United States of America

About us

UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting poverty, inequality, and climate change. With our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries and territories, we help people, communities, and governments build integrated, lasting solutions for people and planet.

The United States has been a vital partner since UNDP’s creation in 1966. UNDP's work advances US foreign policy, national security, and economic interests—helping to build more peaceful, stable societies that become markets for US exports. US membership on our Executive Board ensures that no UNDP program goes forward without US approval. Other governments share this commitment: For every US$1 the United States invests in UNDP projects and programs, others contribute US$14. 

Through our work to help governments become transparent trade partners and viable export markets, UNDP contributes directly to the US economy: UNDP procured more than US$1.4 billion in goods and services from vendors in all 50 US states from 2012-2022, supporting US jobs and businesses across the country. UNDP also maintains partnerships with the private sector globally, which benefits from UNDP's convening power, understanding of development issues and local contexts, and expertise across a wide range of sectors.

The US Government has contributed roughly US$80 million a year since 2012 to UNDP’s core operating budget. This voluntary contribution, in addition to US funding for programs of unique and specific importance to the United States, underpins our ability to deliver projects and programs globally: These include fighting corruption, preventing and countering violent extremism, responding to complex crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts, and natural disasters around the world, removing landmines, providing safe water and sanitation, conserving wildlife and halting the traffic in endangered species, supporting democracy, elections, and rule of law, addressing the climate crisis, and helping create jobs and livelihoods that allow people to pull themselves out of poverty. While core funding accounts for only a small part of UNDP’s total budget, it supports vital research and strategic planning and provides flexibility to address emergencies. It helps attract private sector investment, jump-starts activities with seed money, addresses long-running crises, and finances conflict and crisis prevention. Core funding fills gaps when emergency appeals fall short and helps UNDP operate with maximum transparency, oversight, and accountability.

In 2016, a US Senate Appropriation subcommittee singled out UNDP among 29 international organizations for its unique contribution and impact in areas of vital US interest such as Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2017, the subcommittee cited “the important contribution of UNDP to stability and development in areas liberated from ISIS and other extremists in Iraq, and in facilitating the return of millions of IDPs to such areas." US officials have also praised UNDP’s efficiency and top global rating for transparency.

At the vanguard of UN reform, UNDP launched a major restructuring in 2014 that cut costs and moved 20% of headquarters jobs to the field. Since then, UNDP has been independently ranked by the international NGO "Publish What You Fund" as one of the world’s most transparent aid agencies. UNDP is also consistently ranked among top organizations globally in value for money, including in areas such as justice, security, democratic governance, and anti-corruption, according to the independent nonprofit AidData. The UN Board of Auditors has awarded UNDP an unqualified/clean audit for 14 consecutive years.

US contributions allow UNDP to maintain a coherent in-country presence before, during, and after crises, coordinating UN development and humanitarian work on the ground--and responding quickly to emergencies. In recent years, UNDP has helped provide clean water and sanitation, basic services, and jobs to Syrian, Afghan, and Iraqi refugees, for example, and to the often impoverished, overcrowded communities that host them.

In addition to its concrete, cutting-edge work to address the COVID-19 pandemic and conflicts in Ukraine, Gaza, and elsewhere, UNDP has played a critical role in responding to conflicts and complex crises in Afghanistan, Haiti, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. UNDP brings state-of-the-art, cost-effective solutions to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. These include leveraging digital technology to ensure free and fair elections, installing solar panels to keep life-saving health services running when electrical grids are destroyed, and using drones, data, and satellite imagery to monitor and mitigate droughts, storms, and humanitarian emergencies.

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Recent Washington events:

“Reimagining Crisis Response: How to Save Lives and Livelihoods:” Fireside chat between UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and US Institute of Peace (USIP) President & CEO Lise Grande, at USIP

UNDP Administrator Joins World Bank-UK High-Level Panel on Pakistan Flooding”: Roundtable at October 2022 Annual Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund

“The Challenges of Post-Pandemic Recovery: Exploring New Findings From the 2022 UNDP Arab Human Development Report”: Middle East Institute (MEI) panel with UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director Khalida Bouzar

“Mind the Gap: Bridging the Digital Divide”: Meridien International Center Global Summit with UNDP Head of Digital Policy & Global Partnerships Yolanda Jinxin Ma

Administrator’s lecture on “breaking the cycle of debt crisis,” at Sciences Po, 23 February 2023

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner’s fireside chat with Johns Hopkins-SAIS Dean James Steinberg, previewing World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings, 6 April 2023

Administrator’s World Bank Digital Media Zone interview, 12 April 2023

Brookings Institution launch of UNDP report on African credit ratings, with UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director Ahunna Eziakonwa, 14 April 2023

Washington Post Live, "Bridging the Digital Divide in Education, Finance, and Health Care," with UNDP Accelerator Labs, 28 April 2023

UNDP and Administrator Achim Steiner at the second Nobel Prize Summit, 24-26 May 2023 More on UNDP at the Nobel Prize Summit

"How to Reverse Latin America's Governance Crisis," US Institute of Peace video interview with UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director Michelle Muschett, 27 July 2023

“Iraq's Immense Challenges,” US Institute of Peace (USIP) interview with Zena Ali Ahmad, 14 September 2023

"Relief, Recovery, and Restabilization: Addressing the Crisis in Yemen," Women's Foreign Policy Group (WFPG) virtual fireside chat with UNDP Resident Representative Zena Ali Ahmad, 1 September 2023

"Recalibrating Growth for Development Across Asia," Woodrow Wilson Center Panel with UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Regional Director Kanni Wignaraja, 4 December 2023

"2024 at UNDP: Goals, Challenges, and Priorities," Women's Foreign Policy Group virtual fireside chat with UNDP Bureau for Policy & Programme Support Deputy Director Francine Pickup, 24 January 2024

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