Development never stops.

The world descended into multiple crises in 2021. The climate emergency escalated. Social unrest and conflict flared. Inequalities deepened as COVID-19 continued to devastate lives and diminish economies, plunging millions more into poverty.

Human choices caused most of these crises. But human actions can resolve them. The COVID-19 vaccines are proof that even the most complex challenges are not insurmountable when we are willing to come together. We saw just how quickly years of development gains could be erased, but we also saw how countries’ social protection and fiscal injections helped stop the slide. And as the climate emergency rang alarm bells across the world, we saw countries and businesses moving together towards making more ambitious cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The past 12 months have tested UNDP’s ability to respond in an era buffeted by rapid change. In the pages that follow, I invite you to explore what I saw in 2021—a UNDP working hard to deliver on the promises that we made, despite the difficulties faced—a UNDP that is now more agile, efficient, innovative, resilient and able to solve difficult and complex global development problems.

This UNDP Annual Report provides a snapshot of the results we achieved together with countries and communities over the last 12 months, the final year of our four-year Strategic Plan. It considers the role we played in responding to some of the most intractable development problems of our time, including the COVID crisis, during which we helped 82 countries adopt vaccine registration and beneficiary tracking systems, supported the recruitment of 32,000 new health care workers, and protected nearly 1 million jobs. Our work in Afghanistan, the Sahel and Iraq are examples of how transformations can take root even in the midst of crisis and fragility. And our Climate Promise supported 84% of all developing countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions ahead of the climate Conference of the Parties (COP) in Glasgow, with real ambition demonstrated by those developing countries on the front lines.

Behind each of these results are the stories of millions of people that we work with and support every day. Some of them are highlighted in this report, including voters in Liberia, whom UNDP supported through security, tactile ballots for the visually impaired, and mobile voter identification systems; and the residents of Chullpia, Peru, whose lives improved thanks to inventor Juansergio Castro and his floating solar panels that provide enough energy to fill up local reservoirs.

When I look at what we, together, have achieved, I am motivated and hopeful—and grateful to all our partners, donors, United Nations sister agencies and the 20,000 UNDP personnel across the world that have made all this possible. Looking ahead, we remain committed to building a #FutureSmartUNDP dedicated to helping create a world that is more equal and more just, with societies that don’t just survive, but can truly flourish and thrive. I hope this snapshot of UNDP’s work over the last year encourages you to join us in that journey.

Neither do we.

Achim Steiner portrait picture

Photo: UNDP/Cory Wright

Achim Steiner signature

Achim Steiner
United Nations Development Programme

UNDP for the world

With our support, millions of people improved their lives in 2021.

Development icon

43 countries

supported to address gender-based violence

Essential services icon

71 million people

in 36 countries gained access to essential services (2018-2021)

Jobs icon

1 million jobs protected

by labour-market measures

Gender equality icon


of performance indicators were met by UNDP on gender equality and women’s empowerment (as part of UN System-wide Action Plan 2.0)

Covid 19 icon

US$1.6 billion

raised by UNDP to help countries respond to and recover from COVID-19

Social economic icon

81 countries

implemented policies based on COVID-19 socio-economic impact assessments (with UNDS)

Improved livelihood icon

3 million people

benefited from jobs and improved livelihoods in crisis or post-crisis settings in 29 countries, 47% being women

Recovery icon

750,000 women

in 15 countries gained access to recovery programmes

Climate action icon

With Climate Promise support,
92 of 120 countries

submitted revised national climate action plans

Sustainable energy icon

2.4 million rural households

in 33 countries benefited from clean, affordable and sustainable energy

Accelerator labs icon

UNDP’s Accelerator Labs Network reached
115 countries

through 91 locations

SDG bonds icon

US$3.8 billion

mobilized in innovative SDG bonds

New voters icon

38 million new voters

registered in 30 countries, being women (2018–2021)

Radicalization icon

26 countries

supported to implement national actions plans to address radicalization

E-governance icon

82 countries

adopted over 580 digital solutions for e-commerce, e-governance, and more

SDGs by 2030

What we must do to succeed

UNDP’s ability to help countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been tested harder than ever. Poverty is rising for the first time in a generation as a result of COVID-19. The inequalities are stark. To bend the multiple curves of the pandemic, and continue a systemic push towards reduced poverty and greater equality, countries and communities need access to vaccines and access to finance.

