09 Jun 2014 by Vasko Popovski, Disaster Risk Management, Social Innovation & Development Specialist, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Volunteers would really bolster the amount of big data for development. Photo: Zaven Khachikyan/UNDP in Armenia
In preparing for the upcoming research and development event ‘Foresight for Development – Shaping the New Future’, one of my tasks was to compile an essential reading list for the participants. This is easier said than done. There are gigabytes and terabytes of publications, books, and blogs out there. How was I to synthesize this into two pages? Since many of the participants - and in the development sector in general - are quite new to foresight for development I have tried to pare down an essential list of that provides a good basis not only for preparing for the event, but also for learning more about these sometimes nebulous concepts. Okay, ready? Here we go. … Read more

A ‘bad girl’ no longer: Tackling gender inequality in Azerbaijan

17 Apr 2014 by Ruslan Ismayil-zada, Communication Officer, UNDP Azerbaijan

After completing a course in entrepreneurship at the UNDP-supported Women’s Resource Centre, Rena Mehraliyeva opened a successful wedding and event-planning business. Photo: UNDP Azerbaijan
In Azerbaijan, especially in rural areas, there exists a very powerful term for women who don’t follow the rules: ‘pis giz’, which translates to ‘bad girl’. For an Azerbaijani woman, being called a “pis giz” is more than just a gender slur. It can mean the total loss of respect in her community, ineligibility for marriage, and the end of a once-bright future. Unfortunately, it is very easy to become a target for this derogatory term: the simple act of being seen in an internet cafe or participating in public events is all it takes. As a consequence, access to public places for many rural women is limited. However, things are starting to change. In the small rural city of Sabirabad, the region’s first women’s resource centre has recently opened its doors. A joint project between UNDP in Azerbaijan and local government, the centre offers a safe public space so many rural Azerbaijani women have long been denied. … Read more

The future is now (and here’s how we’re planning to catch up)

04 Apr 2014 by Vasko Popovski, UNDP in Europe and Central Asia.

Photo: UNDP Armenia
There’s no shortage of guidelines these days on how to ‘prepare for the future.’ From Nesta’s defense of futurology to our colleagues at the Global Pulse, who look at how big data can help us better prepare for and protect citizens from sudden shocks. But that’s not all. Private sector companies are working to gamifying and crowdsource geopolitical problems, while countries such as Singapore are investing in units for Strategic Planning and Research. Entirely new jobs such Chief Resilience Officers are being created to oversee the future-proofing of 100 cities. As if that isn’t enough, foresight engines are pulling in thousands of citizens to reimagine the future of governance, cities, peacebulding, and generating over 1,800 paths out of poverty. … Read more

Croatia: How crowdfunding helped us go green

17 Mar 2014 by Tanja Medic, Mak Dukan and Robert Pasicko

Hooray! We have officially completed the first big step towards making a school in Croatia energy independent. A few months ago, with US$15,000 of seed funding from the UNDP in Bratislava Regional Centre, we launched a campaign dedicated to helping Ostrog elementary school (in Croatian) in Kaštela become the first energy independent school in Croatia. Another $10,000 was collected through crowdfunding on Indiegogo but that only accounts for part of the total amount we received. … Read more

Roma women: Exposing inequality

19 Feb 2014 by Jaroslav Kling, Roma Inclusion Policy Analyst, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Photo: Dorin Goian/UNDP Moldova
Since its early days, the Decade of Roma Inclusion has focused primarily on four priority areas: employment, education, health and housing. Even though gender equality is a cross-cutting issue, attention to this area has been significantly smaller throughout the years. Usually, gender equality is treated as an isolated category, rather than a social factor that is a part of all social categories and issues. In recent years, the interest in interaction between ethnicity and gender has grown. All regional surveys that UNDP conducted in Central and Eastern Europe targeting marginalized Roma (2002, 2004, 2011) produced data which allow for basic disaggregation by sex - allowing for analyzing how ethnicity interacts with gender. … Read more

Roma migration: An option of last resort?

14 Jan 2014 by Jaroslav Kling, Roma Inclusion Policy Analyst, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Vincent van Gogh: The Caravans - Gypsy Camp near Arles (1888, Oil on canvas)
Nowadays, migration is a regular part of our lives. Migration, in fact, launched the whole process of sustained attention to the issue of Roma exclusion in the European Union. - But is Roma migration really as huge as portrayed by the media? - What are the main reasons for Roma to migrate and do they fulfill their expectations? - Are the reasons that Roma migrate abroad different from the reasons of non-Roma’s who also migrate? - What are the most frequently chosen destinations? - What are the typical profiles of Roma and non-Roma migrants? - What is the life of Roma immigrants in the receiving countries? A recently published paper by Stoyanka Cherkezova and Iona Tomova tries to respond to these questions. … Read more

Youth and technology for peace in Kyrgyzstan

09 Dec 2013 by Sanzharbek Alimzhanov, UNDP Kyrgyzstan.

10 November marked both World Youth Day and the fifth annual youth conference JashtarCamp 2013, which brought together more than 1,000 young people from across Kyrgyzstan to discuss technology and peace. JashtarCamp (meaning “youth camp” in the Kyrgyz language) 2013, supported by UNDP in Kyrgyzstan among other partners, was held in four locations across the country, including southern Kyrgyzstan’s Osh State University. … Read more

Youth led solutions for youth problems

29 Oct 2013 by Ana Dautovic and Jelena Miljanic, UNDP Montenegro

Youth led solutions for youth problems in MontenegroIn a context of very high youth unemployement, the UN joint programme on Youth Empowerment is trying to apply user-led design so that young people come up with solutions to problems they are facing. Photo: UNDP Montenegro
Being young – what more could you wish for? Let’s consider the reality in Montenegro: 45 percent of young people between 15 and 24 are unemployed (in the total active population, for the last quarter of 2012) according to National Statistic Agency. This is much higher than the national average of 19.7 percent in 2010. Only one third of young people are informed about institutions or organizations that deal with youth issues. At the same time, more than half of young people believe that relevant public institutions do not support them adequately in finding jobs. … Read more

Bringing water-saving technologies to the Aral Sea region

22 Jul 2013 by Zakiya Abdurazakova, Specialist, UNDP Uzbekistan

Women farmers near the Aral Sea. Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
Can we save the livelihoods of farmers of the devastated Aral Sea region? Unsustainable use of the region’s natural resources has led to a dramatic shrinking of the Aral Sea since the 1960s. It is now a mere 10 percent of its original size, and the effects have been disastrous to the region’s environment and economy. The way out is not only to find ways to increase water levels but to bring modern agricultural practices to farmers and to create new economic opportunities for the region’s citizens. The UN Aral Sea Programme is working to create new income-generating opportunities for small subsistence farmers and to create new jobs in tourism and handicrafts for the region’s most vulnerable: women and young people. … Read more

Gender inequality: How much does it affect development in Europe and Central Asia?

01 Jul 2013 by Barbora Galvankova, UNDP Eurasia

Inequality between women and men has been clearly identified as one of the causes blocking development over the last two decades. It is often difficult to establish evidence based causal links between impacts of gender inequality on a country's development because of the lack of available sex-disaggregated data. And because of limited data, we also can’t capture the complexity of gender inequality in different contexts. One way to measure gender inequality is to look at the differences for women and men in areas such as education, health, decision making and access to economic opportunities. Analysis based on quantitative data reveals that considerable progress has been made in terms of women’s access to education and healthcare in the region. (see attached data below) However, this level of analysis doesn’t show how gender inequality influences policies. This is why we decided to dig deeper. … Read more