The only power needed is brainpower: Istanbul conference on sustainable energy solutions


Filed under: Central Asia Climate change Environment

participants sitting in conference

Read more on why now’s a good time to be talking about renewable energy in Turkey

Yesterday’s sustainable energy regional conference in Istanbul had people feeling, for lack of a better word, energized.

We organized the event alongside colleagues from the Islamic Development Bank and the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. Robust discussions and keen insights from speakers and the nearly 200 participants made for a fascinating and thought-provoking first day.

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Awareness is key: Human rights in Armenia


Filed under: Governance Human rights Social inclusion Social innovation


Meet Liana: In addition to working as a a lawyer and running her own NGO, Liana is also an active member of the #futurespotters campaign in Armenia

The Human Rights Lab (HuRiLab) Fellowship programme is a unique opportunity for young people in Europe and Central Asia with a passion for human rights to put their ideas into action.

The concept behind HuRiLab is simple: Engage more people in addressing the challenges posed by discrimination and marginalization.

But how does it apply to the fellowships?

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Dashboard: Greater transparency brings greater participation in fYR Macedonia


Filed under: Development 2.0 Governance Social innovation

dashboard launch

For Mayor Ivan Frangov, Dashboard represents “a great breakthrough in the transparency and accountability of local administration.”

One of the most interesting issues we’re working on in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia right now is finding new ways to encourage citizen participation in local governance. Access to information is key:

“Before, most people outside the administration found it quite difficult to access and understand a lot of information about the key functions of the municipality,” says Risto Atanasovski of the local NGO Foundation for Local and IT Development in Gevgelija. “This was especially the case for environmental protection and communal services. But now with this new IT tool, Dashboard, all this information is available at a glance in a highly user-friendly and interactive format. This is a major step towards greater transparency and citizen participation in local government.

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Futurescaper: The unemployment question in Kosovo*

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Poverty Social innovation

two mechanics in Kosovo

The unemployment rate for people between the ages of 15-24 is 60.2 percent in Kosovo. This video shows one way UNDP in Kosovo is working to change that

Youth unemployment is on the rise. This “generation at risk” now consists of 73 million unemployed young men and women worldwide.

With the global unemployment rate at an estimated 12.6 percent18 percent for young adults – the outlook for much of Europe and Central Asia is even grimmer.

The reality is worse in Kosovo where the overall unemployment rate is a staggering 35.1 percent and where eight out of ten people under 25 cannot find a job.

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Kyrgyzstan: Paddling in sync


Filed under: Development Peace and security Social inclusion

children in a classroom

Unity Day guests visited one of the local schools where the students dressed up in outfits reflecting Kyrgyzstan’s cultural diversity. Read about how we’re working with young people to build the future they want today

I recently attended a festive ‘Unity Day’ celebration in Uzgen, a city in southern Kyrgyzstan. The event was organized to promote inter-ethnic peace as a foundation of statehood.

The selection of Uzgen as host-city was itself symbolic, as it managed to withstand a wave of inter-ethnic violence that shook Kyrgyzstan in 2010. Uzgen was one of the epicentres of a similar conflict in 1990, and many feared the same violence would erupt in this city again, 20 years later.

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HIV: Living behind a disguise


Filed under: Health HIV Social inclusion

overview of city of Tashkent

According to UNAIDS, an estimated 30,000 are living with HIV in Uzbekistan

In many ways Sherzhod is the face of Uzbekistan’s younger generation.

He is a tech-savvy 22-year-old with big plans for the future, ideally with a career in medicine. 

Like many of his peers in Uzbekistan, he wants to get married and start a family, but for now his goal is to pursue his career and try to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

But he is also living with a virus.

Sherzhod (not his real name) is one of approximately 30,000 Uzbek people who are HIV-positive.

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Becoming giants together: Reflections of a #futurespotter in Cairo


Filed under: Development 2.0 Social inclusion Social innovation

futurespotters at work

Read about how we’re bringing people in from the edges through our recent workshops in Georgia, Armenia and Egypt (Photo:UNDP in Egypt)

At last month’s ‘Spot the Future’ workshop in Cairo, I honestly had no idea what to expect. Conceived as part of a radical shift in thinking on our end, this initiative is looking at what people are already doing to make the future they want in their communities.

We’re using this lens for the first time to involve more people in defining what a post-2015 agenda should look like (and are thrilled to have partners like the UK Government’s Open Policy Unit take note of it).

Before we began, Edgeryders co-founder Nadia El-Imam said she was purposefully being vague about everything in order to let people decide for themselves what direction the two-day workshop would take. It was this notion of ‘minds wide open’ that I believe directly led to its success.

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Azerbaijan: When losing a limb doesn’t mean losing a livelihood

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Filed under: Development

a mine victim receives bandaging from a nurse

The conflict between Armenian forces and Azerbaijan, from 1988 through 1994, resulted in a large area of the country becoming contaminated with landmines and unexploded ordnance

The tragedy of war often reverberates long after the guns go silent. From the painful memories of violence and displacement to the ongoing suffering caused by unexploded remnants, war has left its scar on the people of Azerbaijan.

This is especially true for the areas bordering the frozen conflict, where frontline villagers have fallen victim to unexploded mines.

Often their injuries make it difficult to adjust, both socially and economically, to a new life. In Azerbaijan, losing a limb all too often means losing a livelihood as well.

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Scaling up the private sector’s role in sustainable energy


Filed under: Development Environment


Hydropower station in the region of Racha, Georgia – May 2011 (Photo: Daro Sulakauri/UNDP)

It’s a good time to be talking about renewable energy in Turkey. The country’s economic and social development has led to growing energy demand, which is expected to increase six to seven percent every year until 2023 (in Turkish).

Turkey has no large oil or gas reserves, so it will stay dependent on foreign imports unless it looks into alternative sources.

The upcoming regional conference in Istanbul on 13-14 May is set to discuss private sector involvement in sustainable energy, and will feature some very promising news.

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