UNDP, Oxford Study Shows Benefits of Development ‘Accelerators’ for SDGs


Delia Paul

14 March 2019: Oxford University, in partnership with several other universities and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), released the results of research testing the effectiveness of development “accelerators” – specific interventions such as cash transfers, parenting support and safe schools – and their contributions to the SDGs. The study focuses on adolescents living with HIV in South Africa, and draws on standardized interviews and longitudinal data to measure the impacts of accelerators on 11 SDG-aligned targets.

Published in the medical journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, the study aimed to understand how UNDP’s accelerator approach affected a highly vulnerable group of adolescents, based on research conducted over an 18-month period. The findings suggest that the accelerator approach can promote achievement of several SDG targets simultaneously, in this case going beyond health impacts to positively influence school and community outcomes. The affected SDG targets include those relating to health (SDG 3), school enrolment and progress (SDG 4), and elimination of violence (SDG targets 5.2 and 16.1).

The study is the first output of a UK Government research initiative, the Global Challenges Research Hubs, which launched in December 2018. The Hubs initiative supports interdisciplinary collaboration to address sustainable development challenges, including improving human health, promoting gender equality and social justice, protecting and restoring natural ecosystems, advancing sustainable agriculture, and building disaster resilience.

The South Africa study was undertaken as a partnership between African and UK universities, UNDP, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) under the Accelerating Achievement in Africa’s Adolescents Hub.

The Global Research Hubs are supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a UK government body with a budget of £7 billion to support research in partnership with universities, research organizations, businesses, charities, and government. UKRI combines work that was previously done through various discipline-focused research councils. [Oxford University Press Release] [Publication: Improving lives by accelerating progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals for adolescents living with HIV: a prospective cohort study]


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