How do we avoid taking two steps back?


Filed under: Disaster response Human rights and rule of law Migration and remittances Peace and security

Refugees board trains in FYR Macedonia.

Our region has seen countless examples of how development brings a country one step forward, only to have disasters, conflicts and other crises take it two steps back.

Whether the armed conflict in Ukraine, the floods in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, or the migration and refugee crisis that has hit Southeast Europe, it’s evident that humanitarian and development action are two ends of the same spectrum. Read more »

Can we save the snow leopard?

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Filed under: Environment

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The newly established park in the the Toguz-Toro region of Kyrgyzstan is a place of incredible beauty.

But beyond its rich landscape and abundance of endangered species, it is also home to countless mysterious legends.

The mystical and enigmatic stories of Kan-Achu, well known to its locals, have a fairly consistent message: All species in nature play a role.

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When it comes to law reform, think long-term: Plan ahead, plan better


Filed under: Human rights and rule of law


In the Kyrgyz Republic, there are 172,800 people with disabilities – corresponding to 2.9 percent of the population.

Out of these, 28,200 are children living in orphanages.

The average amount of the monthly benefit is of US$ 35 and represents a significant financial burden on the state.

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The hard facts: How do we prevent violent extremism in Europe and Central Asia?


Filed under: Development Human rights and rule of law Peace and security

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The threat of violent extremism and terrorist attacks is of increasing concern within the Europe and Central Asia region.

Since 1992, the region has seen a total of 6,125 attacks in 1800 locations.

At 519 incidents, Turkey’s Istanbul has faced the most attacks – more than twice the next location on the list – Grozny, Russian Federation with 219 attacks.

In Istanbul, most attacks came during the 1990’s, but both locations saw spikes in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In both cases, the high rates of terror attacks were the result of conflicts between the state and separatists.

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How do we combat environmental myths and misperceptions?


Filed under: Central Asia Environment Health Peace and security

Around 15,000 people live near or around the "yellow hill" in Taboshar, Tajikistan. Photo: European Commission

In Central Asia, after the Soviet Union’s collapse, uranium enrichment largely stopped in former Soviet countries like Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

This left behind “yellow hill” tailing sites storing huge amount of low grade processed uranium ore.

Water, soil, and air pollution due to tailings have had critical impact on everyday life for years in this region. Read more »

Crowdfunding for a warmer school in Tajikistan

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Environment

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70 percent of the population in Tajikistan lives in rural and mountainous areas, where electricity is available only for up to three hours a day.

At the same time, the country enjoys 280-330 sunny days a year.

It’s not rocket science figuring out that solar energy might be the perfect answer to Tajikistan’s energy challenges. 

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Reflecting on our experience, Part 2: The DON’Ts of Anti-Corruption

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Filed under: Anticorruption Development


Recently, we blogged some lessons learned from our 20+ year work on anti-corruption: The question was, what to DO?

This time we continue where we left off but with a few things we need to reframe in the work against corruption. Think of these as the DON’Ts!

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Can we build a social innovation ecosystem in FYR Macedonia?

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Filed under: Development Social innovation

Participants in the Design Thinking Course in Skopje, FRY Macedonia

Inspired by Cari Keller’s exciting coaching, we all agreed that ‘design thinking’ could be a powerful approach to tackling development problems.

To spread our enthusiasm, we established the country’s first ever winter design thinking course*.

Young people can benefit from adopting a fresh, design thinking approach. New start-ups tend to simply replicate ideas that have worked abroad—a strategy which often fails because local conditions are not fully taken into account.

When we invited students to apply for the new design thinking course, the school received over a hundred applications in less than ten days – an extremely encouraging result! We were thrilled to find there was so much interest amongst young people in social innovation. Read more »

Building a better future for Syrians in Turkey


Filed under: Peace and security Social inclusion

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As thousands leave Syria for safer lands, images of white tents and perilous boat journeys have flooded the world’s media.

But there’s another side to this story. In Turkey, the host of next week’s World Humanitarian Summit, only about 10 percent of the approximately 2.75 million displaced people from Syria live in refugee camps. The rest live in towns and cities like many of us.

Across the country’s southeast, Syrians are silently trying to make a living and blend in.

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Reflecting on our experience, Part 1: The DO’s of Anti-Corruption

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Filed under: Anticorruption

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One of the winning photos from the open competition in Kosovo “Capture Corruption.” Photo by Arber Elezi

Last week, UNDP global representatives, including Helen Clark, attended the Anti-Corruption Summit in London and produced a declaration.

To prepare, we convened all colleagues working on anti-corruption from our region, as well as from the Arab States in Prishtina, to take stock of lessons learned from 20 years of involvement in anticorruption.

For those of you who couldn’t be there, here is a quick rundown of some common themes that emerged as part of our discussion.

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