Our evidence also shows that a united push to meet the SDGs can bring us back on course. UNDP, as part of the international community, needs to help ensure that the world:

  • transitions to a recovery from COVID-19 that makes the world more equal, not less equal;
  • enables transformation to take root even in the midst of conflict, crisis and fragility;
  • prepares more intentionally for a decarbonized and digital future.

Access to finance and vaccine equity is the key to socio-economic recovery in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Recognizing that “no one is safe until everyone is safe”, UNDP is working with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners on the ground to help realize the WHO targets of vaccinating at least 70% of the global population against COVID-19 in 2022.

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Since 2018, UNDP has worked with 100 countries to integrate the SDGs into their national and subnational development plans

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UNDP’s COVID-19 response reached $1.6B

Strategic Plan review

Results and outcomes 2018-2021

Over the past four years, UNDP delivered for millions of people and for countries in every part of the world, a fitting conclusion to the Strategic Plan. Transformative changes were strongly evident across the plan’s three development settings (below) and six signature solutions, as indicated by the following cumulative results.

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Eradicating poverty

UNDP assisted 71 million people in 36 countries in obtaining services essential to well-being and dignity, such as water, housing and health care. In 25 countries, 40 million people gained access to financial services.

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Supporting the growth of stronger, fairer economies

With our support, 38 million new voters in 30 countries registered to vote, 80% of whom were women. In 34 countries, 32 million people realized their legal rights and protections through improved access to justice.

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Strengthening resilience to shocks and crisis

During the plan, over 750,000 women in 15 countries benefited from recovery programmes to rebuild assets and regain livelihoods, strengthening capacities to manage future crises in the process. In 2021, 3 million displaced people in 13 countries benefited from durable solutions aimed at lasting security, freedom of movement and well-being.

Greater investments, where it matters most

Over 2018–2021, UNDP spent $18.3B of its programme resources, or 94.4% of the total planned programme expenditure. In 2021 alone, UNDP spent $4.8B of its programme resources, the highest level over the last two Strategic Plan periods (2014–2017 and 2018–2021). This enabled us to deliver against all three development settings.

21 achievements

The making of #NextGenUNDP

In 2018, UNDP gave itself four years to become a “next generation” organization. These facts and figures illustrate how we did it, by changing the way we think, invest, manage and deliver.

We invested

in new programmes, people, partnerships and operational systems, helping UNDP become more agile and effective

We created

an improved line of work with the Crisis Bureau, making it possible to offer a more coherent, rapid response. 9 of the 10 largest UNDP country programmes are in crisis settings

We helped

countries reconfigure development finance through Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) to improve the quality, amount and reach of public funds

We rolled out

a long-term vision of a world in which digital is an empowering force for people and planet, with more inclusive, ethical and sustainable societies (through UNDP’s first Digital Strategy, 2022–2025)

We educated

our own workforce with fit-for-purpose digital systems, processes, tools and data

We ranked

as the most transparent UN agency, and the third most transparent development organization in the world (by The International Aid Transparency Index)

We formed

the Global Policy Network (GPN), connecting 8,800+ UNDP colleagues, plus 5,000+ vetted development professionals across 110 areas of expertise, ready to support UNDP at the country level

We guided

support for countries to accelerate gender equality (UNDP’s Gender Equality Strategy 2022–2025)

We shifted

the mindset from projects to portfolios, and from experimentation to transformation and scale (through our Accelerator Labs Network)

We reached

$4.8B in programme expenditure in 2021, the highest in over a decade (over 87% of our revenue), to deliver across our three development settings

We grew

into 21,000 people, working together across 170 countries and territories

We maintained

a 50:50 gender parity across all UNDP staff, including senior managers in country offices

We achieved

99% of UNDP’s four-year funding target, mobilizing $20.7B in development finance for programme countries

We balanced

our budget for the 5th year in a row

We received

a 16th consecutive unqualified (clean) audit opinion, from the United Nations Board of Auditors for the year ending 2020

