption and
reduced trust in government, and hinder sustainable development.

b) Addressing issues through the signature solutions


Signature solution 2 aims to strengthen effective, inclusive and accountable governance. This solutions package
will focus on supporting diverse pathways toward risk-informed peaceful, just and inclusive societies, building on
the UNDP comparative advantage and long track record in promoting democratic governance and peacebuilding.
UNDP will support the strengthening of social cohesion; create venues for people’s active, free and meaningful
participation in public life; and support long-term preventive solutions that address the root causes of conflict and
disasters. Building a rule of law culture helps ensure that all citizens are treated equally, and human rights
institutions protect and promote the rights of those who face discrimination, whether it is structural, systematic,
individual or societal. Strong justice mechanisms must come into play so justice is not taken into individual hands
and dissent does not grow, leading to political and/or social upheaval. This requires ensuring the meaningful
participation and empowerment of women and youth, and the inclusion of indigenous peoples, people with
disabilities, refugees and displaced communities, and other marginalized groups.

II. Applying the Signature Solution


a) Application across development contexts

4
Edward Royce, Poverty and Power: The Problem of Structural Inequality, 2nd ed. (New York, Rowman& Littlefield Publishers, 2015).
5
Ted Piccone, “Democracy, gender equality, and security”, Democracy and Security Dialogue Policy Brief Series, September 2017.
https://www.brookings.edu/research/democracy-gender-equality-and-security/.
6
iKnow Politics, “Women’s Leadership”. http://iknowpolitics.org/en/focus-areas/6064.
15
Development Context 1: Advance poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions

Effective democratic governance systems and institutions, including an enabling environment for civic
engagement and social entrepreneurship, help to ensure transparency, accountability and inclusion in decision-
making processes that affect the equitable allocation of resources. They also help to preserve the integrity and
inclusiveness of the management of those resources. For this reason, good governance, including the existence
of appropriate institutional and policy frameworks and mechanisms for citizen participation, is critical to eradicate
poverty in all its forms and dimensions. UNDP will support building the effective state institutions that are required
to promote local economic development and provide essential public services while ensuring the prioritization of
those most at risk of being left behind (Output 1.2.1). Furthermore, a strong focus is placed on creating the
conditions for expanded public and private SDG financing (Output 1.2.2) and ensuring the availability of resources
for poverty eradication through effective anticorruption institutions and processes (Output 1.2.3). The
incorporation of accountability mechanisms into governance systems and institutions will help ensure the
appropriate distribution and quality of basic public services. Thus, a strong focus will be placed on access to justice
as a means of ensuring that populations are able to seek redress for grievances, including those related to land
and inheritance and property rights, labour and employment, healthcare settings access to services.

Development Context 2: Accelerate structural transformations for sustainable development

Structural transformation is a process of equitable, sustainable and resilient development, which expands
people’s opportunities to live the lives they value, while sustaining peace and respecting ecological boundaries. A
strong focus on governance, anchored in a human-rights-based approach and geared towards the meaningful
engagement and empowerment of marginalized groups (including women, young people, people with disabilities,
indigenous communities, LGBTI population, the elderly and other historically discriminated groups) is needed to
move beyond poverty eradication and make progress towards structural transformation. UNDP will provide
support to key political institutions and processes – especially constitution-making, electoral and parliamentary
processes (Output 2.2.2). Free, safe and vibrant civic spaces will also be promoted as part of this work.
Accountability and oversight mechanisms will be strengthened, including national human rights protection
institutions and systems and civilian oversight bodies of security structures (Output 2.2.3). In addition to justice
institutions, community-based initiatives such as community security and legal aid and awareness will be
promoted. Strong planning, finance, environmental, climate change and disaster risk management institutions are
important means to drive national and subnational transformation to a more sustainable and risk-informed
development model. Efforts will be made to promote new and innovative technology and business processes,
including the use of big data, to strengthen public service and other government functions (Output 2.2.1).

Development Context 3: Strengthen resilience to shocks and crisis

Inclusive and effective governance – reflected in stronger government functionality, respect for rule of law,
equitable access to justice and security, risk-informed planning and decision-making, participation in political
processes, an enabling environment for civic engagement, strengthened local governance capacities, and integrity
in public management - can help to address the main drivers of disasters and conflict and promote social cohesion.
In order to promote risk-informed sustainable development, UNDP will focus on strengthening institutions and
widespread support for those institutions, as well as risk governance at the national and subnational levels to
mainstream disaster and climate risk into development planning processes. The quality of governance
mechanisms and institutions, including the restoration of local and core government functions, and justice and
security institutions, is equally important when rebuilding social cohesion and the resilience of communities after
shocks, including pandemics and health-related crisis. Livelihoods and economic recovery efforts cannot make
16
sustainable progress without strong and inclusive governance processes. UNDP will support national capacities
for reintegration and reconciliation, as they are critical for preventing the outbreak, re-occurrence, or escalation
of violence, and radicalization that can lead to violent extremism (Output 3.2.1). National and local systems will
be strengthened and local communities empowered to ensure the effective functioning of justice institutions,
redress mechanisms and community security (Output 3.2.2).

b) Interlinkages with other signature solutions

Signature solution 1: Keep people out of poverty


Economic and social status and the inclusion/exclusion dynamics it often engenders has a direct impact on
people’s ability to effectively engage in the public sphere as well as on the representation and accountability of
state institutions. At the same time, equitable and sustainable economic development and addressing structural
inequalities are not possible without effective state institutions and a governance environment that is conducive
to meaningful citizen participation.

