Unique tool in Czech-UNDP Partnership will merge solutions for development challenges with creative innovations

Following a long-term partnership between the UNDP and the Czech Republic, via projects like the Czech Trust Fund, a new Czech-UNDP Partnership has been launched in 2018. The partnership focuses on the search for innovative solutions to development problems and has so far supported 17 projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova. The success of the program has attracted interest from Poland and Slovakia, which are preparing to replicate them within their own development cooperation.

Current trend in the development cooperation is to focus on engaging the private sector and mobilizing funds beyond public finances. This engagement increases the number of possibilities available for solving development issues and strengthens their impact. It is a modern approach, and I am proud that Czech Republic is a part of it,” says the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Martin Tlapa on the account of the new project.

The goal of the Czech-UNDP Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals (abbrev. CUP) is to contribute to the long-term sustainable development in selected partner countries via utilization of Czech expertise, alongside the identification and implementation of innovative solutions with the potential to scale across the sectors and the regions.

This is how the CUP follows the global trend, which emphasizes the need for involvement of all possible financial resources – public and private, local and international – to increase the positive impact of development activities.

EVECO Brno : Innovative use of hospital waste as source of energy (Republic of Moldova)

Innovative solutions in development cooperation

The Challenge Fund is the latest element of the Czech Republic´s cooperation with UNDP, which will serve as a unique platform for transfer of much-valued Czech expertise. “This tool was first used in Malawi and Czechs are among the first to use this tool for further project implementation – its uniqueness is in the fact that it put the innovative approaches as a core of addressing development challenges,” says Václav Bálek, the director of the Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the Challenge Fund platform which presents the basis of the new launched program. “Development cooperation is usually carried out in such a way that the goals, outputs and activities are set in a cooperation with the local people – and afterwards, a suitable implementer is being sought. Here, however, the problems are first identified and defined by the local partners themselves who then, in cooperation with the implementors, propose suitable solutions.  We then choose the most suitable one based on quality, degree of innovation and potential for further expansion,” he adds to the details of this unique approach.

CUP, in cooperation with local UNDP offices, focuses primarily on Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and Moldova, where it contributes to building local capacities to address development challenges through sharing Czech know-how and innovation. It will focus on four key sectors – governance, sustainable management of natural resources, economic transformation and agriculture, and rural development. The success of the program is based on close cooperation between the Czech entities and local partners.

Caritas Czech Republic : Development of sustainable waste management system in Pshav-Khevsureti protected area and adjacent mountainous territories (Georgia)

The Czechs helped us a lot

Everybody knows that the Czechs have a lot of experience in dealing with the effects of floods – but there is little talk about the fact that it is not only classical procedures and robust solutions that are suitable for large rivers, but that there are also modern technologies that bring inexpensive solutions to combat floods on small river streams, ”says Senida Dzajic-Rghei of the Hydroinformatics Institute, who oversees the installation of stations collecting information about the lower flows and solving the problem of so-called flash floods. “The system collects information that cannot be captured in another way, but also tracks the current situation – and in the case of elevated lower levels of the waters, it immediately sends a short message to those responsible from the local government about the possible danger,” she describes the operation of the system.

We cannot afford a solution that is used in Western Europe. We wouldn’t be able to cover the running expenses, it could also be a problem with storage. We are very pleased for what Zikmund electronics s.r.o. has brought us, it is a quality and effective solution. The Czechs have helped us a lot,” says a representative of the Water and Sewerage Systems from Bijelina in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where a push camera will be used for sewer inspection, which will enable it to solve any problems quickly and cheaply. Petr Zikmund is also enthusiastic about the development of his company and says: “We have been working in the field of development and production of the push camera systems for almost 30 years. It is a time when we have been able to develop a range of detection and control systems to work in different levels of inaccessible areas. We are very pleased that our novelty – TechWorm push camera has found its application abroad, where it will help in the detection of defects in piping systems. We believe that over time there will be the possibility of delivering large inspection and detection systems to this development area.” Because of its extraordinary qualities, TechWorm has entered the Czech Innovation Award of 2019.

It was a unique experience for us, we helped to solve the local problem of introducing new technologies into the city administration and at the same time we opened the door for further partnerships in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” says Lukáš Blatecký, project manager of Incinity, Zlín Region for the year 2018 and the first of innovative solutions implementers, which participated in the implementation of a new e-system for public administration in the city of Tuzla.

Incinity : Introduction of smart city platform to effectively manage resources in the City of Tuzla
(Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Czech inspiration for development cooperation

The UNDP welcomes the innovative approach brought in and advanced by the Czech members of the Partnership Team. Yet again, this makes them an inspiration for other projects and partnerships. As a result, we greatly value the presence of our Czech colleagues here in Istanbul, as they are bringing another perspective to the table, one that is already extremely diverse,” states Dagmar Novohradská, CUP Program Manager, representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic at UNDP.

Czech Ambassador Petr Mikyska and the Georgian Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili, discussed cooperation prospects and agreed to move forward in helping the country enhance environmental governance and promote the sustainable use of natural resources.

Her words confirm that the Czech Republic’s cooperation with UNDP is successful not only through the fruitful sharing of Czech expertise in the transition to democracy and the market economy, but also serves as proof of the Czech Republic’s readiness for a stable partner on the international development scene.

This articles has been originally published here.