We doubled

our cost sharing to the United Nations Resident Coordinator (RC) system

We reduced

our electricity carbon footprint by 8% through the Greening UNDP Moonshot initiative, saving the organization $600,000 a year

We invested

in stronger risk management mechanisms and due diligence processes

We established

the SparkBlue knowledge platform as a go-to for UN staff to connect with each other and external experts

We capitalized

on the much-needed shifts in data collection arising from digitalization (Data Strategy 2022–2025)

We supported

staff payments across 50 different UN entities through UNDP’s payroll services

Where people want to work

People for 2030 is our highly ambitious and comprehensive effort to overhaul UNDP’s people management capabilities and systems, thereby helping to transform UNDP into the leading development organization for the 21st Century.

Our commitment to people management and leadership includes creating a safe and inclusive work environment with opportunities for everyone to grow and develop. Tackling all forms of discrimination and harassment, including racism and sexual misconduct—both for our own personnel and the people that we serve—remains the highest priority for UNDP.

Of the recommendations set out in People for 2030, 95% were implemented by the end of 2021, including new policies and programmes to target top talent, increase workforce diversity, and address any gaps and weaknesses. Highlights from 2021 include:

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Global Staff Survey (GSS):
86% of staff

said they are “inspired and excited to work at UNDP"

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Awarded the second-highest
Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE)

certification for our significant progress in gender equality in the workplace. We are one of only two UN agencies, alongside UNICEF, to achieve this distinction.

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Introduced our
first ever Graduate Programme

with high-potential young candidates from the least represented programme countries, indigenous peoples and less privileged socio-economic backgrounds.

The programme won the
Innovation in Recruitment Award 2021

at the International Organizations Career Development Roundtable.

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Our 2021 African Young Women Leaders Fellowship Programme

graduated 21 young women from 20 African countries, with the second cohort attracting 7,000+ new applicants.

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The UNDP-UNV Talent Programme for Young Professionals with Disabilities

gave recruits the opportunity to gain valuable experience. Many more were deployed with UNDP through mainstream UNV channels.

Leading the way

2021 was a notable year for UNDP’s global leadership team, with Achim Steiner appointed for a second term as Administrator, as well as a few new faces completing our executive management roster.

Portrait picture of Achim Steiner
Achim Steiner


Portrait picture of Usha Rao-Monari
Usha Rao-Monari

Associate Administrator

Portrait picture of Khalida Bouzar
Khalida Bouzar

Regional Bureau for Arab States

Portrait picture of Angelique M Crumbly
Angelique M. Crumbly

Bureau for Management Services

Portrait picture of Mirjana Spoljaric Egger
Mirjana Spoljaric Egger

Regional Bureau for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States

Portrait Picture of Ahunna Eziakonwa
Ahunna Eziakonwa

Regional Bureau for Africa

Portrait Picture of Luis Felipe López-Calva
Luis Felipe López-Calva

Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean

Portrait Picture of Ulrika Modéer
Ulrika Modéer

Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy

Portrait Picture of Asako Okai
Asako Okai

Crisis Bureau

Portrait Picture of Kanni Wignaraja
Kanni Wignaraja

Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific

Portrait Picture of Haoliang Xu
Haoliang Xu

Bureau for Policy and Programme Support

Strategic Plan 2022-2025

Development is changing. So are we.

In the four years of our new Strategic Plan, UNDP will work with countries to make a difference to millions of lives.

A shared ambition for a better world

Through our programmes and advocacy, and close partnerships within and beyond the UN system, we are striving towards these ambitious joint goals:

poverty icon
100 million people

to escape multidimensional poverty

Clean energy icon
500 million people

to gain access to clean energy

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800 million people

to participate in elections, many for the first time

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over $1 trillion

of public expenditure and private capital investment in the SDGs

Our Strategic Plan puts out a $1 trillion moonshot, part of our commitment to play a catalytic role in promoting the alignment of existing public and private sector resources with the SDGs. We are already innovating to this end. In December 2021, for example, UNDP launched two new SDG Investor Maps with over 30 investment opportunities in Djibouti and Namibia. Mexico’s SDG bonds, supported by UNDP, returned to the market in 2021 with a $1.38B offering, while the New Development Bank in China issued a $750M Goal-linked bond, with UNDP support. UNDP also launched a new Insurance and Risk Finance Facility to work with industry and governments in at least 50 countries over the next four years. The Facility is already working with over 20 countries, including Algeria, Colombia, Ghana, India, Indonesia and Uzbekistan.

