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In quest of inclusive progress: exploring intersecting inequalities in human development

For 16 countries with appropriate data, this paper seeks to ascertain to what extent wealth status, urban/rural place of residence and ethnicity – and overlaps between them – explain inequalities in education and health; and how these inequalities have changed over time. The focus is on women’s years of education and on the proportion of children in a household who have died.

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Piecing together the MDG puzzle: domestic policy, government spending and performance

Policy-makers in most of the developing countries surveyed report that the MDGs were influential in setting priorities domestically. Analysis of the education and health sectors suggests these statements are not merely tokenistic as countries reporting high influence saw increases in budget allocations. However while many countries experienced increases in government spending in social sectors over the MDG period, the majority still spend less than the recommended international benchmarks. Significant increases in government allocations will therefore be required to match the ambition of the SDGs. Recommendations for the SDG period include ensuring better data on domestic use of targets, government spending and performance are available to better assess their influence over the next 15 years and ensure the 'leave no one behind' agenda will be fulfilled.

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National MDG implementation: lessons for the SDG era

As we approach the deadline for the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and the start of the Sustainable Development Goals, at the end of 2015, this paper asks: how did governments respond at the national level to the set of global development goals in the form of the MDGs? Using five case study countries: Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Nigeria and Liberia, to reflect a mix of regions, income classifications and MDG performance, the paper draws out common trends and suggests five lessons for the post-2015 era.

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Rebuilding adolescent girls' lives: mental health and psychosocial support in conflict-affected Gaza, Liberia and Sri Lanka

This study explored the linkages between mental health, psychosocial well-being and social norms in the fragile and post-conflict settings of Gaza, Liberia and Sri Lanka with a particular focus on adolescent girls (10-19 years). In particular, the study explored the extent to which services and community and household responses to mental health and psychosocial problems in these settings are sufficiently informed by an understanding of the context, as well as gender inequalities and dynamics, and social norms.

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Political settlements and pathways to universal health coverage

With the recent ratification of Sustainable Development Goal Target 3.8, universal health coverage (UHC) has consolidated its position atop the global public health agenda. However, as a growing body of technical and political analysis reveals, uncertainties remain over the ability of all countries to achieve UHC, and the pathways they should take to get there. This paper reviews some of the existing political economy analysis (PEA) of UHC, before presenting political settlements analysis (PSA) as an alternative, yet complementary, approach. It outlines a model that links political settlement type to UHC progress via political commitment, policy pathways, funding and governance arrangements, and provides some hypotheses about how fast progress to UHC will be under different political settlement types. It also argues that UHC champions should adapt their ways of working to fit the political settlement, distinguishing between ‘government-supporting’, ‘government-substituting’ and ‘government-connecting’ strategies. It then presents case study evidence from six low- and lower-middle-income countries to help assess these claims. It concludes that, while the evidence of a relationship between political settlement and UHC progress is quite strong, the hypothesis about political settlement type and ways of working requires further research.

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Mental health funding and the SDGs: what now and who pays?

In 2015 the world took a huge step forward by including mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which set the global agenda for the next three decades. But despite the huge burden it places on global health, it receives a fraction of the funding of other diseases. This report provides an overview of who is currently funding mental health and who isn’t, but could be. It is a synthesis of research previously conducted in this field and analyses both existing and new funders. It highlights how little information there is on what donors are spending on mental health globally, what types of activities are funded and why funding mental health delivers a variety of benefits, and it suggests how to frame the issue to encourage more investment.

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Child poverty, inequality and demography: Why sub-Saharan Africa matters for the Sustainable Development Goals

In this publication we examine the implications of demographic trends in Africa for the changing age profile of world poverty – and for the region's development prospects. Investing in opportunities for Africa’s children could yield major returns for economic growth and human development. Education is critical. Delivering decent quality learning for all is a proven catalyst for development. We also highlight the expansion of reproductive health care, promotion of gender equity, measures to reduce early marriage, and cash transfers targeting child poverty as critical ingredients for change. African governments and the wider international community could be doing far more in these areas. With the right mix of policies in place, Africa could accelerate the pace of demographic transition – and reap a dividend from a rising generation of youth. There are valuable lessons to be drawn from other regions and some countries in Africa itself. But governments need to wake up to the demographic opportunity as a matter of urgency.