Signature solution 3: Enhance national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies
There is a direct link between the quality and inclusiveness of governance and the effectiveness of government
institutions at national and sub-national levels to improve risk management, prevent and/or mitigate crisis, and
ensure transparency, accountability and inclusion in recovery and resilience building processes. Restoration of
local governance systems can be an opportunity to improve delivery of basic services and help (re)build trust
between government and populations.

Signature Solution 4: Promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet


Biodiversity loss needs to be addressed in an integrated manner by tackling market, policy and governance failures
that lead to ecosystem degradation. Efforts to address finance, tenure, water and land rights will take into
consideration the differentiated impacts, access and contributions of women and men, youth and indigenous
communities. Decisions on environmental management can become potential drivers of contestation and conflict;
hence, a conflict sensitive lens will be applied in environmental policy making and implementation.

Signature solution 5: Close the energy gap


Sustainable energy solutions require good governance: good policy and regulatory conditions, strong institutions
and local governance capacities. Effective, responsive and accountable systems and mechanisms help to ensure
equitable access to clean and affordable energy, regardless of identity, geography, socio-economic status, and in
situations of crisis and shocks. Equity in access to energy resources translates directly into broadening
opportunities especially for women and girls, and promotes social cohesion within and across communities.

Signature Solution-6: Strengthen gender equality and empower women and girls
Governance reforms including discriminatory laws, institutions and policies are critical to address gender
inequalities and their structural causes and discriminatory practices that perpetuate them. Measures to promote
women’s empowerment contributes to peaceful, just and inclusive societies, and have a positive impact on
representation and decision-making in political institutions such as parliaments and local councils, justice and
security institutions.

17
SIGNATURE SOLUTION 3: ENHANCE NATIONAL PREVENTION AND RECOVERY CAPACITIES FOR RESILIENT
SOCIETIES
Promote risk-informed development and strengthen capacities of people, communities and countries to
anticipate, prevent, and recover from shocks and stresses.

I. Definition
a) The development issue(s)
All countries face a wide range of risks, shocks and crises, irrespective of their developmental situation. Shocks
can range from being localized or short-term - such as geophysical and climatic hazards, contamination with
landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO), disease outbreaks, sudden economic disruption, violence or political
tensions - to protracted crises, such as conflict, major droughts, epidemics, and economic collapse. The nexus of
climate change, disasters and conflict is of particular importance, with growing trends of resource insecurity, social
polarization, and displacement seen around the world. The cumulative impact of crises and stressors can have
adverse impacts on poverty, social cohesion, and undermine socio-economic development gains, as well as the
rights of individuals and communities. Whilst development can be at risk from shocks and crises, it can also be a
driver of risk itself, e.g. development choices can contribute to marginalization and inequalities or increase the
exposure of people, livelihoods and assets to hazards and shocks.

b) Addressing issues through the signature solutions


The Strategic Plan emphasizes a risk-informed approach and focuses on the state’s responsibilities to address
vulnerability and leave no one behind in the development and recovery process. This requires proactive,
evidence-based and holistic resilience building and risk management. Prevention and recovery approaches must
support the capacities of national and local authorities and build political will and governance systems that foster
the positive engagement and innate capacities of communities and individuals. It will require integrated, and
context specific support to national and local stakeholders. UNDP will draw upon its cross-cutting expertise
including in governance, conflict prevention, peacebuilding, mine action, rule of law and security, human rights,
disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation, health, crisis response, socio-economic
inclusion, and recovery. In crises settings, UNDP’s support to recovery will foster rights-based developmental
approaches that bring about transformational change, reduce underlying vulnerabilities and contribute to linkages
with humanitarian and peacebuilding outcomes. UNDP will employ integrated, multidimensional risk analysis and
needs assessment tools to inform efforts to enhance national and local prevention and recovery capacities for
resilient societies. Special emphasis will be placed on developing the absorptive, adaptive, and transformative
capacity of systems, communities and individuals to better cope with shocks and crises.

II. Applying the Signature Solution


a) Application across development contexts
The importance of resilience building for delivering the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is reflected in
all the major global frameworks. The SG’s reform agenda sets prevention at the center of the UN’s collective
efforts, and recent reports on Sustaining Peace have underscored that preventing violent conflict requires

18
sustainable development interventions, including climate action, disaster risk reduction, natural resource
management, responsive and democratic governance, rule of law, human rights and inclusive political processes.
This underscores that UNDP’s resilience building efforts cannot be pursued in a manner that is delinked from a
country’s wider development objectives. The resilience signature solution is, therefore, critical to all three
development contexts in which UNDP operates, and is an integral component of a risk-informed and sustainable
development pathway, as well as of post-crises recovery.

Development Context 1: Advance poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions

UNDP supports resilience building with an emphasis on overcoming and addressing the structural determinants
of vulnerability and drivers of poverty, and reaching those furthest left behind. This includes reducing the exposure
of poor and marginalized groups to natural and technological hazards, extreme events, disease outbreaks,
conflicts, economic downturns or other shocks. The resilience signature solution can be applied to support the
“exiting” from poverty (through jobs, improved livelihoods, access to basic services, including energy and health,
increased voice and participation, and reduced corruption) and to ensure countries and communities don’t “fall
back” into poverty (through resilient livelihoods, assets, social protection, risk buffers, security). This will be
achieved by ensuring that investments in development, response and recovery are right-based, risk-informed and
gender-responsive (output 1.3.1). Support will be provided for the development of national and local capacities
to analyze and assess risks, and to mainstream or integrate risk reduction and prevention measures into
development and recovery planning tools and policy-making processes. A resilience approach builds capacities
across the whole of government at national and sub-national levels, to address the structural causes of
multidimensional poverty and drivers of crisis and risk.

