Deep local experience, wide global network
UNDP plays a pivotal role in international development as a knowledge broker, capacity builder, innovator, and facilitator of exchanges in the global development debate.
We connect countries to the knowledge, resources and networks they need to achieve development breakthroughs. Our work is summed up in our six signature solutions, adapted to context and powered by three potent enablers for greater impact.
Responding in an integrated and coherent manner, we are determined to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet from degradation, ensure that all people have prosperous lives, with growth that occurs in harmony with nature, and to foster peaceful and inclusive societies.
We are committed to mobilizing the means to implement the 2030 Agenda through a revitalized Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, based on a spirit of strengthened global solidarity.
Supercharged for greater results
Poverty and inequality
Tackling inequality of opportunities by investing in the enhanced capabilities people need to move above the poverty line and keep moving forwards.
Extractive industries are key to our existence. Minerals are needed for infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, agricultural productivity and clean energy production. However, the extraction and processing of minerals have serious environmental, social, economic and governance implications. UNDP provides policy advice and technical assistance to maximize the benefits derived from the sector in terms of generating decent work and the tax revenues required to finance health, education and affordable energy. At the same time, UNDP works to minimize the biodiversity losses, human rights violations, and health hazards associated with the sector. These are achieved by supporting the formulation of mining policies and legislations, building entrepreneurial capacity of small-scale miners, and more.
Workers in informal employment hardly benefit from social protection or opportunities to thrive. This will lead to further marginalization and inequality if left unattended. UNDP supports countries to develop national and sub-national strategies integrating issues related to the future of work, and to design and implement integrated gender and youth responsive solutions to protect and empower those who depend on the informal sector.
The informal economy absorbs eight out of every ten enterprises in the world. More than 60 percent of the world’s employed population— approximately 2 billion people, earn their livelihoods in the informal economy. Through the Informal Economy Facility (IEF) initiative, UNDP is leveraging expertise and knowledge from across its Global Policy Network and beyond to foster innovative thinking and collective learning on integrated policy and programmatic solutions that can help protect and empower informal workers and businesses, particularly women and youth, while facilitating their gradual transition to formality.
Through collaborations across UNDP’s Global Policy network and other partners from the UN and beyond, UNDP supports the development and use of new data and analytics to make development policies and programs more responsive to the multidimensional and differentiated needs of poor and vulnerable men and women, and to better capture inequalities of opportunity and outcome.
In a context of multiple and cascading crises, expanding social protection has become more critical than ever to reduce poverty and inequality. UNDP offers solutions to help program countries develop inclusive, gender-responsive and accountable social protection systems. UNDP leverages data and analytics, as well as digital solutions to better identify the vulnerabilities facing people and communities and improve outreach to those furthest behind. UNDP also works towards making social protection programs more shock-responsive and more instrumental in reducing vulnerabilities arising from climate change, environmental degradation, and in support of just transitions. See: Social Protection Offer.
UNDP’s trade service offer is an integral part of the private sector strategy which seeks to make markets work for the Sustainable Development Goals, putting special emphasis on partnerships and inclusion of poor and marginalized communities through programmes at global, regional, and national level. UNDP provides trade and market intelligence and institutional capacity development to enable the formulation and implementation of inclusive policies that sustain productive capacity and sustainable value chains.
Healthy populations are critical to sustainable development. As a trusted Global Fund partner, UNDP utilizes its operational and policy strength and relationships with governments, civil society and partners to support countries to access the Fund’s resources to fight AIDS, TB and malaria and build people-centered and resilient health systems in some of the most challenging operating environments.
Evidence and rights based legal, policy and regulatory environments and reducing stigma and discrimination are critical to ending AIDS, TB, malaria and effectively addressing other health challenges. UNDP supports countries to create enabling legal, policy and regulatory environments, scale up access to justice programmes for HIV and health, strengthen multi-sectoral governance of non-communicable diseases and tobacco control, and expand innovative financing for HIV and health responses.
At least half of the world’s population still do not have adequate coverage of essential health services, and millions of people are still being pushed into extreme poverty because they must pay for health care. Those who were already left behind are being left even further behind. UNDP is supporting countries to connect innovation and evidence to address health inequalities and exclusion as a part of multisectoral and rights-based HIV and health responses, which in turn drive progress across multiple SDGs.
