When it comes to ending corruption, is there light at the end of the tunnel?

18 Dec 2017 by Irakli Kotetishvili, policy specialist on anti-corruption and public administration at UNDP.

Since passing the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2003, the world celebrates International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December every year. But do we really have anything to celebrate? Have we, society as a whole, managed to combat corruption or at least minimize its negative impact? Countries in our region widely differ on their progress in fighting corruption. In Europe and Central Asia, 1 in 3 citizens still think that corruption is one of the main problems facing their country. At UNDP, we work with countries and territories in the region to help curb corruption at all levels – that it to say, we work with local authorities in municipalities and governments. … Read more

For LGBTI in Eastern Europe, a struggle to exist

11 Dec 2017

This week, the UNDP and USAID are releasing evidence on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons across the Western Balkans — the biggest study in this region to date. Though there have been some signs of progress in politics and legislation, most findings are grim. In the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, nine out of 10 citizens disapprove of same-sex relationships. In Serbia, 70 percent of the LGBTI community have experienced psychological violence and harassment. In Albania, 94 percent of teachers say they have never known an LGBTI student. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, 44 percent of parents say if their child came out as LGBTI, they would try to “cure” them. … Read more

Let’s reset the internet and make sure it works for democracy

05 Dec 2017 by Ben Slay, Senior Advisor and Nicolas Douillet, Team leader of Communications

Can elections be affected by advances in technology? Photo: UNDP Kyrgyzstan
Political polarization is inherent to democratic elections. In fact, elections wouldn’t be democratic in the absence of different – and even diametrically opposed - political opinions. It’s a necessary feature of healthy and open societies. Thus, it’s understood that during election campaigns, political parties and candidates compete to present the ideas they think will appeal the most. In recent years, however, the impact of globalization and inequalities on politics and society has been the subject of many debates. According to Oxfam, for instance, the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few is entrenching influence in small but powerful political circles. In our region, Branko Milanovic has argued that when middle class citizens see the rich getting richer, they are more likely to vote for populists. … Read more

For women in government, glass ceilings and invisible obstacles

06 Nov 2017 by Barbora Galvankova, Gender equality and women's empowerment programme specialist, UNDP

Public administration efforts have a significant impact on our daily life. They determine the way decisions made by governments are implemented, and how budgets are allocated and spent. Unfortunately, public administrations often leave out women’s voices in the planning, decision-making or implementation stages. When women are not involved in decision-making, their ability to shape the well-being of societies weakens considerably. … Read more

Can blockchain help us better assist refugees and migrants in transit?

03 Nov 2017 by Kristina Mikulova, Advisor at the Board of the World Bank. 

Technology can both empower and disempower. At a recent workshop on blockchain, we landed a challenge: how can we use it to facilitate refugee integration? I am an immediate misfit in the dynamic multiverse of people speaking in code. But at this USAID event led by the UNDP Alternative Finance Lab and AID:Tech, I wasn’t the only one. My team, half tree-huggers and half tech gurus, started our brainstorming with this question: what do we have in common? The answer was a strong sense of identity. That fragile sense of self, inflated when our boss pats us on the back and shattered when somebody “swipes left”. … Read more

Labs on the perilous road of transformation

31 Oct 2017

The call for a “new” movement around the public sector innovation labs comes at a good time because it compels us collectively to anticipate on the next steps and it asks good questions. But it inspired us also a few comments. The “labs” are funny vehicles, “batmobiles” which must adapt to the winding contours of the road towards transformation… Then, all aboard! … Read more

Tuberculosis recovery requires more than just medicine

17 Oct 2017 by Bahar Bayramova, Psychologist, Strengthening TB project, UNDP Turkmenistan

Psychologist Bahar Bayramova checks on TB patients’ records. Photos: Nazik Avlyakulova / UNDP Turkmenistan
Tuberculosis (TB) treatment is a very long and complicated process. Often, patients are left to face the condition on their own because people are afraid of contamination. Many lose their jobs and contact with their friends and family. Thanks to modern medical care, TB is curable, but only if the diagnosis is made and the treatment has started on time. ,bThe burden of a regular TB is no longer a burning issue in Turkmenistan, because there is rapid testing and free medical treatment for patients. But with its long treatment, MDR-TB poses a heavy burden. As a result, many patients drop the treatment which causes reappearance of the symptoms. … Read more

How can we create lasting economies in developing countries?

13 Oct 2017 by John Kay, British economist and Professor

Countries like Britain and the United States have created a finance sector which has lost touch with the real economy, trading with itself, talking to itself, judging itself by its own criteria. This attitude has produced outcomes that have proved catastrophically unstable. How can we help countries at an earlier stage of financial evolution avoid the same mistakes? When I say ‘Financial inclusion,’ it could mean two very different things depending on your background. For people whose background is in the finance sector of the West, ‘financial inclusion’ means ‘how can we sell our product range to poor people?’ But in the context of developing economies, ‘financial inclusion’ is about identifying ways in which enterpreneurial energy can be channelled for public as well as private benefit. … Read more

Rethinking road safety – investing to save people’s lives

10 Oct 2017 by Irena Jokić, Programme Associate, UNDP Montenegro

traffic accidentMontenegro is one of the countries with the highest number of persons killed in traffic accidents in Europe. Photo: UNDP Montenegro
Every few months, I go to pay condolences to families who lost their loved ones in traffic accidents or visit an acquaintance in hospital due to an injury they suffered in a car crash. I am pretty sure I am not alone in that. Montenegro is one of the countries with the highest number of persons killed in traffic accidents in Europe. In 2016 alone, there were more than 5,200 traffic accidents, with 65 persons killed and another 2,500 lightly or seriously injured. Although we all hate putting a price tag on a human life, the economic case for preventing accidents is just as important as the moral one. Studies show that every human life lost in a traffic accident costs our country about half a million EUR. … Read more

What does joining hands really mean? Lessons from rural Kosovo

09 Oct 2017 by David Svab, Sustainable Development Programme Analyst, UNDP Kosovo*

RaspberriesPhotos: Atdhe Mulla and Arben Llapashtica: UNDP Kosovo
If there’s one thing I’ve learned at UNDP, it’s that good development projects don’t just happen. Here at UNDP in Kosovo*, I have seen well-designed and delivered programmes change the lives of people in rural areas. In the last year alone, over 1,100 people found jobs thanks to our projects throughout Kosovo and earn more money than they used to. But when I’m asked to give good advice, I’m just as guilty as everyone else in repeating jargon and buzzword-filled sentences like “design for the community with the community,” “build on local context and leverage local potential,” or “partners assume concerted roles.” But what do these sentences actually mean in practice? … Read more