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7 Reasons 2017 Was A Good Year

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In 2017, two of UNDP India’s most exciting programmes went wider to reach more and more people, helping them acquire skills to build careers, and ensuring that the next generation of Indians is protected against preventable disease.

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In a short span of two years, Disha (a partnership between the India Development Foundation and UNDP, supported by IKEA Foundation, that aims to support one million underprivileged women in India to learn marketable skills and connect with income opportunities) has emerged as a powerful collaboration between stakeholders. More private corporations have come on board to train and employ more young women.

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EVIN – the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network launched in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India – has widened to more geographies to include the most hard-to-reach terrains, supporting the government’s Universal Immunization Programme in 12 states. By harnessing the power of new technology, eVIN can help ensure the timely availability of necessary vaccines across the country. In 2017, eVIN’s innovative use of smartphones was recognized at the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, where it won the GSMA Asia Mobile Award.

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In Nagaland, a partnership between the state government and UNDP, supported by the Global Environment Facility, has helped empower local communities to adopt sustainable farming practices that improve soil fertility. Vegetation cover on over 30,000 hectares of land has improved, allowing women farmers in particular to connect better to local markets, promoting livelihoods and raising incomes.

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On World Environment Day, UNDP partnered with award-winning environmental journalist Bahar Dutt to document, among other activities, the boardwalk at the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary in Andhra Pradesh on the east coast of India. Spread over 23,000 hectares, it is the second largest stretch of mangrove forests in the country. With the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, the aim is to remove the key barriers that prevent environmental considerations from being factored into major production activities.

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At the same time, fishing cats – whose numbers indicate the health of a mangrove ecosystem – have multiplied. New efforts to conserve biodiversity include the Secure Himalaya partnership launched by the Environment Ministry with UNDP in October this year – a $72.3 million attempt to curb the smuggling and poaching of snow leopards in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.

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In partnership with the Ministry of Rural Development, UNDP, through the Governance & Accelerated Livelihoods (GOALS) project, helps promote affordable housing for the rural poor. The programme offers families a wider range of choices in terms of housing designs, materials and construction technologies. These choices are tailored to local conditions, aim to enhance user benefits and reduce the environmental footprint of housing. Some of these designs came to life in Maharashtra, on the west coast, with families using government assistance from the Prime Minister's Housing For All programme to construct homes that are affordable, resilient and responsive to their needs.

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Working with the Government of Odisha through GOALS, UNDP supported women farmers cultivate and sell mangoes, helping them expand their incomes four times over the last year. Producer groups set up by the Odisha Livelihoods Mission help farmers benefit from scale, organizing them into community entrepreneurship units and providing training. For many women, this has meant training in pre- and post-harvest techniques, book-keeping, grading, and sorting and packaging of produce to increase the value of their products.

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On a two-day visit to India, the United Nations Under-Secretary General, Vice-Chair UN Development Group and UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, met with senior government officials (including Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley) and key business leaders to explore opportunities for future collaboration between UNDP and India. He also explored the potential for a deeper partnership between the Government of India and UNDP, with the new country programme 2018-2022 being formulated in close consultation with the government, and aligned to national priorities.

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