Eastern European, Balkan, and Central Asian countries face a particular set of interrelated human development challenges that combine inequalities and a lack of job opportunities, ethnic tensions and human rights issues, scarcity of water resources and risks of disasters. as well as heavy reliance on remittances and shock-prone extractive industries. Wide disparities in human development continue to exist, income inequalities, and poverty are widespread and gender inequalities remain.

While economic growth is expected to remain relatively low, countries continue to struggle with multiple human development challenges related to skills gaps, high unemployment, social exclusion and widening income inequalities. These challenges translate into some of the highest inequality ratios in the world.

Around 60% of the region's population lives in urban areas. Central Asian and Balkan countries have substantial potential for economic growth, but they require new investments and planning in transport, industry, and housing. Growing pressure on urban infrastructure, limited employment opportunities in cities, high migration rates, and poor urban planning policies are just some of the pressing challenges the region faces in the coming decades.


Albania Armenia Azerbaijan Belarus Bosnia and Herzegovina Croatia Cyprus Georgia Kazakhstan Kosovo* Kyrgyzstan Moldova Montenegro Romania Russian Federation Serbia Tajikistan The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Turkey Turkmenistan Ukraine Uzbekistan

Facts and Figures

35% of the population in the region is "excluded from society"
31 million people emigrated to work in another country
19% of the region's youth population is unemployment
88% of the region procures its energy supply from fossil fuels
44% of Roma families went to bed hungry at least once in the last month because they could not buy food
Source: UN Habitat

Project Spotlight

In Armenia, urban lighting accounts for the second largest source of municipal greenhouse gas emissions. It accounts for about one third of municipalities' GHG emissions and up to 50 percent of their electricity bills. UNDP launched an initiative to reduce emissions of GHG emissions by increasing energy efficiency of municipal lighting in Armenian cities. The project focuses specifically on the urban lighting sector through implementation of a municipal investment program and national policy guidelines. Since its establishment, the project has seen an annual GHG emission reduction equivalent to 234 tonnes of CO2.