United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Headquartered in New York City, the UNDP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from member nations. The organization has country offices in 166 countries, where it works with local governments to meet development challenges and develop local capacity.
UNDP provides expert advice, training, and grant support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries. To accomplish the MDGs and encourage global development, UNDP focuses on poverty reduction, HIV/AIDS, democratic governance, energy and environment, and crisis prevention and recovery. UNDP also encourages the protection of human rights and the empowerment of women in all of its programs.
Furthermore, UNDP publishes an annual Human Development Report to measure and analyze developmental progress. In addition to a global Report, UNDP publishes regional, national, and local Human Development Reports.
Table of Contents
UNDP’s offices and staff are on the ground in 166 countries, working with governments and local communities to help them find solutions to global and national development challenges.
UNDP links and coordinates global and national efforts to achieve the goals and national development priorities laid out by host countries. UNDP focuses primarily on five developmental challenges:
Democratic governance UNDP supports national democratic transitions by providing policy advice and technical support, improving institutional and individual capacity within countries, educating populations about and advocating for democratic reforms, promoting negotiation and dialogue, and sharing successful experiences from other countries and locations. UNDP also supports existing democratic institutions by increasing dialogue, enhancing national debate, and facilitating consensus on national governance programs.
Poverty reduction UNDP helps countries develop strategies to combat poverty by expanding access to economic opportunities and resources, linking poverty programs with countries’ larger goals and policies, and ensuring a greater voice for the poor. UNDP also works at the macro level to reform trade, encourage debt relief and foreign investment, and ensure the poorest of the poor benefit from globalisation.
On the ground, UNDP sponsors developmental pilot projects, promotes the role of women in development, and coordinates efforts between governments, NGOs, and outside donors. In this way, UNDP works with local leaders and governments to provide opportunities for impoverished people to create businesses and improve their economic condition.
Crisis prevention and recovery UNDP works to reduce the risk of armed conflicts or disasters, and promote early recovery after crises have occurred. UNDP works through its country offices to support local government in needs assessment, capacity development, coordinated planning, and policy and standard setting.
Examples of UNDP risk reduction programs include efforts to control small arms proliferation, strategies to reduce the impact of natural disasters, and programs to encourage use of diplomacy and prevent violence.
Recovery programs include disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, demining efforts, programs to reintegrate displaced persons, restoration of basic services, and transitional justice systems for countries recovering from warfare.
Environment and Energy As the poor are disproportionately affected by environmental degradation and lack of access to clean, affordable energy services, UNDP seeks to address environmental issues in order to improve developing countries’ abilities to develop sustainably. UNDP works with countries to strengthen their capacity to address global environmental issues by providing innovative policy advice and linking partners through environmentally sensitive development projects that help poor people build sustainable livelihoods.
UNDP’s environmental strategy focuses on effective water governance, access to sustainable energy services, Sustainable land management to combat desertification and land degradation, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and policies to control emissions of harmful pollutants and ozone-depleting substances.
Human Rights and HIV/AIDS UNDP believes that human rights violations and inequitable gender relations continue to fuel the spread of the HIV epidemic. Working with United NationsAIDS, of which it is a co-sponsor, UNDP helps countries put HIV/AIDS at the centre of national development and poverty reduction strategies; build national capacity to mobilize all levels of government and civil society for a coordinated and effective response to the epidemic; and protect the rights of people living with AIDS, women, and vulnerable populations. This includes addressing stigma, discrimination, and gender relations that render women and girls vulnerable to infection, and promoting legislative and other measures to ensure the full enjoyment of human rights.
UN co-ordination role
UNDP plays a significant co-ordination role for the UN’s activities in the field of development. This is mainly executed through its leadership of the UN Development Group and through the Resident Co-ordinator System.
United Nations Development Group
The United Nations Development Group (UNDG) was created by the Secretary General in 1997, to improve the effectiveness of UN development at the country level. The UNDG brings together the operational agencies working on development. The Group is chaired by the Administrator of UNDP. UNDP also provides the Secretariat to the Group.
The UNDG develops policies and procedures that allow member agencies to work together and analyse country issues, plan support strategies, implement support programmes, monitor results and advocate for change. These initiatives increase UN impact in helping countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including poverty reduction.
Resident co-ordinator system
The Resident Coordinator system co-ordinates all organizations of the United Nations system dealing with operational activities for development in the field. The RC system aims to bring together the different UN agencies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of operational activities at the country level. Resident Coordinators, who are funded, appointed and managed by UNDP, lead UN country teams in more than 130 countries and are the designated representatives of the Secretary-General for development operations. Working closely with national governments, Resident Coordinators and country teams advocate the interests and mandates of the UN drawing on the support and guidance of the entire UN family.
Work on gender
UNDP works closely with the UN Women on gender-related issues. UNDP focuses its activities related to achieving gender equality on two complementary approaches: mainstreaming gender and promoting women’s empowerment. It does so in all of its practice areas.
UNDP has established a Gender Thematic Trust Fund (GTTF), through which it is focusing on gender mainstreaming in order to meet the challenges of reaching gender equality and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The GTTF supports programme countries in their efforts to mainstream gender throughout all of their programme work. It is intended to enable institutional and cultural transformation processes, including: eliminating gender biases in development frameworks and paradigms; incorporating gender awareness into policies, programmes and institutional reforms; involving men to end gender inequality; and developing gender-sensitive tools to monitor progress and ensure accountability.