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United States of America

About us

UNDP in Washington DC

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A vital partner since UNDP’s creation in 1966, the United States 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 importance to the United States, underpins our ability to deliver projects and programs in more than 170 countries and territories: This includes fighting corruption, preventing and countering violent extremism, responding to complex crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict around the world, removing landmines, providing safe water and sanitation, conserving wildlife and halting trafficking in endangered species, supporting democracy and rule of law, addressing the climate crisis, and helping create jobs and livelihoods that allow people pull themselves out of poverty. Our work advances US foreign policy, national security, and economic interests—helping to build peaceful, stable societies that become markets for US exports. US membership on our Executive Board ensures that no UNDP country 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.

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.

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$1.283 billion in goods and services from vendors in all 50 US states from 2012-2021, supporting US jobs and businesses across the country. UNDP also maintains partnerships with the private sector globally, which benefit from UNDP's convening power, understanding of development issues and local contexts, and expertise across a wide range of sectors.

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 hosting them.

In addition to its concrete, cutting-edge work to address the COVID-19 pandemic and conflict in Ukraine, 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 crises.

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 discussion 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”: Panel with Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator/Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Arab States Khalida Bouzar, at the Middle East Institute (MEI)

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

Recent US media:

"Protracted conflict could wipe out ‘18 years of socio-economic achievements’ in Ukraine, UN warns": The Washington Post

"UNDP says Ukraine war led to sharp rise in global poverty": The Washington Post

"Life in Afghanistan deteriorates sharply despite humanitarian aid": The Washington Post 

"Fuel, food, finance: Brace for impact from Russia's Ukraine war": The Washington Post 

"The West has a hand in Afghanistan's bleak state": The Washington Post

"Global economic recovery is leaving poor countries behind": The Washington Post

“Despite humanitarian aid, life in Afghanistan is reaching a new low”: The Washington Post, interview with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator/Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Asia & the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja

“Serious debt crisis unfolding across developing countries”: Reuters

“54 Countries at Debt Breaking Point”: Politico, interview with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner

"Human Development in an Age of Uncertainty:" Brookings Global, blog by UNDP HDR Office Director Pedro Conceição

"Casualties from war in Ukraine include millions of the world’s poor," The Washington Post, interview with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner

"Fuel, food, finance: Brace for impact from Russia’s Ukraine war": The Washington Post, interview with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner

"GDP is getting a makeover—what it means for economies, health, and the planet": Nature, interview with UNDP HDR Office Director Pedro Conceição

“Interview: Ahunna Eziakonwa”: Politico, interview with Assistant UN Secretary-General/UNDP Assistant Administrator and Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa

"UNDP wants to coordinate with USAID on Global Fragility Act": Devex, interview with Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator/Director of UNDP’s Crisis Bureau Asako Okai

"Senior UN official urges Japan to take 'maximum leadership' stance in 2023": Jiji Press, Japan Times, inter alia, interview with UNDP Assistant Administrator/Director of UNDP’s Crisis Bureau Asako Okai

"A possible watershed moment for valuing nature": The Hill, op-ed by UNDP Head of Ecosystems & Biodiversity Midori Paxton

"The future of climate technology: Data-informed policies are indispensable in mitigating climate risks": Guest blog by Robert Opp, Iliya Nickelt, and Reina Otsuka, for the Middle East Institute

“Can Arab States Bounce Back from COVID and Climate Crises? A new UNDP report says COVID and climate change have set the Arab world back and provides recommendations for how the region can recover,” by Mona Yacoubian, USIP

“Iraq’s Immense Climate Challenges”: Blog and video by UNDP Resident Representative in Iraq Zena Ali Ahmed, for USIP

“Global Shocks Are Setting Development Back—What Can Be Done?": Blog and video by Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP Assistant Administrator/Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia & the Pacific Kanni Wignaraja, for USIP

"The Latest @ USIP: A New Framework for Global Development and Security": Video and interview with UNDP Assistant Administrator/Director of UNDP’s Crisis Bureau Asako Okai for USIP

Register here to receive occasional updates and invitations from the UNDP Washington Representation Office.