New technologies and finance to promote sustainable development in a changing world


Panama, August 31, 2018- With a financing gap of 2.5 billion dollars to implement the Sustainable Development Goals and two out of every six people in the world without access to a formal bank account, innovative financial mechanisms represent an alternative to close the financial gap and promote sustainable development. This is said by the team of experts in alternative finance of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Marina Petrović and Robert Pasicko. They run the Alternative Finance Lab (AltFin Lab), an initiative created in 2016 to explore and take advantage of new financial technologies and mechanisms to access investment. "Due to the increasingly changing world of today, governments, citizens and development actors must adap...
Continue reading
  116 Hits
  0 Comments

How to turn development organizations in development platforms?


​ Hardly a day goes by in the development world without hearing the term "platform". Like in the business world, it's becoming harder for any development organization to provide a single service or product that will make broad impact. Airbnb doesn't build homes, it creates a network that brings together host and guest. Likewise, it's impossible to eradicate poverty – a complex phenomenon – without connecting different areas of expertise and partners across a wide range of thematic issues. And it's often the case that the people we're trying to pull out of poverty are closer to the problem and entitled to have a say about the solution. While building platforms doesn't happen overnight, it's highly likely you're already working in ways that r...
Continue reading
  591 Hits
  0 Comments

Blockchain links Serbian diaspora and their families back home


With the arrival of the 4 th industrial revolution, new technologies will increasingly enable citizens to engage with governments, voice their opinions and coordinate their efforts. Because of the increasingly changing world of today, governments, citizens and development actors alike need to quickly adapt, get a better understanding of advanced technologies, and learn how they can best be used for the benefit of the society as a whole. The new UNDP's strategic approach is relying on innovation and experimentation to ensure that key development actors are able to use new technologies to drive the progress towards the achievement of the Agenda 2030 and the global Sustainable Development Goals . To be able to do so and help the governments of...
Continue reading
  975 Hits
  0 Comments

There are risks in doing something new, but there might be even more risks in doing the old!


Impact bonds , one of the pay-for-success financial mechanisms bringing impact investors, private, public and third sector organizations together to solve social and development issues, have recently faced some criticism about their complex nature, which can lead to a long design phase and high related transaction costs. We, at UNDP Istanbul Hub and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra , put our heads together and thought about the challenges around impact bonds. There was a mutual understanding that what comes to preventing and solving wicked societal problems, the impact is achieved together – the core idea and benefit of impact bonds. Sitra has been using co-creation as a mechanism to boost the design of social impact bonds (SIB) in Finland and...
Continue reading
  536 Hits
  0 Comments

The Benefits of Crowd Urbanism


  The Benefits of Crowd Urbanism Based on lessons learned – some of which are mentioned below – crowdfunding can bridge the gap between top-down and bottom-up ways of thinking. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Alternative Finance Lab has been working and experimenting with crowdfunding now more than five years, by developing campaigns, workshops, booklets and observing how this new way of financing can help communities to become more resilient and empowered. Due to fiscal constraints governments are facing globally, conventional means of financing municipal projects are at risk, opening the floor for various alternative financing mechanisms. Crowdfunding mechanisms are one of the fastest growing: they can help leverage pub...
Continue reading
  502 Hits
  0 Comments

UNDP, solar currency exchange to power up Moldovan university

Thanks to a new cryptocurrency initiative, one of Moldova’s largest universities will reach zero cost within the next 20 years. Photo: UNDP Croatia

​First U.N. effort to finance solar energy with cryptocurrency could expand to Eastern Europe where markets are considered mature but funding is scarce ​   Chisinau, Moldova, 4 May 2018 – The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is teaming up with Sun Exchange – a marketplace that finances solar power with cryptocurrency – to help one of Moldova's largest universities go solar. The establishment is expected to meet most of its energy needs from solar power overnight and make considerable savings on its bills, thanks to rooftop installations expected to reach 15,000 square meters in surface area. People who purchase solar cells through the South Africa-based Sun Exchange can lease them out to hospitals, businesses, schools and private reside...
Continue reading
  435 Hits
  0 Comments

The Future is Decentralised - Block chains, distributed ledgers & the future of sustainable development


UNDP AltFinLab partnered with Blockchain.com, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the World Economic Forum (WEF) to explore how block chain technology works, but also how it is already being used to pursue conventional ends. The culmination of that partnership is in the form of a white paper titled, The Future is Decentralised. We're excited to share how this technology has brought new levels of efficiency and effectiveness to the fields of development aid, supply chain management, renewable energy, economic growth, and several others. The potential of block chains to disrupt industrial sectors, commercial processes, governmental structures or economic systems seems to know no bounds. We suggest that the transformative power of block chain techn...
Continue reading
  352 Hits
  0 Comments

UNDP Global Crowdfunding Academy in Bosnia and Herzegovina Rides on a Great Wave!