As we move forward with the Plan, UNDP’s work can be summarized as a “3 x 6 x 3” framework—three directions of change, six signature solutions and three enablers—as we progress ever closer to the completion of Agenda 2030. Building on UNDP’s 50 years of development experience across 170 countries, this flexible framework allows us to focus and prioritize where country demands are greatest. By leveraging and growing our partnerships on the global, regional and local levels, we aim to expand people’s choices for a fairer, sustainable future.

UNDP’s work is summarized in the Strategic Plan as this “3 x 6 x 3” framework:

supporting countries towards three directions of change:

structural transformation, leaving no-one behind, building resilience

through six signature solutions:

poverty and inequality, governance, resilience, environment, energy, gender equality

enhanced by three enablers:

strategic innovation, digitalization, development financing

This combination will help UNDP continue to deliver on what it does best:
integrated development solutions driven by country priorities.

Signature Solutions

Zero Poverty
Before crypto-trillionaires
Signature solution: Poverty

Zero Poverty

Before Crypto-Trillionaires

Tackling inequality of opportunities by investing in the enhanced capabilities people need to move above the poverty line and keep moving forwards

Multidimensional poverty, exacerbated by the pandemic, has put years of human development progress at risk. But despite current challenges, UNDP has scaled up efforts to support countries and communities to reduce inequality, realize a job-rich recovery and eradicate poverty in all its forms. The results increasingly reflect UNDP’s accelerated commitment to innovation, digitalization and partnerships, and new approach to development finance.

Digitalization is now at the forefront of UNDP support for livelihoods and income security. Meanwhile, the digitalization of social assistance makes the system not only more inclusive but also more shock-responsive and resilient. In Malaysia, the new five-year plan covers core issues such as green growth, social protection, lower emissions, ecological conservation, jobs and the digital economy. In Kenya, UNDP helped establish a registrar’s office in the Medium and Small Enterprises Authority and provided digital tools to support the formalization of 12,185 firms. In India, training on financial and digital literacy and support in making market links helped 31,000 artisans, farmers and microentrepreneurs boost income on average by 19%.

In 2021, UNDP unleashed an array of development finance innovations, helping countries identify opportunities, develop new financing tools and strike new partnerships. With UNDP support, Uzbekistan became the first country in its region to issue a sovereign bond for the SDGs. Also with UNDP support, Indonesia issued its first sovereign SDG bond for $551M to support social protection, health and education. Rwanda’s Development Bank issued its first green bond to inject $50M into renewable energy, clean transportation, sustainable water, waste management and biodiversity conservation. In Mauritania, UNDP helped institutionalize zakat or Islamic finance, enhancing regulations to steer this source of funds more systematically towards the SDGs.

UNDP is ready to help the world leave multidimensional poverty behind for good by 2030—hopefully, before we see the first crypto-trillionaire.

Photo of an elderly woman

An elderly woman in Kurendhoo Island in Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives. UNDP has been in the country for more than 40 years, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty and reduction of inequalities.

Photo: Ashwa Faheem/UNDP Maldives

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81 countries

implemented policies based on COVID-19 socio-economic impact assessments (with UNDS)

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Digitalization improved the delivery of $1.4 billion in social protection to over 27 million people

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40 million people

in 25 countries gained access to financial services, improving lives and economies (2018–2021)

logos of the following organizations: UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women, FAO, UN Environment Programme
Good Governance
Before unjust societies
Signature solution: Governance

Good Governance

Before unjust societies

Helping countries address emerging complexities by “future-proofing” governance systems through anticipatory approaches and better management of risk.