Health systems in many countries remain chronically weak and have been further weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The world remains woefully unprepared for future pandemics. Additionally, the climate crisis poses an ever-growing risk to universal health coverage and health systems, potentially damaging infrastructure, isolating communities from essential health services and contributing to the spread of disease. UNDP helps build the resilience of countries to both prevent and mitigate the risks of crises and conflict, as well as develop a more integrated and systems approach to human, animal and environmental health.
Helping countries address emerging complexities by “future-proofing” governance systems through anticipatory approaches and better management of risk.
Justice is fundamental to preventing and responding to conflict, crises and fragility, for strengthening the rule of law, and for realizing the transformative ambition of Agenda 2030. UNDP promotes and supports a people-centred approach to justice that aims to ensure justice systems, and state and non-state justice services and institutions are fair, accountable, accessible and able to deliver quality justice services for everyone, leaving no one behind. Through the Justice Futures CoLab, UNDP tests, learns and adapts innovative solutions for increasing access to justice for all, with a focus on the most excluded, marginalized and vulnerable, women and girls, migrants and displaced persons.
Corruption undermines the achievement of all the SDGs by depleting valuable resources and degrading the quality of public services. UNDP supports countries to integrate anti-corruption strategies in development by working with governments, businesses and civil society on SDG 16, social accountability, business integrity, and innovation and technology.
In 28 countries across five global regions, UNDP supports governments in adopting policy frameworks that promote responsible business practices per the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. UNDP builds the capacities of private companies to conduct human rights due diligence. We also partner with courts, national human rights institutions and human rights defenders to develop effective remedies to victims of abuses.
Through policy advice and programmatic support, UNDP helps to create inclusive spaces for civic engagement while strengthening the capacity of civil society actors to promote sustainable development.
Constitutions create the institutions, rules and mechanisms that are necessary for people-centred justice, the realization of human rights, and the rule of law. UNDP’s approach to providing constitutional assistance is grounded in core principles of inclusion, participation, transparency and practices intended to maximize the likelihood of an outcome that is nationally respected and most likely to achieve the goals of sustainable peace and human development.
People-centered governance systems and processes at both the national and local levels are essential for creating and managing sustainable and peaceful development pathways. To this end, UNDP works to strengthen inclusive and accountable core functions and systems needed for the operation of government and the delivery of public goods in contexts of sudden or protracted fragility to enable governments to better respond to crises and sustain service delivery.
When properly implemented, digital transformation can remove barriers to access, reduce administrative burdens, support greater transparency and improve interactions between government and people. UNDP offers policy and programmatic support, including on the ethical use of data, and supports our partners in rights-based digital transformation.
UNDP supports Member States in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and relevant sections of Agenda 2030 through transformational cross-sectoral work and by mainstreaming the principles of disability inclusion within its policy and programme work, while supporting UN system-wide coordinated action on disability.
UNDP supports Member States to organize credible, inclusive, peaceful elections as a necessary prerequisite for democratic governance. In partnership with EAD/DPPA and other UN entities, UNDP is the largest provider of electoral assistance in the UN system. Through this support, we emphasize respect for human rights and gender equality and pay particular attention to the threats caused by information pollution.
Human rights are a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world and are central to achieving the SDGs and anticipating, preventing and recovering from crises. UNDP is mainstreaming human rights principles and standards into all areas of our development policy and programming. UNDP has helped governments in more than 100 countries to uphold their human rights obligations and has worked with partners and stakeholders to strengthen national human rights systems.
The integrity of information ecosystems is essential for healthy and stable democracies. Information pollution on- and off-line is increasingly undermining democratic values. UNDP is developing strategies and working with governments to address the key drivers and enablers of disinformation while protecting fundamental rights to information, freedom of expression and civic engagement.
Sustainable Development Goal Target 16.9 ("legal identity for all, including birth registration, by 2030") is key to advancing the 2030 Agenda commitment to leave no one behind. To help make this happen, UNDP strengthens the capacity of Member States to develop comprehensive birth-to-death civil registration and national ID management systems.
