Inequality, poverty, risk conflict in East Europe and Central Asia

03 Jun 2010

NEW YORK/BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Eastern Europe and Central Asia risk creating a ‘lost generation’ unless policies can bring excluded populations back from the margins of society, according to the latest issue of Development and Transition published by UNDP and the London School of Economics (LSE).

According to data featured in Development and Transition, more than half of survey respondents from Ukraine, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan report  being “very worried” about making ends meet. This share rises to two thirds in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia—a country currently negotiating to become a member of the European Union (EU).

Too often social safety nets do not protect those most in need. Two thirds or more of survey respondents in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, as well as in Tajikistan, say they would lose their social insurance if they lose their jobs.

“Achieving high levels of human development is not possible if large segments of population remain excluded, with limited opportunities to participate in economic, social, political and cultural life,” writes Susanne Milcher of UNDP in article ‘Lost in transition: The dimensions of social exclusion in Europe and Central Asia’.

Social inclusion—a paradigm rooted in Western European social democratic traditions but rarely applied to middle or low income transition and developing economies—can help to better address complex problems of poverty and exclusion, Development and Transition authors argue.

Research published in Development and Transition also suggests that tensions between rich and poor have begun to overtake ethnic tensions as the main threat to social solidarity in some post-conflict Balkan countries, as well as new EU member states. 

The latest edition of Development and Transition zeroes in on different policy choices in countries in the Western Balkans, Central Asia as well as Cyprus and new EU member states. It contains valuable data and analysis of sectors and issues such as health care, pension systems, homelessness and other key areas of social inclusion. It also explores the evolving role and policies of the EU when it comes to social inclusion and includes initial findings from the upcoming UNDP Regional Human Development Report on social inclusion.

Contact Information

For more information or interview requests, please contact: in New York, Stanislav Saling, stanislav.saling@undp.org or +1 212 906 5296; in Bratislava, Zoran Stevanovic,  +421 908 729 846 or zoran.stevanovic@undp.org.