Development Context 2: Accelerate structural transformations for sustainable development


Where countries are seeking to accelerate structural transformations, the resilience signature solution supports
initiatives to address inequalities, rights and exclusion. UNDP will leverage technological advances for more
effective disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and mitigation. Especially in a context characterized
by high economic growth, the resilience signature solution can help ensure that public and private policy-making
and investments are risk-informed and built to disaster resilient standards, human-rights based and people-
centered, using data and evidence from diverse and reliable sources (including big data) which can be
mainstreamed to inform policies, plans and programmes. UNDP’s approach to resilience building acknowledges
that inclusive and accountable governance is a key entry point for sustaining progress (output 2.3.1). This includes
fostering strong crisis risk governance capacities to prevent, prepare for, manage and recover from disasters,
climate change, epidemics, landmines and UXO, or conflict. UNDP strengthens national and local capacities
through support to risk-informed policy, planning and financing systems. Gender-responsive, rights-based and
inclusive approaches ensure that those most at risk are not left behind.

Development Context 3: Strengthen resilience to shocks and crisis


For countries and communities faced with crisis and high levels of risk, the resilience solution focuses on ensuring
that prevention approaches are inherent in development; supporting the rights and development needs of crisis
affected communities; and on building back better in post-crises settings. UNDP will address the needs of
communities displaced by conflict and disasters, and supports stability and cohesion of communities hosting the
displaced. This solution will strengthen national and sub-national capacities for managing risks; addressing social
and political stressors; addressing the drivers of conflict and other forms of risk; strengthening the social contract
between state and communities; foster civic engagement; building resilience to potential shocks and crises; and
recover from them. It also addresses the growing relationship between climate change, disasters and conflict and
ensures that analysis, assessment and planning tools are rights and risk informed. Finally, it ensures that
19
prevention, preparedness and recovery are advanced in a way that builds national ownership, accountability and
trust with government and communities. This will be achieved by ensuring that investments in prevention and
preparedness for crisis response and recovery are rights-based, risk-informed and gender-responsive (output
3.3.1), to limit the impact of natural hazards and pandemics and promote peaceful, just and inclusive societies.
UNDP supports operational end-to-end multi-sectoral early warning systems and the application of conflict-
sensitive and risk-informed development analysis for development planning and programming in key sectors, at
national and sub-national levels. UNDP’s resilience building approach also strengthens gender-responsive and
risk-informed social dialogue and reconciliation mechanisms, and capacities of national and local stakeholders for
dialogue, consensus-building and reconciliation around contested issues, with equal participation of women and
men (output 3.3.2).

b) Interlinkages with other signature solutions

Signature solution 1: Keep people out of poverty


UNDP supports improved rural and urban livelihoods, strengthened gender equality, social protection, access to
water, clean energy and other basic services and financial inclusion which help build resilience to shocks and hence
reduce poverty. On the other hand, crises prevention and resilience building are essential strategies for ending
extreme poverty by helping protect the livelihoods and assets of the poor and vulnerable from shocks.

Signature solution 2: Strengthen effective, inclusive and accountable governance


The quality and inclusiveness of governance, political will and the effectiveness of government institutions (at
national and sub-national levels) directly influence risk management and mitigation, including the accountability
of systems needed to manage climate, disaster, health, and conflict-related risks. Crises prevention and recovery
measures can help stabilize and promote social cohesion, rebuild social fabric, expand civic space, restore justice
institutions, and prioritize community security with positive impacts on overall governance.

Signature Solution 4: Promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet


The protection of ecosystems, forests, mangroves and biodiversity contribute to resilient livelihoods for the poor,
provide effective barriers to protect against natural hazards, maintain health-promoting environments, and
reduce the effect of GHGs, and hence are key for resilience building. Recovery can help restore ecosystems and
related services that have been destroyed or negatively impacted by hazards/shocks, and risk assessments provide
critical information to better manage, conserve and rehabilitate ecosystems.

Signature solution 5: Close the energy gap


Establishing decentralized mini-grids avoids the widespread breakdown of energy supply in the event of disaster
or conflict, and can secure energy access to a greater number of users in crises situations. Recovery is critical for
restoring access to energy where it has been interrupted and offers opportunities for resilience building by
introducing renewable energy sources, and strengthen preparedness and early warning practices in the energy
sector.

Signature solution 6: Strengthen gender equality and empower women and girls
Strengthening women’s empowerment, health and leadership improves crises prevention and recovery
processes, since it allows women to put their skills and knowledge towards resilience building and building back
better post-crises. Recovery opens opportunities for promoting gender-responsive actions and investments that
reverse previously discriminatory laws, practices, and stereotypes, as well as to prevent sexual and gender based
violence and promote accountability for perpetrators.
20
SIGNATURE SOLUTION 4: PROMOTE NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS FOR SUSTAINABLE PLANET SOCIETIES

Support the creation of a virtuous cycle of healthy ecosystems that impact human wellbeing, equity and
human rights (including life, health, food and water), through protection, restoration, and sustainable
management of land, rivers and oceans.

