The three gentle giants of Prespa


Filed under: Environment

Photo: UNDP/Ljubo Stefanov

I recently spent a morning with the rangers of Ezerani Nature Park, and it was an eye-opening experience.

As I accompanied them to the first mission of the morning – a reported case of illegal logging in some far-flung corner of the park – the sheer scale of the task confronting these guys became instantly clear.

This is a BIG area for just three people to cover, and protecting it is a LOT of work.

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Major funding experiment under way! Here is everything you need to know.

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Filed under: Development 2.0

Comic Strip: Dilbert.

As development practitioners, we often wonder how effective our interventions are and what we could have done differently.

The burden on our shoulders is even higher when we are testing a prospective government policy that, once scaled up nationally, might have considerable social impact and would affect public purse.

Evaluation of the public policies or development programs is a science in itself. These days, doing Randomize Control Trials has become part of a major trend.

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The rise of the “middle class”: Are the rumors true?


Filed under: Central Asia Other Social inclusion


In much of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, what we are witnessing is not so much the “rise” of middle classes, but rather their post-socialist reconstitution.

Prior to the 1990s, virtually all of the region’s transition economies had “socialist” middle classes (Turkey excepted). These consisted of well-educated blue- and white-collar workers, engineers, and other members of the technical, creative, and administrative intelligentsia.

While not necessarily possessing wealth that corresponded to middle-class societies in OECD countries, these middle classes were nonetheless forces of stability.

Since the 1990s, many of these countries—as well as Turkey—have experienced significant increases in per-capita income, with relatively low income inequality levels still.

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Without trust, a vicious cycle of poverty and inequality


Filed under: Development Governance Peace and security


Real and perceived governance deficits pose risks to progress made in addressing inequalities in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.

Although the new development agenda places inclusive societies, peace and institutions as a priority, the relationship between governance and inequality is still not well understood.

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Turning 50 together with UNDP


Filed under: Guest posts


I am a bit younger than UNDP. 31 days younger, to be precise.

But I enjoy the idea of celebrating this half-century together. Not because we belong to the same generation, but because I have spent almost half of my career working with or for this UN agency. So allow me to be more personal as I recall three memories.

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The long road to prosperity in Kosovo*


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


The recent news out of Kosovo has been bleak.

The tensions between the ruling coalition and opposition is growing, while public protests against recent agreements with Serbia and Montenegro have turned violent.

But let’s take a step back and look at the other side of the story.

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Men and women seemed equal under socialism, so why aren’t they now?


Filed under: Development Gender equality


Researching labour market inequalities for the Regional Human Development Report, I can see clearly that gender inequality is alive and well in the Western Balkans.

Although some countries show promising hints of improvement, the unfavorable economic background of the last decade has prevented women from advancing on a number of different fronts.

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How do we boost health equity and end HIV in Eurasia? Time to #talkinequality


Filed under: Health HIV

hiv meme blog

We recently asked our colleagues and partners to share their thoughts on UNDP’s role in addressing Health Equity and HIV meaningfully in Eurasia.

Our contributors agreed that the first wealth is health. Without ensuring the access to health of the poorest, most marginalized and excluded groups of society, sustainable human development is unattainable.

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The true cost of environmental degradation: Time to #talkinequality


Filed under: Development Environment

talkinequality 1

The Caucuses and Central Asia region has some of the highest inequalities in the world.

For one, land resources in this part of the world are highly unequally distributed. Historically, the pace of land reforms here has been slower compared to those in Central and Eastern Europe. This fact bears significant impact on levels of poverty.

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