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UNDP makes the World a Better Place

By Srimal Fernando, Global Editor The Diplomatic Society
Helen Clark is the current Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). She is pictured addressing the Executive Board consisting of UN Member States and governments to talk about UNDP’s 2016 results and the 2017 outlook.

A half century ago the formation  of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was arguably one of the most important millstones in the United Nations (UNs) seventy year old history.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has done considerable amount of work in reshaping the future of the global sustainable development agenda in the shortest possible time.  

At the same time in 2016 the UNDP allocated over 4900 million US dollars supporting 4916 new projects worldwide (UNDP, 2016).  Of this the  largest recipients in 2016 were Afghanistan , with  an estimated total of  $ 551 million,  followed by Sudan (US$  193 million),  Zimbabwe  (US$  151 million) and  Iraq (US$ 140 million).

At the Millennium Summit in September 2000 world leaders pledged to reduce poverty by 2015 focusing on the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). On the other hand, key development partners with the UNDP played a pivotal role in taking a billion people out of extreme poverty and were successful in reducing global poverty by half over the last 30 years.  In this context, over the past   twenty five years since 1990 the Human Development Report (HDR) published annually by the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The HRD report discusses the meaning and measurement of human development and how development enlarges people’s choices. In September 2015, world leaders agreed on an ambitious new agenda and adopted seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a part of a wider strategy to eradicate global poverty by 2030.

After all, the UNDP has been able to take the lead in accomplishing global impact on humanitarian priorities, was closely related to the UNDP’s visionary leadership. In 1966 Paul Hoffman was the first Administrator of the organization. In fact Helen Clark is the current   Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and chairs of the United Nations Development Group.   Helen Clark served for nine years as Prime Minister of New Zealand and was the first woman to hold such a position at the UNDP since 2009. Speaking at Supporting Syrians and the Regional  Event on Humanitarian Priorities in Helsinki on January  24, 2017  Helen Clark  said, “Despite significant challenges, particularly around security, UNDP’s Syria Country Office activities in 2016 impacted more than 2.2 million people directly and indirectly. More than 18,000 jobs were created and access to basic services was improved for more than two million people”.



Photo: In Côte d’Ivoire, with UNDP, these young people, former soldiers, are learning the skill sets they need to build industry and infrastructure in their nation.(Photo: UN)

There are currently 232 million international migrants’ worldwide (The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs 2016). The latest statistical finding shows one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee according to the latest measurement against the world’s population of 7.4 billion people. According to  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Global Trends report findings conflict and violence have forcibly displaced 65.3 million people  globally. The UNDP remains committed to successfully implementing   peace building initiatives and strengthening democracy and good governance. Practical guidance to peace building  practitioners are  using conflict and development analysis (CDA) tools  designed by the  UNDP   to measure the  peace and conflict impact to guide country Offices  in war torn  States and in post-war countries .Post-conflict reconstruction aims at  consolidating of peace and security. Infrastructures for Peace can be an important tool to prevent conflicts. The Infrastructure for Peace initiative designed by UNDP to strengthen the capacity and to manage conflict is one such successful programme. 12   per cent of  UNDPs programme spending went to  crisis  prevention  and  recovery  and   another  13   percent  of funding was  channeled to  Democratic  governance  through  the  organisation in 2016 ( UNDP 2016 ) .  



Photo: For small island nations like the Maldives, the flattest country on earth, meeting Goal 14 is a matter of survival as sea levels rise. Through coral reef restoration, mangrove planting and other efforts, these young environmentalists are diving in to save the home land (Photo: UNDP Maldives)

Around the world climate change has been a concern in the recent years. Renewable energy is considered to be one of the alternatives that can combat global warming and stabilise the climate. Almost US$2.8 billion has been provided to 140  countries  for  climate change initiatives  and the   UNDP  has  been the largest  implementer in  combating climate change globally.

The UN development agency seeks to adopt a strategy addressing inequality and social exclusion, preventing and mitigating conflicts and disasters, economic recovery, development planning and inclusive sustainable growth. Therefore 37 percent of the UNDP budget was allocated to inclusive and sustainable growth and to climate  change  and disaster resilience (UNDP,2016).

After more than five decades of work worldwide the UNDP has impacted  positively and achieved higher standards of sustainable development  and peace  for  human life . In fact the recent initiatives implemented by the UN development agency will begin to impact systematically and begin to grow in magnitude touching all aspects of human life over the coming decades. 






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