Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS Annual Session 2023

UNDP Country Programmes and Related Matters

June 7, 2023

Mr. Vice-President, distinguished Members of the Board and Observers, 

It is my pleasure to introduce the session on Country Programmes and related matters. 

While for the session today we have only one CPD and three extensions, I would like to take advantage of this conversation with the Board by:

1) Offering an overview of the global setting in which CPDs are being implemented.

2) And highlighting the actions and ability of our programme to address the complexity of this global setting. 

The polycrisis faced by countries today is marked by financial turmoil, fiscal austerity, unsustainable debt and high inflation. Three years of COVID-19 and the ongoing effects of the war in Ukraine have compounded this challenging landscape. 

The IMF indicated that global growth is expected to fall from 3.4 percent in 2022 to 2.7 percent in 2023. This will likely impair countries’ ability to make the necessary investments in the Sustainable Development Goals.

At the same time, the climate emergency continues to escalate across regions and countries. Increasingly, climate-related events are becoming the central driver of displacement. In 2020, about 75% of the displaced population groups were affected due to extreme weather events.  Countries must scale up ambition to pivot towards a low-carbon future, building resilience and adaptive capacity for all citizens. 

Debt overhang is challenging the ability of developing economies to invest in recovery. It is estimated that in 2022, 25 developing economies paid more than 20 percent of total government revenue in debt service – a number of countries not seen since the year 2000. 

Meanwhile, the high cost of living has worsened prospects for escaping poverty: estimates suggest that the current context has contributed to the world still having at least 75 million more people in poverty than what was expected had the pandemic, war in Ukraine and food inflation not occurred. 

Another key global trend directly affecting our work is the rising and persistent inequalities within and across countries.  By 2030, it is estimated that more than 60 percent of those living in poverty will live in countries affected by fragility and high levels of violence. How well-prepared countries and societies are to cope with shocks can be determined by the existence and coverage of comprehensive social protection mechanisms. 

Distinguished delegates,

As we support countries in navigating through uncertainty and crisis, CPDs remain our key instrument to respond to national priorities and promote human development. A few factors contribute to CPDs’ effectiveness:

First, by deploying the Strategic Plan’s enablers of digitalization, innovation, and development financing we can scale up development impact, enable structural transformation, and build resilience.

Increasingly, country programmes are designed to be ‘future-proof’, including new programming modalities to work adaptively, such as portfolios.

Second, a collaborative, integrated, and multi-sectoral approach that allows us to link social protection with climate action in 120 countries. In this way, countries build resilience and inclusion while supporting the implementation of enhanced NDCs and Long-term Climate Strategies. 

To better appreciate the impact of the approach, we invite the distinguished delegates to attend the consideration of the Evaluation of UNDP’s work on Social Protection, including the Management Response.  

Third, given their centrality, country programmes are instruments with the highest standards of quality assurance for the achievement of joint UN results.  

Our programmes are designed from the onset to be part and parcel of their respective Cooperation Framework, and strictly compliant with the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (QCPR), and the Management Accountability Framework.

While UNDP CPDs are integral parts of the UN Cooperation Frameworks, they always remain demand-driven, anchored in national priorities and responsive to country needs.  

At the same time, Cooperation Frameworks and CPDs are grounded in our common commitment to eradicate poverty in all forms, end discrimination and exclusion, and reduce inequalities and vulnerabilities that leave people behind. This pursuit embodies the spirit of partnership at the core of the 2030 Agenda.  

Finally, stakeholder engagement continues to underpin our country programme formulation. We have put in place deliberate efforts in building and maintaining meaningful engagements with governments, development partners, civil society, private sector and vulnerable communities reached by our programmes. 

Members and Observers of the Board,  

My colleague Michelle Muschett, director for Latin America and the Caribbean will follow to present the CPD for Chile. I would also like to highlight the three (3) country programmes that have been extended to align with the UN Cooperation Framework and ensure harmonization with their national development plans: Namibia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.

We look forward to your considerations and deliberations.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.