How are we promoting healthier lifestyles and development in Belarus?

30 Nov 2016 by John Macauley and Seda Karaca

children-exercising-on-playground-belarusGetting enough physical activity is vital in protection against non-communicable diseases.
Every year non-communicable diseases (NCDs) cause 38 million deaths globally, according to the WHO. In addition to being a public health concern, non-communicable diseases also represent a developmental challenge placing high burden on economies and societies. The total burden of NCDs for low and middle-income countries is expected to exceed 7 trillion US$ between 2011 and 2025. Beyond their strain on the economy, NCDs also cause lost productivity and income due to prolonged illness and disability. … Read more

It’s time for a climate revolution. Can the Paris Agreement take us there?

28 Nov 2016 by Daniela Carrington, Climate Change Policy Advisor

A year ago, against all expectations, delegates in Paris agreed on a groundbreaking new deal to take action on global warming. In less than a year, the agreement came into force and was ratified by 113 nations, representing 75 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. It was unprecedented in the history of international agreements. In Marrakesh, decision-makers moved quickly to begin to implement the deal. Here are a few of the key results. … Read more

In Kyrgyzstan, a new law protects girls against early marriage

25 Nov 2016 by Lucio Valerio Sarandrea, Chief Technical Advisor on Rule of Law

In only the first five months of this year, 49 children committed suicide in Kyrgyzstan. A helpline set up to assist children saw 476 cases. Too many young people in Kyrgyzstan feel hopeless and try to end their lives. In many cases, suicides of girls are prompted by sexual violence and the so-called local practice of “bride kidnapping.” The numbers are staggering: The latest study on a state-representative survey showed that 38 percent of Kyrgyz women married through such a practice. This averages 32 bride kidnapping a day, with 40 percent of them including rape. Nearly 14 percent of women currently aged 25 to 49 in Kyrgyzstan report having married by age 18. … Read more

Can women lead the global fight against corruption?

14 Nov 2016 by Shqipe Neziri Vela and Blerim Vela

kosovo-women-coding-course-anticorruption-gender-equalitySource: Girls Coding Kosova Facebook Page
When it comes to addressing corruption globally, there’s a lack of using gender-sensitive approaches. In recent years, we at UNDP in Kosovo* have carried out assessments on the impact of corruption on women and men. Most of this research proved that corruption is not gender neutral. That is to say, women experience corruption differently than men, which can limit their access to public services. At the same time, our studies have also shown women to be better at identifying corruption practices and more likely to find them unacceptable. But are women actually any less corrupt than men? … Read more

Crowdfunding is not (only) about the money

11 Nov 2016 by Marina Petrović, Milica Begović, Robert Pašičko and Kristina Lauš

If you need just money, go to the bank and don’t use crowdfunding. Use crowdfunding if you need awareness building, campaigning, initiating debate, attract other funders and build up your community. When we started our first campaign for an energy independent school in Croatia, we didn’t have the slightest idea where crowdfunding would take us. From conducting a successful campaign to setting up Crowdfunding Academy and UNDP Alternative Finance Lab, helping to launch more than 15 campaigns in 10+ countries - crowdfunding has definitely taken a hold on us. In the UK alone, crowdfunding for civic causes has gained $30 million over the last five years. But crowdfunding is so much more than about getting the required financing for your project. Let’s take a look at some other benefits of crowdfunding: amassing social capital, enabling broader visibility and scaling-up of a given project, as well as catalysing social action and policy-level impact. … Read more

In search of development solutions? Look south.

09 Nov 2016 by Faik Uyanik, Communications Specialist at UNDP Europe and CIS

A few decades ago, economists believed that activating a few switches would lead to a linear and universal development process. Nowadays, experts know that developing nations takes a huge amount of trial and error. Countries have different histories. Institutions, societies and cultures matter. And the uncertainty that dominates the international economy is making it increasingly difficult to come up with a recipe for becoming a global player. But there’s one thing that matters immensely: exposure and learning. Have you ever paired up with another student, exchanging German for arithmetic to complete your exams? That’s a simple way of describing what South-South cooperation is about. In a multi-polar world, development knowledge and experience have become a new currency. … Read more

Energy poverty is a big deal in Romania – here’s how we’re helping

07 Nov 2016 by Andreea Ihos, UNDP Regional Programme Support Consultant

Around 42 percent of the Romanian population cannot pay their utility bills. 25 percent of the households are unable to keep their homes adequately warm. Across the country, approximately 30% of the dwellings have leakages and damp walls which is quite alarming as it increases the chances that people will get sick. You might think that Romania, being an EU country, would be able to provide access to all utilities for children in kindergartens and schools. Yet if you go to a low income region of Romania you would be shocked to see children are learning in old buildings without insulation, with outdated windows where you can hear the wind screeching. In such schools, children have to keep their hats and jackets on to keep warm in winter. … Read more

3 lessons from the frontlines: Working with municipalities against corruption

02 Nov 2016 by Marine Destrez, Anti-corruption specialist, Democratic Governance and Peacebuilding

Exercise from workshop in Chisnau.
Last year we launched a call for citizens working with municipalities to join the fight against corruption. Since then, our active citizens have taken us on a journey that proves transparency and accountability can be a reality at the local level. Last week we met in Chisinau to exchange on what we learnt so far on partnering with mayors to promote integrity. Here’s the rundown. 1. It starts with leadership… but it doesn’t end there! If you want people to own the process, you need to involve all staff in helping to diagnose your challenges. In Craiova, Romania, the senior staff was involved in every step of diagnosis and plan drafting, so when the mayor got arrested on corruption charges, the process could carry on. Mrs. Valentina Casian, the mayor of Straseni in Moldova, puts it very simply: “Habits are hard to kill. … Read more

Central Asia: a greener path to achieving the Global Goals

01 Nov 2016 by George Bouma, Team leader for Sustainable Development

Protecting nature in Uzbekistan. Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
In the Central Asia region, the depletion of natural capital has become an urgent concern. A stark reminder of the region’s challenges is the drying up of the Aral Sea, which remains one of the world’s largest human-made ecological disasters. The following numbers are particularly worrying: Tajikistan loses $442 million annually, almost 8 percent of GDP, due to land degradation; improving land management could generate a net benefit of $583 per person annually. In Uzbekistan, 41 percent of the cultivated land is used to grow cotton, which requires more than 90% of extracted freshwater for irrigation. However, 20% of water is lost due to inefficiencies and structural deficiencies. These figures reflect decades of intensive and pesticide-based agriculture, breakneck extraction of minerals and razing of forests. And they should serve as a wake-up call to do things differently. … Read more

How a small film brought a big impact to a Kosovo* village

05 Oct 2016 by Shpend Qamili

BAFTA Award winning director Daniel Mulloy in Prishtina
Editor's Note I met BAFTA Award winning director Daniel Mulloy in Prishtina in early 2015. Being deeply concerned by the refugee crisis, Daniel wanted to make a movie that would speak to the West. As a refugee myself who returned home with help from the international community I shared Daniel’s passion. We decided to create a piece of art that would ask for dignity for the world’s displaced individuals, and the short film Home was born. From the beginning, we set two goals: To promote the rights of refugees and migrants, and To show Kosovo as a place with resources to do such movies with relatively low costs. We were able to galvanize much support in a short period of time. The UN Kosovo Team started the financing, and we fundraised the rest, receiving around US$1 million in in-kind contributions. … Read more