Slovak Transformation Fund City Experiment Fund


What we do

“Slovak Transformation Fund City Experiment Fund” is a UNDP regional project funded by the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic to support five cities across the Europe and Central Asian region in applying systems thinking, the so-called ‘portfolio’ approach to tackle complex urban challenges. This approach recognizes that there are no simple, singular solutions to complex challenges and that addressing complexity (especially wicked problems) requires experimentation, continuous learning, and dynamic management. In Armenia, the project is implemented in Stepanavan enlarged community and the main public implementing partner is the Municipality of Stepanavan.


The project goal is to provide a capability for system transformation – by deploying systemic approaches, engaging in co-creation processes, strengthening local ecosystems, and leveraging innovative sources of financing for urban transformation by;

- Accelerating development of innovative solutions in the community to strengthen relevant innovation ecosystems,

- Designing, implementing and dynamically managing the portfolio of interventions,

- Building capabilities for facilitating processes of portfolio design and management in the context of urban transformation, at the country office and city level,

- Identifying, exploring and testing out innovative financial mechanisms that leverage diverse resources.

The application of the systems thinking/portfolio approach enables strategic investments, discovery of what works, through rigorous monitoring and evaluation/learning (sensemaking), and provision of insights to other stakeholders where to channel investments. It embodies both (1) design of probes under one portfolio that are in line with the overall direction of the portfolio intent and (2) dynamic management of the portfolio - channeling investments based on what we are learning.

Some results so far

  • Strengthened institutional and human capacities in systems thinking and dynamic management in Stepanavan municipality and community, improved governance practices, including participatory planning and decision making, agility, change management, and future readiness of the community

    • Living Strategy of Stepanavan has been developed by the multiple stakeholders from in and outside of the community with an intent to bring vibrancy back to Stepanavan, and the municipality is progressing on strategy’s implementation together with other community actors sharing the ownership of the community future. Several interrelated interventions are being tested in the community to find the best way forward.

    • Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Mechanisms are being embedded for revision of yearly working plans and the living strategy document to adapt to ever growing challenges

  • Accelerated development through transformative partnerships achieved as a result of application of co-creation processes and strengthening of local ecosystems

    • By deploying social listening, sensemaking and portfolio design approaches, the public library of Stepanavan has been turned into a digital and learning hub. Additional funding has been mobilized by the community actors for scaling up the initiative.

    • Youth Center has been established in the digital library that continues its activities in close cooperation with the municipality and ensures its sustainability through engagement of the private partner.

  • Enhanced ownership of urban transformation by the community through application of participatory approaches and multi-stakeholder engagement (social listening, sensemaking, urban foresight).

    • Interventions embedded in the living strategy designed by the wider community are being implemented by the municipality partners; supporting the alternative green transport and healthy lifestyle in Stepanavan, organizing Art residency in the local museum as part of talent attraction imitative etc.

  • Sustainability and continuity of the transformation journey through improved resource mobilization capacities of Stepanavan community.

    • Resilient Stepanavan foundation has been launched by the municipality to engage in alternative resource mobilization for the implementation of the living strategy.