City Experiment Fund will address development challenges in cities of the region

Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic and UNDP launched an initiative that will support cities in the application of innovative approaches. City Experiment Fund (CEF) is part of Transformative Governance and Finance Facility II program which is a joint undertaking of UNDP Istanbul Regional Hub and the ministry to address some of the key challenges in the region and leveraging regional and global developments.

Cities occupy only about 2% of Earth’s land area, but house between 60–85% of the world population. Because cities concentrate development challenges — access to services, participation in decisions, distribution of water and electricity — they also become a laboratory on how these can be addressed.

CEF primarily targets cities in Western Balkanseastern Europe and central Asia. The fund will support interventions that cut across four domains where life in cities happens: public space, public administration, resident life and digital infrastructure. Among others, the experiments will touch on behavioral insights, new data and systems thinking, and horizon technologies such as artificial intelligence or blockchain. 

Bitcoin mining in Kosovo

2017 World Health Organization report found that of the 10 most polluted cities in Europe, 5 were based in the Western Balkans — 3 in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and 2 in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

At the same time, skyrocketing regional use of electricity for bitcoin mining outstrips national power consumption by 1000% in places like Kosovo and Montenegro. These signals do not only raise issues about balancing development with well-being, but also the necessity to understand complexity and drive systems change.

CEF is call to action for exploration and learning. Future of cities can be different — more open, transparent and inclusive, where the benefits are more equitably distributed, and where people can live healthier and longer lives.