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Projecting progress: the SDGs in Latin America and the Caribbean

This paper presents Latin America and the Caribbean’s (LAC) likely progress across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda, if trends continue on their current trajectories. There are significant disparities across the globe in progress both between and within countries; LAC is no exception. There are a number of disparities across sub-regions and there are disparities within countries – ethnicity, for example, is a crucial factor in determining whether someone is likely to benefit from development gains. During the Millennium Development Goals era considerable gains were made in a number of countries in LAC. However, already strong outcomes in some areas compared with other developing regions will make continued progress towards the new goals difficult.

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Leather sector reform in Bangladesh

This paper examines the Asia Foundation’s efforts to support change in Bangladesh’s leather sector. Working closely with local partners, the Asia Foundation team has specifically supported efforts to move tanneries out of a dangerously polluted location to a modern industrial park that will improve compliance with health and environmental protection standards, and potentially lead to growth in the sector. As of the publication date, this critical relocation has already begun. This case study lays out the real-time decisions and processes which drove the strategy and implementation of this project, providing useful insights into how politically astute and flexible programs can be successfully implemented. This case has emerged from an action research process, which was led by a researcher from the Overseas Development Institute and conducted over the course of almost two years. By capturing and analysing the experiences of the programme team in Bangladesh, the paper provides practical insights for those in the development community intending to implement similar kinds of programming.

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Health, migration and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This briefing presents an overview of how international migration can have an impact on the sustainable development goal for health and well-being. It describes the health needs and health service delivery for migrants and refugees in different settings and highlights the ways they may be excluded in national policies relating to health and from specific policies that work towards achieving the Agenda 2030 on sustainable development.

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Sustainable cities: internal migration, jobs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

This briefing presents an overview of how rural to urban migration (internal migration) impacts on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular Goals 8 and 11. Despite the positive impact that internal migration can have on urban migrants, their families, and their 'host' city, urban migrants are often neglected in government policies. This briefing therefore presents a number of policy recommendations which aim to capture this potential and contribute to achieving the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

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Leaving no one behind: a critical path for the first 1,000 days of the Sustainable Development Goals

Leaving no one behind is the moral issue of our age, and is at the heart of an ambitious blueprint for action: the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One specific goal is ‘ending poverty, in all its forms, everywhere’, but the SDGs also aim to tackle marginalisation. The SDG outcome document specifies that the goals should be met for all segments of society, with an aim to reach those furthest behind first. Now the focus is on implementation, particularly at the national level. This report not only makes the case for early action, it also quantifies its benefits. The report outlines the actions that governments can take in the first 1,000 days of the SDGs to respond to what poor people want and to deliver for the most marginalised people and groups. The evidence shows that achieving the SDGs and the ambition to leave no one behind will become far more difficult the longer governments delay.

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Projecting progress: are cities on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030?

This report explores for the first time the scale of the challenge for 20 cities across the world to reach selected targets set out in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). More than half of the targets included will require a profound acceleration of efforts if they are to be achieved by the majority of selected cities. Targets that are not on course to be met by the majority of cities studied include ending child malnutrition, achieving full and productive female employment, access to adequate housing and access to drinking water and sanitation. The report makes a series of recommendations to increase progress towards the SDGs, including: 1) Central governments and donors should work to strengthen local governments’ capacities; 2) Government and city administrations should invest more in ways to monitor progress on the SDGs; 3) Statistical offices’ and cities’ information systems should improve the data available.

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Community based health insurance schemes in Africa: the case of Rwanda

Community-based health insurance schemes (Mutuelles) in Rwanda are one of the largest experiments in community based risk-sharing mechanisms in Sub-Saharan Africa for health related problems. This study examines the impact of the program on demand for modern health care, mitigation of out-of-pocket catastrophic health expenditure and social inclusiveness based on a nationally representative household survey using traditional regression approach and matching estimator popular in the evaluation literature. Our findings suggest that Mutuelles have been successful in increasing utilization of modern health care services and reducing catastrophic health related expenditure. According to our preferred method, higher utilization of health care services was found among the insure non-poor than insured poor households, with comparable effect in reducing health-related expenditure shocks.

