Innovative development stories from Europe and Central Asia

01 Oct 2012

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the second volume of Empowering Lives, Building Resilience at its Executive Board meeting showcasing transformative development achievements in Eastern European and Central Asian countries.

New Horizons - Much of these successes are based on innovative new social policies addressing the needs of that region’s chronically poor and marginalized, including the Roma, youth, the long-term unemployed and people with disabilities.

The publication provides vivid examples of “triple-win” strategies that aim to advance social, economic and environmental objectives simultaneously.

As a result of these often innovative strategies, UNDP – always in partnership with governments, the private sector and civil society – has helped to create jobs, meet the needs of the most vulnerable, manage the environment responsibly and provide for the prevention of and recovery from crisis and disaster.

“There are common qualities to transformational change, regardless of the context or country in which it takes place,” said Helen Clark, who heads UNDP. “Some critical characteristics of successful transformational change include measurable results, strong partnerships with governments and civil society and improved national capacity to manage development projects autonomously.”

Road to Solution: Growing inequalities and Environmental Degradation in the Region

Despite the relatively high average income in many of the region’s countries, large numbers of people are poor or at the risk of falling into poverty.

Growing inequalities, due to social, economic and political exclusion, remain a challenge.

Environmental degradation, especially the high rates of greenhouse gas emissions in some countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, poses additional threats to development.

“Each story documents how UNDP responds to the demands of governments in Europe and Central Asia, delivering sophisticated policy support that mitigates the impact of economic and environmental shocks that have the potential to push populations back into poverty,” said Cihan Sultanoglu, Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth Independent States.

Turkey's Success Story

Turkey's success story was in the Energy and Environment section of the Report.

The report told the story of the foundation of the Kure Mountains National Park and the success stories that took place afterwards within the scope of the Küre Mountains National Park project which was awarded one of the best practices to represent Turkey in Rio+20 Conference.

The report emphasized that the process have not only achieved to protect the biodiversity in Küre Mountains, which is the first Pan Park certified protected area in Turkey, also have led to greater local democracy with an extensive participation of citizens, civil society groups and NGOs.

Hence the project marked the first time that ordinary citizens and Central Government worked together to protect their common environment.

For more information about the Küre Mountains National Park Project:

For more information about UNDP’s work in Europe and the CIS region, please visit