Statement on recent media article

August 10, 2022

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) welcomes public scrutiny of all our projects and partnerships.

We refute the suggestion that we put the interests of extractive industries companies above the needs of the poor and vulnerable communities that we support and work with.

UNDP is continuously reviewing all our engagements with extractive industries companies to make doubly sure they are fully in line with our mission and mandate, work for the benefit of poor and vulnerable people and are aligned with countries’ sustainable energy transition strategies.

UNDP recognizes that the world must end its reliance on fossil fuels and move in a just and equitable way towards clean, renewable energy sources. We cannot tackle the climate crisis without such a transition. Yet as the past few months have shown, the world still has a damaging dependence on fossil fuels. Developing countries cannot be singled out for seeking to use their natural resources and investing these in national development programmes.

As the world’s largest development agency, UNDP works every day to facilitate, support and advocate for this crucial transition. UNDP’s overwhelming focus, with investments in hundreds of projects across the world, is to accelerate countries’ transitions to clean and renewable energy economies while addressing the continued energy poverty of hundreds of millions in developing countries. 

To successfully tackle the climate crisis, action will be needed by everyone, including governments, NGOs, civil society, and the private sector. Extractive industries companies are also inextricably part of this transition, particularly in developing nations which have fewer resources to make the shift to clean energy. UNDP works to support developing countries to make that transition – and thereby to reduce their and the world’s future dependence on coal, oil and gas exploration and use - considering the particular circumstances and context in each.

UNDP’s engagement with and on behalf of indigenous peoples is governed by a policy framework that guides our work. Their engagement is critical for reducing poverty and sustainably managing the environment.

UNDP does not work with extractive industries companies on drilling or mining activities.

In 2021, UNDP announced a partnership with GeoPark to generate employment and income opportunities in areas of Colombia most affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Indigenous communities and NGOs subsequently brought concerns about the partnership to UNDP’s attention. Upon review UNDP proceeded to cancel the partnership and no programmatic activities took place under this project.

Where UNDP’s rules are not complied with, we strongly encourage individuals or communities to report concerns, including through UNDP’s Independent Office of Audit and Investigation and/or social and environmental compliance unit - a mechanism which allows any person or community who believes the environment or their wellbeing may be affected by a UNDP-supported project or programme to file a complaint - so that appropriate action can be taken. UNDP takes these concerns extremely seriously.