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Best of UNICEF research 2014

Each year the Office of Research-Innocenti reviews submissions for the best research being published across all UNICEF offices: country programmes, National Committees, Regional Offices and headquarters divisions. The purpose of this activity is to showcase and recognize high-quality, high-impact research being done in the organization. At the end of the process each year the Office of Research-Innocenti issues a publication containing summaries of the papers considered to be of particular merit. In 2014, the summaries cover issues concerning child protection, cash transfers, ECD, maternal health, inclusive education, and WASH.

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Best of UNICEF research 2015

In addition to recognizing high quality research, the Best of UNICEF Research process aims to share findings with UNICEF colleagues and with the wider community concerned with achieving child rights. This year the competition received 99 applications With global reach, the 12 projects in the final selection cover many of the ‘traditional’ areas of UNICEF work (health, nutrition, sanitation and education), while also highlighting issues that have more recently gained prominence within the global policy agenda, such as social transfers, violence against children and school bullying, and various forms of inequality or exclusion. This publication provides summaries of these research projects, including methodology and results.

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Mainstreaming human rights in development: stories from the field

Human rights mainstreaming has become part of the core work of the United Nations development system. A United Development Group Human Rights Mainstreaming Mechanism (UNDG-HRM) was established in 2009 at the request of the United Nations Secretary-General. This mechanism aims to bolster system-wide coherence, collaboration, and support to Resident Coordinators and United Nations country teams, so that they can better provide support to Member States to strengthen national capacity for the promotion and protection of human rights. This publication is a first step in collecting the experiences of UN country teams in integrating human rights into their development work. The six case studies presented herein reflect the growing number of United Nations country teams supporting governments to fulfill international human rights commitments and to integrate human rights into national policies and programmes.

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The Millennium Development Goals report 2015

This report presents data and analysis evaluating the progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It proves that, with targeted interventions, sound strategies, adequate resources and political will, even the poorest countries can make dramatic and unprecedented progress. The report also acknowledges uneven achievements and shortfalls in many areas. The work is not complete, and it must continue in the new development era.

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The effect of gender equality programming on humanitarian outcomes

Despite a number of developments in policy and practice aimed at integrating gender equality and women’s empowerment into humanitarian action, what remains missing is a strong evidence base that demonstrates just how gender equality programming is essential to ensuring an effective, inclusive, rights-based humanitarian response. To address this gap, UN Women—on behalf of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group on Gender in Humanitarian Action and with co-funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada—in 2013 commissioned the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex to undertake a research study, titled “The Effect of Gender Equality Programming on Humanitarian Outcomes”. Its aim was to assess whether or not such programming has improved humanitarian outcomes and, if so, why. This report presents the findings of this research, based on interviews with more than 2,000 crisis-affected households gathered for four case studies conducted in Kenya (the Dadaab refugee camps and the county of Turkana), Nepal and the Philippines. Drawing on both the qualitative and quantitative data collected, researchers were able to develop a unique new methodology for assessing the degree to which gender equality and women's empowerment has been integrated into humanitarian programmes, using inputs from the beneficiaries themselves. The report presents overall findings, draws comparative conclusions across the four case studies and discusses practical recommendations for integrating gender equality programming in future humanitarian interventions in ways that strengthen effectiveness and inclusiveness.

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Hearts and minds: women of India speak

This report acknowledges the “lived experiences” of women and girls in India at the grassroots level and ensures that the voices of those who remain socially, economically and geographically marginalized are meaningfully reflected in the emerging post-2015 development discourse and agenda. The analysis contained in this report is based on in-depth interviews with women and focus-group discussions with almost 200 elected women representatives. The report addresses issues that resonate with women all over the globe, such as women's empowerment, poverty, employment, health and education. The key findings from this report can be used to influence the global agenda setting, ensuring that the post-2015 framework does not make the same mistakes that the MDGs did.

