To Malaysia and back: Three things I learned


Filed under: Anticorruption Development


Welcome the jungle: Virunga put so much pressure on an oil company, that it halted operations soon after

Last month – alongside nearly 1,200 other anticorruption experts and practitioners from over 130 countries – I had the opportunity to go to Malaysia for the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC).

UNDP was one of the main organizers and I was keen to bring the Romanian perspective following our work on the subject.

So what did I learn?

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Different but the same: A festival of peace

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Filed under: Peace and security Social inclusion


The UNDP team in Kyrgyzstan has found a way to bring diverse communities together around one shared symbol.

13 nationalities live in Osh side by side.

The sheer fact of living around this multiculturalism is inspiring. Yet the communities themselves are so disconnected from one another that it’s easy to forget such diversity exists in the first place.

Take, for example, my seven-year-old sister, who is awestruck as I hand her dolls dressed in the traditional costumes of nationals living around the Sulaiman-Too Mountain.

I don’t blame her. It wasn’t until the festival we held in 2014 when I found out about the many groups who live here myself.

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Collecting stories from chaos

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Filed under: Development 2.0 Guest posts Social inclusion

A teacher in Yemen

Building a better future: See how UNDP is providing jobs for young people affected by conflict

The war here in Yemen has caused over 4,000 civilians deaths and 1.4 million Yemenis to be internally displaced since March.

To examine the impact of this war, UNDP in Yemen turned to citizens to hear their daily hardships and identify opportunities to restore livelihoods.

But the survey we’re conducting is very different from traditional assessments and our respondents are interested and curious.

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Diffusing the powder keg


Filed under: Development Peace and security


Scenic southern Albania, near the Greek border, outside the town of Përmet (Photos: Christopher T. Barber)

In early July 2015, two Czech tourists were gunned down in the hauntingly beautiful mountains of northern Albania.

The 25-year old suspect, who allegedly committed the crime with an old, communist-era Kalashnikov, was arrested a couple days later.

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Let’s dance: Put on your “cooperation” shoes

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Filed under: Anticorruption Development

anti corruption conference

Not your average conference: Anti-corruption experts from around the region come together in Istanbul

We’ve all said it.

How boring is this conference – sitting in a hot, windowless room, a unenthused speaker reading off the same PowerPoint he or she’s been using since the late 1990’s.

The truth is there is always something to learn; however, it’s just not necessarily during the presentation.

What’s interesting to us is what happens behind the scenes where the real conversations take place.

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Lessons for Greece from other lands


Filed under: Development Governance Other


For many, Greece has become synonymous with the word ‘crisis’.

For the longest time, for better or worse, she could not escape the spotlight. Words were thrown around – frivolously, carelessly: debt, austerity, irresponsibility, welfare, reform.

We read as much as we could handle, listened as much as we could, and tried to make sense of it all.

Whose fault is it? And whose responsibility – to fix it?

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Reflections from Zagreb: The gender dimension in Southeast Europe


Filed under: Gender equality Social inclusion

woman in church

Zagreb, Croatia August 2015 (Photos: Ariel Rubin)

As I wrote about recently, I went off to the Zagreb Inequalities Workshop in search of answers to some fundamental questions about how inequalities can be better measured.

While my quest is not yet fully satisfied, I did come away from with new perspectives on gender equality issues—both in Southeast Europe and the broader broader region.

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Every step of the way: Making progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Filed under: Development Human rights and rule of law


A publication on the rights to justice for people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Addressing the past is sometimes the only way to work toward reconciliation.

2014 was a year of major progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina for extending access to justice, free legal aid, and support to enhance the search for missing persons.

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#worldyousee: What’s your vision?


Filed under: Governance Peace and security Social inclusion



On September 25, the United Nations is unveiling the Global Goals: These 17 Goals aim to achieve 3 extraordinary things in the next 15 years: End extreme poverty. Fight inequality & injustice. Fix climate change.

Young people have a big role to play here, which is why UNDP’s #IstanbulHUB is excited to get YOU in on the action: We’re happy to announce the #WorldYouSee photo competition is now LIVE!

Focusing on Goal 16, we want YOUR pictures of what peace, justice and good governance mean to you.

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Innovating local governance: What did you create?

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Filed under: Environment Governance Social innovation


All of our citizen-experts will be presenting their projects next Monday at Armenia’s Social Good Summit.

If government is best run close to the people, then local self-governance is a cornerstone in the structure of our democratic political system.

But in a time of limited budgets, how can we make our local government more efficient and responsive?

Instead of leaving this headache to policymakers, Kolba asked those of us who are most intimately involved in local governance service delivery – you, the user!

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