UNDP Administrator Helen Clark (centre) shows solidarity at a school in Tacloban, the Philippines as it recovers from the 2013 typhoon.


Opportunities for

Around the world we see remarkable evidence of human progress. There have been significant advances towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Many millions more children go to school, and many millions more people enjoy better health. Women have greater opportunities to realize their potential.

At the same time, the world faces persistently high levels of inequality and exclusion. Seventy-five percent of people around the globe today live in societies where income is less equally distributed than it was 20 years ago. The environment on which we all depend is under threat from growing levels of greenhouse gas emissions, biodiversity loss, and acidifying oceans.

In short, the world is coming up against the limits of pursuing short-term gains while ignoring long-term consequences.

The defining challenge of our era is to shift to new models of development. Growth can be more inclusive and more sustainable, as the experiences of many countries have shown. Such growth can reduce poverty and inequality while also protecting our planet’s ecosystems. And, by managing the risks and uncertainties which are always with us, people, communities, and institutions can become more resilient to shocks and better able to maintain the progress they have made.

Fortunately, there is growing global consensus on moving in these directions. In 2013, the summit-level UN General Assembly Special Event on the MDGs affirmed the links between poverty eradication and sustainable development.

More than 1.8 million people, including many youth, have participated in the global conversation led by the UN development system on defining the priorities for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda which will follow the MDGs. They called for more inclusive growth and jobs, better services, environmental sustainability, good governance, and security as fundamental to progress. They recognized that no issue can be dealt with in isolation; we need integrated thinking, planning, and action.

UNDP and the wider UN development system are fully engaged in the international effort to shape this new agenda. We offer our expertise in development thinking and practice, and in bringing the voices of the world’s peoples into deliberations. Through 2015, we will continue a final push to achieve the MDGs, including through MDG acceleration initiatives, which are supporting more than 50 countries to make progress on off-track goals and targets.

This report details how UNDP delivers high-impact results as a development partner, innovator, and global thought leader. It chronicles the continuing evolution in the way we operate, which is set out in our new Strategic Plan, and the alignment of all our efforts behind development which is inclusive, sustainable, and resilient.

UNDP will continue to work with its partners around the world on eradicating poverty in a way which simultaneously reduces inequality and exclusion and avoids wrecking our ecosystems. This is our commitment to people now and in the future.

Helen Clark
We live in a time of great hope for humanity.



For the first time in history, the world may see the end of extreme poverty—as soon as the next generation.

The rapid expansion of developing economies and significant gains in human development have unleashed remarkable dynamism. Technological innovation is revolutionizing commerce and human interaction. People have many more avenues to express their voices and greater expectations to be heard. Universal access to basic services is within reach, so that everyone reaches a minimum threshold of well-being.

Most importantly, there is enough knowledge and experience to pursue rapid economic growth while simultaneously upholding social justice and caring for the environment. And there is international agreement that this is, broadly speaking, the right path.

New possibilities for progress do not come without worrisome gaps and risks, however. Even in the midst of prosperity for some people, stark inequalities remain, fuelling discont. Economic growth alone has not reached sufficient numbers of the poor. Many of those who have escaped poverty remain vulnerable to slipping back quickly when faced with a major setback to their health, assets or employment prospects. Longstanding marginalization has systematically shut some groups, such as women and youth, out of aspirations to improve their lives and live in dignity. Conflict, natural disasters, climate change and environmental crisis—all can strip away decades of development gains, sometimes in a single catastrophic moment.

As one of the world’s largest multilateral development agencies, present in more than 170 countries and territories, UNDP is on the frontlines of anticipating, understanding and acting on today’s opportunities and risks.

Our new 2014-2017 Strategic Plan articulates our vision, in line with our mandate and our core ethical principles. We help countries eradicate extreme poverty, and roll back inequalities and exclusion.

Rethinking development

In a crisis, restoring the basics of everyday life, such as markets to purchase food and provide incomes, helps build resilience.

This goal, while obtainable, requires some rethinking of development, both in terms of current models, and in the support that UNDP offers. As we look around the world, we can see what works—and what doesn’t. Economic growth works only when the poor and excluded have access to the jobs, livelihoods and services they need to take care of themselves and their families. And the way jobs and livelihoods are created matters. Growth that runs down the environment—sometimes irreversibly—will simply not be sustained, with the costs of failure borne most of all by the poor. Democracy works but only when everyone participates and feels their needs are fairly met. Peace works as long as it redresses the grievances that fuelled conflict in the first place.

In this time of unprecedented transition, we know that we are moving in the right general direction but all the evidence suggests that an evolution is in order. Today’s risks should not overwhelm today’s opportunities. The time to adjust our course is now.

Targeting Three big ideas

For UNDP, this recognition has informed a new approach to the ways we help countries, encapsulated in our Strategic Plan. It commits to the eradication of extreme poverty and reduction of inequalities through actions on three fronts.

First, UNDP encourages a shift to sustainability, where economic growth benefits poor and marginalized groups, and avoids irreversible environmental damage. Second, we support democratic systems to become inclusive and accountable, and able to meet expectations for participation, services and security. And third, we back efforts to systematically identify and prevent big risks to development, where possible, and where not, to help countries and communities with quick recovery and greater resilience to setbacks.

Strongly interconnected, actions in these three areas lead to development that is sustainable, inclusive and resilient.

UNDP has nearly 50 years of experience as the UN’s leading development agency, giving us rich intellectual and practical expertise, and a legacy of trust and partnership. In moving forward, we are building on these valued assets.