Local and city governments, civil society and communities are often first responders to crisis and are best positioned to respond to inequalities, address social tensions and make sure that people’s needs are heard and included. To fulfil the peacebuilding and development potential of local governance for crisis and conflict-affected communities, UNDP provides specialized support to state, non-state and community actors for effective and inclusive local service delivery, planning, and participation to respond to complex development challenges.
Effective, inclusive and accountable institutions and processes that are capable of sustaining peace and ensuring respect for human rights and the rule of law are key to ensuring sustainable development that leaves no one behind. UNDP supports parliaments and civil society in over 60 countries to collaborate on SDG achievement.
UNDP’s people-centred approach to security (PCS) serves as the main guiding principle of UN peace and security programming and for achieving the vision of SDG16 on promoting peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. UNDP's strategic support to the security sector includes two pillars: 1) Governance-- supporting the development of transparent, accountable, and effective security institutions that respond to the needs of citizens; and 2) Community-based security—through engaging local communities. UNDP also takes a leading role in armed violence reduction (AVR) through the Saving-Lives Entity (SALIENT): a global programme that helps priority countries to tackle armed violence as part of a comprehensive approach to sustainable security and development through a gender lens.
Inclusive governance and the rule of law are indispensable for promoting peaceful, just, and inclusive societies and for ensuring sustainable development. Through the Global Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development, UNDP is delivering integrated policy and programmatic support via catalytic funding, technical assistance and thought leadership, aimed at transforming rule of law, justice, security and human rights systems, services, institutions and the business sector to be more inclusive, people-centered and better capacitated to respond to all people’s justice, security and human rights needs.
Realizing the vision of the 2030 Agenda and achieving the achievement of the SDGs at the local level will only be possible through integrated and coordinated actions across levels of government, population and sectors. UNDP plays a convening role to advance SDG localization in 170 countries using our global reach, broad expertise and extensive experience in supporting decentralization, local governance and local development.
Developed by UNDP in collaboration with the Basque, Spain-based Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALC), SIP offers a systems approach to strengthening local development planning processes that are inclusive, participatory and resilient. The platforms leverage real-time data, human-centric design thinking, and a portfolio of solutions to tackle complex challenges at the subnational level to accelerate local achievement of the SDGs.
Because youth are a major force for sustainable development and key agents for social change, economic growth and technological innovation, UNDP promotes and supports youth empowerment for development and peace in more than 100 countries and territories. Our programmes focus on inclusive governance, youth participation in decision-making, youth employment, youth and peacebuilding, gender equality and the role of youth in SDG integration, implementation and monitoring.
Supporting countries and communities in building resilience to diverse shocks and crises, including conflict, climate change, disasters and epidemics.
Conflict prevention and peacebuilding
Crisis risks and early warnings
Disaster early warning and preparedness
Humanitarian-Development Peace (HDP) Nexus
Joint Programme on Building National Capacities of Conflict
Preventing violent extremism
Transition beyond mission withdrawal
Putting nature and the environment at the heart of national economies and planning; helping governments protect, manage and value their natural assets.
Climate Promise is the world’s largest offer of support to countries on their national climate pledges under the Paris Agreement. These pledges, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are crucial stepping-stones towards net-zero emissions and meeting the Paris goals. The Climate Promise initiative supports over 120 countries, in collaboration with over 35 partners and is a major contribution to the NDC Partnership. UNDP works to scale up support to solidify countries' ambition and help turn their targets into action.
Carbon markets, or carbon finance, aim to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by creating an economic incentive for reducing emissions as cost-effectively as possible, fostering the transition to a low-carbon economy.
The transformation towards more resilient, resource-efficient and less polluting economies requires a decoupling of economic growth from the unsustainable use of our natural resources. Circular Economy policies help accelerate the shift to incentivize sustainable consumption and production. UNDP offers expert support to the design and implementation of Circular and Green Economy approaches, leveraging UNDP’s convening and partnerships strengths within and across all parts of government, private sector, civil society and other stakeholders.