As multiple shocks disrupted and weakened governments and broader societies in 2021, UNDP maintained its critical investments in governance systems, with heightened emphasis on those needed to underpin peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Recognizing that there are diverse paths to effective and accountable governance, we worked closely with national and local institutions and civil society to develop solutions. Across its activities, UNDP pushed for the meaningful participation and leadership of women, youth and indigenous peoples.

In 2021, UNDP helped amend laws in Malawi to clarify election administration and build trust in fair polling. Meanwhile, Honduras was able to effectively manage inclusive elections despite significant political polarization. In Moldova, updated election security systems proved resilient to cyberattacks, over 420,000 people accessed real-time data on voter turnout and women candidates contributed to a historically high share of 40% in the new legislature.

With the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerating the shift to digital services, UNDP supported a host of new applications to improve service access and quality. Botswana digitalized eight government services, from improving driver’s license applications to claiming land rights—now all accessible online or via an app.

In 2021, UNDP launched the Digital X Scale Accelerator, including a mobile app that provides information on government services for rural women in India, and a platform to share geospatial data on renewable energy in Africa and across Small Island Developing States.

UNDP efforts to ease social tensions and deepen democracy also built on support for promoting and protecting human rights, including through better functioning justice, security and human rights institutions. In Cameroon, UNDP collaborated with human rights defenders to record more than 500 cases of abuse by State actors, one of the known drivers of violent extremism. This contributed to policy change and a 17% reduction in incidences of terrorism.

Corruption weakens the social fabric. But technology and innovation, such as digital monitoring to stop illegal environmental activities in Sri Lanka, and reforming public procurement in Nigeria, are fighting back against corrupt practices.

With UNDP support in Nauru, new legislation has ensured parliamentary independence, while local governments are taking steps to improve procurement, tax collection and the timely delivery of services.

To conclude, with UNDP support, good governance progressed in many parts of the world in 2021.

Photo of an election worker

UNDP has assisted the National Elections Commission (NEC) in Liberia since 2010, which culminated in a successful presidential election. Some of the support included security, tactile ballots for the visually impaired, and mobile voter identification systems.

Photo: UNDP Liberia

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50 countries

received anti-corruption support

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34,000 People

in 14 conflict-affected countries received access to justice and services, nearly 90% being women and girls

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32 million

people in 34 countries gained access to justice (2018 to 2021)

logos of the following organizations: UN Women, UNICEF, UNFPA, PBSO, United Nations Peacekeeping
Stronger Resilience
Before sprialing adversity
Signature solution: Resilience

Stronger Resilience

Before spiraling adversity

Supporting countries and communities in building resilience to diverse shocks and crises, including conflict, climate change, disasters and epidemics.

Risks grew exponentially in 2021, and not just from COVID-19. Armed conflicts, disasters, coups, climate insecurity and violent extremism all flared during the year. Social cohesion deteriorated. Amid the sheer volume of crises, UNDP focused on a human security perspective, connecting actions to protect people and manage risks.

UNDP is seeding transformative changes to hasten and sustain recovery from conflict, crisis and fragility. In Iraq, 285 projects rehabilitated schools, electrical grids, health facilities, housing, roads and bridges, and water and sanitation services. Close engagement with civil society and communities helped resolve conflicts and define priorities for recovery. UNDP provided critical services to help reintegrate displaced people perceived to have had family ties to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), including mental health and psychosocial support.

UNDP is the largest contributor to UN efforts on the prevention of violent extremism. In Malaysia and the Philippines, grass-roots peacebuilding organizations led by women and youth now work alongside senior government officials on national policies to prevent extremism.

Technology continues to drive our work. Online data and artificial intelligence can detect where people are most at risk, whether from climate insecurity or refugee crises, failed peace processes or youth exclusion. The UNDP-supported Bangladesh Peace Observatory has pioneered the rapid analysis of millions of data points from official crime statistics and online postings to flag triggers of extremism. The Crisis Risk Dashboard was built as a tool for data aggregation and visualization to support risk analysis conducted by UNDP and the wider UN system.