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Final external evaluation report:“Dalit women’s livelihoods accountability initiative” in India

This publication provides findings from the recent evaluation of the 'Dalit Women's Livelihood Accountability Initiative' supported by the UN Women's Fund for Gender Equality and illustrates how the programme contributed to changing the lives of marginalised Dalit women in Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh in India. As a result of this programme thousands of Dalit women are more socially, economically and politically empowered and are now benefiting from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. The report also details the strategies used and outlines the lessons learned and recommendations that can support similar initiatives to hold governments to account for their commitments to gender equality around the world.

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Towards gender equality in humanitarian response: addressing the needs of women and men in Gaza

The already grave humanitarian situation caused by the 18-month-long blockade of the Gaza Strip was compounded by Israel's 23-day military offensive in December 2008 and January 2009. The social and economic repercussions spread across all sectors of Gazan society, but were also mediated by men's and women's gender roles and identities. Ignoring the different needs, capacities and contributions of women, girls, boys and men can mean that some segments of the population are overlooked, sometimes with destructive consequences. In the rush to provide humanitarian assistance, the appeal to pay attention to gender issues may seem irrelevant. However, it is crucial to ensure that the most necessary and appropriate assistance is offered to the population as a whole. This guidebook sets forth standards for the integration of gender issues from the outset of a complex emergency, aiming to enable humanitarian services to reach their target audience with the maximum positive effect. The main framework for this guidebook is based on the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) handbook on gender and humanitarian action, and it builds on the gender needs assessment survey conducted by the UN Inter-Agency Gender Task Force in March 2009. Main issues that arose from that survey were subsequently discussed in focus groups in various communities in Gaza in April and May 2009, organized by UNIFEM.The findings of the focus groups form the core of the data used in this guidebook.

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The future women want: a vision of sustainable development for all

Twenty years ago in Rio de Janiero, UN Member States unanimously agreed that “women have a vital role in environmental management and development. Their full participation is therefore essential to achieve sustainable development. Twenty years later, we still have a long way to go. In this publication UN Women highlights the commitments made on gender equality, and explores women's contributions to sustainable development and policy around the world. Focusing on priority areas—safe drinking water and sanitation; food security and sustainable agriculture; sustainable cities; decent work and the green economy; health and education—it details the actions needed to establish a gender-responsive development framework, and ensure an enabling environment for women's full participation in sustainable development.

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Policy and operational messages to support UN Country Teams in integrating human rights into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda

The messages in this document are envisaged to provide a common understanding for the UN system on how human rights can be integrated and should inform the planning and programming process as well as policy guidance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The messages focus on: a) how to align the SDGs with the country’s existing human rights commitments; b) how to fulfill the pledge to ‘leave no one behind’ and ‘reach the furthest behind first’; c) how to ensure active and meaningful participation in the preparation of the national SDG action plans; and, d) how to build robust accountability frameworks in the implementation of these national plans.

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Mid-term review of the UN development assistance framework for Malawi (2008-2011)

In pursuit of economic growth and poverty reduction, the Malawi Government has articulated development goals in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS, 2006-2011), to which the UN’s Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF, 2008-2011) is aligned.The Mid-Term Review provides an opportunity for the UN country team to assess collective performance in respect of ‘delivering as one.’ The review has been carried out as a participatory, self-evaluation exercise focusing on UN programs and processes over the past two years; current MGDS-UNDAF alignment; and expected results for UNDAF implementation 2010/2011.

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Mainstreaming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: reference guide to UN country teams

This document is designed as a reference guide for UN Country Teams (UNCTs), under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinators, that wish to support Member States and national stakeholders in adapting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to national contexts (“mainstreaming”) while protecting its integrity. The document covers eight implementation guidance areas that can serve as the basis for UNCT assistance at the national level, sub-national and local levels.

