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United Nations Development Programme

United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Development Programme
Abbreviation UNDP
Formation 1965
Type Programme
Legal status Active

New York City

(International territory)
Helen Clark
Parent organization

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the United Nations' global development network.

Headquartered in New York City, UNDP advocates for change and connects countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life. It provides expert advice, training, and grant support to developing countries, with increasing emphasis on assistance to the least developed countries.

The status of UNDP is that of an executive board within the United Nations General Assembly. The UNDP Administrator is the third highest-ranking official of the United Nations after the United Nations Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General.[2]

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 programmes. The UNDP Human Development Report Office also publishes an annual [3]

UNDP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from member nations. The organization operates in 177 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). Currently, the UNDP is one of the main UN agencies involved in the development of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

UNDP works with nations on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and its wide range of partners.[4]


  • Founding 1
  • Budget 2
  • Functions 3
    • Democratic governance 3.1
    • Poverty reduction 3.2
    • Crisis prevention and recovery 3.3
    • Environment and Energy 3.4
    • HIV/AIDS 3.5
    • Hub for Innovative Partnerships 3.6
    • Human Development Report 3.7
    • Evaluation 3.8
  • Global Policy Centers 4
  • UN co-ordination role 5
    • United Nations Development Group 5.1
    • Resident coordinator system 5.2
  • Controversies 6
    • NSA surveillance 6.1
    • Criticism 6.2
    • Disarmament and controversy 6.3
  • Administrator 7
    • Associate Administrator 7.1
    • Assistant Administrators 7.2
    • Previous Administrators 7.3
  • Goodwill Ambassadors 8
    • Global Ambassadors 8.1
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


The UNDP was founded on the 22nd of November 1965 with the merger of the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance or EPTA and the United Nations Special Fund.[5] The rationale was to "avoid duplication of [their] activities". The EPTA was to help the economic and political aspects of underdeveloped countries while the Special Fund was to enlarge the scope of UN technical assistance.[6][7]


In 2013, UNDP’s entire budget was approximately 5 billion USD.[8]


UNDP’s offices and staff are on the ground in 177 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 programmes.

Poverty reduction

UNDP helps countries develop strategies to combat poverty by expanding access to economic opportunities and resources, linking poverty programmes 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)[1] in Brasília, Brazil 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.

A 2013 evaluation of the UNDP’s poverty reduction efforts states that the UNDP has effectively supported national efforts to reduce poverty, by helping governments make policy changes that benefit the poor.[9] Nevertheless, the same evaluation also states there is a strong need for better measurement and monitoring of the impacts of the UNDP's work.[10] The UNDP’s Strategic Plan 2014-2017 incorporates the recommendations of this poverty evaluation.[11]

Crisis prevention and recovery

UNDP works to reduce the risk of armed conflicts or disasters, and promote early recovery after crisis 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 programmes include efforts to control small arms proliferation, strategies to reduce the impact of natural disasters, and programmes to encourage use of diplomacy and prevent violence.

Recovery programmes include disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants, demining efforts, programmes 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. UNDP's Equator Initiative office biennially offers the Equator Prize to recognize outstanding indigenous community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, and thus making local contributions to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


HIV/AIDS is a big issue in today's society and UNDP works to help countries prevent further spreading and reduce its impact, convening The Global Commission on HIV and the Law which reported in 2012.[12]

Hub for Innovative Partnerships

Major programmes underway are:[13]

Human Development Report

Since 1990, the UNDP has annually published the [3]


The UNDP spends about 0.2% of its budget on internal evaluation of the effectiveness of its programmes.[14] The UNDP’s Evaluation Office is a member of the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG) which brings together all the units responsible for evaluation in the UN system. Currently the UNEG has 43 members and 3 observers.[15]

Global Policy Centers

The UNDP runs six GPCs, including the Seoul GPC on partnerships, and the Global Center for Public Service Excellence that issues the influential 'Raffles Review' on developments in public administration research.

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.

