Our vision

I’m Achim Steiner, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  Welcome to this site, intended for everyone who is interested in the future of development.

I have championed sustainability and equity throughout my professional life, and today I see dramatic developments in the world - both in the geopolitical arena and in the drivers to sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals provide us with a north star to guide our choices towards a better, fairer future for all.

Yet as I reflect on the future of development, it seems we are entering a civilizational moment, when we must redefine what is “normal”, rethink our current paradigms and re-examine the choices we are making.

Responding to persistent inequality, decarbonising our economies, managing the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on our labour markets and societies, building resilience and managing risks: these are existential challenges for which our current systems and modus operandi are not sufficient. The COVID-19 pandemic has only brought that message home more starkly.

In a world of nearly 10 billion people, we can all play a role. We need to move from incremental to transformative action.  We need to frame our thinking about development not merely in terms of critique, of “either-or” choices or zero-sum games, but more expansively and creatively, inviting imaginative solutions and new possibilities for action. This needs to be done in the interests of our and future generations.

The era of trade-offs is over
Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator


Neither UNDP nor the UN can do this in isolation. We recognise ourselves as part of a broader community that seeks to deepen the conversation and tap the wisdom and experience of those at the cutting edge of change. Over the years I have engaged with distinguished individuals from public policy, civil society and business, from politics, science and technology, culture, media and research to push the boundaries of what we know and how we advance development – and how we can imagine its future.

This site is an extension of those conversations: an evolving ‘space’ to share reflections and provocations on the future of development.  I hope it will provide food for thought on the choices we are all making – governments, business, individuals and societies - that can transform development in the 21st century.

Achim Steiner’s Vision for the Future of Development