At the same time, our focus has tightened, making us more finely attuned to a changing world. We seek to reach people who most need our assistance, even in nations that have otherwise developed rapidly. We apply increasingly rigorous scrutiny to defining how we can best help countries in achieving their development objectives. Across everything we do, we aim to deliver the greatest returns on investment with the highest levels of transparency.

In helping countries connect to the solutions they need, we are becoming more flexible and open, bringing the full capability of our organization to bear, across disciplines and specializations. This often requires acting beyond single issues and tackling multiple factors that propel—or impede—development. It calls for innovation, including in capitalizing on historic shifts, such as the mass movement to cities, and the upswing in renewable modern energy services to solve the twin problems of access and environmental impact.

Partnership has always been at the core of what UNDP does but now, more than ever, we are specifically fostering South-South cooperation among developing countries, because they have learned many useful lessons through experience. Countries that are already developed also have deep reservoirs of expertise. The imperative is to help link many sources of knowledge and widen the circle of opportunity for all.

An agenda for the future

Balancing the needs of people and the planet will protect our world for future generations.

Through 2015, one of UNDP’s primary responsibilities is supporting countries to make a final, accelerated push to reach the MDGs, both in our own programmes and through our leadership of the UN development system, where we coordinate support by UN funds, programmes and specialized agencies. The MDGs have galvanized unprecedented global momentum behind reducing poverty, removing barriers to women, and improving education and health care.

In 2015, towards continued advancement, a new development agenda is slated to begin. Ongoing discussions among UN Member States have agreed to orient it around the eradication of extreme poverty, and sustainable, equitable development. It will depend on the close integration of economic, social and environmental objectives, responsive governance and peaceful societies.

UNDP is closely engaged in the post-2015 deliberations. Our Strategic Plan already aligns with its general directions. We see a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient world within reach, and as this report demonstrates, are fully committed to our role in achieving it.

Graph showing the percentage of people living under $1.25 a day

In just two decades, the percentage of people living on less than US$1.25 a day has been cut in half.

Source: Operations Support Group/UNDP

Photo of a man working

Exiting poverty depends in part on ready access to decent jobs.


Provisional US dollars*
expenditure graph

* Provisional as of April 2014 .* Reflects total UNDP programme expenses for 2013 at global, regional and country levels, extracted prior to the finalization and auditing of UNDP financial statements.

Source: Bureau of Management/UNDP

UNDP in the regions



Hope and New Direction

Expanding democracy and some of the world’s fastest growing economies are the hallmarks of a new African era. Peace has spread. Record numbers of women have entered politics. There is a growing sense of optimism and hope.

Yet sobering challenges remain, including sharpening disparities between those who benefit from growth and transformation, and those who do not. UNDP works with partners within countries and regionally to help reduce the many forms of exclusion. That means opening opportunities, especially for the poorest people, to work in decent jobs, to access services, to vote, to live safely, and, if disaster strikes, to be resilient enough to recover and thrive.

Up Close


Planning for a Better Future

Niger is one of the world’s poorest countries. Hunger is common across its vast stretches of desert, where droughts regularly decimate crops and livestock.

In these difficult conditions, UNDP offers relief to impoverished people like Bintou Bira, who lives in the small southeastern town of Korsorom. Through a UNDP programme supported by the Global Environment Facility, she earns income growing mesquite trees that slow desertification.

The benefits are immediate. “We have food and a bit of money, and we no longer need to cross the dangerous border,” Bintou says, remembering when survival depended on risky sales of palm pulp in areas of neighbouring Nigeria troubled by insurgency. The programme also contributes to longer-term development and environmental gains, having employed over 2,000 people to restore 29,000 hectares of degraded land across Niger, part of which is now suitable for crops and grazing.

UNDP has been a staunch supporter of the African Union’s peace, stability and sustainable development agenda. We particularly welcome the renewed emphasis on gender, which will help place women at the centre of our effort.

Nkosa Zana Dlamini Zuma
Chairperson · African Union Commission

For UNDP, this kind of direct assistance to the most vulnerable individuals is undergirded by a broader commitment: helping Niger reduce its fragility and thrive as a nation. We work closely with national partners as they develop essential capacities to manage development and build resilience to crisis, including through effective systems of governance.

In 2010, a coup toppled the Government of Niger, driving out much of the external support on which the country still depends. UNDP maintained its presence, however, and helped the national elections commission hold a successful poll in 2011.

Bringing political interests together since then has encouraged consensus that stability and effective governance are fundamental to development. A tangible indicator of progress came in 2013 when all parties and Parliament agreed on electoral laws and procedures, including a biometric voting system, to ensure that future elections are transparent and peaceful.

When the Government drafted its 2012-2015 national economic and social development plan, with UNDP support, it placed a central emphasis on effective governance as a lever for inclusive growth. UNDP subsequently helped convene external donors who closed the plan’s nearly $5 billion funding gap.

Country Niger

A community grain bank is part of solving one of Niger’s most critical problems: food security.

We also aided the Government in devising its “3N” initiative, for les Nigériens nourrissent les Nigériens (Nigeriens Feed Nigeriens). Absorbing 25 percent of the national budget, it targets food security as one of Niger’s most critical problems. In tandem, UN agencies and other international partners came together under a Millennium Development Goal acceleration framework that coordinates support for implementing 3N. An early warning system for natural disasters and food crises was established to facilitate preparation and recovery.