32 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 coordinator system

The UNDG.[16]


NSA surveillance

Documents of Unicef and Médecins Sans Frontières and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).[17]


The UNDP has been criticised by members of its staff and the

  • Official UNDP web site
  • Official UNDP job site
  • Official UNDP Twitter Stream
  • Official UNDP Facebook Page
  • Official UNDP LinkedIn Page
  • Official UNDP Instagram Account
  • Official UNDP Google Plus Page
  • UNDP for Beginners: a short, comprehensive introduction to the UNDP; Also available in French and Spanish.
  • United Nations Rule of Law: United Nations Development Programme, on the rule of law work conducted by the United Nations Development Programme.
  • Declaration on Social Progress and Development
  • UNDP Europe and CIS
  • Twitter Europe and CIS Stream
  • Knowledge Pilot Platform for Latin America and the Caribbean
  • / UNDP International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth

External links

  1. ^ (from internet archive)
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^
  5. ^ Consolidation of the Special Fund and the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance in a United Nations Development Programme GA Res 2029, XX (1965)
  6. ^ Stokke, O., 2009, The UN and Development: From Aid to Cooperation, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, p.51, 1000
  7. ^ Murphy, C.N. 2006, The United Nations Development Programme: A Better Way? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.51–66
  8. ^ UNDP Fact Sheet 2012
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Global Commission on HIV and the Law
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ GCHQ and NSA targeted charities, Germans, Israeli PM and EU chief The Guardian 20 December 2013
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ Secretary General appoints Jens Wandel Assistant Administrator
  26. ^ Regional Directors (UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP)
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^ a b "Match Against Poverty". United Nations Development Programme. Retrieved 25 September 2014


See also

Global Ambassadors

UNDP, along with other UN agencies, has long enlisted the voluntary services and support of prominent individuals as Goodwill Ambassadors to highlight these causes. Their fame helps amplify the urgent and universal message of human development and international cooperation, helping to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. They articulate the UNDP development philosophy and programmes of self-reliant opportunities and motivate people to act in the interest of improving their own lives and those of their fellow citizens.

Goodwill Ambassadors

Kemal Derviş, a former finance minister of Turkey and senior World Bank official, was the previous UNDP Administrator. Derviş started his four-year term on 15 August 2005.

Other holders of the position have included: Human Development Report, introduced during his tenure; Mark Malloch Brown, who was previously Vice President of External Affairs at the World Bank and subsequently became UN Deputy Secretary General.

The first administrator of the UNDP was Paul G. Hoffman, former head of the Economic Cooperation Administration which administered the Marshall Plan.

Previous Administrators

  • Michael O’Neill (United Kingdom), for Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy;
  • Magdy Martínez-Solimán [a.i.] (Spain), for Bureau of Development Policy;
  • Jordan Ryan (United States), for Bureau of Crisis Prevention and Recovery;
  • Jens Wandel (Denmark), for Bureau of Management;[25]
  • Abdoulaye Mar Dieye (Senegal), for Africa;
  • Sima Sami Bahous (Jordan), for Arab States;
  • Haoliang Xu (China), for Asia & Pacific;
  • Cihan Sultanoğlu (Turkey), for Europe & CIS and
  • Jessica Faieta [a.i.] (Ecuador), for Latin America and the Caribbean.[26]

Assistant Administrators of the UNDP, Assistant United Nations Secretary Generals and Directors of the Regional Bureaus are

Assistant Administrators

During meetings of the UN Development Group, which are chaired by the Administrator, UNDP is represented by the Associate Administrator. The position is currently held by Maria Eugenia Casar, appointed on 7 May 2014.

Associate Administrator

Nr Administrator Land Term
8 Helen Clark  New Zealand 2009- Today
7 Kemal Derviş  Turkey 2005–2009
6 Mark Malloch Brown  United Kingdom 1999–2005
5 James Gustave Speth  United States 1993–1999
4 William Henry Draper  United States 1986–1993
3 F. Bradford Morse  United States 1976–1986
2 Rudolph A. Peterson  United States 1972–1976
1 Paul G. Hoffman  United States 1966–1972

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, is the current Administrator. She was appointed in late March 2009, succeeding Kemal Derviş.[23] The current government of New Zealand strongly supported her nomination, along with Australia, the Pacific Island nations and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown.[24] The five countries on the UNDP board also have some influence over selection. Current board members are Iran (chair), Haiti, Serbia, the Netherlands and Tanzania.

The position of Administrator is appointed by the Secretary-General of the UN and confirmed by the General Assembly for a term of four years.[22]

In addition to his or her responsibilities as head of UNDP, the Administrator is also the Chair of the UN Development Group.[21]

The UNDP Administrator has the rank of an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. While the Administrator is often referred to as the third highest-ranking official in the UN (after the UN Secretary General and the UN Deputy Secretary General), this has never been formally codified.


In mid-2006, as first reported by Inner City Press[19] and then by The New Vision,[20] UNDP halted its disarmament programmes in the Karamoja region of Uganda in response to human rights abuses in the parallel forcible disarmament programmes carried out by the Uganda People's Defence Force.

Disarmament and controversy


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