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Country-level needs for SDG implementation in Europe and Central Asia

In view of its interconnectedness, the new agenda of SDGs will require holistic approaches and coherent action by global, regional and country level actors. In order to ensure interlinkages between the regional and country levels, the ECA Regional UNDG Team undertook a consultation with ECA UN Resident Coordinators (RCs) and Country Teams (UNCT) through a survey to identify needs and requirements at country level with regard to SDG implementation. This document presents the finding of the survey as well as conclusions drawn.

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Delivering together facility for sustainable development

With the growing call for the UN development system to go beyond business-as-usual coordination and rise to the challenge to support implementation of the more ambitious and integrated 2030 Agenda, United Nations Development Operations and Coordination Office (UNDOCO) has reviewed the data and practice evidence, as well as the policy and resource mechanisms at its disposal, and established the Delivering Together Facility for Sustainable Development (DTF), to be operational in 2017. The DTF is set up as a flexible funding mechanism to provide seed funds to RCs and UNCTs, to help them leverage joined-up UN development system’s efforts in support of Member States implementing the 2030 Agenda. This document presents the design features, strategic framework, implementation arrangements and fund management of the DTF, which will become operational in 2017.

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Towards gender equality through sanitation access

This discussion paper reviews the extensive literature on sanitation to show that inadequate access to this basic service prevents the realization of a range of human rights and of gender equality. We recognize that “dignity” is a highly culture- and gender-specific term; we therefore argue that sanitation for all—sanitation that serves all genders equally—must be designed and planned explicitly for the unique needs of women and girls. We cover sanitation design, planning and financing for hygienic defecation, and for relieving oneself during the day at work or school. These needs are sometimes euphemistically referred to as nature’s “long call” (defecation) and “short call” (urination); the absence of safe facilities for these needs disproportionately affects women and girls. In addition, women and adolescent girls menstruate, and they need safe sanitation services to manage, hygienically and with dignity, this “monthly call”. We review the findings of the small but rapidly growing literature on menstrual hygiene management, with emphasis on menstruation management and a girl’s right to education. Finally, we review the work and life conditions of those working the “back-end” of the sanitation system, such as manual scavengers and sanitation workers. The paper concludes that safe sanitation is a gateway service for dignity, health and gender equality. In particular, sanitation in public or shared spaces must become a priority-planning sector for sustainable development.

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Compendium of good practices in training for gender equality

The Compendium of Good Practices in Training for Gender Equality aims to make both an empirical and an analytical contribution to the field of training for gender equality. The Compendium offers in-depth information on 10 different good practices, including detailed outlines of training courses, examples of dealing with challenges and a collection of tools and activities for use in training for gender equality.

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Investing in gender-equal sustainable development

This paper develops an agenda for investing in sustainable development, with particular emphasis on local priorities, poverty alleviation and gender equality. Sustainable development can take many different pathways, even within the dominant ‘three-pillar’ paradigm (economy-environment-society) of sustainability. The paper thus argues that any sustainable development pathway must include an explicit commitment to gender equality in both its conceptualization and implementation. It highlights four ‘mundane’ sectors in which investments at scale could be potentially transformative and should therefore be substantially increased: domestic water, safe sanitation, clean(er)-burning cookstoves, and domestic electricity services.

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Millennium Development Goals: 2015 progress chart

This chart presents the final assessment of progress towards selected key targets relating to each MDG. The assessment provides two types of information: progress trends and levels of development, which are based on information available as of June 2015.

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Looking back, leaping forward: moving from MDGs to SDGs in Europe and Central Asia

This report takes stock of the progress achieved in Europe and Central Asia under the MDGs with the aim to chart the elements that are crucial for a successful transition to the SDGs. It draws on the experiences derived from the implementation of the MDGs, but also addresses the new challenges and opportunities for integrated interventions that come with the much more complex 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The report is structured into three parts. First, it takes stock of the progress achieved in the implementation of the MDGs. It aims to identify the main challenges at the beginning of the MDG period, how these were addressed and what has been achieved. The second section places the MDGs in the context of the wider SDG framework by identifying the unfinished agenda under the MDGs and discussing how the areas covered by the MDGs are now reflected in the 2030 Agenda. The final section describes some of the initial steps that governments in the region are taking to implement the 2030 Agenda and the ways in which the regional UN system can support these efforts. It concludes by identifying and assessing a number of risks that may influence SDG achievement and stressing the importance of collaboration for successful implementation.

