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definition - United_Nations_Development_Programme

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United Nations Development Programme


United Nations Development Programme
Logo UNDP.gif
Org type Programme
Acronyms UNDP
Head Helen Clark
Status Active
Established 1965
Headquarters New York City, USA
Website www.undp.org
Parent org ECOSOC[1]

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 operates in 177 countries, working 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.

UNDP is 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]

Headquartered in New York City, the UNDP is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from member nations. The organization has country offices 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).

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, the UNDP Human Development Report Office publishes an annual Human Development Report (since 1990) to measure and analyze developmental progress. In addition to a global Report, UNDP publishes regional, national, and local Human Development Reports.[3]



The UNDP was founded on 22 November 1965 with the merger of the Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance or EPTA and the United Nations Special Fund. In 1971, the two organizations were fully combined into UNDP. 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.[4][5]


In 2010, UNDP’s entire budget was approximately 5 billion USD .[citation needed]


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 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.[6]

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)[2] in Brasília, 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 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 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. 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 HIV/AIDS is a big issue in today's society and UNDP works to help countries prevent further spreading and reduce its impact.

Hub for Innovative Partnerships Major programmes underway are [7]::

Human Development Report Since 1990, the UNDP has annually published the Human Development Report, which includes topics on Human Development and the annual Human Development Index.[3]

  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 analyze 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 resident coordinator (RC) 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.It is now coordinated by the UNDG.[8]


The UNDP has been criticised by members of its staff and the Bush administration of the United States 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 were paid in Euros. The UNDP denied any wrongdoing, and keeping improper accounts.[9]

  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.


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 addition to his or her responsibilities as head of UNDP, the Administrator is also the Chair of the UN Development Group.[10]

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.[11]

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, is the current Administrator. She was appointed in late March 2009, succeeding Kemal Derviş.[12] The current government of New Zealand strongly supported her nomination, along with Australia, the Pacific Island nations and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown.[13] The five countries on the UNDP board also have some influence over selection.[citation needed] Current board members are Iran (chair), Haiti, Serbia, the Netherlands and Tanzania.

  Associate Administrator

During meetings of the UN Development Group, which are chaired by the Administrator, UNDP is represented by the Associate Administrator.[citation needed] The position is currently held by Rebeca Grynspan, appointed on 1 February 2010.

  Assistant Administrators

Assistant Administrators of the UNDP, Assistant United Nations Secretary Generals and Directors of the Regional Bureaus are Tegegnework Gettu (Ethiopia) for Africa, Sima Sami Bahous (Jordan) for Arab States, Ajay Chhibber (India) for Asia & Pacific, Cihan Sultanoğlu (Turkey) for Europe & CIS, Heraldo Munoz Valenzuela (Chile) for Latin America and the Caribbean[14] and Jens Wandel (Denmark) for Bureau of Management [15]

  Previous Administrators

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

Other holders of the position have included: Bradford Morse, former Republican congressman from Massachusetts; William Draper, venture capitalist and friend of George H.W. Bush who saw one of the UN system's major achievements, the 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.

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.

  Goodwill Ambassadors

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 [3] has a complete list of UNDP Goodwill Ambassadors as well as Goodwill Ambassadors of other UN Organisations.

  Global Ambassadors

  Regional Goodwill Ambassador

  Honorary Human Development Ambassador

  Honorary Advisor on Sports and Development

  Youth Emissaries

  See also


  1. ^ Background Guide;: Executive board of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UN-USA. Archived from the original on 14 June 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070614085742/http://www.unausa.org/atf/cf/%7b49C555AC-20C8-4B43-8483-A2D4C1808E4E%7d/2007+UNA-USA+MUN+UNDP+%5bMegacities+and+the+Environment,+Foreign+Direct+Investment%5d.pdf. Retrieved 13 December 2007  (from internet archive)
  2. ^ http://www.un.org/sg/senstaff_details.asp?smgID=9
  3. ^ a b http://hdr.undp.org/en/
  4. ^ Stokke, O., 2009, The UN and Development: From Aid to Cooperation, Bloominton and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, p.51, 1000
  5. ^ Murphy, C.N. 2006, The United Nations Development Programme: A Better Way? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.51-66
  6. ^ [1] UNDP/PAPP Support to the Electoral Process in Palestine. Accessed 30 June 2009
  7. ^ "The Hub for Innovative Partnerships". undp.org. November 2011. http://www.undp.org/geneva/hub.html. Retrieved November 17 2011. 
  8. ^ http://www.undg.org/index.cfm?P=5
  9. ^ UN denies firing 'whistleblower'. BBC News. 7 July 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/6279998.stm. Retrieved 13 December 2007 
  10. ^ http://www.undg.org/index.cfm?P=2
  11. ^ "Post of the UNDP Administrator". http://www.undp.org/about/bio1.shtml. Retrieved 11 March 2009 
  12. ^ Crewdson, Patrick (27 March 2009). "Clark gets UN job". The Dominion Post (Fairfax Media NZ Ltd). http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/2295459/Clark-gets-UN-job/. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  13. ^ Charbonneau, Louis (31 March 2009). "Former New Zealand PM Clark confirmed in top UN post". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN31427418. Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  14. ^ Regional Directors (UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, WFP)
  15. ^ Secretary General appoints Jens Wandel Assistant Administrator
  16. ^ "Antonio Banderas appointed as UNDP Goodwill Ambassador". UNDP. 17 March 2010. http://content.undp.org/go/newsroom/2010/march/antonio-banderas-nombrado-embajador-de-buena-voluntad-del-pnud--.en. Retrieved 3 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon". Royal House of Norway. 9 April 2008. http://www.kongehuset.no/c28640/artikkel/vis.html?tid=28766. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  18. ^ http://www.ks.undp.org/?cid=2,26,625

  External links



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