I. Definition

a) The development issue(s)


The loss of biodiversity and the accompanying diminishment of ecosystem services has profound consequences
for human wellbeing, equity and human rights, including rights to life, health, food and water. Conversely,
protecting human rights helps protect ecosystem services. The three underlying causes compromise our ability
to adequately respond to the development challenges of the 21st Century and to achieve the 2030 Agenda. For
example, loss of forests, conversion of wetlands, unsustainable water withdrawals, and inadequate treatment of
waste and waste water has resulted in 3.6 billion people facing water scarcity at least one month a year, and 3.1
billion people drinking water with a risk of contamination, with cascading impacts on gender equality, health and
employment.7 A recent study identified the loss of biodiversity as one of the top five most likely and serious global
risks, a risk that can lead to political instability, conflict, corruption. 8 Over 12 million deaths annually,
approximately one quarter of all deaths globally, are attributed to unhealthy environments.9

b) Addressing issues through the signature solutions


To address these issues, UNDP will focus on three broad strategies: a) addressing market failures (e.g., by greening
infrastructure and value chains to avoid deforestation and biodiversity loss, by facilitating access to markets for
carbon and ecosystem services, by applying natural capital accounting, and by providing access to information for
decisions makers on the value of ecosystem services); b) addressing policy failures (e.g., by integrating natural
capital into fiscal, development and sectoral policies and planning, by taking into account the multiple co-benefits
including health; and by reforming tax, incentive and subsidy schemes); and c) addressing governance failures
(e.g., by transforming governance systems to work toward equal access and benefits, including by ensuring
effective development, implementation and enforcement of laws, regulations and policies, such as environmental
impact assessments; by securing tenure and rights; by supporting participatory and community-based
management of natural resources; by promoting landscape-level planning within local development planning
systems; and by tackling corruption and illegal activities). In addition, UNDP will help countries protect, restore
and sustainably manage key biodiversity areas and critical ecosystem services that underpin nature-based
solutions, and will strengthen key capacities of multiple stakeholders to implement nature-based solutions.

II. Applying the Signature Solution

7 See UNDP. 2018. Nature for Water, Nature for Life: Nature-based solutions for achieving water security and the Sustainable
Development Goals.
8 World Economic Forum. 2018. The Global Risk Report. Geneva: World Economic Forum.
9 See WHO. 2016. Preventing disease through healthy environments: A global assessment of the burden of disease from environmental

risks.
21
a) Application across development contexts

Development Context 1: Advance poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions

Strengthened ecosystem management and nature-based solutions can help achieve food and water security,
ensure sustainable livelihoods, and can supply essential materials, such as fuel for energy and medicinal plants for
health. In these cases, nature provides a safety net for poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities, while also
providing a means to escape and stay out of poverty. Nature-based solutions provide efficient, cost-effective
means of delivering multiple development benefits at once, with a focus on providing essential services for the
poorest communities. UNDP will support the process of strengthening gender-responsive legal and regulatory
frameworks, policies and institutions to address conservation, sustainable use and equitable benefit sharing of
natural resources, in line with international conventions and national legislation (Output 2.4.1) .

Development Context 2: Accelerate structural transformations for sustainable development

This signature solution aims to accelerate structural transformations for sustainable development by addressing
inequalities and exclusion, shifting to a more environmentally sustainable growth model through zero-carbon
development. UNDP will focus on a) securing tenure and rights to land, water and natural resources, especially
for women, marginalized communities and indigenous peoples; b) ensuring access to finance, credit, markets and
extension services to accelerate nature-based solutions; c) taking advantage of and leveraging technological
advancement, especially in regard to transforming sustainable supply chains; and d) data and risk-informed
development policies, plans, systems and financing incorporate integrated and gender-responsive solutions to
reduce disaster risks, enable climate change adaptation and mitigation, and prevent risk of conflict. UNDP will
help governments identify and access new financing opportunities, promote policy coherence on natural
resources, enable good governance of natural resources and ecosystem services and transition to greener,
inclusive economies. Valuing nature’s goods and services, through transparent and inclusive assessments, and
applying natural capital accounting and targeted scenario analyses, will result in systemic changes in the policies,
plans and practices of local and national governments as well as of corporations. Solutions for scaling up
sustainable management of natural resources, including through sustainable commodities and green and inclusive
value chains (Output 1.4.1) will also illuminate the trade-offs and co-benefits that ecosystems provide to different
stakeholders, accelerating a transformation to more equitable distribution of benefits, improved governance and
transparency. In these cases, nature provides a means of sustainable, inclusive economic growth and good
governance.

Development Context 3: Strengthen resilience to shocks and crisis

Nature provides a means of sustainable, inclusive economic growth and good governance for sustainable recovery
(Output 3.4.1). In some cases, such as health emergencies, pandemics and resource-based conflicts, nature-based
solutions are vital for prevention and control. In situations where communities are fragile and vulnerable to
internal and external shocks, UNDP will support governments to use nature to buffer impacts produced by
disasters, conflict or pandemics by incorporating ecosystems into risk management plans and/ or resilience-
building strategies. In the aftermath of crises, UNDP will assist governments to use natural capital and green
infrastructure to rebuild and recover. It will support the mainstreaming of nature-based solutions in governance
and peacebuilding initiatives as part of early warning systems, and in the aftermath of a crisis, to form the basis
of the rebuilding and restoring core government functions. This may include environmental assessments for local-
22
level recovery planning and delivery, systems for the sustainable use of nature-based solutions for local economic
development, and local-level mediation systems around issues such as land and water. (E.g. Initiatives to scale up
the restoration of mangrove forests, including through voluntary carbon funds, are likely to entail improvements
in community tenure rights and legal frameworks working as a preventive measure for disputes, while
simultaneously benefitting women and marginalized communities.) Well-managed ecosystems act as natural
infrastructure to reduce exposure and disaster risk while increasing socio-economic resilience of people and
communities.

b) Interlinkages with other signature solutions

Signature solution 1: Keep people out of poverty


The world’s poor are disproportionately dependent upon nature for their livelihoods and subsistence. Forests
sustain 1.5 billion livelihoods, oceans 1.3, agriculture 1.2, and artisanal and small-scale mining more than 40
million people. In addition, climate change will drive more than 100 million people into poverty, and around 90
percent of people living in low and middle-income countries are exposed to ambient air pollution at levels that
are dangerous for health, resulting in an economic burden of about $225 billion in lost labor income, and welfare
losses estimated at US$5 trillion. 10 Nature-based solutions can provide an enormous and largely untapped
potential to drive green economies, but must be accompanied by efforts to obtain and secure land tenure and
rights, and by efforts to ensure equitable access to credit, training, extension services and markets.

