Good intentions, bad results: How inadequate laws in Central Asia violate human rights


Filed under: Central Asia Development Health HIV Human rights

I have lived and worked in Eastern Europe and Central Asia for most of my professional life. As a human rights lawyer, I am always happy to observe when adequate legal solutions are found, paving the road to progress and development in our region. It is equally difficult for me to see the process in… Read more »

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


Filed under: Central Asia Development Social inclusion

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… Read more »

The only power needed is brainpower: Istanbul conference on sustainable energy solutions


Filed under: Central Asia Climate change Environment

Yesterday’s sustainable energy regional conference in Istanbul had people feeling, for lack of a better word, energized. We organized the event alongside colleagues from the Islamic Development Bank and the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Robust discussions and keen insights from speakers and the nearly 200 participants made for a fascinating and thought-provoking first day.

No more “I can’t see the board!”: Modernizing lighting in Kazakhstan schools


Filed under: Central Asia Environment Social inclusion

Chances are, lighting is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think about what children need to learn. But without proper lighting, struggling to see the chalkboard means you can’t focus on learning. The state norms and standards of the Republic of Kazakhstan state that the lighting norm for a school study… Read more »

Seeds sprout a healthier economy and environment in Tajikistan

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Filed under: Central Asia Environment Poverty Social inclusion

Cotton farming in Tajikistan uses one quarter of the country’s arable land and provides employment or income to three quarters of the rural population. Given the country’s economic dependence on cotton, and the fact that the cotton industry is one of the largest water consumers in Central Asia, any increase in cultivation efficiency will greatly… Read more »

Foursquare helps families to raise tourism-related profits


Filed under: Central Asia Development 2.0 Social innovation

We wrote about the idea of using Foursquare to attract tourists to Kyrgyzstan several months ago. Mostly, we were intrigued by the geo-location service’s potential to allow family businesses to engage directly with tourists about what they have to offer. It hasn’t been that long, but we already have incredible stories where Foursquare is helping… Read more »

Confessions of a Serial Consulter, Part 1: Debunking Myths


Filed under: Central Asia Development Development 2.0 Environment Governance Health HIV Social inclusion

Eastern Europe and Central Asia: What kind of world do you want? Looking back on the past year as part of the United Nations World we Want team working on engaging people in a discussion of what matters for their future, I feel compelled to come clean on the experience thus far. Our work is… Read more »

JashtarCamp 2013: Youth and technology for peace in Kyrgyzstan


Filed under: Central Asia Development 2.0 Human rights Peace and security Social inclusion Social innovation

Last month we celebrated World Youth at the fifth annual youth conference Jashtar Camp 2013, which brought together more than 1,000 young people from across Kyrgyzstan to discuss technology and peace. Jashtar Camp (meaning “youth camp” in the Kyrgyz language) 2013, supported by UNDP in Kyrgyzstan among other partners, was held in four locations across the… Read more »