UNDP works at the local level across thematic areas, including biodiversity and ecosystem services, land, water, energy, community-based adaptation (CBA) to climate change, and reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (UN-REDD). Activities are guided by four Strategic Priorities:
- Promote rights, access, and finance mechanisms: Strengthen institutional, policy, and legal frameworks to broaden local access to environment and energy resources and services, and to enable finances to flow to the local level.
- Enhance environmental management and finance capacity: Enhance the capacity of local actors to access environmental finance and plan, implement and monitor environment and energy programmes, enterprises and service delivery.
- Facilitate learning and knowledge-sharing: Promote peer-to-peer learning, knowledge-sharing, and documentation of best practices to make local action more effective, sustainable, and replicable.
- Strengthen community voices in policy processes: Ensure that local actors are positioned to advocate for their rights and entitlements related to environment and energy in national and international fora.
While each Strategic Priority has a distinct scope and modality, they are all strongly correlated and interdependent, where positive outcomes in one area result in positive outcomes in the others. Where national, sub-regional and local capacity is improved, knowledge exchange both among local actors and between local actors and national policy makers becomes possible. With increased access to resources, strengthened local capacity, and facilitated learning exchanges, local actors are better positioned to influence and inform national and international policy as well as to take action locally. When local actors are able to influence policy, they can lower the barriers that limit their access to resources and institutional support, aligning local needs with global and national sustainable development targets.
UNDP carries out several strategic roles in order to achieve these priorities:
- Local-national link: Link capacity building and empowerment of local actors with action to strengthen the enabling environment through appropriate national and international policies.
- Convener: Convene multiple stakeholders to coordinate support for local action.
- Social capital developer: Empower communities to enhance participatory landscape planning and adaptive management.
- Funding facilitator: Establish long-term funding facilities that support local action.
- Capacity builder: Build capacity and provide support services to enable the scaling up of documented best practices and innovations.
- Communicator: Demonstrate the positive social, economic, and environmental contributions to sustainable development made by local communities and the rural poor, emphasizing the interdependency of these contributions.