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“Fast facts” from Kazakhstan’s official socio-economic data
ASTANA, Kazakhstan - 31 March 2011 - By all accounts, Kazakhstan recovered strongly from the global financial crisis in 2010 (Chart 1). Preliminary data point to 7 percent GDP growth last year, with particularly strong increases in industrial output (10 percent) and foreign trade (Chart 2)—exports in dollar terms increased 36 percent last year. Household incomes increased by some 10 percent in real terms, thanks in part to 7 percent growth in real wages and an 11 percent increase in the real value of social protection expenditures paid out. This helped power an 11 percent increase in the volume of retail sales in 2010, providing further indications of a strong recovery in household incomes and spending. By contrast, construction and agriculture lagged the rest of the recovery: the volume of construction activity dropped some 2 percent last year (due to the lingering effects of the global financial crisis on the banking and real estate sectors), while agricultural output dropped 12 percent because of drought conditions in Kazakhstan’s northern and western regions.
SKOPJE, FYR Macedonia – 1 April, 2011 – Domestic violence is a crime. According to the 2006 Domestic Violence Survey (Association for Emancipation, Solidarity and Equality of Women), as many as 50 percent of women in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are affected by domestic violence at some point in their lives. Yet, most suffer in silence – not realizing their legal rights or that help is available. Watch: videos from A real man never hits a woman and Say No to Domestic Violence campaigns
“Fast facts” from Kyrgyzstan’s official socio-economic data
20 March 2011
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - 20 March 2011 - Food prices in February continued their assault on household budgets in Kyrgyzstan, rising 32 percent in year-on-year terms (Figure 1). Prices for baked goods and cereals (i.e., bread, flour) and meat were in the vanguard of the assault, posting year-on-year increases of 34 and 35 percent, respectively. As expenditures on foodstuffs absorb more than half of household budgets in Kyrgyzstan—and greater shares of budgets for poor families—these food price inflation rates can be ruinous. Other indicators of household purchasing power—real wages, retail sales, tourism expenditures—were likewise in negative territory during January-February 2011.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – 22 March, 2011 – Water and sanitation infrastructure in many countries in Europe and Central Asia are in a critical state and deteriorating, often posing a threat to human health. Yet, most countries have signed or ratified core UN human rights conventions, and many regional treaties recognize the right to water. Read: UN Secretary-General's statement on World Water Day 2011 Прочесть: Заявление Генерального Секретаря ООН по случаю Всемирного Дня Воды 2011 Watch: videos on Restoring the Danube River and the Black Sea; water in Tajikistan; clean up in Mojkovac, Montenegro View: Photos celebrating water in Europe and the CIS
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – 18 March, 2011– The United Nations is asking people in Europe and CIS to share their experiences with laws and practices – positive and negative – related to HIV status, access to prevention and treatment services, or those that affect education, work, healthcare and residency. Watch: Video message from Jeffrey O’Malley, Director, UNDP HIV/AIDS Practice
Governance of HIV/AIDS responses, HIV/AIDS and human development, HIV/AIDS, human rights and gender, HIV/AIDS
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – 10 March, 2011 – prof. David Hulme of Manchester University will deliver a lecture“How to reduce poverty - interventions / aid that works“, hosted by the Slovak NGDOs Platform. Date: 16.03.2011.
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – 8 March, 2011 – On the 8th of March 2011 we celebrate 100 years of advocacy for women’s equal rights. And yet, much remains to be done to realize the full equal rights of women. This is especially true for women in minority groups. All across Europe, Roma women are among the most disadvantaged populations. Check out our Photo Essay: Celebrating women in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States Read: UNDP Administrator Helen Clark's Message on International Women's Day Read: UN Secretary-General's Message on International Women's Day, 2011 Read: International Women's Day: A Century of Advocacy
TASHKENT, Uzbekistan - 7 March 2011 - Textiles are among Uzbekistan’s most developed industrial sectors. International experience shows that, with the right support and external circumstances, textile production can expand dramatically in a short period of time. According to data from the State Statistical Committee, the dollar value of Uzbekistan’s textile output rose 50 percent during 2004-2009, while clothing manufacturing doubled. Production at O’zbekengilsanoat—the association of textile companies which manufacture the bulk of sector’s output—likewise doubled during this time.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzergovina - 7 March, 2011 - Unemployment in Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the most important issues for young people. According to the latest Bosnian government statistics, more than 517,000 people are out of work. Most of them are Bosnian youth. Watch: CNN video about the project
ISTANBUL, Turkey - 1 March 2011 - While most of the developing and transition economies in Europe and Central Asia reported a recovery from the global financial crisis in 2010, Turkey stands out as experiencing a particularly large bounce. After reporting a 4.7 percent decline in GDP in 2009, Turkey benefitted from a strong recovery in 2010: GDP is reported to have grown by 7.8 percent last year.
