The report identifies three reasons UNDP has become “the knowledge frontier in providing analytical and technical advice, and brokering cross-sectoral partnerships” in key development areas.
First, is our extensive presence on the ground, and what the report calls UNDP’s “ground game”: frequent interaction with policymakers. The researchers noted the catalytical role of our service delivery platforms, through which UNDP generates knowledge and mobilizes and deploys its policy, advisory and operational expertise.
Second, the “higher-than-expected uptake of UNDP’s information” is due to a bounded, but cross-cutting, focus on three key themes: sustainable development, democratic governance and peacebuilding, and climate and disaster resilience.
Third, and finally, its history and continuous presence on the ground has established the reputation and credibility of UNDP through years of direct engagement with countries.
According to the AidData report, UNDP is perceived as most effective in different country settings and in distinct policy areas. For instance, it strongly influences the policy agenda in middle income countries and provides useful policy advice in lower income or crisis-affected countries. And it is seen as helpful in implementation across all categories of countries.
Looking ahead, UNDP has to evolve along with the demands of countries that have more capacity and are facing the more ambitious aspiration of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals. UNDP can build on its assets and achievements to deepen the cross-cutting, integrated applications of expertise and investment, customized for each country and circumstance, which the 2030 Agenda calls for.
As articulated in our new Strategic Plan, this implies that UNDP needs to do more with, and at the service of, other parts of the UN and beyond – because no single organization has the knowledge and skills required to support the implementation of the breadth of the 2030 Agenda. But the discussion of the major sources of information, ideas and solutions for policy makers confirms that, no matter the growing importance of artificial intelligence and big data, in today’s knowledge economy, trust remains king and is the ultimate currency. At UNDP, we value the trust of our partners as one of our greatest assets.