UNDP attaches critical importance to the promotion of civic engagement – the process through which members of society engage in individual and collective actions aimed at influencing public processes. Guided by the UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017 and in keeping with the UNDP Corporate Strategy on Civil Society and Civic Engagement (2012) and UNDP and Civil Society Organizations: A Policy of Engagement (2001), UNDP fosters inclusive participation, including through work on the following priority areas:
- Promoting normative and regulatory frameworks which are conducive to civic engagement and supportive of the important role to be played by citizens, communities, and civil society organizations in shaping public decision-making and holding governments accountable.
- Expanding opportunities for civic engagement around selected development issues and development processes, by creating appropriate dialogue platforms and by strengthening relevant civil society capacities and skills.
- Promoting the full and meaningful participation in political and public life of selected groups experiencing significant exclusion, including – in addition to groups explicitly mentioned in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017 – persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex).
Work on the participation of specific marginalized groups is implemented with a strong focus on UN inter-agency collaboration - among other things, through the hosting of the Technical Secretariat of the UN Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) and through active participation in the UN Indigenous Peoples Partnership (UNIPP).
In its work on civic engagement, UNDP recognizes the diversity of civil society as a broad spectrum of formal and informal organizations that are outside the state and market. For this reason, UNDP collaborates with and seeks to advance the capacities of partners as varied as social movements, volunteer organizations, indigenous peoples' organizations, mass-based membership organizations, non-governmental organizations, and community-based organizations, as well as communities and citizens acting individually and collectively.
UNDP’s pursues its overall development goals through partnerships with a wide cross-section of local, regional and global civil society organizations in programme implementation and policy advocacy.
At the country level, UNDP is working with civil society in all its priority areas: sustainable development, democratic governance and peacebuilding, climate and disaster resilience. At the global level, by providing independent perspectives and critical analyses on different aspects of UNDP´s work, the Civil Society Advisory Committee has greatly contributed to strengthening the overall quality and the civic engagement dimension of UNDP’s policies and programmes.