Organization: The UNDP

Student: Sukaina Fakhral-Deen

Event: TIMUN 2000, Alternative Assignment



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An appropriate song
(Carole King's You've
Got a Friend)

The United Nations Development Program

History of the UNDP

Through a unique network of 134 country offices, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) helps people in 174 countries and territories to help themselves, focusing on poverty elimination, environmental regeneration, job creation and the advancement of women. In support of these goals, UNDP is frequently asked to assist in promoting sound governance and market development and to support rebuilding societies in the aftermath of war and humanitarian emergencies.

UNDP overarching mission is to help countries build national capacity to achieve sustainable, human development, giving top priority to eliminating poverty and building equity. According to UNDP Administrator, James Gustave Speth: "Sustainable human development doesn’t merely generate growth, but distributes its benefits equitably; it regenerates the environment rather than destroying it; it empowers people rather than marginalizing them; it enlarges their choices and opportunities and provides for peoples’ participations in decisions affecting their lives. Sustainable human development is development that is pro-poor, pro-nature, pro-jobs and pro-women. It stresses growth but growth with employment, growth with environment, growth with empowerment, growth with equity."

Eighty-five percent of the UNDP staff is based in the countries where people need help.



The Function of the UNDP

The UNDP has three overriding (principal) functions, and they are:

1) To help the United Nations become a powerful and cohesive (organized) force for sustainable human development

2) To focus its own resources on a series of objectives central to sustainable human development (as mentioned earlier);

a) Poverty elimination:

The aim here is to reduce the number of people living in poverty from 26.5 percent to 10 percent or less. Its many integrated (incorporated) elements include strengthening government capacities for policy management and poverty monitoring; improving access to health care and education; enhancing living conditions for women and rural (county) residents; and setting up funds that will provide credits for small-scale enterprises, local infrastructure (communications) projects, women’s businesses and a social safety net.

b) Creation of jobs and sustainable livelihoods:

Activities range from improvement of collection of data on population, employment planning and the labour market; to inclusion (addition) of entrepreneurship (free, private enterprise) education in the curricula of technical training institutions; to training commercial bank staff to be more responsive (open) to loan requests from small-scale entrepreneurs (industrialists). One programme is helping promising trade school graduates set up their own businesses.

c) Advancement of women:

Ensuring that women and men receive equal legal protection is the goal here. Laws governing violence, provision (condition) of basic services, political participation and civil rights are being examined from a gender perspective. A reference manual will be issued for legislators wishing to initiate changes in their individual countries.

d) Protection and regeneration of the environment:

The reason here is to give support for environmental initiatives in water management and energy. Large programmes are made for increasing public awareness of environmental degradation and introducing remedial (corrective) measures. Nuclear safety and protection from radiation are the thrusts of a joint initiative with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

e) To strengthen international cooperation for sustainable human development and serve as a major substantive resource on how to achieve it.



Key Political Allies

(Main budget contributors)

The UNDP key political allies are as follow:

1) United States of America (116,26 billion dollars)
2) Japan (100,11 billion dollars)
3) Holland\The Netherlands (93,71 billion dollars)
4) Denmark (90,37 billion dollars)
5) Germany (82,96 billion dollars)
6) Sweden (77,37 billion dollars)
7) Norway (69,54 billion dollars)
8) France (44,81 billion dollars)
9) Switzerland (44,80 billion dollars)
10) Canada (39,26 billion dollars)
11) The United Kingdom (38,76 billion dollars)
12) Italy (25,32 billion dollars)
13) Belgium (20,97 billion dollars)
14) Australia (13,47 billion dollars)
15) Austria (13,40 billion dollars)
16) Finland (9,81 billion dollars)
17) Spain (6,95 billion dollars)
18) India (4,31 billion dollars)
19) China (2,89 billion dollars)
20) New Zealand (2,26 billion dollars)
21) Saudi Arabia (2,00 billion dollars)
22) Cuba (1,83 billion dollars)
23) The Republic of Korea (1,57 billion dollars)
24) Ireland (1,36 billion dollars)
25) Indonesia (1,16 billion dollars)
26) Thailand (1,08 billion dollars)
27) Sri Lanka (1,03 billion dollars)


The Weaknesses and Strength of UNDP

UNDP abandons Perilous Partnership…

After a year long campaign by environmentalists, human rights groups, labor unions and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) a leading UN agency abandoned its perilous partnership with a group of transnational corporations whose tarnished human rights, environmental and development records threatened to rub off on the world body.


Special Programs and Funds

In addition to its regular programmes, UNDP administers a number of

special-purpose funds, and among the special funds and programmes that are administered by UNDP:

a) United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF):

The UNCDF gives capital grants for poverty reduction programmes in the least developed countries, particularly for the rural (countries) poor. Infrastructure projects, such as water supply and irrigation systems, feeder roads, schools and hospitals are planned, implemented and managed with the participation of the communities they benefit.

b) United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM):

The UNIFEM provides direct financial and technical support to developing countries for innovative and potentially-replicable projects that contribute to equitable and sustainable development for women. It also works to raise women’s status in society and ensure their involvement in mainstream development activities and


c) United Nations Volunteers (UNV):

The UNV sends technically qualified volunteer men and women from developed and developing countries to provide critical skills needed in the developing world. During 1994, over 3,000 UNV specialists of 121 nationalities served in 125 programme countries. UNV also assists national and regional Domestic Development Service organizations that work to improve living conditions in grass roots communities.

d) Global Environment Facility (GEF):

The GEF, for which donors have pledged over $2 billion, is jointly managed by the World Bank, UNDP and the UN Environment Programme. It helps countries translate global concerns about ozone layer depletion (reduction), bio-diversity loss, international water pollution and global warming into local action plans.



Budget Considerations

The UNDP is a flexible organization, able to respond to changing needs. In recent years it has become increasingly decentralized (disperse), transferring more responsibility for programme development, monitoring and evaluation to its country offices, along with greater accountability. It has also become much more tightly focused, establishing four main areas of concentration, as noted above.

Insisting that the programmes it supports address national priorities and are owned by the countries themselves, UNDP no longer supports scattered individual projects. Instead it takes a holistic, integrated "programme approach," assisting activities linked to national development goals.

Within this framework, UNDP has the flexibility to meet new requirements. Fro example, it is increasingly responding to governments’ requests to improve governance and set up market systems. Greater awareness of the need to involve all segments of society in development decision-making has given rise to more participatory activities involving grassroots groups and community-based organizations. UNDP has helped countries prepare their own positions for, and participate in, major world conferences-on environment and development, population and development, social development, women and shelter-and continues to assist them in implementing the programmes of actions resulting from these conferences.

In June 1995, UNDP’s Executive Board approved path-breaking legislation (governmental) replacing the resource allocation system in effect since 1970. The new system provides greater flexibility in the assignment of resources, as well as greater incentives for the formulation of keenly focused, high-impact and high-leverage sustainable human development programmes. Also in the year 1995, contributions and pledges to UNDP totaled US$927 million in core resources, in addition to $983 million in other financing for various UNDP-administered funds and special development objectives. Contributions to UNDP are voluntary, and come from nearly every government in the world. Importantly, recipient country governments cover more than half of total projects costs through personnel, facilities, equipment and supplies.