How does the recovery look, for vulnerable households in Turkey? High frequency labour-market, inflation, and fiscal data suggests that, despite the vigorous growth trends, Turkey may not be out of the woods just yet.
Kyiv, Ukraine - 24 February 2011 - Under the impact of the global financial crisis, Ukrainians suffered through one of the worst recessions in Europe and Central Asia in 2009, when GDP fell 15 percent. The economy seems to have partially recovered from this drop in 2010; preliminary estimates place GDP growth last year at 4.2 percent. What does this mean, in terms of household incomes, spending and prices?
Despite the return to growth in 2010, consumer food price inflation rates continued to decline, as did the rate of increase for household energy and communal service tariffs (Chart 1). Ukraine’s consumer price inflation rate, and inflation in energy and communal services, were in single digits last year for the first time since 2006 and 2005, respectively. The impact of Ukraine’s 2008 inflationary surge—when soaring world prices for food and metals combined with a loose domestic monetary policy—seems finally to have dissipated.
TIRANA, Albania – 23 February, 2011 – After a decade of mine clearance, Albania is officially free from the threat of mines. A total of 12,452 anti-personnel mines, 152 anti-tank mines and 4,965 unexploded ordnance (UXOs) were found and destroyed. Watch: Video on a mine free Albania See: mine action photos
SOFIA, Bulgaria – 21 February, 2011 – Kristalina Georgieva, EU Commissioner International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, delivered a lecture “A Changing World, and What it Means for Europe's Response to Crisis” at the Sofia University. Date: 07.03.2011.
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan - 16 February, 2011 - Kyrgyzstan in January had the dubious honor of reporting the highest food price inflation rate in the Europe and Central Asian region—30.5 percent (compared to January 2010). Meat prices were up some 33 percent; baked goods and cereals prices had risen 29 percent. As Chart 1 below shows, these inflationary trends only took hold in the second half of 2010: at the time of the June ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan, food prices were actually falling. In a country where many vulnerable households suffer from chronic food insecurity, these skyrocketing food prices do not bode well for the future.
ASTANA, Kazakhstan – 14 February, 2011 – Studies have shown that climate change will cause a shift of climatic zones in the ecosystems of Altai-Sayan, resulting in the migration of animals and plants. In response, a buffer zone of about 600,000 hectares of protected forests has been created between the Western and Eastern part of the region to protect the migration routes of globally threatened species, such as the snow leopard, lynx, European red deer, elk, argali, and more. See: photos from Altai Sayan
Energy & Environment » Climate Change, Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity
STOCKHOLM, Sweden– 11 February, 2011 – Jan Vandemoortele, co-architect of the Millennium Development Goals and former UN senior manager, delivered a lecture "If not the Millennium Development Goals, then what?” at the Swedish Institute of International Relations. Date: 22.02.2011.
Like most other economies in Europe and Central Asia, Tajikistan depends heavily on foreign trade. Economists who monitor the country’s import and export data—which are reported on a monthly basis by the Statistical Agency—may think they are keeping a finger on Tajikistan’s pulse.
They might be wrong. Especially when it comes to exports.
Sometimes, however, these data obscure more than they illuminate. Rather than worrying about cotton and aluminum, it may be more helpful to think of Tajikistan as one of the world’s leading exporters—both directly and indirectly—of labour and water.
As per international practice, Tajikistan’s foreign trade statistics emphasize the final products that are bought and sold abroad. For Tajikistan’s exports, this boils down to aluminum and cotton, which generate three quarters of the country’s export revenues.
In one sense, this is no surprise: anyone familiar with rural life in Tajikistan knows that “cotton is still king” in the countryside. The importance of the TALCO aluminum smelter in Tursunzode just west of Dushanbe—Tajikistan’s largest industrial enterprise and leading exporter—is likewise well known.
NOVA CRNJA, Serbia – 7 February 2011 – After years of living in collective centers, 13 internally displaced persons and refugee families have moved into new homes. View: photos of the families, and their new homes
MOJKOVAC, Montenegro – 31 January 2011 – After two decades in the toxic shadow of a closed lead and zinc mine, a small town in northern Montenegro is seeding a greener future as it cleans up an industrial dump and restores its pristine natural surroundings. Watch: video See: photos from Mojkovac
Democratic Governance, Energy & Environment » Decentralization, local governance and urban/rural development, Effective water governance
LONDON, United Kingdom – 31 January, 2011 – Jan Pronk, former Dutch development minister and special UN representative in Sudan, delivered a lecture "How to respond to global threats in the decade ahead" at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Date:16.02.2011.