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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Can we produce 376 million tonnes of meat without destroying our planet?


Filed under: Central Asia Climate change Development Environment Poverty



Producing one kilogram of beef can use up as much as 27 kilograms of carbon emissions. That’s almost the same quantity as if you were to burn between 6 and 10 litres of petrol.

The world’s meat production is growing at an unprecedented rate and the driving force behind this surge is a combination of population growth, rising incomes and urbanization.

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From the periphery towards the centre: making “innovation” the new normal at UNDP

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Filed under: Development 2.0


KolbaLab in Armenia hard at work.


A recent evaluation of our work by MindLab gave us an opportunity for reflection.

“Embedding innovation in our business processes” is an aspirational mantra we often hear. We realize now that the mantra, with its emphasis on system thinking, goes against the very grain of the  culture of a very project-orientated organisation.

What we know from past experience is that an “innovation toolkit” or a poster campaign cannot do the trick. These are organisational shortcuts, they are not by themselves innovations.

So we wondered, could we make innovation a more intrinsic part of UNDP? And if so, how do we turn it from a “weekend sport” into an “everyday practice”?

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Walking the tightrope: How do we maximise impact of the Global Goals?


Filed under: Development


Balancing the Global Goals can be an acrobatic feat.


Complexity is a defining feature of Agenda 2030.

Given that all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets are interconnected, where are policy-makers and statisticians supposed to start?

Which road should they take to ensure maximum impact on a largest possible number of targets?

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A Perfect Marriage: Bringing together development and entrepreneurship

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Filed under: Development 2.0

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According to some estimates, achieving the Global Goals will cost $172.5 trillion by 2030.

Consider that aid towards developing countries currently sits around $350 billion annually. It’s clear there is a major gap in funding between where we are and where we want to go.

Some relevant questions we often ask ourselves:

  • How can we ensure our work leaves behind sustainable results?
  • In a climate of dwindling financial resources, how can our programming do more for less?
  • How can we increase the effectiveness of global development?

At UNDP in Armenia, we think a paradigm shift is necessary.

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Can big data help us make emergency services better?

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Disaster response



In emergency response, every minute matters.

Every minute, more than 270,000 tweets get published worldwide, Google receives no less than 4 million search queries, and over 200 million emails are sent.

We now live in a world where 90 percent of the data out there today has been created in the last two years alone.

So how can we make this data work for us?

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