Signature solution 2: Strengthen effective, inclusive and accountable governance


Governments must address serious governance challenges, and inclusive, participatory, accountable and
transparent institutions are required, including effective community-based organizations, green interest groups,
and environmental NGOs that promote nature-based solutions. In order to effectively plan for sustainable
development, policy makers must ensure inclusive land use planning as a starting point. Such an approach enables
governments to maintain key ecosystems and sustain the services these ecosystems provide to people, while also
helping to promote compliance with land-use policies.

Signature solution 3: Enhance national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies
Future trends point toward increased conflicts over rights to nature, especially over extractives, forests, fisheries
and water. Natural resources and ecosystem services can provide effective solutions for managing risks and
strengthening resilience. It can provide more than a third of climate solutions,11 serve as a safety net for the poor
and vulnerable, and buffer cities and communities from the impacts of climate change, especially drought, storm
surges and flooding, and related health impacts. Nature-based solutions inherently require the management and
resolution of conflicts, especially those related to indigenous peoples and local communities (e.g., land tenure,
user rights, access and benefit sharing from natural resources and extractive industries), as they also have the
potential to promote peace and security.

Signature solution 5: Close the energy gap


More than two out of five people depend on nature for heating and fuel,12 and policies to promote sustainable
charcoal and fuelwood can help bridge the transition to solar and other forms of clean energy. Renewable nature-
based energy solutions can provide this bridge, if policy makers recognize the value of sustainable wood, charcoal

10 http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2016/09/08/air-pollution-deaths-cost-global-economy-225-billion
11 See Griscom et al., 2017. Natural Climate Solutions. PNAS, 114(44):11645–11650.
12 See https://www.theguardian.com/the-gef-partner-zone/2016/aug/08/three-wicked-problems-of-the-commons

23
and biofuels as a means of poverty alleviation, and enact policies, incentives and safeguards to ensure sustainable
management, and promote equitable sharing of benefits. In addition, hydropower already provides a quarter of
the world’s energy, and investments in forestry can help make a greater shift to hydropower.

Signature solution 6: Strengthen gender equality and empower women and girls
Women play vital roles in the management of natural resources, and are often primary custodians of knowledge
related to nature-based solutions. Nature-based solutions can provide a direct pathway to gender equality by
enabling women to cultivate, gather and/or harvest crops, livestock and wild foods for subsistence, livelihoods
and incomes. UNDP will support countries to address governance challenges, including access to water, credit,
extension services, land tenure and markets. Empowering women to implement nature-based solutions can have
positive multiplier effects in local, rural and national economies, as well as on family-level health and education.

24
SIGNATURE SOLUTION 5: CLOSE THE ENERGY GAP

Promote transition from predominantly fossil fuels to more sustainable energy systems, by making them
more accessible and affordable, leveraging private sector investment, and addressing climate change.

I. Definition
a) The development issue(s)
Energy is indispensable to numerous basic human needs and development, including nutrition, transport, health
and education. The energy challenges faced by countries are complex and diverse, but can be distilled in terms of
three core sustainable development dimensions – social, economic and environmental:
 Socially, addressing disparities in access to reliable energy services. Currently 1.06 billion people globally
lack access to electricity, and 3.04 billion people lack access to modern cooking fuels13.
 Economically, recognizing energy’s importance as a key input to jobs and growth. Many developing
countries are facing rapidly growing energy demand. Global energy demand is set to grow by 33% by 2040,
nearly all growth from developing countries.
 Environmentally, where fossil-fuel based energy is threatening the planet’s ecological balance,
biodiversity and climate. Energy currently contributes two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy systems (both production and use) are largely insufficient and unsustainable at present. There is a need
for all countries to transition to more sustainable energy systems. The global funding requirement for a transition
to sustainable energy systems is estimated at USD 1.05 billion to USD 1.26 billion14 per year until 2030, much of
which will be private finance, but in 2016 was only at USD 514 billion. Energy services in developing countries are
set to grow by 33%15 by 2040 creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth serving as an accelerator for
reducing poverty.

b) Addressing issues through the signature solutions


Switching to renewable energy solutions will restore the planet’s ecological balance, biodiversity and climate,
reduce air pollution and overall help achieve the SDG’s. UNDP’s approach as described in its Strategy Note on
Sustainable Energy16 is based on helping countries transition their energy systems towards more market-based,
sustainable systems. UNDP’s market transformation approach seeks to assist governments to implement
combinations of public instruments that systematically target barriers and investment risks, with the aim of cost-
effectively achieving risk-return profiles that attract and leverage private (and public) investment in sustainable
energy at scale. The objective is to create the investment conditions in which developing countries can access
large quantities of low-cost financing for sustainable energy. UNDP identifies three ways through which
government measures can improve an energy investment’s risk-return profile: through reducing risk, transferring
risk or compensating for risk. UNDP’s comparative advantage lies with assisting developing countries with the first
approach, reducing risk, which typically involves policy and programmatic interventions that remove the
underlying barriers to investment risk. Through well-designed public instrument packages, governments can

13
IEA & World Bank, 2017, Sustainable Energy for All 2017 – Progress towards sustainable energy (Summary).
14
International Energy Agency and World Bank
15
OECD, IEA, World Energy Outlook 2015 and 2016
16
UNDP, Delivering Sustainable Energy in a Changing Climate: Strategy Note on Sustainable Energy 2017-2021, 2016
25
achieve their objectives in attracting investment and give their citizens access to affordable and sustainable energy
services. UNDP will work with its partners to coordinate its support in this area, with necessary interventions in
the other two areas (i.e., transferring risk, which typically involves financial products supplied by development
banks, and compensating for risk, which typically involves subsidies and financial incentives for sustainable
energy). While UNDP’s experience is that instruments that reduce or transfer investment risks are the most cost-
effective, a combination of all three instruments is often needed.

