Buying for a better world

10 Jun 2016 by Bruce McCarron, Director, Office of Operations, Legal and Technology, UNDP and Dominic Grace, Director, Office of Sourcing and Operations, UNDP

Sustainable procurement means making sure that the products and services we buy are as sustainable as possible – both economically, socially, and environmentally. Photo: UNDP
At first glance, procurement may seem like something that happens in the background – a specialized, technical and potentially narrow part of UNDP’s work. But procurement touches everything from buying office vehicles, health commodities and election materials to procuring energy systems as well as consultancy services. All these activities combined form a strategic function that is, not only due to its large share of our yearly expenditures, an extremely important part of our work. In our efforts to help countries end poverty and significantly reduce inequalities and exclusion – in parallel with measures to combat climate change – UNDP is striving to adopt more sustainable production and consumption practices. … Read more

The return of the Eastern European middle class

17 Feb 2016

Nino Narmania in a tailoring workshopNino Narmania in a tailoring workshop, part of the practical training put in place through an overhaul of Georgia's professional education system. (Photo: UNDP/Daro Sulakauri)
The headlines emerging from Davos this year show that concerns about inequalities are continuing to grow. According to Oxfam's latest report, the billionaires that are as rich as half of humanity can now fit on a bus. In 2010 they would have required a Boeing. But the picture is in many ways much more complex. Take the region I cover: Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Central Asia. The initial results of a new UNDP report show that over the past twelve years, the number of people earning 10 to 50 dollars per day has tripled from 33 to 90 million. … Read more

Managing the refuse of the refused

03 Feb 2016 by Alper K. Doğan, Chief Technical Consultant of Mitigating the Impact of Syrian Crises on Southeast Anatolia Region Project - UNDP

waste management in TurkeyLooking at current waste management practices in the town of Elbeyli, Turkey. Photo: Alpert K. Doğan
Imagine yourself as the mayor of a small border province in Southeastern Anatolia five years ago. It is a big day for you. After years of petitions, meetings, and a heavy financial burden you are about to open a sanitary landfill site to serve your community for at least 25 years. You and your team are proud to make a lasting contribution both to the community and environment. You are reading about the events in neighboring Syria but hopeful that the conflict will end soon. Your heart is with them, as you think maybe of the distant relatives of yours living in Aleppo. Then refugees begin to arrive. First in a trickle, then a flow. Camps are erected, and you do your best to fulfill basic needs and cooperate with relevant government offices. You feel a little bit tired, but satisfied knowing that you’re helping out a neighbour in need. … Read more

Focusing development efforts around the MDGs was not always easy

28 Dec 2015 by Sheila Marnie, Programme Advisor, Sustainable Development Cluster, Istanbul Regional Hub, UNDP

Local officials in UzbekistanLocal officials in Uzbekistan take part in team building exercises. Photo: UNDP Uzbekistan
I remember meeting with partners in the Cabinet of Ministers in 2002-3, working as a poverty reduction consultant. I was advised not to bring up the topic of Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) with government officials, as it would be insulting for them to compare their country with other developing countries. The Government officials were very proud of Uzbekistan’s well-developed health, education, and social protection systems and would not want to be associated with hunger and starving, unprotected children. … Read more

Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always.

10 Dec 2015 by Alejandro Alvarez, Team Leader for Rule of Law, Justice, Security and Human Rights at UNDP

Eleanor RooseveltMrs. Eleanor Roosevelt of the United States holding a Declaration of Human Rights poster in English. [November 1949] Photo: UN Photo
In celebrating 2015 International Human Rights Day, we are invited to reflect on the importance of the freedoms we enjoy and to recommit to supporting the fundamental freedoms of all. UNDP’s work is based on the belief that people experience poverty, deprivation or exclusion not only as a lack of income but also as a lack of education or health care or a lack of dignity and participation in their community. These dimensions of peoples’ lives have been considered so important by governments all around the world that they have recognized them as entitlements, as human rights, both in national and in international law. … Read more

Skills training is a pathway to economic growth for all

11 Nov 2015 by By Gokhan Dikmener, Technical Specialist, Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development, UNDP

women attend their first day of classKosovan women attend their first day of classes at the BUTGEM vocational training centre in Bursa, Turkey. Photo: Yuksel Cetin
Fatos Hasolli can’t find a job, despite having a university degree in engineering. The Kosovan young man, in his mid-20s, decided his best option is to leave Kosovo* and find a job elsewhere. His story is shared by thousands of Kosovan youth who, according to the World Bank, face a 60% unemployment rate. But Hasolli’s story is not only found in Kosovo: it has become a global trend for both developed and developing countries. … Read more

Making energy efficiency visible

23 Oct 2015 by Marina Olshanskaya, Regional Technical Advisor, Energy, Infrastructure, Technology and Transport, UNDP Europe and Central Asia

kids in classroomIn an Uzbekistan school, the implementation of simple energy efficiency measures increased the classroom’s temperature from 10°C to 20°C, making for a much more comfortable learning environment. Photo: UNDP
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. The buildings where we live and work are responsible for over one-third of global energy needs and a correspondingly high share of CO2 emissions. Improving the energy efficiency in buildings is one of the most cost-effective climate mitigation solutions we have: one “negawatt” of saved energy costs much less to produce than generating a new watt from conventional or even alternative energy sources. In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, there is a vast number of highly inefficient buildings, and a tremendous potential for greenhouse gas emission reduction and the production of negawatts. … Read more

The road to Paris: the Macedonian case

12 Oct 2015 by Pavlina Zdraveva, Project Manager, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, UNDP in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

macedonia gridTo help clarify the aims of the INDC, we made this interactive infographic (click to access).
In this blog series, UNDP experts and practitioners share their perspective on issues of climate change, in the lead up to COP21 in December. In preparation for the Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, all participating countries have been asked to develop and determine their own national contributions to slowing climate change. These proposed measures are referred to as “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDCs), and to date, 121 countries have submitted one. … Read more

From neglect to respect: Changing Georgia's mental health approach

15 Sep 2015 by Lisa Lenz, Democratic governance intern, UNDP in Georgia

hospitalPsychiatric hospital in Tbilisi. Photo: Melissa Stonehill/UNDP
Visiting a psychiatric clinic can leave a lasting impression. I had the opportunity to visit a psychiatric hospital in Tbilisi to meet the doctors and experts taking part in designing a national reform of mental healthcare in Georgia. The first thing I noticed was the hospital’s size. The huge concrete building looked left over from the Soviet era. Even after entering, it seemed more like an administrative center than a hospital housing more than 150 patients. … Read more

Closing the Gap: Delivering impact for gender equality in Europe and Central Asia

04 Sep 2015 by Bharati Sadasivam, Team Leader, Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, UNDP Regional Hub in Istanbul

Women attending a workshop on DIY solar water heatersParticipants practice bending cuprum pipe for do-it-yourself solar water heaters during a workshop in Jilikul, Tajikistan. UNDP Photo
In Namangan in Uzbekistan, a long-standing dream for a crafts centre came true. In Misi village in Turkey, a silk unit for niche products, another dream child of a group of women, is having a fourth year of success, against all odds. In Jilkul village in Tajikistan, another group of women have gained more income and more time for their families by learning to set up solar water heaters. These are some ways in which UNDP is supporting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Europe and Central Asia region. … Read more