From silk to alternative energy: New routes for Azerbaijan


Filed under: Development Environment

solar panels in azerbaijan

Solar energy in Gobustan, Azerbaijan (Photo: UNDP in Azerbaijan)

From its significance to the silk trade routes in the 13th century, to its rise as a great energy producer during the first oil boom of the 19th century, Azerbaijan has long been known for its geo-strategic position in the world.

Today, with the successful completion of the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline, this has never been truer.

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Minding the gap: Georgia takes a page from UK’s innovation guidebook


Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation

georgia's innovation team

Innovation in action: “…focusing on the processes not just the outcome, and putting citizens at the heart of its approach”

From county councils to government departments, institutions in the UK are thinking more and more about how to develop innovative solutions to the key problems faced by their citizens.

Increased fiscal pressures and heightened citizen expectations means doing more with less.

The conventional stereotype of a public servant being resistant to innovation and prone to inertia is totally out of date.

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Thinking differently: Nudging in Belarus


Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

simon's visit to belarus

Simon Ruda in Belarus: Read how the UK Government is nudging people to pay their taxes

A good friend, a professor and doctor, once told me:

“The longer I live, the more I realize how complex and strange people’s behaviour is. Actually, it seems that no one really knows why human beings do what they do.”

I agree with him to a certain extent. People do often behave inconsistently, and the human mind remains the most undiscovered and mysterious place on the planet.

But if we are brave enough to make the journey, what we discover is an invaluable resource that can help us understand why people behave the way they do.

It can also help steer them towards the choices that may benefit them, and the society at large.

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From cocoons comes silk: Sustainable tourism and the women of Misi


Filed under: Development Social inclusion

village women do traditional sewing

Read about more of the sustainable tourism projects that we are supporting

The small, charming village of Misi, with its 1,200 residents and ancient history, has great potential for attracting visitors from nearby Bursa, the fourth largest city in the country.

In fact, over 2,500 tourists now visit the village every weekend.

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Peace through technology: By whom, for whom?


Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation

participants at build peace 2014

Last year’s Build Peace: Read more about how technology is offering new venues for social change

The next Build Peace conference will take place on 25-26 April 2015 in Nicosia, Cyprus and already counts on the support of the UNDP in Cyprus office.

Where Build Peace 2014 aimed to demonstrate the potential of using technology for peacebuilding in terms of ‘breadth’ of initiatives and ideas, Build Peace 2015 will begin to examine issues of ‘depth’ – how the use of technology is resulting in the creation of alternative infrastructures for peace.

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Healthy choices: Optimizing decisions in an area of uncertainty


Filed under: Development Guest posts Health HIV

summer school participants on a roof in venice

Life in Venice: Applicants from WHO European Region Member States shared ideas and meals during the summer school

Early last month, I was honoured to have the opportunity to represent Bosnia and Herzegovina at Observatory Venice Summer School 2014, a six-day networking and educational event.

Thanks to the financial assistance of UNDP in Europe and Central Asia‘s HIV, Health and Development team, I was able to meet with more than 40 specialists from the global health sector.

I also got the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience with like-minded representatives of some key health organizations from around the world.

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Big hits and blunders: A social innovation lab in Armenia


Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation

a kolba lab lesson

Making the big pitch: Using storytelling to pitch an idea at Kolba’s prototyping event in Vanadzor (Photo: George Hodge)

When UNDP in Armenia launched Kolba over a year ago, it was the only social venture incubator and design lab within the organization.

Twelve months and a lot of (emotional) scars later, we thought it was time to share some of our big hits and blunders.

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Fresh development in Turkey: A berry good business


Filed under: Development Social inclusion


Strawberry fields forever: See more colorful photos

The strawberry fields in the Sason district provide employment to roughly 350 families. They are the lifeblood of the tiny, rural village of Yeniköy.

They are also the namesake of their newly constructed primary school.

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Tackling vulnerability: Five reflections on the Human Development Report in Moldova

by and

Filed under: Development Gender equality Poverty Social inclusion

Last month, the 2014 Human Development Report was officially unveiled.

It is probably the most comprehensive and empirically robust analysis of progress and trends in human development. On top of this, it guides us towards new policy approaches that tend to shatter our ‘business as usual’ approach.

Here’s how we see its relevance in the Moldova context, where we’ve spent last couple of years trying to understand underlying trends in human development.

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Project snapshot: Georgia after the flood


Filed under: Climate change Disaster response Environment

Natela Benidze, village Chalistavi

Natela Benidze, Chalistavi village (Photos: UNDP in Georgia)

The Rioni River basin in Georgia is becoming more and more susceptible to extreme climate events.

Floods, landslides, and mud torrents are increasing in both intensity and frequency, causing extensive damage to agriculture, forests, roads, and communications infrastructure.

More than 10,000 hectares of agricultural land has fallen out of use in the past decade due to hydro-meteorological disasters.

This is all the more painful for a country where the size of an average plot of land is a mere 0.14 hectares per person.

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