II. Applying the Signature Solution

a) Application across development contexts

Development Context 1: Advance poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions

UNDP will support countries to achieve energy access under SDG-7, covering both the electricity and cooking fuels
sub-goals, and focus on affordability and “leaving no one behind” low income and post-crises countries (output
1.5.1). UNDP’s will target a select number of “high impact” countries, based on a data-driven approach and as
defined by several recent analyses by IEA, World Bank, and SEforAll (mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia).
Within those countries UNDP will focus its assistance mostly to rural communities, having the lowest access to
modern energy solutions. UNDP’s offer will focus on supporting governments to put in place the policy conditions
to attract private sector investment in off-grid solutions, in particular, stand-alone solar home systems and
solar/battery mini-grids. UNDP will be guided, where possible, by the Multi – Tier Framework for energy access,
differentiating levels of access. This is important for achieving poverty reduction goals, as higher access tiers allow
for productive uses that can be creators of jobs, livelihoods and initiate a virtuous cycle of economic development.
UNDP will adopt a dual track approach to clean cooking: (i) promote a transition to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
based systems in urban areas; and (ii) assist countries to introduce cleaner and more efficiently burning cook
stoves, as part of a value chain approach, from making biomass fuel sustainable at the source, through
transformation and transportation to end use in rural areas. The traditional approach to clean cooking taken in
the past still continues to focus on the more efficient technologies (cook stoves). The emphasis needs to switch
to a focus on fuel as part of an integrated energy solution, and may include other alternative sources of energy
such as solar. As using solid fuels for cooking disproportionately affects women and children, a gender-sensitive
approach will be applied.

Development Context 2: Accelerate structural transformations for sustainable development

Where energy services are more widely available already, UNDP’s main offer will be to accelerate the rate of
energy efficiency and energy productivity increase, as well as support countries to transition to sustainable energy
systems by increasing the share of renewable energy (output 2.5.1). UNDP will target a number of countries,
mostly MICs in ECA, Arab States, Asia and LAC, with a particular focus on the built environment and urban areas,
as well as energy efficiency in SMEs. While most of the attention has been on achieving energy efficiency in terms
of electricity use, there has been relatively little attention given to heat. Heat/cooling demand is much higher than
electricity demand in all countries, in both warm and cold climates. UNDP will support increasing the share of
renewable energy for heating/cooling applications. Finally, the remaining large energy-consuming sector that
needs to increase its share of renewables and improve energy efficiency is transport. There is an emerging
paradigm shift underway globally, with an increasing electrification of mobility and change in user models (sharing
economy). UNDP’s approach will be mostly focused on policy and regulatory measures and will introduce
behavioural economics to achieve policy goals. UNDP will also support energy transition in SIDS where most have
26
close to 100% energy access but are typically based on unsustainable fossil fuel-based systems. Interventions
would be a combination of energy efficiency and promotion of renewable energy alternatives to substitute fossil
fuel-based capacity.

Development Context 3: Strengthen resilience to shocks and crisis

Providing more sustainable and risk-informed energy systems and services plays an important role in prevention
of any interruptions due to shocks or crises and increases resilience and reduces vulnerability of local communities
(output 3.5.1). UNDP will promote sustainable and reliable energy as a critical element for achieving goals of
immediate recovery and longer-term resilience in fragile and crisis contexts. Sudden, large-scale forced
displacement in particular, places extreme environmental pressures, which sharply increase energy needs often
within a short period of time. The daily search for wood fuel in insecure or post-disaster environments places
displaced and other crisis-affected populations, especially women, at risk of crime and human rights violations.
The ability of communities to cope with and rapidly recover from crisis (whether from conflict or disasters, climate
induced or otherwise) hinges in many ways on their ability to regain adequate, secure and sustainable access to
energy services. Energy enables communities’ access to water, to social services like health and education, to
transport and communication needs and is critical for regenerating livelihoods and local economies. Back-up and
continued energy is also critical for provincial and local government offices to ensure an effective functioning of
government institutions, including planning and coordination of crisis response and recovery efforts. UNDP will
use post-crisis reconstruction and recovery as an opportunity to support the expansion of access to energy and
enable market expansion of energy efficient systems that can replace unsustainable systems and promote
resilience to future shocks. Guaranteeing energy access is hence a key enabler for building resilience and ensuring
post-crisis recovery in the short, medium and long term.

b) Interlinkages with other signature solutions

Signature Solution 1 Keep people out of poverty


Providing basic, clean energy service is critical to lift and keep people out of poverty, and is an enabler of
sustainable development. Affordable clean energy can promote basic economic activity through productive uses
of energy that lead to jobs and livelihoods and can become vectors for economic development. Moreover, it can
improve the quality of life of the poorest and most vulnerable, including enabling education and health services,
as well as access to information through internet access.