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The unintended consequences of agricultural input intensification: human health implications of agro-chemical use in Sub-Saharan Africa

While agro-chemicals such as pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides are often promoted as inputs that increase agricultural productivity by limiting a range of pre-harvest losses, their use may have negative human health and labor productivity implications. We explore the relationship between agro-chemical use and the value of crop output at the plot level and a range of human health outcomes at the household level using nationally representative panel survey data from four Sub-Saharan African countries where more than ten percent of main season cultivators use agro-chemicals. We find that agro-chemicals use is associated with increased value of harvest, with similar magnitudes across three of the four countries under study, but is also associated with increases in costs associated with human illness, including increased health expenditures related to illness and time lost from work due to sickness in recent past. We motivate our empirical work with a simple dynamic optimization model that clearly shows the role that farmer understanding of these feedbacks can play in optimizing the use of agro-chemicals. The central role of information in determining that optimum underscores the role of agricultural and public health extension as modern input intensification proceeds in the region.

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Health in Africa over the next 50 years

This report reviews the progress made in the health sector in Africa over the last 50 years, in terms of health outcomes, and particularly in the utilization of, and access to, healthcare services. The current challenges faced by the health sector are thoroughly assessed, focusing on the progress made toward the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need to establish more robust health systems, the problems of equity in access to and use of health services, sustainable health financing, and the quality of healthcare service provision. The discussion lays the groundwork for projections regarding the future of healthcare in Africa over the next 50 years. The analysis looks at how the sector is likely to evolve and the emerging trends, the key features of the post-MDG agenda, the future of health financing, and the methods that might be deployed to strengthen the system and human resources.

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Assessing progress in Africa toward the Millennium Development Goals

This report, produced jointly by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union (AU), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), assesses the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa. Africa has seen an acceleration in economic growth, established ambitious social safety nets and designed policies for boosting education and tackling HIV and other diseases. It has also introduced women’s quotas in parliament, leading the way internationally on gender equality, and increased gender parity in primary schools. Although overall poverty rates are still hovering around 48 percent, according to the most recent estimates, most countries have made progress on at least one goal. Much more work lies ahead to ensure living standards improve for all African women and men. While economic growth has been relatively strong, it has not been rapid or inclusive enough to create jobs. Similarly, many countries have managed to achieve access to primary schooling; however, considerable issues of quality and equity need to be addressed.

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African human development report 2016

Gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa on average $US95 billion a year, peaking at US$105 billion in 2014– or six percent of the region’s GDP – jeopardising the continent’s efforts for inclusive human development and economic growth, according to the Africa Human Development Report 2016. The report analyses the political, economic and social drivers that hamper African women’s advancement and proposes policies and concrete actions to close the gender gap. These include addressing the contradiction between legal provisions and practice in gender laws; breaking down harmful social norms and transforming discriminatory institutional settings; and securing women’s economic, social and political participation. Deeply-rooted structural obstacles such as unequal distribution of resources, power and wealth, combined with social institutions and norms that sustain inequality are holding African women, and the rest of the continent, back. The report estimates that a 1 percent increase in gender inequality reduces a country’s human development index by 0.75 percent.

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A compendium of case studies on gender mainstreaming initiatives in UN-Habitat 2008-2012

Whilst we recognize that much work has been done in the main-streaming of gender equality in human settlement, UN-Habitat acknowledges that much more is required. This compendium of case studies is designed to bring into one document some of the gender main-streaming initiatives UN-Habitat implemented from 2008 to 2012. The case studies provide the most comprehensive examples of the field implementation of the UN-Habitat Gender Equality Action Plan of 2008 to 2013. The projects and programmes compendium brings recognition to UN-Habitat’s efforts to advance the internationally agreed agenda for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women. The compendium serves as a good start towards capturing the successful efforts under way to advance the agenda on equality and empowerment of women. In addition, the compendium serves as a learning and resource tool to UN-Habitat and its partners

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The state of China's cities 2014/15

As a report with joint efforts by China Science Center of International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, China Association of Mayors, Urban Planning Society of China and UN-Habitat, this publication integrates both the guidelines of the Third Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee and the Central Urbanization Work Conference and includes new concepts, ideas, measures and innovative cases gathered from various places in China.