Political stability and aligned, well-planned programmes, from new agricultural techniques to cash-for-work initiatives, are now resulting in impressive changes. Irrigated agricultural production has increased; poverty and malnutrition have declined. Early actions linked to 3N in 2011 helped prevent famine after a poor harvest.

A next step will be bolstering local capacities to manage development closely attuned to local needs. In 2013, with UNDP support, Niger passed a national decentralization policy that will shift many governance responsibilities to its 266 municipalities. UNDP is already assisting with regional development strategies, and providing local planning and management tools. Niger has farther to travel than almost any other country in the world but increasingly, it is on course.

Other Highlights

Mali, Madagascar, Togo

Mali, Madagascar, Togo


Mali, Madagascar, Togo

In Mali, Madagascar and Togo, UNDP supported elections in 2013. In Mali, voter education posters proclaimed, “You can’t buy my vote.”





UNDP trains talented young men and women in Ethiopia for better business skills as part of the Entrepreneurship Development Programme.





In Ghana, UNDP is helping the country transition to a green economy. A nationwide rebate scheme encourages exchanging old refrigerators for more efficient ones.


Greater Resilience to Risk

The Arab States stand at a crossroads between progress and desire for change, and faltering development and crisis. Recent MDG progress has slowed. The transition that began with high hopes in 2011 has brought gains in some countries but taken a terrible toll in others.

UNDP recognizes the region’s many vulnerabilities, and in the face of these, aims to reduce risks and build resilience. Our support includes measures to improve struggling economies and better manage shared natural resources. We bring long expertise into encouraging governance that meets expectations for representation and delivers responsive public services. Amid crisis and instability, we connect people to hope and recovery, so they can restart their lives and contribute to social cohesion, not further fragmentation.

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In Transition, a Triumph

Country Niger

Tunisian parliamentarians celebrated a landmark agreement on a new Constitution. Commitments to human rights, among other provisions, are pivotal steps towards inclusive democracy.

Country Niger

The 2014 passage of Tunisia’s Constitution was a triumph. The vote complete, Tunisian legislators rose to their feet with applause, victory signs and even tears. The small country that in 2011 sparked the revolutions still shaking the Arab world had arrived at a moment of consensus and hope for peace.

After months of intensive bargaining, 200 out of 216 members of the Constituent Assembly said “yes” to a document that quickly became known as a landmark. Among other elements, it offers detailed protections of political, economic and social rights, and defines independent institutions to uphold them. It enshrines gender equality, and embraces a progressive approach to religion and the state.

The backdrop to the Constitution magnifies its achievements. Tunisia’s revolution sprung from deep distrust between state and society. The transition from decades of autocracy to democracy has been rocky, marked by political deadlocks, assassinations and economic recession.

But committed Tunisians have fought hard for progress. UNDP has stood by their efforts throughout, providing trusted advice grounded in international norms and long experience in other transition countries. We have backed a series of steps, like the new Constitution, that are pivotal to aspirations for democracy and an inclusive society.

The Arab world is going through a historic transformation, and the League of Arab States counts on its partners to support this transformation. The relationship between the Arab League and UNDP is a shining example of the collaboration envisaged by the UN Charter.

Dr. Nabil Elaraby
Secretary-General · League of Arab States

Starting in 2011, we cooperated with the UN Department of Political Affairs to aid Tunisia’s first democratic Electoral Management Body. Within a few months, it successfully conducted the Constituent Assembly elections, ushering 4 million Tunisians to the first free poll since the country’s independence in 1956.

As the Assembly began drafting the Constitution, UNDP helped strengthen its capacity to share information. A process of mass public consultation was launched: 80 members of Parliament met with over 6,000 Tunisians citizens in all 24 provinces, and in more focused exchanges with women’s and youth groups. Training for over 200 civil society groups facilitated their consultations with another 24,000 people.

These many voices and their calls for a more inclusive society resonated widely, even in periods of political stalemate. They fed into the constitutional deliberations, as the drafts progressed. Moustapha Ben Jafar, head of the Assembly, commented, “We would have never been able to draft the Constitution, if it were not for the direct or indirect contribution of all sections of civil society.”

Alongside the constitutional process, UNDP assisted with a new national strategy to combat corruption, and legislation to establish a Truth and Dignity Commission. The latter will investigate and redress past injustices, drawing partly on experiences in South Africa.

As Tunisia’s new democratic institutions stabilize, UNDP’s support is shifting to the economic exclusion that propelled the revolution—much of it centred on limited employment opportunities for youth. We have assisted six of the poorest regions to set up employment promotion action plans, and are testing experimental projects on livelihoods for youth to see which might merit scaled-up investment. When Tunisians can peacefully and freely vote, work and go about their daily lives, the most important phase of the transition will be complete.

Other Highlights





UNDP is supporting vocational training for women in Jordan to bolster job prospects, fostering stability amid an influx of Syrian refugees.





In the Darfur region of eastern Sudan, UNDP supported 64 community initiatives providing options for local people to earn livelihoods, including through vocational skills training.





UNDP installed a water tank in the Gaza strip that now serves half the population of 100,000 people, enabling them to wash, clean and cook.

Asia and the Pacific

Sustaining Momentum

Asia-Pacific is the world’s fastest growing region as its economic miracle continues to unfold. But this success, while laudable, is vulnerable. Economic growth has not produced enough decent jobs. Environmental tolls have been heavy. Natural disasters are more likely to strike here than anywhere else.