Signature solution 2: Strengthen effective, inclusive and accountable governance


Sustainable energy solutions require good governance. Effective, responsive and accountable systems and
mechanisms help to ensure equitable access to clean and affordable energy, with a focus on responding to the
needs particularly of the poor and marginalized. UNDP will help create and strengthen regulatory frameworks and
capacity of core institutions including utilities and municipalities.

Signature solution 3: Enhance national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies
For energy solutions to be sustainable long-term, they need to be planned based on risk-informed decisions. By
reducing vulnerability, UNDP will also help create the conditions for energy solutions to be more resilient to shocks
and crises. Promoting sustainable energy solutions in post-crisis contexts accelerates recovery and enables
resilience building. It will help put in place a long-term sustainable energy system, built on distributed renewable

27
energy-based applications, which is more resilient to external shocks and crises than the currently prevailing
centralized grid.

Signature Solution 4: Promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet


UNDP will help improve water and land management, as well as introduce sustainable forest management, all of
which are essential in situations where sustainable energy solutions are based on water (small hydro-electricity)
or biomass (either from natural ecosystems, such as wood or charcoal, or crop residues). Transitioning to
renewable energy-based systems will create powerful incentives for improved natural resource management.
Sustainability of energy systems (electricity or heating) can often only be achieved through productive uses and
livelihoods, including many that are enhanced with equitable participation.

Signature solution 6: Strengthen gender equality and empower women and girls
A key pre-requisite for new scalable, private sector off-grid solutions in energy are financial inclusion and legal
rights for women. Women and girls are subjected to high levels of household indoor pollution, due to incomplete
combustion of solid fuels (biomass, dung, coal, etc.) or kerosene used for cooking, lighting and heating. In addition,
women and children often spend many hours a day just to collect firewood for daily needs. Providing sustainable
clean cooking solutions will have enormous and immediate positive impact on their health and productivity.

28
SIGNATURE SOLUTION 6: STRENGTHEN GENDER EQUALITY AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN & GIRLS

Improve capacities to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, empower women economically,
promote women’s participation in all forms of decision-making, and strengthen their resilience to crisis.

I. Definition

a) The development issue(s)


Despite progress, significant gender inequalities persist in all development settings. Globally, there are 122
women aged 25-34 living in extreme poverty for every 100 men of the same age group.17 Women are also more
likely than men to live below 50 percent of the median income.18 In nearly two thirds of countries, women are
more likely than men to report food insecurity.19 Throughout the world, women are disproportionately burdened
by unpaid care work, doing two and a half times as much unpaid care and domestic work as men.20 Women’s labor
participation is often highly informalized, without social protection, and the global gender wage gap is 23
percent.21 Exclusion has effects throughout the life cycle. Women constitute nearly 65 percent of all people above
retirement age that do not receive a regular pension.22 Political decision-making and governance continues to be
dominated by men, with women comprising below 25 percent of the world’s parliamentarians and 18.3 percent
of government ministers.23 Women also continue to be underrepresented in economic decision making.24 The
impacts of disasters and climate change continue to disproportionately affect women and men. Global statistics
indicate that disasters kill more women than men.25 Nearly 80 percent of people displaced by climate change are
women.26 Women are subject to different forms of gender-based violence, denied equal access to legal rights and
basic services. In times of conflict, while men are more likely to be killed on the battlefield, women are more likely
to be subjected to sexual violence and abducted, tortured and forced to leave their homes.

b) Addressing issues through the signature solutions


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that achieving gender equality is crucial to progress
across all the goals and targets. A large body of evidence shows that investing in women and girls; promoting their
economic, social and political participation; improving their access to justice, social protection, employment and
natural resources result in a more productive economy, reduced poverty and inequalities, enhanced human
capital and ecosystem, and more peaceful and resilient societies.27 Tackling gender inequality requires structural
change that entails a redistribution of power and resources. It goes beyond formal gender equality before the law.

17
Turning Promises into Action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UN Women 2018
18
Ibid
19
UN Women, op. cit
20
Ibid
21
Ibid
22
ILO (2016), Women at Work. Trends 2016
23
Inter-Parliamentary Union
24
Marcus Noland, Tyler Moran, and Barbara Kotschwar, Peterson Institute for International Economics, Working Paper Series, Is Gender Diversity
Profitable? Evidence from a Global Survey, February 2016
25
Neumayer and Plümper, 2007. The Gendered Nature of Natural Disasters: the impact of catastrophic events on the gender gap in life expectancy, 1981-
2002. London School of Economics, London
26
Aguilar, L. (2004). Climate change and disaster mitigation. Gender makes the difference. Gland: IUCN; and Global Humanitarian Forum. (2009). Human
Impact Report. Anatomy of a silent crisis. Geneva: Global Humanitarian Forum
27
For details see UNDP and UN Women (2018) “Gender equality as an accelerator for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”.
29
It involves addressing gender-based discriminatory norms and strengthening women’s agency. In addition to
public policies, partnerships with civil society, private sector, academia and the media can facilitate this process
through innovative ways to contest gender stereotypes and discriminatory practices, while emphasizing the
benefits of gender equality for society overall. UNDP will develop interventions in the following priority areas: 1)
removing structural barriers to women’s access to basic services and economic empowerment, including women’s
disproportionate burden of unpaid care work; 2) preventing and responding to gender-based violence; 3)
promoting women’s participation and leadership in all forms of decision-making; and 4) strengthening gender-
responsive strategies in conflict prevention, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and disaster risk reduction
and recovery.