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Global report on urban health; equitable, healthier cities for sustainable development

This timely report comes at a decisive moment in history where we can reshape urban environments and health systems for the majority of the world’s population that live in cities. Enabling this transformation are the SDGs, which have reconfigured how governments and the international community need to plan and implement actions to eradicate poverty and inequality, create inclusive economic growth, preserve the planet and improve population health. Central to this quest is to create equitable, healthier cities for sustainable development. A focus on urban health not only recognizes global demographic trends but the inextricable and inter-dependent links between health, economic productivity, social stability and inclusion, climate change and healthy environments, and an enabling built environment and governance. At the core of the dynamic and transformative nature of cities are people – healthy people. In order to pursue this goal and the SDGs, we must ensure that all citizens and communities, regardless of income, social status, or gender, have access to the quality health services they need with sufficient financial protection.

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21 projects compendium: implementing the new urban agenda

For the last 40 years, UN-Habitat has been working to improve the lives of people in human settlements around the world. As our population has grown, so has the number of people living in cities, towns and villages on all continents. With around 3 billion more people expected to live in urban areas by 2050, it is more critical than ever that we plan and manage the way our cities expand. This publication demonstrates just a snapshot of UN-Habitat's overall portfolio and represents the ways in which, along with their partners, their work positively impacts the quality of life for people around the world. Working together we can, and must, promote economically, socially and environmentally sustainable urbanization and a better urban future for all.

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Making Philippine cities child friendly: voices of children in poor communities

The study analyses how the Philippines’ national Child Friendly Movement, which has engaged government, NGOs, civil society, children and UNICEF, has enhanced the capacity of local governments, communities and young people to fulfil the rights of the poorest children. The study uses participatory methodologies and reflects the viewpoint of children and the community. It reveals that in areas where the Child Friendly Cities strategy was adopted, greater attention is paid to the most excluded and vulnerable groups and interventions are developed on a wider spectrum of children’s rights. Beyond providing insights on concrete ways in which child rights are bring promoted at local level, it provides recommendations on how the fulfilment of child rights can be further enhanced by municipal governments.

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Changing a harmful social convention: female genital mutilation/cutting

Every year, three million girls and women are subjected to genital mutilation/cutting, a dangerous and potentially life-threatening procedure that causes unspeakable pain and suffering. Not only is it practiced among communities in Africa and the Middle East, but also in immigrant communities throughout the world. Moreover, recent data reveal that it occurs on a much larger scale than previously thought. It continues to be one of the most persistent, pervasive and silently endured human rights violations. This Innocenti Digest examines the prevalence of FGM/C and its social dynamics. It provides an explanation as to why the practice persists and of the elements necessary for its abandonment. It also takes stock of progress to date, identifies what works and what does not, and provides direction regarding the most successful strategies to promote the abandonment of FGM/C. Combining concrete field experience with tested academic theory, the Digest provides a practical tool to bring about positive change for girls and women.

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Caring for children affected by HIV and AIDS

This IRC Insight highlights the urgent need to support families and communities to care for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The report looks at how the epidemic undermines children's health and schooling, and reinforces marginalization and deprivation. It explores the options for the care of children in communities affected by the AIDS epidemic. Beginning with the premise that the parent-child bond is the basic building block of child development and the family the basic unit of society, the report looks at ways to keep the family together for as long as possible. It then goes on to explore alternative care arrangements beyond the immediate family. Settings range from care by the extended family, to different forms of fostering in the community, through adoption and placement in residential institutions, which should be used as a last resort.

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