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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The unsung heroes of Chernobyl


Filed under: Development Disaster response

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I remember distinctly the images of Chernobyl on the TV screen. How can anyone forget that horrifying, 10-day long nuclear fire?

But the after-effects of Chernobyl are no longer a distant reality to me.

I currently head the UN’s development efforts in Belarus, and have had the chance to travel to the exclusion zone – a quarantined no man’s land surrounding the power plant in Ukraine– several times in recent years.

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Development 2.0: Innovating cash deliveries with the Bitcoin Blockchain


Filed under: Development 2.0


In the recent years, we are seeing an increased focus on delivering cash via vouchers, mobile money or cash-in-hand as part of development and humanitarian projects.

Imagine a case like this: An earthquake has just happened, and there’s an urgent need to clear debris and rubble, as well as manage waste. Locals are employed on short notice to be paid by the organization responding to the emergency.

UNDP has extensive experience with such scenarios as part of disaster recovery programmes, including the Typhoon Haiyan response in the Philippines and the Nepal earthquake response.

On a global level, the Cash Learning Partnership (CALP) estimates that approximately $ 1.64 billion has been delivered to 35 million beneficiaries across 917 different cash delivery projects worldwide to date.

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How do we defeat extremism? Redefine citizenship


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


Around the world people are dying because they refuse to hate.

Every day, people are killed because they stand up for tolerance, deny xenophobes, defy racists and counter religious hatred with tolerance, understanding and charity – principles deeply interwoven with some of the world’s great states and great religions.

Identity-based hate crime is only the last tool of those who seek to dismantle societies based on multi-culturalism, pluralism, social justice, the rule of law and tolerance.

ISIS is a case in point.

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