When it comes to law reform, think long-term: Plan ahead, plan better

16 Jun 2016 by Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law, UNDP Kyrgyzstan

In the Kyrgyz Republic, there are 172,800 people with disabilities – corresponding to 2.9 percent of the population. Out of these, 28,200 are children living in orphanages. The average amount of the monthly benefit is of US$ 35 and represents a significant financial burden on the state. It is clear that we need to invest more strongly in justice systems, paying particular attention to most vulnerable groups. But it’s always the same story: You meet with national authorities to discuss how to improve rule of law, or access to justice for the citizens or most vulnerable groups. The conversation is going well but when it comes to discussing finances, you hit a wall. And it’s understandable – deciding how to allocate a budget is a difficult endeavor, whether you are in a lower, middle or higher income country. And it’s a matter of national priorities, so international organizations can only go so far to make a difference. National ownership of reforms is a key principle without exceptions. … Read more

Development 2.0: Innovating cash deliveries with the Bitcoin Blockchain

05 May 2016 by Marc Lundwall, Sustainable Procurement Analyst, UNDP Denmark

In the recent years, we are seeing an increased focus on delivering cash via vouchers, mobile money or cash-in-hand as part of development and humanitarian projects. … Read more

Can we produce 376 million tonnes of meat without destroying our planet?

27 Apr 2016 by Faik Uyanik, Communication Specialist, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

Producing one kilogram of beef can use up as much as 27 kilograms of carbon emissions. That’s almost the same quantity as if you were to burn between 6 and 10 litres of petrol. The world’s meat production is growing at an unprecedented rate and the driving force behind this surge is a combination of population growth, rising incomes and urbanization. Agricultural food production and agriculturally-related change in land use substantially contribute to greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. Four-fifths of agricultural emissions arise from the livestock sector. Livestock require large quantities of deforested land and water. The sector uses 3.4 billion hectares for grazing and one-third of global arable land to grow feed crops. Cattle emit huge amounts of carbon and so do the value chains for processing meat. In spite of this, based on current consumption patterns, the annual production of meat is projected to increase from 225 million tonnes to 376 million tonnes by 2030. This represents a 67 percent increase in 15 years. Imagine what that will mean in terms of carbon emissions. In the countries of Europe and Central Asia, governments are investing considerable amounts in promoting livestock and poultry farming so they can achieve self-sufficiency. … Read more

From "welfare as cost" to "welfare as investment": Social impact bonds and the case of Sitra

06 Apr 2016 by Milica Begovic Radojevic, Innovation Specialist based in Regional Hub for Europe and CIS

Funding the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be a daunting challenge. By some estimates, it will take nearly 20 times last year’s official international aid or the combined GDP of Africa’s 30 biggest economies in additional funds each year to keep on track. … Read more

3 things I learned about development from giving a TEDx Talk

31 Mar 2016 by Claire Medina, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Malawi

I cringe every time I think of my TEDx talk.I cringe every time I think of my TEDx talk.
What those on stage in California make seem effortless is actually the result of months of work: an incredibly difficult process of condensing thousands of ideas into one simple message. For me, this was all the more difficult because I am a bureaucrat. Advocate, promote and represent are verbs in my job description but “give an inspiring talk without notes or slides on a difficult development topic in front of hundreds of people which will be posted online to be seen by many more” is not – at least not until now. … Read more

I work for UNDP and I am not a development expert

11 Mar 2016 by Nazife Ece

A young woman with a Turkish family
I have to be honest with you. Four years ago, just before my first day at UNDP in Turkey, I thought I knew everything about development. I was dead wrong. Doing development is less about having a comfortable office and more about touching people’s hearts. It’s about being open to learning from others. But that’s just what UNDP has taught me: There is no such thing as a development expert. There are only people who carry a passion for learning from and helping others. You get this feeling very clearly at UNDP in Turkey. It’s an office that has been around for more than 50 years. You could say UNDP and Turkey have evolved together. In the 1960s, Turkey had a population of 30 million with a thirst to develop. Per capita income was around 385 US dollars* and industrial reforms were beginning to take place rapidly. … Read more

Turning 50 together with UNDP

21 Feb 2016 by Peter Hulényi, Slovak Ambassador to Israel

Slovak Aid, turning 50
I am a bit younger than UNDP. 31 days younger, to be precise. But I enjoy the idea of celebrating this half-century together. Not because we belong to the same generation, but because I have spent almost half of my career working with or for this UN agency. So allow me to be more personal as I recall three memories. Act 1: Giving a hand to an ugly duckling Year: 1996, Place: UN Headquarters in New York Completing my first diplomatic steps as I joined the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I found myself representing Slovakia at the UNDP Steering Committee in New York. Frankly speaking, Slovakia was not in the best shape at that time. The country was economically and politically lagging behind the region, earning its nickname as the “black hole of Europe”. My mission, received with mixed reactions, was to present a proposal to establish a UNDP Center in the Slovak capital, Bratislava. Why move UNDP to a country with democratic deficits, many delegations asked. “Exactly because of that”, said the then Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS. … Read more

The long road to prosperity in Kosovo*

17 Feb 2016 by Andrew Russell

The recent news out of Kosovo has been bleak. The tensions between the ruling coalition and opposition is growing, while public protests against recent agreements with Serbia and Montenegro have turned violent. But let’s take a step back and look at the other side of the story. In 1999, following a decade of conflict in the Western Balkans, peace returned to Kosovo. Between 2000 and 2010, Kosovo’s economy grew faster than the European average. The international community has contributed enormously to the reestablishment of security, rehabilitation of infrastructure, and the creation and strengthening of public institutions. And our Kosovan partners have invested significant resources in reducing poverty, creating jobs, and improving welfare. … Read more

Talking in tongues: From crypto currencies to breaking blockchains

18 Nov 2015 by Milica Begovic Radojevic and Robert Pašičko

Bitcoin accepted in a Dutch café in 2013 (Photo: Wikipedia)
Lately, the language of funding has gotten very strange. From equity-based crowfunding and person-to-person lending, to crypto currencies and mobile money; entirely new players are disrupting the field of financing for development and public policy. So, what does this alternative finance space look like? Who are the new players and what are they up to? Crowd-power According to the World Bank, the crowdfunding market is expected to grow to US $100 billion by 2025. Recent research shows that – despite living in countries where the cost of doing business is quite high – entrepreneurs are successfully raising money by crowdfunding, and bypassing loads of red tape in the process. … Read more

How do we fight corruption in law? We tried something different in Kyrgyzstan

31 Aug 2015 by Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law, UNDP Kyrgzstan

Despite tangible progress in the justice system, the trust of the Kyrgyz citizens to the court system remains very low. A recent survey shows that 51% of the population believe judges are “very corrupt”, with another 37% thinking they are “somewhat corrupt.” … Read more