A review: Social media, accountability and public transparency


Filed under: Anticorruption Development 2.0 Governance Guest posts

Released in the fall of 2011 by UNDP, Social media, accountability and public transparency charts the landscape of social media and Internet services for nongovernmental activities, citizen activism and civic initiatives in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Online activism in Eastern Europe and the environment in which the projects are born is well outlined in the study. The authors take into account various levels of democracy as well as the degrees in the development of the information society throughout the region, such as Internet connectivity, and participation in technologically oriented international programs.

Initiatives like the Open Government Partnership are mentioned, and the study also outlines the various types of online activities in the region – nongovernmental, administrative and political initiatives – trying to draw a distinction between them.

The study includes several case studies of civic online projects. Through these, the reader is able to get a decent picture of online activism in the reviewed countries.

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Are shrinking quotas in Russia pushing migrants into illegal work?

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Filed under: Governance Migration and remittances Poverty Social inclusion

According to the latest statement by Konstantin Romodanovskiy, Director of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation, every year 14 million foreign citizens visit Russia: 77 percent are citizens from countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States and 10 percent are European Union nationals (10.8 and 1.4 million people, respectively).

About one third of these visitors, roughly 4.6 million people, are reported to stay in the Russian Federation for a period of no more than seven days.

Mr. Romodanovskiy also explains that today there are 9.2 million migrants staying in Russia: 1.2 million of them work legally (meaning that they have a work permit), 3.7 million declared upon arrival that they were in Russia for “non-work purposes,” and 4.3 million indicated “working” as the purpose of their visit, but did not obtain a work permit. Altogether there are about 5.5 million people staying in Russia that declared “working” as the purpose of their visit.

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40 lives


Filed under: Gender equality Human rights Social inclusion

Woman mechanic, Uzbekistan Photo: Violeta Braun

Breaking stereotypes in Uzbekistan Photo: Violeta Braun

A couple weeks ago I made a presentation on some of the main findings of the report Effective employment policies: Ensuring employment opportunities for women (coming soon). This study focuses on gender aspects of employment, reasons for low labour activity of women and gender segregation, as well as ways of addressing these issues.

One colleague asked me if I believe what I had just presented.

Before I started working on the Inclusive Employment and Social Partnership project, I didn’t think it was necessary to promote women’s rights and create opportunities for women to be in an equal position with men.

I am a typical Uzbek guy who came out of the mahalla environment. I have always believed that the head of the family should be a man, that the country and society should be ruled by men, and in general, we all live in a patriarchal world.

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Follow live tweets from Ashraf Ghani’s Kapuscinski lecture

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Filed under: Development

Ashraf GhaniWhat is the shape of Asia today? Arena of turmoil and conflicts or an emerging economic force? How does the transformation of China, India, Turkey and other Asian countries influence the global economy?

Former finance minister of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani will answer those and other questions at the lecture “Grasping Asian Economic Integration – the 21st Century Silk Road.”

Follow the lecture live on Twitter, post your comments and questions to Mr. Ghani – one of the most influential policy thinkers working on fragile states.

Follow #kapuscinski on Tuesday 13 March 2012 at 17:00 CET (via @UNDP_Europe_CIS or @szczycinski).

The lecture is part of the Kapuscinski development lecture series organised across the European Union by the European Commission, UNDP and partner universities. UNDP’s Jan Szczycinski will tweet live from Dr. Ghani’s lecture in Bonn.

>> Find out more about the lecture with Ashraf Ghani

Using social media to partner with municipalities


Filed under: Development Development 2.0 Governance

Header from Olena's blog

In August last year I made up my mind to create a blog where we could share the concerns and achievements of our project on municipal governance and sustainable development.

We partner with city councils, mayors and community-based organizations to implement projects and initiatives (pdf).

How the blog helps us do our work:

  • Allows municipalities to consult on planned project activities

This not only helps make our project more transparent but it also encourages participation during planning. Since it’s not formal communication, it’s easier to get comments and suggestions (we received 200 comments so far). We also provide information on training for our municipal support teams, and when I blogged about public speaking skills, it immediately became the most wanted topic for training in 2012. Read more »

Prototyping – An unexpected solution to social problems

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Filed under: Development Social innovation

city map

How does the process of developing products and services work in the real world? Have you ever wondered whether the path between having an idea and realizing it is the most effective way to solve a problem?

Any industrialist will tell you it’s essential to test ideas before fully developing a product or a service.

Prototyping is a method to develop unfinished models of a product (prototype), which is tested for quality, usefulness and cost-effectiveness before being mass-produced.

Lately, the approach has also been used for certain services like web-based companies who release beta versions to allow users to try out an unfinished version of the service and give valuable feedback.

But now the method is increasingly used for solving social problems.

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International Women’s Day: The power of women in politics


Filed under: Gender equality Governance Human rights Social inclusion

Women are under represented in decision making - Eastern Europe
Women are under represented in decision making – Eastern Europe

It is not news that women are underrepresented in public decision making all over the world – in parliaments, political parties, election bodies and public administrations.

Countries in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are no exception: 16 countries in the region are still below the global average of 19 percent of women’s representation in national parliaments. (The range is wide however, from 6.5 to 31.8 percent.)

In Slovakia, women’s participation in Parliament is at 16 percent, with women holding 24 out of 150 seats. As in other Eastern European countries, women’s representation in Slovakia saw a steep decline after 1989: In 1990 women’s representation in Parliament fell from 29 to 12 percent.

Since then, women in Parliament has varied between 14 and 19 percent (pdf), and 2010 saw the country’s first woman Prime Minister.

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Women in parliament: Gender equality is everyone’s business


Filed under: Gender equality Governance Human rights Social inclusion

Parliaments are the most important representative institutions in governments and yet they remain misunderstood, unpopular, unsupported and in many cases, underused.

In Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the status of gender equality is an example where parliaments can play a stronger role in fulfilling some of their key functions related to lawmaking, oversight and representation.

If the executive branch dominates the government apparatus without maintaining the delicate balance of executive-legislative relations, parliaments seem to have unfocused or unrelated debates, a low level of legislative activity, and little influence and effectiveness in representing citizens.

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International Women’s Day – Barbora is taking over our Twitter account


Filed under: Development 2.0 Gender equality

Barbora Galvankova will be with you throughout International Women’s Day (8 March) – tweeting and replying to your tweets on issues related to gender equality in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (follow her via @UNDP_Europe_CIS or @BarboGalvankova).

Barbora and UNDP promote gender equality, working with national partners to create a more inclusive environment for both women and men. Some key issues for UNDP include: gender parity in education, maternal health, political participation of women, women’s economic security and violence against women.

To follow all the International Women’s Day action on Twitter use #IWD or #womensday - we look forward to seeing you there!


Remittances in Central Asia three times higher than in Europe


Filed under: Migration and remittances Poverty Social inclusion

Year-on-year changes in remittance inflows (2011)

Year-on-year changes in remittance inflows (2011)*

The latest data on remittances confirm what we predicted in our previous analysis: the bifurcated trend in remittance growth between countries in the former Soviet Union and in Europe in 2010 continued throughout 2011. Preliminary 2011 dollar remittance estimates for Bulgaria, Serbia and Turkey show significantly lower growth in 2011 compared to the over 20 percent growth rates reported in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Growth rates for remittances originating from Europe are even lower if calculated using euro instead of dollar remittances. Fluctuations in the euro / dollar exchange rate distorted growth rates, further confirming our results.

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