    The Day of Big Waves in February in Banja Luka. What? Yes, we have the first successful crowdfunding campaign in Bosnia and Herzegovina by "Talas" magazine team. Talas means wave! The campaign name was "Swim upstream" or #PlivajUzvodno. There is no ocean in Banja Luka to make waves or to swim, but Talas magazine team has done their job! They started a quarterly print magazine back in June 2016, determined to write only positive stories about great, productive, proactive and enthusiastic people in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Those stories deserve to be told and inspire other people to strive in making a positive change, starting a business, creating jobs, doing good for themselves and for the community. They went into a crowdfundin...
Continue reading
  577 Hits
  0 Comments

Growing argan trees and beekeeping in Morocco – and how can crowdfunding help?


Argan trees are so much more than just trees in rural Morocco. In many cases they are the only income for local indigenous women. Argan nuts are being turned into Argan oil that is being praised by cosmetic industry for its anti-aging and conditioning properties for skin and hair. Since the beauty-cult started some 20 years ago, over 200 women's Argan oil cooperatives have been organized for collecting nuts and turning them in to "desert gold" and sold worldwide. However, most of them lack cash for expanding their businesses beyond just simple collecting nuts as conservative funding is not easily assessable for local cooperatives and farmers. Many villages throughout the Argan forest area lack the proper funding needed to open production fa...
Continue reading
  1634 Hits
  0 Comments

Can blockchain help us better assist refugees and migrants in transit?


Technology can both empower and disempower. At a recent workshop on blockchain , we landed a challenge: how can we use it to facilitate refugee integration? I am an immediate misfit in the dynamic multiverse of people speaking in code. But at this USAID event led by the UNDP Alternative Finance Lab and AID:Tech , I wasn't the only one. My team, half tree-huggers and half tech gurus, started our brainstorming with this question: what do we have in common? The answer was a strong sense of identity. That fragile sense of self, inflated when our boss pats us on the back and shattered when somebody "swipes left". Displaced people often struggle with identity loss. It isn't just about that "blood and soil" sense of belongingness that disappears w...
Continue reading
  723 Hits
  0 Comments

Crowdfunding in UNDP – guidance for project managers


After 7 academies, 40 campaigns, and more than 400 people educated on new financial technologies and mechanisms, we have decided to share a part of our knowledge through this guidance. If you are a forward-looking innovator excited about improving your work and the work of your institution and partners, this guide can help. The following document is divided into tips and questions for planning, launching and managing a crowdfunding campaign. Through four sections of this guide, we introduce you with Things you need to consider before launching a crowdfunding campaign and What to consider for a successful launch . In the third and fourth section, we have prepared useful tips about Managing an ongoing crowdfunding campaign and Wrapping up you...
Continue reading
  642 Hits
  0 Comments

Rethinking Road Safety – Investing to Save People’s Lives


Every few months, I go to pay condolences to families who lost their loved ones in traffic accidents or visit an acquaintance in hospital due to an injury they suffered in a car crash. I am pretty sure I am not alone in that. Montenegro is one of the countries with the highest number of persons killed in traffic accidents in Europe. In 2016 alone, there were more than 5,200 traffic accidents, with 65 persons killed and another 2,500 lightly or seriously injured. Although we all hate putting a price tag on a human life, the economic case for preventing accidents is just as important as the moral one. Studies show that every human life lost in a traffic accident costs our country about half a million EUR . This includes legal and medical expe...
Continue reading
  507 Hits
  1 Comment

Georgetown University Library Hosts UN Development Programme's Alternative Finance Lab


​On Tuesday, July 25, the Maker Hub and the Gelardin New Media Center are hosting a special afternoon of conversation, socailizing, and workshops with the UN Development Programme's Alternative Finance Lab from UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub in Lauinger Library. The afternoon will begin at 2:00pm with a presentation by members of the AltFin Labin the Murray Room (5th Floor, Lauinger Library). The AltFin Lab is an internal startup, run out of UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub for Europe and CIS. It is a mechanism for exploring and tapping into new financial technologies and mechanisms to access investment for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They will discuss their activities related to crowdfunding, crowdlending, and crowdinvesting, as ...
Continue reading
  498 Hits
  0 Comments

10 Steps to Successful Crowdfunding


  The spirit of gotong royong is taught to children from a very young age at schools all over Indonesia. It is the Indonesian brand of volunteerism, or communal work—where members of a community gather to accomplish a task. Traditionally, the task could be to fix a neighbor's home, or build a road or a bridge. Today, especially in urban areas, such community work is hard to find. But it does not mean the spirit of gotong royong is gone. The communal culture stays with modern Indonesians. In spite of busy lifestyles, they continue to help others through philanthropy. A study found that philanthropic support in Indonesia totals $600 million per month. Young and tech-savvy Indonesians use the internet for their philanthropic activities—gi...
Continue reading
  631 Hits
  0 Comments

