South Eastern Europe in review: Where citizens are the experts

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Filed under: Anticorruption Governance Social innovation

screenshot of app

More than 2,500 people are now using the “Be Responsible” grey economy-tracking mobile app in Montenegro

Whenever I discuss the governance challenges in South Eastern Europe, the discussion quickly boils down to one issue: (anti) corruption.

At the recently organized SELDI policy advocacy workshop, we went back to the basic principles of “good governance.”

This opened up a wider debate indicating that now may be the time to both reframe the issue and bring in some new approaches.

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Seeing hands in Armenia turn weakness into strength

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Filed under: Development Poverty Social inclusion

the blind masseurs of armenia

Seeing hands: When it comes to human rights and inclusion in Armenia, awareness is key

In the ancient Japanese martial art of jujutsu, the attacker never uses full force; rather, he or she exploits the other party’s weakness.

The attacker must understand the opponent, calculate their force, appreciate the strengths, and notice the shortcomings.

Only then can each move be focused and truly effective.

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The confidence question? Meet the investment lady

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Filed under: Gender equality Peace and security Social inclusion

mayor elena josan in moldova

Meet the mayor: Read more about how inequality between men and women affects development (Photos: Natalia Costas/UNDP Moldova)

Is the problem of gender inequality being compounded by a confidence gap?

A recent article in The Atlantic says yes – evidence suggests that women are less self-assured than men—and that to succeed in today’s world, it takes as much confidence as it does competence.

We thought about this in Moldova where men hold most elected offices, and women are acutely underrepresented in leadership positions across most sectors.

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Weathering the storm: Reflections from the Balkans

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Filed under: Climate change Development Disaster response Environment

Helen Clark and Cihan Sultanoglu

Building back better: Helen Clark and the author surveying the damages in Smederevska Palanka

Last week I accompanied UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, on a trip to Serbia.

We went to see for ourselves the damage wrought by the floods that struck in May. The most catastrophic natural disaster in the Balkans in over a century, the floods led to over 50 deaths, with thousands displaced and left homeless.

Even now, long after the waters have receded, large numbers of people remain in shelters, unable to return home.

To make matters even worse, much of the infrastructure in the affected areas – roads, hospitals, bridges – has been completely destroyed.

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Development of, by, and for the people: Cairo comes to Pristina and Podgorica

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Filed under: Development Guest posts Social inclusion

nadine in montenegro

Nadine in Podgorica: See some of the game-changing projects from our offices in Kosovo* and Montenegro

Recently, I got a pretty awesome offer.

I was asked about the prospect of leading UNDP in Egypt’s energy and environment team on new and innovative practices.

This prospect came with a second, equally exciting opportunity: Did I want to visit the country offices in Montenegro and Kosovo to see how they’ve been doing development differently?

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The gentle art of foresight: How re-perceiving the present can redesign the future

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation

Noah Raford talking

It’s Wack: The author in Istanbul explaining foresight methodologies of luminaries in the field like Pierre Wack (Photo: Tuna Ozcan)

The word “foresight” is defined as the ability to see ahead. It can be fun, however, to consider the literal definition as well, which is “before seeing.”

What happens before seeing?

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Black gold and its dividends: How Azerbaijan is avoiding the oil curse

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Filed under: Central Asia Development Social inclusion

young participants in post 2015 talks

UNDP is finding out what citizens want in the second round of Post-2015 consultations in Azerbaijan

What are types of challenges do resource-dependent countries tend to face?

Twenty years after signing the ‘Contract of the Century’, Azerbaijan has emerged as a regional power with a growing economy and a developing infrastructure.

Now, the government is working hard to transfer the success of the nation’s oil industry to the development of its workforce.

To avoid the paradox of plenty, Azerbaijan knows that it cannot rely on oil alone.

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Hacking for transparency in Pristina

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Filed under: Anticorruption Development 2.0 Governance Social innovation

Friday the 13th got off to a pretty auspicious start if you ask me.

It was June and and for two and a half days, fifteen teams of young innovators put their heads together to come up with digital solutions to make Pristina more transparent.

Throughout the process they received support from on-site mentors at the Innovation Centre Kosovo, and were provided with a nice, big working space to facilitate the free flow of ideas.

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Checking our shoe size: Reducing the carbon footprint of our health programmes

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Filed under: Environment Health HIV

child under net

We can now apply these methods of greenhouse gas accounting far beyond Europe and Central Asia (Photo: Joydeep Mukherjee)

Climate change is everyone’s problem – and we are stepping up.

UNDP is fully committed to reducing the carbon footprint of all programmes.

When it comes to HIV, health and development - we’re working to deliver the vital services that millions count on - while at the same time minimizing their environmental impacts.

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International Gun Destruction Day: Reflections from the Balkans

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Filed under: Development

In the Balkans, small arms are widely available.

From weddings to New Year celebrations, celebratory gunfire is a common occurrence.

Growing up in my neighbourhood in Belgrade, small arms were a common sight. Disputes between rivals, neighbours, or even family members all too often ended with the use of weapons.

Even today, stories of shoot-outs and killings in some of Belgrade’s most famous nightspots are a regular occurrence. The same holds true of much of the region.

These events still make the news, but no one is shocked anymore.

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