Weathering the storm: Reflections from the Balkans


Filed under: Climate change Development Disaster response Environment

Helen Clark and Cihan Sultanoglu

Building back better: Helen Clark and the author surveying the damages in Smederevska Palanka

Last week I accompanied UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, on a trip to Serbia.

We went to see for ourselves the damage wrought by the floods that struck in May. The most catastrophic natural disaster in the Balkans in over a century, the floods led to over 50 deaths, with thousands displaced and left homeless.

Even now, long after the waters have receded, large numbers of people remain in shelters, unable to return home.

To make matters even worse, much of the infrastructure in the affected areas – roads, hospitals, bridges – has been completely destroyed.

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Development of, by, and for the people: Cairo comes to Pristina and Podgorica


Filed under: Development Guest posts Social inclusion

nadine in montenegro

Nadine in Podgorica: See some of the game-changing projects from our offices in Kosovo* and Montenegro

Recently, I got a pretty awesome offer.

I was asked about the prospect of leading UNDP in Egypt’s energy and environment team on new and innovative practices.

This prospect came with a second, equally exciting opportunity: Did I want to visit the country offices in Montenegro and Kosovo to see how they’ve been doing development differently?

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The gentle art of foresight: How re-perceiving the present can redesign the future


Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation

Noah Raford talking

It’s Wack: The author in Istanbul explaining foresight methodologies of luminaries in the field like Pierre Wack (Photo: Tuna Ozcan)

The word “foresight” is defined as the ability to see ahead. It can be fun, however, to consider the literal definition as well, which is “before seeing.”

What happens before seeing?

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Black gold and its dividends: How Azerbaijan is avoiding the oil curse


Filed under: Central Asia Development Social inclusion

young participants in post 2015 talks

UNDP is finding out what citizens want in the second round of Post-2015 consultations in Azerbaijan

What are types of challenges do resource-dependent countries tend to face?

Twenty years after signing the ‘Contract of the Century’, Azerbaijan has emerged as a regional power with a growing economy and a developing infrastructure.

Now, the government is working hard to transfer the success of the nation’s oil industry to the development of its workforce.

To avoid the paradox of plenty, Azerbaijan knows that it cannot rely on oil alone.

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Hacking for transparency in Pristina


Filed under: Anticorruption Development 2.0 Governance Social innovation

Friday the 13th got off to a pretty auspicious start if you ask me.

It was June and and for two and a half days, fifteen teams of young innovators put their heads together to come up with digital solutions to make Pristina more transparent.

Throughout the process they received support from on-site mentors at the Innovation Centre Kosovo, and were provided with a nice, big working space to facilitate the free flow of ideas.

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Checking our shoe size: Reducing the carbon footprint of our health programmes

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Filed under: Environment Health HIV

child under net

We can now apply these methods of greenhouse gas accounting far beyond Europe and Central Asia (Photo: Joydeep Mukherjee)

Climate change is everyone’s problem – and we are stepping up.

UNDP is fully committed to reducing the carbon footprint of all programmes.

When it comes to HIV, health and development - we’re working to deliver the vital services that millions count on - while at the same time minimizing their environmental impacts.

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International Gun Destruction Day: Reflections from the Balkans


Filed under: Development

In the Balkans, small arms are widely available.

From weddings to New Year celebrations, celebratory gunfire is a common occurrence.

Growing up in my neighbourhood in Belgrade, small arms were a common sight. Disputes between rivals, neighbours, or even family members all too often ended with the use of weapons.

Even today, stories of shoot-outs and killings in some of Belgrade’s most famous nightspots are a regular occurrence. The same holds true of much of the region.

These events still make the news, but no one is shocked anymore.

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Dreams Academy in Turkey: Waking up the sleeping giant


Filed under: Development Social inclusion

kids living their dreams

Children with disabilities take centre stage at Dreams Academy (Photos: UNDP in Turkey)

Last month, I got to witness a first for southern Turkey.

The Dreams Academy, an Istanbul-based centre that works with some of Turkey’s estimated 8.5 million people living with disabilities, is scaling out - further down the coast to be precise.

In June, I was happy to be a part of the crowd, welcoming the centre’s opening in the sunny coastal town of Kaş.

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Hunting black swans in Armenia

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social innovation

diy workshop

Not another toolkit? See how the DIY toolkit was designed to help people innovate better (Photos: Hasmik Soghomonyan)

The nature of global development challenges has changed dramatically.

While the foci remain the same – such as poverty and climate change – their pace and interconnectedness have caught many off guard.

Unpredictable events – so called “black swans” – are becoming increasingly common. Look no further than the frequency and unpredictability of natural disasters for examples.

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A new cycle: Interview from the frontlines of sustainable transport in Kazakhstan


Filed under: Development Environment Social inclusion

man and daughter on bike

Vitaliy Dyadchev and an excited young passenger hit the streets of Almaty

Here in Almaty, we’re working hard to not only green the streets but also to get people out on them.

That’s why part of our “City of Almaty Sustainable Transport” (CAST) project focuses on involving various social groups, communities and movements to work together.

This is how we got to know the Velo-Almaty crew, a grassroots collective working to get more bikes on their city’s streets.

I spoke to one their most active enthusiasts, blogger and social activist, Vitaliy Dyadchev.

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