“From Russia to Tajikistan”: changing the way money moves


​ Could blockchain-based payment systems make financial access easier for migrant workers sending remittance payments from abroad, make the transfer cheaper, faster and more secure ? Citizens of Tajikistan rely heavily on remittances . A lack of job opportunities means that up to 1 million (out of a population of 8 billion) migrate elsewhere for work, mostly Russia. Until 2014, the share of remittances made up around 43 percent of the national GDP, roughly US$4 billion a year , The global recession and the depreciation of the Russian and Tajik currencies against the US dollar has since caused a sharp decline in remittances. But its share is still significant at 20-25 percent, as labor migration continues to be attractive .  When we vis...
Continue reading
  706 Hits
  0 Comments

Crowdfunding SMEs for SDGs – and how we do it in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina…


  What is necessary for building up a crowdfunding ecosystem Our first 2 years of experience with crowdfunding taught us that the approach is not just a new market place for accessing funds but a tool to build community engagement; not just a PR fad but a powerful outreach and advocacy mechanisms; and not merely a support system for an initiative but an effort to catalyse new business models, technologies and solutions for social issues. Just donating money is like buying a blanket for one person in need; and crowdfunding an SME is like setting up a company that produces affordable blankets to hundreds in need. Re-inventing the business model, building an ecosystem of supporters and ambassadors, and a powerful leapfrog. This year, our ...
Continue reading
  568 Hits
  0 Comments

Mašenjka Feels Happy, From A to W, Twelve Campaigns Will Go Out Crowdfunding!


What are the campaigns, what is in the #BigStoriesSmallBusinesses? Take a small A to W quest with Maša and find out! A. stands for Antonov, Ukrainian engineer who constructed the biggest cargo plane in the world, the famous Antonov! Produced in Ukraine. Mašenjka saw it in Zagreb several years ago, once it landed to pick up a transformer for a powerplant . The queue of curious people was the longest queue she has ever seen! Can you imagine how thrilled she was she realised we have another Antonov in one of the teams that is composed of engineers who once worked in the Antonov factory? Now The A. team has created the first electric cargo bike in Ukraine – find out what is their name and try-out the bike when they go out to the crowds with gue...
Continue reading
  370 Hits
  0 Comments

Mašenjka Goes Crowdfunding in Kyiv


  On a calm early Saturday morning, with her tiny feet and red hair-locks under her cap, Mašenjka walked swiftly across St. Sofia square. And then down with a funicular to Podil. And then straight along Riviera to Kyiv Hub 4.0. More then thirty curious entrepreneurs waited for her. Fifteen komandas couldn't wait to learn about a whole new world of crowdfunding. Mašenjka was not alone. Little rasta-girl with blond dreadlocks from the Crowdfunding Academy was with her, and two nice and bright comrades from Spilnokosht platform and a cheerful piccola djevushka Italiana. The komandas started pitching: We want school-kids to grow trees and turn grey destroyed areas into green woods. We want anti-cafe in Slavyansk to have a wonderful yard an...
Continue reading
  426 Hits
  0 Comments

Providing Youth Education and Employment In the IT Industry


In six months, after a successful pilot in the Korail slum , we helped students who were barely familiar with computers to transform into IT freelancers, earning an average of $100 USD per month. Following up on that success, on October 9th UNDP Bangladesh launched the Youth Employment through Skills (YES) campaign . Today, we are raising money to build our first pilot classroom. If successful, we will expand this programme to 100,000 students across Bangladesh. The Inspiration for Youth Employment through Skills (YES) Despite the huge gains that Bangladesh has made addressing poverty, almost 1/3 of the population, or 45 million, still live below the poverty line. Not only that, but, approximately 41% of Bangladeshi youth are NEET : Not Emp...
Continue reading
  367 Hits
  0 Comments

Jobs For Youth, Savings For Government, Return For Investors – All In One?


​ UNDP Serbia is experimenting impact investing through Youth Employment Bond together with Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. The high cost of youth unemployment The youth unemployment rate is very high in Serbia, which requires more attention and also innovative ways to tackle the challenges. The youth unemployment rate in 2015 was 43.2 %, which is significantly above the general unemployment rate in the country (18.2 % for the population of working age 15-64). Having 4 out of 10 young people (ages 15-30) neither in employment, education or training (NEET youth) costs the Government over EUR 1.6 billion a year. You read it right- EUR 1.6 billion. This figure includes costs of various unemployment related social benefits and foregone income ta...
Continue reading
  532 Hits
  0 Comments