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Standard operating procedures for countries adopting the 'Delivering as One' approach

Following the implementation of the ‘Delivering as One’ approach in 8 pilot countries, a second generation of “Delivering as One” was called for in 2012 and more than forty countries have formally adopted it. Efforts under 'Delivering as one' have now matured to the point where this set of Standard Operating Procedures is developed. They will enable the United Nations to function more effectively and foster greater collaboration and teamwork. The document is structured according to the core elements of the ‘Delivering As One’ approach: One Programme, Common Budgetary Framework (and One Fund), One Leader, Operating as One and Communicating as One.

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The Sustainable Development Goals are coming to life: stories of country implementation and UN support

This publication provides a glimpse into the early efforts of 16 countries across regions to bring the global SDGs to life, and the role United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) play in the process. It illustrates how these countries are beginning to integrate the 2030 Agenda into visions, strategies and plans at the national, sub-national and local levels. The country efforts include raising public awareness, seeking engagement of different stakeholders, adapting the SDGs to national and local contexts, increasing coherence across policy areas and between levels of government, assessing risk and strengthening monitoring and accountability mechanisms.

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The Sustainable Development Goals are coming to life: stories of country implementation and UN support

This publication provides a glimpse into the early efforts of 16 countries across regions to bring the global SDGs to life, and the role United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) play in the process. It illustrates how these countries are beginning to integrate the 2030 Agenda into visions, strategies and plans at the national, sub-national and local levels. The country efforts include raising public awareness, seeking engagement of different stakeholders, adapting the SDGs to national and local contexts, increasing coherence across policy areas and between levels of government, assessing risk and strengthening monitoring and accountability mechanisms.

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Adaptation to climate change in the Zarqa river basin: development of policy options and integrated water resources management (IWRM)

This report summarizes the results of the second objective of the project “Review opportunities and barriers to adaptation to climate change risks” and included three major tasks: 1) Review national water strategy in Jordan, 2) Identify gaps in these policies, and 3) Propose policy options for adaptation to climate change to be adopted by policy makers. This report provides an overview of the prevailing legal and institutional framework of the water sector in Jordan in relation to climate change adaptation in the Zarqa River Basin. It also proposes a water policy for Jordan and aids the country in moving toward sustainable water resources management. It is argued that the type of climate change policy proposed could help in reducing the climate change impact of increasing temperature and decreasing precipitation.

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Adaptation to climate change In the Zarqa river basin: opportunities and barriers

This report’s main objective is to compile adaptation measures that are relevant to water availability and quality of water resources in the Zerqa River Basin (ZRB) that can be considered best-practices for adaptation to climate change. By doing this, it aims to support the efforts of the Government of Jordan through the Ministry of Environment to incorporate Integrated Water Resource management into climate change adaptation in the water sector. This report investigates the barriers and constraints that need to be assessed to overcome suggested adaptation measures. Based on a general classification of adaptation barriers, potential barriers to implementation of adaptation measures have been analysed and evaluated according to their degree of severity.

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Water resource management and water supply for the poor in the Philippines

The MDG-Fund, in collaboration with the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the National Economic and Development Authority, and the National Water Resource Board, brought stakeholders together through a series of activities and forums that aimed to identify issues in the water sector and corresponding policy actions to address such issues. This document integrates the views, opinions, and aspirations of the different stakeholders as well as the recommendations and policy actions that are deemed necessary to provide greater access to water by the poor. Annex 1 includes a summary of outputs of one of the breakout sessions.

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