UNDP helps countries protect and extend development gains. We assist in generating more and better employment, and sustainably managing natural resources. Improved governance comes through shared and scaled up innovations, and reforms upholding the rights of excluded groups. Averting development setbacks is rooted in better management of risks, including from disasters. Given the region’s many changes, UNDP also supports a new agenda for development cooperation engaging countries increasingly poised to help others.

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The Philippines

Managing Recovery, Reducing Risks

In late 2013, Typhoon Haiyan swept west across the Pacific Ocean, gathering furious power. By the time it slammed into the Philippines’ Visayan Islands, it became the strongest recorded storm ever to hit land. Winds howled at over 300 kilometres per hour. When they finally abated, more than 6,000 people had perished. Over 14 million Filipinos suffered losses, including homes, livelihoods and essential public services.

The tragedy was compounded by the fact that the typhoon crossed one of the poorest areas of the Philippines, where people have low resilience to disaster and therefore limited capacities to recover. Nearly 70 percent rely on farming and natural resources highly susceptible to damage.

The Philippines before and after the restoration post-typhoon

UNDP’s response to the crisis was immediate. We took actions to fulfil urgent needs. We also initiated measures to reduce risks and vulnerabilities over the longer term.

Under the national assistance plan, we scaled up a massive relief and recovery operation to assist 54 of the hardest-hit municipalities. With millions of fallen trees tangled with smashed vehicles and the twisted remains of buildings, a first priority was to help clean up the mess. This opened channels for humanitarian aid and provided employment. Nearly 65,000 people who might otherwise have been destitute cleared the debris, earning incomes for their families and injecting much-needed cash into local economies.

The Philippines before and after the restoration post-typhoon

100 days post-typhoon: Nearly 1,000 kilometres of roads were cleared; children had returned to over 700 restored schools and day-care centres.

Within two months, access to 14 hospitals and over 700 schools and day-care centres had been restored, and nearly 1,000 kilometres of roads reopened. Businesses restarted. UNDP helped set up 10 mobile sawmills to cut fallen trees into lumber for reconstruction, offering jobs to thousands more people involved in transporting and processing wood. In some of the poorest areas, training programmes enabled nearly 1,800 local people to learn carpentry, masonry, electrical and other essential skills for rebuilding. Through partnerships with private sector firms, each person was guaranteed employment upon graduation.

A major focus of UNDP’s assistance has been aiding national and local governments. They have led the response to what would be an overwhelming catastrophe for any country. With aid contributions coming in from around the world, for example, we shared experiences from Indonesia after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. As a result, preparations are underway to establish a national system that effectively tracks and allocates funds, and encourages accountability.

Long committed to the Pacific Small Island Developing States, UNDP is a trusted, indispensable partner across the range of its expertise and services, and in pursuit of the MDGs.

Tuiloma Neroni Slade
Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat

Locally, the emphasis has been on restarting essential public services, such as those for collecting household waste, otherwise a serious health hazard. In the city of Tacloban, the economic heart of the Visayas, UNDP temporarily oversaw waste management until local capacities could be restored.

By early 2014, we were working with the Department of Interior and Local Governance to develop a mechanism to second local officials from unaffected regions to assist with continued recovery efforts. Local disaster risk and response mechanisms were being developed—these are some of the best precautions against severe storms. Natural disasters may be inevitable but mass loss of lives and livelihoods does not have to be.

Other Highlights





UNDP backed a massive effort to boost voter turnout for Pakistan’s 2013 elections. A voter education campaign reached 40 million people.





UNDP assists Afghanistan to restore infrastructure and provide much needed jobs.

Lao People’s Democratic Republic



Lao People’s Democratic Republic

In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, 460,000 people benefitted from improved schools, health care centres, and water and sanitation systems, with UNDP support.

Europe and the CIS

Deepening Inclusion

Despite economic crisis, many countries in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have kept their development on track. But uneven progress and persistent marginalization of some groups heighten social tensions, as actual living standards fail to meet aspirations. Critical energy shortages combine with inefficient use and pollution.

UNDP helps countries pursue development responsive to all citizens, whether through higher quality services or better public financial management or enhanced access to justice. We aid in breaking discriminatory barriers, including to decent jobs and livelihoods. Through investments in clean, secure energy, and improved care of natural resources, we support a sustainable balancing of human and environmental priorities.

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Greening a Carbon Economy

Country Niger
Country Niger

Renewable energy was once a hard sell in Kazakhstan. Huge fossil fuel reserves propelled rapid economic growth and kept energy prices low. Few people worried about energy efficiency. With its carbon-heavy economy, Kazakhstan qualified as one of the world’s worst per capita emitters of greenhouse gases.

But today, a more sustainable future is in sight. UNDP’s long-term advocacy and technical expertise have backed growing uptake of greener practices, and sweeping recent changes in national laws and policies.

In 2013, Kazakhstan’s President announced that the country would begin transitioning to a green economy, taking actions on energy, water, waste and other essential areas. By 2050, half the country’s energy must come from alternative sources. National legislation has already been amended to boost investment in renewable energy through pricing incentives, entailing government funding that could top $7 billion.

The first signs of Kazakhstan’s greening appeared more than a decade ago. UNDP, with support from the Global Environment Facility, urged exploring wind energy as a renewable source of power in plentiful supply across the country’s large territory. Detailed technical studies confirmed a potential generation capacity 18 times greater than the current network of electrical plants.

