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

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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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The danger of land degradation in Tajikistan

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Filed under: Development Environment

rugged landscape tajikistan

“Land of the rugged mountains”: Half of Tajikistan lies above 3,000 metres

Tajikistan’s mountainous landscape is certainly beautiful, but it’s also difficult to cultivate: only seven percent of the land is suitable for economic use.

Nevertheless, agriculture remains the backbone of the economy, and the poor in particular depend on it for their livelihoods.

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Coming to fruition: Testing hydroponics in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Filed under: Development Environment Social inclusion Social innovation

hydroponic orchard

A little seed funding goes a long way: A conventional grow site in Butmir. (Photo: Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences)

A year ago, we received seed funding from the Czech-UNDP Trust Fund for an innovative agricultural project.

Today, we’re testing hydroponics alongside the conventional methods of growing vegetables in order to figure out which one yields more.

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What a ryde: More reflections from a futurespotter in Egypt


Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation

one of the groups showcasing their new idea

Read my previous blog and see why Edgeryders are all about “becoming giants together” (Photo: Maria Tarancon)

I have to say it’s been quite the journey.

I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed the exchange of so many new ideas, mindsets, and perceptions.

It has been incredible to see firsthand the passion and drive of individuals who are putting everything they’ve got into making this world a better place.

I used to always read about exciting grassroots initiatives and I would think to myself:

“How could I ever pull something like this off?”

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South Eastern Europe in review: Where citizens are the experts


Filed under: Anticorruption Governance Social innovation

screenshot of app

More than 2,500 people are now using the “Be Responsible” grey economy-tracking mobile app in Montenegro

Whenever I discuss the governance challenges in South Eastern Europe, the discussion quickly boils down to one issue: (anti) corruption.

At the recently organized SELDI policy advocacy workshop, we went back to the basic principles of “good governance.”

This opened up a wider debate indicating that now may be the time to both reframe the issue and bring in some new approaches.

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