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UNDP's work in Europe and Central Asia covers 18 middle-income countries and territories from Croatia to Kyrgyzstan. While countries in this region compare well with middle-income countries around the world, many of them face important hurdles. Across Europe and Central Asia, national economies have been growing slowly and are vulnerable to global commodity price fluctuations, aggravating labor market and other forms of social exclusion. Further, migration flows, natural disasters, environmental degradation and conflict are threatening to undo hard-won development gains.

But there are reasons to be optimistic. More women and men are involved in decision-making than ever. The region’s youthful population holds the key to peace and creating modern and dynamic economies. Its vast renewable natural resources can also help promote more sustainable growth models.

UNDP is working with its partners to help Europe and Central Asia attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These include a number of countries that are now playing a more active role in global development, with important lessons to share from their own experiences.

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Cyprus UNDP
Building peace in Cyprus
In hundreds of projects under UNDP's Action for Cooperation and Trust (ACT) programme, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have forged habits of cooperation - improving the prospects for peaceful reconciliation on the long-divided island. While the ten-year programme ended in 2015, the real legacy and lasting impact of ACT will continue to be realized for decades to come. In this photo, the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus inaugurate the Limnitis/Yesilirmak crossing in October 2010.
Croatia UNDP
"Less Arms, Less Tragedies" in Croatia
From 2007-2011, UNDP and the European Union supported a nationwide campaign encouraging citizens to surrender illegal weapons to the police, resulting in the collection of more than 87,000 illegal guns and explosives, 3.5 million pieces of ammunition, and 2.8 tons of explosive material. Collected weapons were destroyed or melted for reuse of metal. At work in the country since 1996, UNDP today helps Croatia promote sustainable energy, protect the environment and advocate the full social inclusion of vulnerable groups.
Ukraine UNDP Ukraine
Ukraine: Recovering after Chernobyl
The Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986 caused long-term damage to the land and health of many people in the region, and prompted many residents to leave. In 2002, UNDP launched the Chernobyl Recovery and Disaster Programme (CRDP), which, among other things, helped the Government of Ukraine build community centers and kindergartens, such as this one in the Lugyny district, as young parents returned to the region and needed education for their children.
Bulgaria UNDP
In "Beautiful Bulgaria"
Starting in 1998, in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, UNDP and local partners hired long-term unemployed people, including many from the Roma minority, to restore culturally important buildings. The program, called "Beautiful Sofia," expanded to more than 100 other towns in Bulgaria, restoring historic centres and creating tens of thousands of jobs. The municipal building in Plovdiv, pictured here in 1998, was one of those restored. The programme was then replicated in other countries, such as Serbia, Romania and Armenia.
Albania UNDP Albania
Albania: Destroying weapons for development
Since 1998, UNDP has worked to strengthen human security in Albania through programmes in the area of mine clearance, weapons collection etc. UNDP piloted the “Weapons in exchange for development” approach, which led to the voluntary surrender by communities of around 10.000 weapons. In this photo, the UN Messenger for Peace Michael Douglas participated in a public ceremony of weapons destruction in Gramsh in October 1999 and called on communities to build a society free from violence.
Belarus UNDP Belarus
Encouraging entrepreneurship in Belarus
After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Belarus’ economy remained largely state-owned and centralized. UNDP promoted entrepreneurship through education and local development. It helped to establish the first business incubators and credit unions in the country and develop microfinance as an effective instrument of small business support. Pictured: Opening of the business incubator in Lida, the Grodno region, summer 1999.
Turkey UNDP
Advancing human development in Turkey
A partner since UNDP's earliest days, Turkey hosted the launch of the Human Development Report in Ankara in May 1993. Since its first annual edition in 1990, the Human Development Report has contributed to and influenced the development discourse over the years and inspired the world towards progress through groundbreaking research, new perspectives, data analysis and innovative policies.
Georgia UNDP / Mariam Janashia
Georgia: Achieving electoral democracy
Georgia achieved the status of electoral democracy in 2013. This success, named among Georgia's biggest achievements in the last decade, capped the country's 20-year journey to free and fair elections as well as UNDP's decade-long assistance to the electoral process in Georgia. Pre-election media monitoring ahead of the country's October 2013 presidential polls is shown in this July 2013 photo. Proper media conduct is crucial to conducting democratic elections.
Tajikistan UN Photo / UNHCR / A Hollmann
Tajikistan: From reconstruction to development
After Tajikistan's civil war ended in 1997, UNDP helped displaced people return to their communities and former combatants reintegrate into civilian life, by providing vocational training, generating employment, and rebuilding damaged infrastructure - supporting Tajikistan on its journey to more than a decade of continuous peace. In this 1995 photo, Tajik returnees go through a transit centre where they receive a cash allowance, food rations and household items before being taken home.
Kosovo* UNDP / Hazir Reka
On the long road with Kosovo*
UNDP began its work in Kosovo* in 1999, focusing initially on emergency reconstruction and rehabilitation: building houses, schools and health centres, and restoring electricity to communities. Today, UNDP continues to support Kosovo in addressing longer-term development challenges, helping to strengthen its institutions, promote economic growth, enhance people’s everyday security and improve environmental sustainability.

