From the climate crisis to the digital divide and women’s empowerment, we’re taking a look back at another unprecedented year.

10. Shared Futures: Youth perceptions on peace in the Western Balkans
Across the Western Balkans, young people share a core of common hopes and dreams.

Over 5,400 young women and men in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,* Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia share their perception of peace. Photo: Dardan Rushiti.

9. A digital generation where every girl counts
While the pandemic accelerated the transition to online learning, working and networking, it also heightened the risks of women and girls of being left behind.

The Technovation challenge is a UNDP supported programme that invites girls and young women to work in teams to code mobile applications and help solve real-world problems through technology. Photo: UN Technovation

8. Connecting girls to a bright future in ICT
Massive job losses could be offset by the “jobs of tomorrow.” But are those jobs for everyone? They are if we can make improve the pathways for girls.

A recent Technovation event in Uzbekistan. Photo: UN Technovation

7. For lasting impact, we need both domestic violence laws and changing mindsets
A prominent Kapucinski Lecture speaker, Bandana Rana, shares insights as a women’s rights activist of three decades in Nepal, the South Asia region and globally.

Photo: Great Himalaya Trails

6. The energy transition is urgently essential — but will raise a series of justice questions
Anthony Bebbington, another #KAPTalks speaker, discusses the intersections of natural resource extraction, climate change and human rights.

Photo: Tom Fiske

5. Could air pollution be the other public health emergency?
Years of potential life are lost due to outdoor air pollution in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Air pollution in Skopje, North Macedonia. Photo: UNDP / Sumaya Agha.

4. What are the socio-economic impacts of an energy transition?
An energy transition not only helps combat climate change, but will have socioeconomic impacts that align with our need for a green recovery post-pandemic.

Newly installed solar panels in the Turkmenistan desert power water stations that allow livestock to graze and livelihoods to return. Photo: UNDP Turkmenistan / Sergey Mirzoyev

3. Violence against women politicians: an unacceptable cost of gender equality
Despite progress in politics, resistance to making parity between women and men in politics and decision-making is a reality.

Photo: Women’s Political Network, Montenegro.

2. When it comes to HIV and health services, social returns on investment matter
More action is needed to halt the spread of the epidemic as well as to address inequities in accessing prevention, treatment and care services among key and marginalized populations.

Counseling services in a mobile services unit in North Macedonia. Photo: HERA

1.Cyberviolence disempowers women and girls and threatens their fundamental rights
As the first major pandemic of the social media age, COVID-19 has also intensified the prevalence of online and technology-facilitated violence.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Burdun — stock.adobe.com

What we talk about when we talk about development