Our partnership with UNDP goes from strength to strength, producing truly great achievements. We share a key aim: fighting poverty and delivering better, more efficient aid to people who need it most.

Andris Piebalgs
European Union Commissioner for Development

UNDP worked side by side with national authorities to resolve technical blocks to wind energy development. By 2011, windmills whirred at the first commercial facility. Two more plants soon came on line, and additional installations are under construction. Over time, they could cut carbon emissions by millions of tons, and, by spawning new industries and jobs, produce economic benefits in the billions of dollars.

Such obvious payoffs have spurred exploration of other green possibilities; the national green economy push will likely accelerate momentum. In 2013, the city of Almaty’s transportation plan took up “green mobility,” with ambitions to cut automobile traffic by 30 percent as people turn to new bus lanes and light rails. The city of Astana is moving to modernize all 181 of its public buildings by 2015, drawing on earlier UNDP pilot projects that retrofitted schools with modern heating system, lights, windows and insulation.

Since buildings nationally are major energy wasters, efficiency is now central to the $5.8 billion National Programme on the Modernization of Housing and Municipal Infrastructure. UNDP has helped develop Kazakhstan’s first green construction specifications and pioneer high-efficiency technologies in large apartment buildings. Nationwide, more than 1,000 old apartment buildings have been upgraded with our support.

In rural areas, steps towards sustainability centre on agriculture, also integral to the green economy focus. Every year, Kazakh farmers lose up to $4 billion due to water scarcity and land degradation. This impacts all of Central Asia, where Kazakhstan supplies 90 percent of the wheat. National authorities, farmers, UNDP and the United States Agency for International Development are spearheading techniques adapted to a changing climate, from high-yield seeds to diversified planting. Increasingly, the green economy looks set to grow.

Other Highlights





UNDP is supporting public-private partnerships in Albania to help youth with disabilities to get good jobs.

Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia

Former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia


former Yugoslav Republic Of Macedonia

University students in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have developed apps to track natural disasters, with UNDP support.





UNDP provides expert advice to the Government of Montenegro in negotiations and required reforms to help its accession to the European Union.

Latin America and the Caribbean

Accountable and Secure Societies

A decade of progress has transformed Latin America and the Caribbean, with incomes up and 90 million people joining the middle class. Still, growth and the reduction of inequalities are slowing. Despite dynamic labour markets, opportunities are not equal for women, youth, and people of African and indigenous descent.

UNDP assists countries to probe and cut the roots of persistent disparities. We advocate understanding poverty as having dimensions beyond just income, and stand by a new generation of universal social protection programmes. We encourage broad, meaningful participation in development choices as key to both prosperity and stability. A concerted emphasis on gender equality recognizes that women help drive the region’s advancements; they also have rights to live free from discrimination and violence.

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El Salvador

Many Paths to Peace

Giovanni’s face softens under the otherwise fearsome ink of his gang tattoos. As the 23-year-old bends over a row of pepper plants, his fingers dart carefully between them, plucking stray weeds and adjusting the fragile string that holds them up to the light filtering through the greenhouse.

Three times a day he checks the plants, nurturing them as he nurtures his own life.

Not long ago, Giovanni spent his days “living off the street.” A member of one of El Salvador’s many violent gangs, he won´t speak about his past. The gangs have given the country some of the world’s highest homicide rates. Young men like Giovanni are most likely to join up—and die violently.

El Salvador

But through a UNDP-assisted project in El Pino, a neighbourhood in the municipality of Santa Tecla once considered too dangerous even for armed police, Giovanni and other young men find alternatives to a life of crime. They learn the basics of managing a small business: in this case, growing and marketing crops that will thrive on small urban plots and are in demand by local grocery stores.

“Before, my life was a mess,” Giovanni confesses quietly. “Now I have a lot to do—there is no time to bother people.”

The El Pino project is one of many ways that UNDP is helping El Salvador get a grip on a plague of violence. The tangled roots of this complex problem encompass poverty, scarce jobs, social fragmentation and a history of brutal conflict. Solutions must operate on many levels, local and national. They need to control and prevent crimes, increase quality of life and open doors to productive development.

Municipalities are where crimes typically occur but until recently, most were severely handicapped in efforts to improve security, lacking even basics such as detailed information on victims and violence by neighbourhood. UNDP helped develop municipal observatories to track and analyse crime statistics.

UNDP has been an important partner, strengthening the Central America Security Strategy and its coordination mechanism. Our alliance promotes South-South cooperation and activities in selected countries, especially to prevent violence.

Hugo Martinez
Secretary-General · Central American Integrated System (SICA)

Using this information to diagnose trouble spots, we encouraged local authorities and community members to work together to reduce tensions and improve public spaces. Restoration of abandoned areas, neighbourhood policing, community mediation mechanisms and reintegration programmes for youth are among diverse actions that in some cases have cut crime by up to 45 percent.

Early success with these experiences convinced the national Government to adopt its first national policy on justice, security and a peaceful coexistence in 2010. By 2012, it had a comprehensive prevention strategy for municipalities that will scale up tactics introduced by UNDP.

Gun laws have been tightened, in part due to better municipal information on the efficiency of gun bans. El Salvador has a long journey to a peaceful society but measures like these will sustain systematic progress.

Giovanni knows this—for the first time, dignified work and a legal income have made him feel responsible for the future.

He reflects, gazing across his thriving pepper plants, “I want my son to grow up the opposite of me, to get a degree, to wear a suit and tie, and to know that I am proud of him.”