II. Applying the Signature Solution

a) Application across development contexts

Development Context 1: Advance poverty eradication in all its forms and dimensions

Successful poverty eradication requires that women’s unpaid care work is reduced and that they have access to
education, decent work and equitable wages, and access to and control of land and property, financial services
and credit, productive tools and resources, social care services and social protection. Basic infrastructure and
services such as water, sanitation and clean and affordable energy that are gender-responsive can reduce their
burden of unpaid care, and increase women’s economic opportunities. Gender-based violence, discriminatory
laws, policies, attitudes, practices and stereotypes must change for women and girls to participate fully in
economic, social and political life. Addressing overlapping dimensions of discrimination (youth, older women,
indigenous women, disabled women etc.) is critical for poverty eradication. UNDP will support accelerated
measures to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment (output 1.6.1) and implementation of
initiatives to prevent and respond to Sexual and Gender Based Violence (output 1.6.2).
Development Context 2: Accelerate structural transformations for sustainable development

Gender inequalities must be addressed to accelerate the structural transformations required to sustain
development progress. As such, active measures are needed to address structural barriers and discriminatory
practices that deny women their rights, restrict their economic, social and political opportunities and undermine
their resilience to conflict, environmental challenges, disasters and climate change. This requires implementing
measures to advance women’s political participation and decision-making power at all levels of public
administration; adopting legal, policy and institutional reforms to remove gender-based discrimination in laws;
increasing women’s access to quality employment, healthcare, education as well as access to, and control over,
assets, finance at scale and services; and ensuring development policies, plans, and budgets incorporate gender-
responsive solutions for sustainable development. UNDP will promote gender equality in social, economic and
political activity and decision making, by supporting the reform of laws and policies, as well as institutions
andpractices (output 2.6.1).
Development Context 3: Strengthen resilience to shocks and crisis

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are integral to building individual, institutional and societal
resilience. Systemic inequalities, especially those between women and men, exacerbate the impact of economic,
natural and political shocks and impede sustainable recovery and durable peace. Rigorous analysis of
differentiated impact of crises on women must inform gender-sensitive prevention and preparedness measures
and policy responses that build women’s resilience and help ensure shocks do not exacerbate gender inequalities.
30
This includes, for instance addressing women’s psychosocial and health needs, developing mechanisms for their
protection from SGBV, and expanding their rights to land, assets and natural resources. While women can be
disproportionately impacted by shocks and crises, they also have an important role to play as agents of change
for building resilience in their countries and communities. Post-conflict and post-disaster periods are crucial times
for consolidating structural transformation. UNDP will support efforts to ensure women participate in and lead
conflict and violent extremism prevention efforts, disaster risk reduction, and peacebuilding and recovery
processes so communities can “build back better,” respond to the needs of both women and men, and become
more resilient (output 3.6.1).

b) Interlinkages with other signature solutions

Signature solution 1: Keep people out of poverty


Gender equality is at the core of sustained poverty reduction. Studies have shown that economically empowering
women has a more direct benefit in socioeconomic indicators for the whole family than empowering men.
Furthermore, closing the gender gap in economic participation by 25% could increase global GDP by US$5.3 trillion
by 2025. 28 By increasing female labour participation, breaking down gender-based occupational segregation,
improving access to assets and leveling the playing field in terms of opportunities, rights, and elimination of
gender-based violence, women will be able to participate more actively in the economy and have a positive impact
in their communities.
Signature solution 2: Strengthen effective, inclusive and accountable governance
Efforts to address gender equality and women’s empowerment have a positive impact on the quality of
governance and the effectiveness of institutions. These measures include advancing women’s political
participation as voters and candidates, adopting legal, policy and institutional reforms to remove gender-based
discrimination in laws, labor markets and access to and control over assets and services. Response and prevention
of gender-based violence contributes to sustainable peace and security as it not only affects the victims and
survivors, but their families, communities as well as their productivity and participation in civic life.
Signature solution 3: Enhance national prevention and recovery capacities for resilient societies
Gender equality and women’s empowerment are integral to building individual, institutional and societal
resilience. Systemic inequalities, especially those between women and men in the economic, social and political
spheres, exacerbate the impact of economic, natural and political shocks, which impedes sustainable recovery
and durable peace. Strengthening the resilience of women enables countries to better respond to crisis and to
ensure they do not exacerbate gender inequalities (e.g. by increasing women’s unpaid work responsibilities or
increased gender-based violence). When crisis preparedness, prevention and recovery processes, including
restoration of governance institutions, meet the needs of women as well as men and advance gender equality,
communities can “build back better” and become more resilient.
Signature Solution 4: Promote nature-based solutions for a sustainable planet
Women play key roles in the management of natural resources, and are also primary custodians of knowledge on
nature-based solutions. They are key in agricultural production and for food security but are constrained by their
unequal access to property, assets and finance. Conversely nature-based solutions provide a direct pathway to
gender equality by enabling women to utilize and sustainably manage resources (e.g. cultivate, gather and/or
harvest crops, livestock and wild foods). Nature’s goods and services are important to women for subsistence,
livelihoods and jobs, and increasing access to resources, including water, is important for reducing their burden
of unpaid care work.

28
McKinsey Global Institute
31
Signature solution 5: Close the energy gap
When energy solutions, services and infrastructure are designed in a gender-responsive manner, chances of
adoption are increased. Access to clean and affordable energy has an important gender impact, creating better
conditions for education, business opportunities for women themselves and communities overall. It also reduces
the burden of unpaid care associated with fetching wood, for example, and enables time-saving household
technologies such as refrigeration. It reduces negative health effects of polluting energy sources and reduce the
care burden on women. It can also enhance safety and security in public spaces enabling women to participate
more actively in public life.

32