Forests support the livelihoods of over 1 billion people and host the largest share of the world’s biodiversity. UNDP provides expertise in stakeholder engagement, social and environmental safeguards, governance, institutional coordination, strategic planning, implementation of policies and measures to address drivers of deforestation, access to innovative finance and accessing results-based payments. UNDP also facilitates the necessary partnerships to address the complex elements of the REDD+ process.
Climate change can reverse hard-won human development gains, worsen inequalities, and trigger displacement and conflict. The impacts threaten to drive an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030.
UNDP is supporting more than 90 countries, including 17 Small Island Developing States and 43 Least Developed Countries, to accelerate adaptation and build climate resilience. Key to our response is promoting integrated, multi-sectoral, evidence-based solutions on the ground as well as advancing risk-informed policy and planning, to leave no one behind. At the same time, we are helping countries access and unlock the public and private finance they need.
Land degradation, desertification and drought are significant and growing barriers to sustainable development as climate change and environmental degradation impact human health, productivity and resilience. In support of the implementation of the UNCCD, the UNDP Global Policy Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification (GC-RED) in Nairobi provides technical expertise and capacity building services to countries to integrate land, biodiversity and climate priorities into policymaking and public investments.
Diversity of life and nature-based solutions are essential for tackling multiple development challenges: the climate and biodiversity loss crises, inequality and poverty, insecurity and migration. UNDP works to increase government, business and public support for biodiversity conservation, accelerating the actions necessary for systemic change and achievement of global biodiversity goals, through (i) programming support, (ii) policy and capacity development advisory and technical support, and (iii) advocacy. Main areas for support are mainstreaming biodiversity in development and sector policy planning and practices; strengthening of terrestrial and marine protected and conserved areas and wildlife species; biodiversity finance; sustainable land management and restoration, ecosystem-based climate mitigation and adaptation.
Current production and consumption patterns are taking food systems on an unsustainable trajectory with multiple impacts on human development. UNDP works on Food and Agricultural Commodity Systems (FACS) to support a new paradigm of agricultural production based on diversified, resilient agroecological systems which work simultaneously to achieve economic, environmental, social and health outcomes.
The ocean contributes substantially to human development, including to food security, transport, energy, tourism, critical ecosystem services, and around US$3 trillion per year to the global market economy. UNDP helps advance existing or anticipated regional or global multilateral agreements to address threats to ocean sustainability and support the creation of an enabling policy environment for ocean restoration and protection.
UNDP’s Ocean Promise is a blue economy vision that emphasizes the restoration of the nearly $1 trillion in annual socioeconomic losses due to ocean mismanagement. The promise is also about helping countries to tap into new and emerging ocean sectors for increased ocean-related socio-economic opportunities.
Tackling plastic pollution is key to protecting human and planetary health and safeguarding sustainable development. UNDP works with countries and communities around the globe to eliminate plastic pollution along the entire value chain and radically transform the way we produce, consume and dispose of plastics.
SIDS are among the world’s most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change. Vulnerabilities that are compounded by degradation and depletion of natural capital which sustains livelihoods and the economy. UNDP’s support to SIDS focuses on (i) climate action; (ii) blue economy; and (iii) digital transformation, with access to financing as a key enabler, in line with the S.A.M.O.A. Pathway and the 2030 Agenda.
Climate change, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss directly impact Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and Local Communities (LCs) in the landscapes where they live and work. While local actors are the most intensely affected by these challenges, they are also strongly motivated to address them. Building on over 30 years’ of success in local action programming, UNDP assistance to local actors rests on three key pillars: (i) empowerment: strengthening the agency of local actors through collective action for advocacy and inclusive governance; (ii) resilience: supporting local actors to build socio-ecological resilience in their landscapes through technical assistance and funding; and (iii) investment: transforming funding flows to accelerate and sustain collective local action for sustainable development through new partnerships and innovative sources of financing.
Cooling is essential to human health, food security and economic productivity and is becoming more important due to increasing global mean temperatures accompanied by more extreme heat waves. UNDP’s response to the challenges and opportunities in the cooling sector focuses on supporting the transition to climate-friendly refrigerants and formulation of national cooling action plans and programmes and promoting integrated energy solutions, coupled with renewable energy in buildings and energy intensive facilities, district cooling, and sustainable cold chain solutions.