* All reference to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999)
Turkey UNDP Turkey
Turkey: A long-term partner in development
Over the last 50 years, Turkey has grown significantly. Its national income has now exceeded US$700 billion, up from $14 billion in 1966. It now has a population of nearly 80 million and a per capita income of over $9,000. In collaboration with UNDP, Turkey has become an exporter of good development practices to other countries, supporting less developed countries and actively contributing to global agendas.
Croatia UNDP Croatia / Inia- Herenčić
Croatia: Delivering justice for victims of sexual violence
In May 2015, some twenty years after its Homeland War, a law officially recognizing rape and other forms of sexual violence as a war crime was passed in Croatia. UNDP worked with the country's Ministry of Veteran Affairs to ensure that victims of wartime rape and other sexual violence would be granted recognition, legal status, compensation and social and health support. Since the law's passage, many have spoken of regaining a sense of purpose in life, or even just a new ability to smile.
Albania UNDP Albania
Zero tolerance for domestic violence in Albania
More than half of Albanian women have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. Through a state-run national center in Tirana, UNDP has assisted the Government of Albania in providing domestic violence survivors nationwide with safe haven, counseling, vocational training, and legal services. Also with UNDP's support, a decree to improve coordination among local government units was passed, leading to the creation in 2014 of an online system to track cases of domestic violence.
Slovakia SlovakAid
Slovakia: From recipient to donor
In the 1990s, UNDP assisted Slovakia in implementing essential reforms, and later supported the country's role as a provider of official development assistance through the Slovak-UNDP Trust Fund. The Trust Fund was instrumental in the creation of SAIDC, which since 2003 has carried out hundreds of projects in more than 20 partner countries. Today, Slovakia, an ongoing partner in development, looks ahead to implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Moldova UNDP Moldova
Bringing people together in Moldova
More than 20 years ago, the conflict in Transnistria tore apart communities living on both sides of the Nistru River. Focused on building confidence in Moldova, UNDP, together with the European Union, launched a grant competition through which a newly-built medical centre became operational. The centre was one of more than 150 facilities built through the programme, whch has revived economic activity and brought communities from across the river closer together.
FYR Macedonia UNDP FYR Macedonia
Promoting sustainable employment in FYR Macedonia
Aimed at reducing the country's high rate of unemployment at a time of global economic instability, UNDP and the Government of the Former Yuoslav Republic of Macedonia implemented the Self-Employment Programme. Over the past nine years, the programme has trained almost 10,000 individuals and created 7,721 new businesses (of which 70 percent have remained active), reducing the unemployment rate from over 37 percent in 2005 to 25.5 percent in the third quarter of 2015.
Turkey UNDP Turkey
A journey with Turkey
Turkey and UNDP have been on a shared journey since the beginning of the organization, and even before. One of UNDP's predecessor organizations started work in Turkey in 1957, an office in Ankara was established in 1965, and UNDP was formally created in 1966. Together, UNDP and Turkey have carried out many projects in the economic and social fields in the country, and the partnership continues today. Pictured in this April 2015 photo is the launch of the UN Istanbul Regional Hub, which supports countries and territories in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States where UNDP works.