Challenges in Asia and the Pacific

 Kiribati Parliament Complex
The Kiribati Parliament has received support from UNDP in a number of areas, including for the induction of Parliamentarians and functioning of committees.Photo: Shobhna Decloitre/UNDP Pacific Centre

Democratic governance challenges in the Asia-Pacific region are diverse, ranging from inequitable service delivery to information in bureaucratic cultures, weaknesses in parliamentary oversight, lack of equal access to justice and exclusion of marginalized groups, such as indigenous peoples. The ongoing global economic crisis and compounded democracy deficits in Asia-Pacific have, in turn deterred the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

How we address these challenges


Gender awareness training for religious leaders, through the Justice and Human Rights in Afghanistan (JHRA) project. Photo: Teresa Ha/UNDP Afghanistan

Ensuring people’s participation in decision-making processes and establishing accountable and responsive governing institutions are at the heart of sustained human development and achieving the MDG. Reflecting on these governance deficits, UNDP focuses its regional efforts in delivering public services and on the MDG, based on the following approaches:

  • Interventions to help national governments apply otherwise politically sensitive principles in democratic governance (such as in human rights, gender equality, accountability and transparency, and the links between governance and peace-building);
  • Long-term engagement in provision of advisory services to countries to help develop and implement effective democratic governance policies and programmes;
  • Development, application and exchange of knowledge to foster innovation and influence global policy development.

UNDP's work in democratic governance is initiated at the request of governments and provided through strengthening core institutions at all levels: national, regional and local/decentralized. Helping the governments strengthen their own institutions is at the centre of our strategy. It ensures sustainability and ownership of results, as well as forges partnerships with international, national and local stakeholders to leverage resources.