Rethinking the way the world deals with refugees

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Filed under: Development Human rights and rule of law Migration and remittances Peace and security Social inclusion

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Syrian refugees Sfook Ali Alhelal and Fatima Hushein sit with their family in a two-room apartment in Amman, Jordan. They fear being evicted because they are struggling to pay the rent. (Freya Morales / UNDP)

A year ago, masses of people fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan began to stream through the  western Balkans on their way to northern Europe. Like anyone following the news closely, I was deeply moved by the chaotic scenes of crowded fields and train stations.

A year on, these images have all but disappeared, but the numbers are telling a very different story. According to the International Organization for Migration, by July this year arrivals were up 17% compared  with arrivals during the first seven months last year, many of them arriving through Italy and Greece.

Europe’s migration crisis is showing no signs of abating. That’s because the crises fueling it are intensifying, uprooting ever growing numbers from their homes. It doesn’t help that refugees are being quarantined or spurned in many places where they set foot. Those kind of measures create even more poverty and despair among already traumatized people. Read more »

No longer in the dark ages: Solar power brings life to rural Croatia

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Filed under: Development Social innovation

Milka and Stevo Balać in front of their solar system in Cikote (Photo: Mislav Kirac)

What if you lived far from the grid? If you wanted power desperately but could not access it?

In the small village of Cikote, Milka and Stevo Balac have been living without electricity for more than 10 years.

Dusty light-bulbs are still in their fixtures, but they are just a memory of what it was like to have a light, refrigerator and a radio. By the time I first met them, both Milka and Stevo had lost any hope for ever getting back access to electricity. Read more »

United by a passion for a stronger world

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Filed under: Development

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It’s International Youth Day! Over the last two years, UNDP in Azerbaijan has collaborated to establish a Model United Nations and boost the MUN movement in the country.

The Model UN movement unites youth from different educational backgrounds and social status. Their shared interest in global affairs unites them, creating a strong network of Azerbaijani youth. Nearly 900 young people have participated.

What is that experience like for a young Azerbaijani? 21-year old Sheyda Karimova, majoring in American Studies, writes about her experience.

Day 1

It’s 8.30 and the bus is packed with sleepy people who have little idea what awaits them in the upcoming days.

We’re on our way to the Model UN conference. The introvert in me is panicking. What have I got myself into?

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Step aside, Pokemon Go: Moldova goes Mega to fight climate change

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Filed under: Climate change Development 2.0

Dried Fruit and Nuts exhibition, UNECE 66th Session, 14 April 2015, Geneva. The Nuts and Dried Fruit exhibition shows how UNECE agricultural standards facilitate international trade and warrant quality and food safety. It offers visitors a unique possibility to taste products from all over the world.

The economic losses of Moldova related to natural disasters are almost 61 million USD.

The disastrous droughts of 2007 and 2012 affected over 70 per cent of the territory of the country. They were also historically the most severe droughts in the entire instrumental record period.

Though the intensity and frequency of such disasters are expected to increase, it is not easy to start a public debate about climate change.

Even beyond Moldova, climate change is often considered a myth, and it often takes a lot of work – and creativity – to convince people that it is real, that it is happening now and that we need to act.

So we wondered: Could we use gaming as a way to raise awareness?

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Controlling guns protects women and a law obeying society

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Filed under: Gender equality Human rights and rule of law Peace and security

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I am deeply saddened by the tragedy Serbia has faced, where a recent mass shooting left five people dead and twenty injured.

This event brought to light once again three major but often ignored problems – the large scale availability of illicit firearms, its impact on public safety, and most specifically its impact on intimate partner and domestic violence.

Like the rest of the Western Balkans, Serbia is awash with firearms. The authorities estimate that between 200,000 and 900,000 weapons are in illegal possession. This is a staggering figure.

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“I’m Not Afraid to Tell”: How Kazakh women are breaking the silence on gender-based violence

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Filed under: Gender equality

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Over the past few months, I’ve witnessed as women in Kazakhstan break their silence on sexual violence.

A campaign titled #ЯнеБоюсьСказать (I’m not afraid to tell) и НеМолчи (Don’t keep Quiet) has led to many women sharing their stories. One of them is Dina Tansari (pictured), a well-known TV producer.

“…I was unconscious. They left me in front of my flat, rang the bell, and ran away. In the morning I couldn’t remember anything, except for my mum’s screams when she found me…,” she wrote on her Facebook wall.

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A calm soul in a shaking body

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Filed under: Social inclusion

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We here at UN Moldova recently challenged ourselves to practice what we preach.

We asked ourselves: How do we take solid steps to embrace diversity?

That’s how we ended up with our very first UN-wide internship program in Moldova designed for persons from vulnerable groups. People who may otherwise have a hard time receving internships, not because they do not have the skills, but due to limited life opportunities they have faced.

13 interns are now working with UN in Moldova, nine of them in our offices at UNDP.

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What can young people bring to development? An intern’s ode to youth and inexperience

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Filed under: Other

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One of the things that strikes me about today’s working culture is how little youth and inexperience are valued.

When I was beginning my Master’s degree, I did not question the centrality of experience in our professional world. I had resigned myself to go through the journey from low-skilled, low-responsibility positions to higher-responsibility, more interesting ones.

But after finishing two internships in a row – at the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), followed by a placement at the UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub – I’m left wondering whether experience really is the best way to assess the value of a professional.

In fact, I wonder if youth and inexperience may not be just as valuable as the latter.

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Drip, drop. Can innovations save water in Kazakhstan?

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Filed under: Central Asia Environment Social innovation

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Frankly speaking, I had never given much thought to how and where my water comes from until I moved to Astana.

The quality of water in Astana is far worse than in Almaty, where I came from, and suddenly water became an issue in my life. For instance, although tap water here is considered suitable for drinking, many residents prefer to buy bottled water or install filters.

The outlook for Kazakhstan shows that the country might experience a 50% water shortage by 2040. Outdated facilities, a focus on modernization rather than saving, lack of water specialists capable of taking accurate stock of water use and consumption, and poor coordination among ministries responsible for water management all contribute to this risk.

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A few degrees doesn’t really make a difference… right?

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Filed under: Disaster response Environment

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Temperatures around the world are rising.

The average increase globally stands at 0.850C but in Armenia, that figure is higher still – 1.10C.

Rainfall and other precipitation have also gone down in Armenia by 10% between 1935 and 2012.

According to a study by the World Bank, Armenia, out of 28 countries in Europe and Central Asia, is the fourth most likely to experience an increase in extreme weather conditions. Out of the same group, it is the fifth most sensitive country to climate change.

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