Other Highlights





For more than 10 years, UNDP has been a partner with Brazil’s Bolsa Familia, a globally-recognized social protection programme. Some 50 million people obtained benefits.





UNDP programmes help Haitians build resilience through expanded economic opportunities. In 2013, the construction of riverbank walls and dykes protected 34,000 people from torrential rains.





In Mexico, UNDP worked with the Ministry of Social Development and helped guide more nuanced tax reforms in 2013 that minimized burdens on the poor, and balance economic and social development.

UNDP By The Numbers

In 2013, UNDP programmes helped:

chart numbers

Source: Operations Support Group/UNDP

We bring people together to exchange solutions.


Partnership is at the heart of everything UNDP does. We offer a nearly universal presence. Our substantial expertise—both intellectual acumen and practical experience—cuts across diverse development issues and settings. These valuable assets combined with our long legacy of trust have made us a global partner of choice.

We stand with governments, other international organizations, businesses and civil society in building bridges to a new era of inclusive, sustainable development. People working together achieve greater capacities, better knowledge and broader awareness. As they see new hope in possibilities for progress, a powerful quest for transformation begins.

Greater capacities for development

UNDP has nearly 50 years of partnership with developing countries. Today, with so many making notable strides and having accumulated rich stores of knowledge on effective development, we help bring them together to exchange solutions with proven track records.

In the Caribbean region, where hurricanes and other disasters regularly strike, Cuban success with local risk reduction is well known. UNDP is helping five neighbouring countries adopt the model, adapted to their requirements. In 2014, the Dominican Republic’s municipal district of Victoria opened the country’s first local risk management centre. It uses trained staff and leading technology to routinely manage information on risks and hazards, towards the goal of protecting lives and resources.

Seventeen countries and 15,000 civil servants, mainly in Latin America, have applied the UNDP-developed SIGOB programme, which assists governments to effectively manage information and workflows. In 2013, UNDP helped officials from Afghanistan learn from experiences in Argentina and Brazil, including to better coordinate government units and tailor services to citizen demands. The Afghan Presidency has begun setting up a SIGOB system to manage official documents and correspondence with citizens, based on a similar one in Brazil.

A longstanding UNDP partnership with the Nepal Administrative Staff College has resulted in training 650 officials across 26 ministries on the “do no harm” principle, which entails analysing and minimizing potential conflict risks in development programming. In 2013, we helped officials from Timor-Leste learn from this experience, and an initial cohort of its civil servants passed through similar training. A new course on conflict sensitivity has become part of the curriculum of the National Institute of Public Administration.

UNDP has brought Chinese technology and policy experts to Ghana and Zambia, and energy officials from Ghana and Zambia to China. Together, they are exploring how Chinese successes in extending energy access could be replicated, making a big difference especially in the lives of the rural poor. UNDP experts help ensure that Ghana and Zambia will obtain renewable energy technology most suitable to what they need, as well as critical skills to operate and eventually produce it. China is taking the opportunity to learn how to better share know-how as it expands its role as a foreign aid provider.

In 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation lent its financial weight behind the continued spread of the multi-functional platform in Africa. UNDP has already helped 12 countries adopt the device, which can transform lives in rural areas by offering modern energy services and employment. Existing installations benefit 3.5 million people and support about 2,900 rural enterprises. The Gates Foundation partnership is scaling up use of the device based on successful experiences in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal.

Almost 50 years of Partnership

UNDP supported energy projects in 100 countries in 2013 with financing from the Global Environment Facility. These extended access to clean and affordable energy services, encouraged the switch to renewables and greater efficiency, and promoted policy and financing instruments to catalyse renewable energy investments. An evaluation of projects ending in 2013 found that seven alone resulted in energy savings roughly equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Denmark; cost savings amounted to an estimated $6.5 billion.

A partnership between UNDP and the UN Environment Programme, the Poverty-Environment Initiative, aids countries in examining how to channel public expenditures to both assist the poor, and sustain the environment and climate. It has pioneered use of the innovative Climate Public Expenditure Review model. As of 2013, spending on environmental and climate change issues in Rwanda grew from 0.4 percent to 2.5 percent of the national budget, and a special fund was established for projects linking poverty, the environment and climate. Nepal received the 2013 Global South-South Development Leadership Award for adopting national budget codes allowing it to track all climate expenditures. It now spends over 10 percent of its national budget to manage climate impacts, with a priority on protecting vulnerable groups.

Through collaboration with the Climate Parliament, an international cross-party network of legislators, UNDP has helped mobilize over 200 parliamentarians from 10 countries to learn from one another and act on climate change. In 2013, participants took part in legislative processes that resulted in Tunisia becoming the third country in the world with a constitutional commitment to protect the climate, and Morocco reducing taxes on solar panels and other renewable energy technology.

Around the world, increasing numbers of private sector companies are acknowledging the obvious benefits of sustainable, inclusive development, and doing their part, whether that means extending services to excluded groups, or adopting environmentally sound business practices.

100 Countries supported  on energy Projects in 2013

200+ Parliamentarians mobilized to learn from one another and act on climate change

UNDP encourages their engagement, such as through the Get Airports Ready for Disaster programme, a partnership with Deutsche Post DHL. By 2013, the programme had helped better prepare 21 airports to handle massive influxes of humanitarian supplies in cases of crisis. It trains airport personnel on everything from coping with surges in air traffic to assessing landing capacities for large cargo planes. Through collaboration with the global Maritime Anti-Corruption Network, UNDP assisted a project in Nigeria in 2013 that assessed corruption risks in port processes. It established a risk mitigation plan, introduced integrity training and began developing formal complaint mechanisms.