UNDP works across the full range of the water resources challenge, addressing them from a ‘governance’ perspective to promote equitable and efficient use and protection of water resources, supporting institution-building and capacity development for participatory governance of water and coastal resources.
Worldwide, more than two billion people lack access to waste collection which, together with ever increasing amount of waste, is a longstanding public concern due to its impact on human health, the environment and socio-economic development. The Zero Waste initiative is emerging in view of the need to shift to a circular economy. UNDP aims to support the transition towards zero waste through focusing on municipalities to adopt integrated planning and programming for waste management. UNDP offers policy, advisory, and technical support, alongside mobilization of financial instruments, promotion of principles of sustainable production and consumption, and education and training.
UNDP’s Digital for the Planet, building on the Digital Strategy 2.0 and in close alignment with the overall Digitalization Enabler Offer, will catalyze, support and scale up strategic digital innovations that enable faster, systemic and cross-cutting solutions to key integrated issue areas of agriculture, zero waste, urbanization, energy, climate change and local action, to enable a whole-of society green, just and digital transition.
Increasing energy access for those furthest behind and accelerating a just and inclusive transition to sustainable energy systems.
Energy consumption worldwide continues to increase, and the sector remains responsible for the largest share of global CO2 emissions. Yet over 700 million people still lack access to electricity and over 2 billion to safe, reliable energy for cooking. A just energy transition is critical to achieving both the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. UNDP is the largest UN implementing agency supporting over 100 countries with their energy transition.
Shifting power and the economic, political and social systems that perpetuate discrimination.
Uniquely positioned to guide evidence-based policies for gender equality, UNDP creates and communicates new data and tools to shift social norms and structures, from the Gender Social Norms Index and Africa Care Index, to the Public Mood Thermometer using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to combat online gendered hate speech.
UNDP is bridging the gap between ambition and investment to close gender gaps, working to leverage and align USD 1 trillion for gender equality through gender-responsive taxation and public and private financial flows.
UNDP helps dismantle the structural barriers that impede women’s economic empowerment, generating new and resilient jobs for women, including as foundational to large-scale economic recovery.
UNDP helps transform the power dynamics and structures that generate and perpetuate gender-based violence, taking a whole-of-society, integrated approach to prevent and respond to GBV.
UNDP aims to help expand care systems as a human right, human need, and collective responsibility, while changing social norms and regulations to shift responsibilities and the relationship between the paid and unpaid care worlds.
UNDP helps get states ready for gender equality, building institutional capacities across Public Institutions, advancing women’s participation and leadership, and bringing women’s groups to decision-making tables.
Maximising development impact
Partnering with governments and the private sector and other partners to align public finance and private capital flows with the SDGs and mobilize finance at scale.
Public finance is central to the achievement of the SDGs, and UNDP supports governments at different stages of public resource mobilization and utilization. Public Finance for the SDGs service offer facilitates linkages between development policy themes such as climate, environment, gender, health, poverty and disaster risk management and the public budgets. UNDP’s offer on public financing includes: (1) budgeting; (2) debt; (3) tax; and (4) sovereign risk financing instruments for the SDGs.
SDGs provide the blueprint framework to make investment decisions that are driven by impact. UNDP’s service offer contributes to identifying investment opportunities and business models in the emerging markets; directing public and private capital for SDG investment; and integrating SDGs into business operations and purpose.
UNDP is supporting 86 countries to develop integrated national financing frameworks that clearly show how the SDGs will be financed at the country level through public and private sources.
UNDP aims to shift the current systems of decision-making towards investment with positive impact on people and the planet. UNDP works on policy frameworks and accountability for SDG impact measurement and management; public sector systems for tracking public and private finance towards SDG impact; SDG impact measurement and management for private sector entities; and impact assurance and standards for public and private actors.
The SDG Finance Academy ensures the success of UNDP’s four other service offers on sustainable finance. The Academy builds a foundation in support of their delivery, reach and implementation by building the capacities across UNDP and its partners. The Academy provides training and builds a community of experts to support implementation.