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UNDP Global


Six Signature

The road to success


To fulfill the aims of the Strategic Plan with the multi-dimensionality and complexity that the 2030 Agenda demands, UNDP is implementing six cross-cutting approaches to development, known as Signature Solutions. A robust, integrated way to put our best work – or 'signature' skillset – into achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

No one solution will succeed on its own. We need all of them to achieve the SDGs. Each solution has the potential to unlock the path to sustainable development.

UNDP’s Signature Solutions are cross-cutting approaches to development— for example, a gender approach or resilience approach can be applied to any area of development, or to any of the SDGs.

Working together with partners across the UN system and beyond, UNDP is implementing these Solutions building on UNDP’s strengths and expertise to help countries reach the SDGs. Because the six Solutions are interrelated, we can tailor a unique combination to best meet each country’s needs.


Keeping people out of Poverty

Keeping people out of poverty

Today, 700 million people live on less than $1.90 per day and a total of 1.3 billion people are multi-dimensionally poor. People stay in or fall back into poverty because of a range of factors—where they live, their ethnicity, gender, a lack of opportunities, and others.

It’s no coincidence that our first Signature Solution relates directly to the first SDG: to eradicate all forms of poverty, wherever it exists. For UNDP, helping people to get out and stay out of poverty is our primary focus. It features in our work with governments, communities and partners across the 170 countries and territories in which we operate.

UNDP interventions help eradicate poverty, such as by creating decent jobs and livelihoods, providing social safety nets, boosting political participation, and ensuring access to services like water, energy, healthcare, credit, and productive assets. Our Signature Solution on poverty cuts across our work on all the SDGs, whether it’s decent work or peace and justice.


Governance for peaceful, just, and inclusive societies

Governance for peaceful, just, and inclusive societies

People’s lives are better when government is efficient and responsive. When people from all social groups are included in decision-making that affects their lives, and when they have equal access to fair institutions that provide services and administer justice, they will have more trust in their government.

The benefits of our work on governance are evident in all the areas covered by the SDGs, whether it’s climate action or gender equality. UNDP’s governance work spans a wide range of institutions, from national parliaments, supreme courts, and national civil services through regional and local administrations, to some of the geographically remotest communities in the world. We work with one out of every three parliaments on the planet, help countries expand spaces for people’s participation, and improve how their institutions work, so that all people can aspire to a sustainable future with prosperity, peace, justice and security.

Crisis prevention and increased resilience

Crisis prevention and increased resilience

Crises know no borders. More than 1.6 billion people live in fragile and/or conflict-affected settings, including 600 million young people. More people have been uprooted from their homes by war and violence and sought sanctuary elsewhere than at any time since the Second World War. Poverty, population growth, weak governance and rapid urbanization are driving the risks associated with such crises.

UNDP helps reduce these risks by supporting countries and communities to better manage conflicts, prepare for major shocks, recover in their aftermath, and integrate risk management into their development planning and investment decisions. The sooner that people can get back to their homes, jobs, and schools, the sooner they can start thriving again. Resilience building is a transformative process of strengthening the capacity of people, communities, institutions, and countries to prevent, anticipate, absorb, respond to and recover from crises. By implementing this Signature Solution, we focus on capacities to address root causes of conflict, reduce disaster risk, mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts, recover from crisis, and build sustainable peace. This has an impact that not only prevents or mitigates crises, but also has an effect on people’s everyday lives across all SDGs.


Environment: nature-based solutions for development

Environment: nature-based solutions for development

Healthy ecosystems are at the heart of development, underpinning societal well-being and economic growth. Through nature-based solutions, such as the sustainable management and protection of land, rivers and oceans, we help ensure that countries have adequate food and water, are resilient to climate change and disasters, shift to green economic pathways, and can sustain work for billions of people through forestry, agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

A long-standing partner of the Global Environment Facility, and now with the second-largest Green Climate Fund portfolio, UNDP is the primary actor on climate change in the United Nations. Our aim is to help build the Paris Agreement and all environmental agreements into the heart of countries’ development priorities. After all, the food, shelter, clean air, education and opportunities of billions of people depend on getting this right.


Clean, affordable energy

Clean, affordable energy

People can’t prosper without reliable, safe, and affordable energy to power everything from lights to vehicles to factories to hospitals. And yet, 840 million people worldwide have no access to electricity, and 2.9 billion people use solid fuels to cook or heat their homes, exposing their families to grave health hazards and contributing to vast deforestation worldwide1. In these and other ways, energy is connected to every one of the SDGs.

UNDP helps countries transition away from the use of finite fossil fuels and towards clean, renewable, affordable sources of energy. Our sustainable energy portfolio spans more than 110 countries, leveraging billions of dollars in financing, including public and private sources. With this financial support, we partner with cities and industries to increase the share of renewables in countries’ national energy mix; establish solar energy access to people displaced by conflict; fuel systemic change in the transport industry; and generate renewable ways to light homes for millions of people. 

1 Source: IEA, IRENA, UNSD, WB, WHO, 2019, Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report 2019, Washington, DC.


Women's empowerment and gender equality

Women's empowerment and gender equality

Women’s participation in all areas of society is essential to make big and lasting change not only for themselves, but for all people. Women and girls make up a disproportionate share of people in poverty, and are more likely to face hunger, violence, and the impacts of disaster and climate change. They are also more likely to be denied access to legal rights and basic services.

UNDP has the ability and responsibility to integrate gender equality into every aspect of our work. Gender equality and women’s empowerment is a guiding principle that applies to everything we do, collaborating with our partner countries to end gender-based violence, tackle climate change with women farmers, and advance female leadership in business and politics.