In Turkey, UNDP, with support from the Global Environment Facility, works with the Government and major manufacturers like Arçelik and other members of the Turkish White Goods Manufacturer’s Association to boost production and use of more efficient household appliances—Turkey is one of the world’s leading appliance producers. Training has equipped 50,000 sales staff to promote energy efficient models; a public advocacy campaign has reached 9 million people with messages on caring for the environment while cutting energy bills. The Government has improved labelling for appliances, and instituted new systems to test and monitor energy consumption.

UNDP and India’s Ministry of Steel have teamed up to advance energy efficiency in steel rerolling units—which are both major energy consumers and lifeline suppliers to the country’s booming construction business. By using new technology, 34 manufacturers have cut fuel consumption by up to 25 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter. Initial investments can be recouped in 24 months through energy savings. Three hundred factories are expected to make a similar move by the end of 2014.

21 airports prepared to handle massive influxes of humanitarian supplies in cases of crisis
Men's use of violence against a female intimate partner was pervasive across the Asia-Pacific region but prevalence rates varied widely across sites
Among ever-partnered men, lifetime prevalence of perpetration of physical and/or sexual partner violence ranged from 26 percent to 80 percent
In most sites, lifetime physical partner violence perpetration was more common than lifetime sexual partner violence perpetration; however, in Cambodia and Indonesia the reserve was true.


UNDP and our partners generate a wealth of new knowledge, drawing on diverse sources of expertise to offer fresh thinking and shine a spotlight on overlooked concerns. We also convene people in vibrant, thought-provoking exchanges that spark new ideas on shared development solutions.

Qatar and the UN office of south-south

The first Arab States Regional South-South Development Expo, Qatar.

In 2013, collaboration between UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women and UN Volunteers resulted in the groundbreaking Asia-Pacific report Why Do Some Men Use Violence Against Women and How Can We Prevent It? The report’s striking findings caught global media attention, with stories ranking in the BBC’s top 10 and two articles in The Lancet. Drawing from a multi-year survey of 10,000 men, the report found that half admitted to committing physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner, while a quarter had perpetrated rape. New findings included that men begin committing violence much younger than previously thought. Impunity remains pervasive, with the vast majority of rapists facing no legal consequences.

In the Arab States region, UNDP and the Foundation for the Future in 2013 brought together more than 20 leading think tanks from six Arab countries to share insights on their vital roles in diversifying knowledge, and providing deep analysis and high-quality data to support policy formation and social dialogue. Experts on transition from Indonesia, Myanmar and South Africa described how think tanks can be progressive forces for democratic transition, including in raising otherwise overlooked issues. After the meeting, UNDP and the Foundation for the Future jointly produced an online directory of think tanks in the region that is one of the first and most comprehensive of its kind, aiming to inspire continued networking and knowledge exchange.

With the Government of Colombia and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, UNDP in 2013 aided organization of Latin America’s first Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights. More than 400 people from companies, governments and civil society organizations in 17 countries debated better strategies for addressing the impacts of business practices on human rights.

People reached by an energy efficiency campaign in Turkey
anti-Corruption Network

In Thailand, 4,000 students participate in the anti-Corruption Network.

In 2013, UNDP for the first time co-facilitated the Global Elections Organization Conference, one of the world’s largest forums on electoral issues, with the National Elections Commission of the Republic of Korea. Over 300 elections professionals learned about the lastest technology and ideas on elections management. UNDP joined the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Revenue Watch Institute to host a global seminar helping parliamentarians learn about effective engagement with extractive industries.

Hosted by UNDP, the flagship knowledge-sharing initiative known as the UN Solution Exchange now has 15 active online communities bringing people together in countries across Asia and the Pacific. Since 2005, it has helped more than 25,000 government representatives, development practitioners, civil society organizations, private sector firms and research institutes tackle programme and policy issues on topics such as child marriage, microfinance, disaster management, maternal health and nutrition.


Broad participation is fundamental to inclusive development. UNDP engages with an array of partners in reaching millions of people around the world to inspire awareness and action on common concerns.

With two-thirds of Cambodians under age 25, UNDP partnered with BBC Media Action to promote youth participation in civic life. A three-year outreach campaign with positive messages and role models showed young people the many ways to get involved, whether by casting a vote or contributing to community upkeep. By 2013, the campaign had reached an estimated 2 million people, with follow-up assessments finding young people more confident and willing to take actions on issues concerning them and their communities.

In Thailand, UNDP and Khon Kaen University have backed the Youth Anti-Corruption Network involving 4,000 university students who advocate measures to clean up corruption—the World Economic Forum in 2013 recognized it as a “Creative for Good” best practice.

300+ elections professionals learned about the latest elections management technolog
Social Good Submit

60 Countries linked to harness technology for a better world

UNDP’s Business Call to Action (BCtA) encourages private sector partners to agree to actions that benefit the poor while being commercially viable—company commitments now include providing 1.8 million jobs and improving nutrition for 1.2 million people. Twenty-two new companies came on board in 2013, bringing the total to 89; an increasing number are fast-growth firms from developing countries. BCtA brought member companies together to exchange ideas with winners of the G20 Challenge on Inclusive Business Innovation—after a global search, it dubbed 15 companies as champions of the approach. Media advocacy raising awareness of the immense potential of inclusive business reached millions of people worldwide, while a joint venture with the The Guardian newspaper yields regular profiles of successful inclusive business models.

