We the people: Insights from post-2015 Moldova


Filed under: Development 2.0 Social innovation


Complexity and energy: When biomass means more than just heat

The sustainable development goals have yet to be adopted; however, the first signs of changes in the way we work are already there.

Here are five reflections on what we’ve learned so far in Moldova:

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Cracking coconuts: Big data, gaming, maps and portals

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Social inclusion Social innovation


See all the amazing photos from the big event on Kolba Lab’s Facebook page

A good idea is like a coconut.

We know that something refreshing, even energising, lies inside. Yet a coconut without tools to open it is, for all intents and purposes, quite useless.

At a recent Social Innovation Camp in Dilijan, Armenia, we spent two and a half days cracking into four ideas using an array of peculiar tools: graphic designers, web designers, mobile app developers, web developers – not to mention a range of experts in everything from disaster risk reduction to crowd funding.

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A new kind of map: Meet Grandpa Trofim and his pal, Re-Robot


Filed under: Development 2.0 Environment Social innovation

grandpa trofim - cover

Nudge: Read the author’s recent blog on how Belarus is thinking differently

Meet Ded (Grandpa) Trofim.

He lives in a small village in the middle of Belarus where he enjoys the slow, quiet life of the countryside. Here he grows vegetables and takes care of farm’s numerous inhabitants: brightly colored chickens, a friendly trio of geese, a cow named Zorka, and two potbellied pigs.

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Keep it local: How to support the home-grown entrepreneur


Filed under: Development Other

Young people at a workshop around a table

Young people of Turkey attend ideation camps organized throughout the year and generate technology-based ideas.

Close your eyes and picture an entrepreneur. What comes to your mind?

Most likely a shiny suit running around big buildings in the big city.

Yes – historically the funds, networks and markets for entrepreneurs have been in big cities, trying new ideas and initiatives.

But local wisdom says it’s time for a shift. And here’s why.

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‘My opinion matters’: How a mobile tool in Armenia is engaging citizens


Filed under: Development 2.0 Governance Social inclusion

Young citizens engage with SMS polling through a cell phone

Young citizens of Ashtarak are happy to learn about SMS-polling and get registered right away.

About 3,000 residents from five towns and villages of Armenia are now enrolled in the Micro-referendum Tool initiative.

Micro-Referendum Tool allows local governments to run SMS-polls to better reach their constituents and engage them in community affairs. The tool provides citizens an opportunity to safely express their opinions via SMS. This is especially important for those who don’t have internet access or the will/time to engage offline.

As our tool goes live, we wanted to take a moment and reflect on our long but rewarding journey.

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Wanted: New Yardstick for Inequalities


Filed under: Central Asia Development

Gini Coefficient world map

The Gini coefficient world map ranks according to their level of income inequality.

Not all inequalities are created equal.” So goes one of the main takeaway messages from the Dialogue on Inequalities recently held in Istanbul.

Yet we still use only one indicator—the Gini coefficient of income inequality—to judge them all.

Back in 1968 Robert F. Kennedy said GDP “measures everything. . . except that which makes life worthwhile.” This holds true for the Gini coefficient as well—it measures all income inequalities, except that which makes inequalities important for us.

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Fifteen years later: Where do we stand in Albania?


Filed under: Development Environment Governance

MDGs Albania

I was recently watching a video we at UNDP in Albania produced 10 years ago.

What caught my attention was the voice of a second grader, Antea. A voice full of hope that Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would change her life.

“We need better schools, greener parks, and healthier environment so that it does not harm our health,” she said. “I wish to have nicer playgrounds for children full of flowers and trees so that our lungs are healthy.”

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Searching for transparency: Reflections from a recent Open Data convert


Filed under: Anticorruption Development 2.0

Armenia Innovation 4 Development

UNDP in Armenia organised an Innovation 4 Development workshop last year.

Less than a year ago I could have barely told you what “Open Data” meant.

Today I’m helping to organize an open data for development training.

As we get ready for the big event, which will take place in Istanbul next week, I’ve been reflecting on my own journey and what open data means to me.

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Filling the vacuum in the Cyprus peace process


Filed under: Governance Peace and security

Cyprus Dialogue Forum- reading out the declaration

The Cyprus Dialogue Forum launched on March 12 in the Buffer Zone of Cyprus.

At the time of Nelson Mandela’s death in December 2013, I couldn’t have imagined that I’d one day have the opportunity to accompany the two chief Cyprus peace negotiators to meet the key people who helped the great man in leading the struggle to dismantle apartheid.

At a time when hope in the peace process had been reignited, the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot negotiators felt that a visit to South Africa would create an opportunity to learn from that country’s experience of conflict transformation.

The highlight of our three-day visit in April 2014 was an afternoon in Cape Town with former South African President, FW de Klerk.

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#ICT4DRR: Making Skopje, Yerevan and Ungheni more resilient to disasters

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Filed under: Climate change Development 2.0 Disaster response Environment


New mobile app uses public data to help keep citizens safe (Photo: UNDP in FYR Macedonia)

It was not the Copa do Mundo da FIFA Brasil that brought us to Yerevan in Armenia in July 2014, but a regional workshop on mainstreaming disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA).

Between the sessions—and between the matches—we had some serious discussions with our colleagues from Armenia about disaster and climate risk reduction and risk prevention, what we have achieved and what the possibilities are for the future.

We have concluded that there are lots of common aspects and knowledge and expertise to be shared.

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