The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations' global development network. It advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. UNDP is on the ground in 166 countries, working with them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range of partners.
UNDP is an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly. The UNDP Administrator is the third highest ranking member of the United Nations after the United Nations Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General.
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. Additionally, the UNDP works internationally to help countries achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
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, social development, 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.
The UNDP was founded in1965 to combine the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance and the United Nations Special Fund. In 1971, the two organizations were fully combined into the UNDP.In 2008, UNDP’s entire budget was approximately $5 billion.
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. This field of activity included UNDP's support of the Elections Reform Support Group which supports the election activities of the Palestinian National Authority.
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.
The UNDP International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG) in Brasilia, Brasil expands the capacities of developing countries to design, implement and evaluate socially inclusive development projects. IPC-IG is a global forum for South-South policy dialogue and learning, having worked with more than 7,000 officials from more than 50 countries.
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 water, sanitation and energy services, UNDP seeks to address environmental issues in order to improve developing countries’ abilities to develop sustainably, increase human development and reduce poverty. 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 including access to water supply and sanitation, 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.
HIV/AIDS HIV/AIDS is a big issue in today's society and UNDP works to help countries prevent further spreading and reduce its impact.
Human Development Report
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.
Disarmament and controversy
In mid-2006, as first reported by Inner City Press and then by The New Vision, UNDP halted its disarmament programs in the Karamoja region of Uganda in response to human rights abuses in the parallel forcible disarmament programs carried out by the Uganda People's Defense Force.
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.
Over 25 UN agencies are members of the UNDG. The Executive Committee consists of the four "founding members": UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP and UNDP. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.
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.
Criticism of UNDP
The UNDP has been criticised by members of its staff and the Government of the USA for irregularities in its finances in North Korea. Artjon Shkurtaj claimed that he had found forged US dollars in the Programmes safe while the staff was paid in Euros. The UNDP denied any wrongdoing, and keeping improper accounts.
UNDP, along with other UN agencies, has long enlisted the voluntary services and support of prominent individuals as Goodwill Ambassadors or Youth Emissaries to highlight and promote key policies. According to UNDP’s website: “Their fame helps amplify the urgent and universal message of human development and international cooperation, helping to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.” Goodwill Embassy has a complete list of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors as well as Goodwill Ambassadors of other UN Organisations.
Prepared by Biju P R,Assitant Professor in Political Science,Govt Brennen College,Thalassery.