The 2013 Social Good Summit was sponsored by UNDP with the United Nations Foundation, Mashable, the 92nd Street Y, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ericsson. It linked people from 60 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, to raise awareness on harnessing technology for a better world. In what was one of the largest conversations of its kind, an inaugural group of “keynote listeners” encompassed World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Crown Princess of Norway Mette-Marit, Gates Foundation Co-Chair Melinda Gates and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.


Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon met youth in Zambia to promote the MDGs.

UNDP appreciates the continued generosity of its Goodwill Ambassadors. Their high public profiles take advocacy for development to new audiences around the world. In 2014, Connie Britton, star of the television series Nashville in the United States, became the newest ambassador, bringing her passionate conviction that the time is now to end poverty and empower women. Renowned footballer Iker Casillas called on young people in Uzbekistan to volunteer in their communities, while Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon highlighted programmes in Zambia helping to attain the MDGs.

At the 11th annual Match Against Poverty, football legends Ronaldo and Zinédine Zidane, joined for the first time by the female star Marta Vieira da Silva, raised funds for typhoon survivors in the Philippines. Actress Misako Konno also provided resources for the massive recovery effort there.


Actress Connie Britton, UNDP’s newest Goodwill ambassador, joined a social media campaign advocating gender equality.

Institutional Effectiveness

Institutional effectiveness is central to the transformation that UNDP envisions in its 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. Among international development agencies, we manage the most extensive network of country offices. Our principles and the nations we serve rightfully demand that we have the operational backbone for delivering programmes with the highest value for funds invested.

At the start of the Plan in 2014, UNDP was already aligning itself accordingly. The Plan reduces our strategic goals from 34 to 7 outcomes integral to inclusive, sustainable development, and where we make the greatest contributions. Our aim is a well-orchestrated fit between our global vision and what we do on the ground, even as we remain open and flexible in the face of change, and closely attuned to different contexts.

Shifts in our headquarters and regional business architecture are bringing our staff together to cut through traditional programme “silos,” recognizing the reality that development’s many dimensions interconnect and build on each other.

A process of aligning our country programmes maintains their traditional responsiveness to national priorities, while gearing them up to work in new ways—delivering better results, greater focus and increased value for money. Systematic use of high-quality data and evidence will guide the choices we make.

A new integrated results and resources framework is introducing more effective monitoring of how all UNDP offices achieve results and spend resources. To uphold quality assurance and foster organization-wide consistency, it includes core indicators and measurement guidance. UNDP’s first integrated budget has simplified and made more transparent the management of its different revenue streams.

Chart Transparency

In 2013, UNDP was once again among the top multilateral organizations in global aid transparency, ranking fourth out of 67 major donors of development assistance on Publish What You Fund’s Global Campaign for Aid Transparency Index. UNDP was commended for going beyond the standards of the International Aid Transparency Initiative, which sets benchmarks for the timeliness, accuracy and comprehensiveness of aid information.

We again received a clean audit endorsement from the UN Board of Auditors based on the 2012 financial statements, which for the first time were fully compliant with the International Public Sector Accounting Standards.

UNDP seeks to embed ethics throughout the organization. All staff must complete mandatory ethics training and periodic refreshers; around 1,065 people participated in training in 2013. An Ethics Office routinely advises senior leadership, provides inputs to corporate policies and offers guidance on practical applications of ethics. Messages on email and social media regularly encourage staff to “do what is right, even if no one is watching,” while leadership ethics training helps managers to establish a speak-up culture, so staff members can raise concerns without fear of retaliation. In promoting staff engagement, trust and integrity, an ethical culture improves organizational performance and reputation.

Three prestigious awards in 2013 recognized UNDP for success with information technology. The CSO40 award showcased our information security systems for demonstrating outstanding business value and thought leadership; past winners include major corporations such as Intel and MasterCard. Computerworld designated UNDP’s Chief Technology Officer as one of its Premier 100 ICT Leaders, alongside honourees from Fortune 500 companies and governments. The Computerworld Honors Program Award applauded UNDP for achievements in information security and quality management.

UNDP’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability moved forward in 2013 through a new scorecard for appraising the impacts of potential business investments, on the environment as well as issues such as productivity, security, innovation, and staff motivation and efficiency. Since compliance with social and environmental standards is now an explicit and measurable part of the new Strategic Plan, we established the Social and Environmental Compliance Unit in the UNDP Office of Audit and Investigations.

An updated gender parity strategy (2014-2017) includes provisions for accelerating promotions for mid-level women, reserving posts for women where they are underrepresented, and recruiting more men in General Service administrative positions.


UNDP is funded entirely from voluntary contributions by a range of partners, including UN Member States, and multilateral and other organizations.

These contributions are provided as either regular resources or as other resources earmarked by contributors. Fifty-six countries contributed to regular resources in 2013, which totalled $895.7 million.

Other resources reached $3.8 billion in 2013. Contributions provided by governments amounted to $2.4 billion, while contributions from multilateral sources totalled $1.4 billion.

Development is a long-term challenge that requires an ever more strategic focus, with the ability to actively plan for and respond to both crises and emerging opportunities. In a changing development environment, UNDP continues to work towards diversification, valued partnerships, and the consolidation of its resource base to attain UNDP’s Strategic Plan development outcomes.

See: Gross Income Received In 2013