Uniting for our future

UNDP and the Islamic Development Bank partnership to promote the SDGs for solidarity and prosperity

April 26, 2024
Young people talking animatedly in a group

IsDB and UNDP are working with youth to build more agile entrepreneurship ecosystems and enhance digital skills and knowledge for the 21st century economy.

UNDP photo

The latest Human Development Report for 2023/2024 unveils a troublesome trend: the global Human Development Index (HDI) is experiencing a partial and uneven recovery. Despite reaching record highs in 2023, indicating progress in Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, education and life expectancy, these advancements have not been equitably shared. Wealthy nations have seen unparalleled levels of human development, while half of the world's poorest countries have not yet recovered to their pre-2019 levels of progress.

In the face of escalating conflicts and climate-related crises, among other global 'polycrises', poorer countries are especially hard-hit, grappling with debt and dwindling revenue streams to finance their development goals. In this complex landscape of global challenges, the path forward demands innovation, resilience and unity.

Leading the charge towards a greener, more inclusive and sustainable future are the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). Central to our collaborative strategy is the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a worldwide call to action aimed at ending poverty, protecting the environment, and ensuring peace and prosperity by 2030. Through bolstering partnerships with premier international financial institutions, we at UNDP are broadening access to innovative development financing, with our collaboration with the IsDB being pivotal for achieving the SDGs.

Since 2016, the UNDP and IsDB have joined forces under a partnership framework and a joint action plan, to deliver sustainable solutions that enhance lives and make a global impact.

Through the Youth Digitalization for Employability and Entrepreneurship Program (Y-DEEP), IsDB and UNDP are building more agile national entrepreneurship ecosystems, digital skills and knowledge for the 21st century economy, starting with an initial 35,000 individuals for the workforce across Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives and Pakistan.

"Central to our collaborative strategy is the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a worldwide call to action aimed at ending poverty, protecting the environment, and ensuring peace and prosperity by 2030."

And aiming to scale financial resilience and leave no one behind, UNDP’s Insurance and Risk Finance Facility (IRFF), IsDB and IsDB Institute jointly produced the “Insuring a Sustainable Future: Building Climate Resilience Through Takaful” report, highlighting opportunities, challenges and recommendations for Takaful – a Shari’ah-compliant alternative to conventional insurance – to build the financial resilience of at-risk Muslim communities against rising climate risks. This will be followed by a market system analysis of Takaful, outlining key recommendations and actions to enhance its uptake and associated financial resilience. In 2024, UNDP hopes to join force with IsDB and other partners to form the Global Takaful Alliance, a new major public-private initiative seeking to enhance the financial resilience of 100 million people in Muslim communities by 2030. 

Another key focus of our cooperation is supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. For instance, the TADAMON Platform equips local non-profits with the skills needed for crowdfunding and digital fundraising, enabling them to tackle a wide range of social issues. This initiative has facilitated various projects, from reconstructing homes in Pakistan post-floods and enhancing education in Palestine, to promoting sustainable energy solutions in Lebanon and Morocco. As of 2023, over 600 non-profits have completed crowdfunding training in 34 countries and raised $12.1 million through digital fundraising and partnerships.

Our partnership exemplifies a dynamic and proactive approach to addressing the complex challenges of our time. By combining resources, expertise and a shared commitment to the SDGs, we are together making strides toward a more equitable and sustainable future. These efforts underscore the importance of international cooperation and the potential of innovative financing to transform global development landscapes, offering hope for a brighter future for all.

This article was originally published in the April 2024 edition of the Islamic Development Bank Group’s SDG Digest.