Sustained UNDP investment in Niger has generated significant changes in strategic disaster management. Government officials are equipped to systematically evaluate post-disaster needs in a country highly vulnerable to climate change, and to rapidly launch recovery plans. In tandem, UNDP has helped build the resilience of rural communities through better management of natural resources, access to energy and improved livelihoods, particularly for young people. Haiti was better prepared for its 2021 earthquake through UNDP support to develop systems for coordination and management. This allowed a rapid assessment of needs and a tailored recovery plan.

If our work in 2021 proves one thing, it’s that even when adversity is high, strong resilience remains our best hope for the future.

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Students pose for a picture at Al Mansour Primary School for Boys in West Mosul, Iraq, where UNDP-supported cash-for-work teams repair school desks and paint murals.

Photo: UNDP Iraq/Claire Thomas

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16 million people

in Iraq were supported to improve their lives

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1.2 million people

in Mali had a new early warning system to provide protection from flooding risks

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3 million

million displaced people in 13 countries benefited from lasting security, freedom of movement and well-being

logos of the following organizations: UNICEF, World Food Programme, UN Women, UNFPA, FAO
Climate Action
Before self-destruction
Signature solution: Environment

Climate Action

Before self-destruction

Putting nature and the environment at the heart of national economies and planning; helping governments protect, manage and value their natural assets

2021 exposed the sheer depth of our planetary crisis, sparking major global talks on climate action and biodiversity. UNDP was in full support of these actions, having made steady investments in climate and environment programmes. More than ever before, we helped governments put nature at the heart of plans for their economies and societies, while also pulling in a broader constituency from business and the public to play equally important roles.

The expectation leading up to the review of the Paris Climate Agreement was that countries would issue more ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). UNDP’s Climate Promise is the world’s largest source of support for these climate action plans, combining the expertise of over 35 partners, including leading UN development organizations, the World Bank and the International Labour Organization (ILO). By the end of 2021, over 90% of 120 Climate Promise countries had increased climate mitigation goals in their NDCs and over 95% had raised their ambitions on climate adaptation.

In Timor-Leste, UNDP supported the Government in establishing a comprehensive national policy framework to align with a slew of international agreements on environment and climate. New plans and policies have spelled out actions to curb and adapt to climate change, diminish pollution and protect ecosystems.

We also saw the world’s largest-ever private funding commitment to biodiversity conservation, aimed at protecting and preserving 30% of the planet by the end of the current decade. The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures, co-funded by UNDP, aims to steer massive flows of global finance towards “nature-positive” investments.

UNDP is working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to set a new agenda for “repurposing” harmful agricultural subsidies. Billions of dollars in savings could jump-start the transformation of food systems, and 27 countries are now developing plans for repurposing subsidies.

COVID-19 fallout is threatening severe debt distress that could derail actions on nature and the climate. UNDP has supported over a dozen countries to consolidate debt and channel savings to investment in climate action and nature-based solutions.

The direction of this signature solution remains clear: we must take care of our planet.

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Over 330 students, women champions, government officials, members of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community members gathered in an effort to plant 3,000 mangroves and conserve Cambodia’s coastline.

Photo: UNDP Cambodia/Manuth Buth

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40 countries

supported to finance action on biodiversity decline

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127,000 farmers

in Bhutan benefited from climate-resilient technology and techniques

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62 countries

sustainably managed 30 million acres of forest (2018 to 2021)

logos of the following organizations: UN Environment Programme, FAO, UNICEF, UNIDO, World Health Organization
Sustainable Energy
Before finite fuels
Signature solution: Energy

Sustainable Energy

Before finite fuels

Increasing energy access for those furthest behind and accelerating the transition to renewable energy.

2021 was a pivotal year for UNDP’s work on energy as it moved beyond a long-standing emphasis on energy access, in order to forge stronger links between energy and a spectrum of development issues. The first United Nations global summit on energy in 40 years, orchestrated with UNDP support through its partnership with Sustainable Energy for All, spurred global momentum.

UNDP set up a Sustainable Energy Hub to systematically support countries in transforming energy systems in ways that deliver on multiple development goals, from livelihoods to health and education, and towards economies that are greener, more inclusive and more just.

Flagship programmes such as Solar for Health geared up, delivering reliable electricity through solar energy to over 1,000 health centres and medical storage facilities in 15 countries. We also set up the Energy Access and Green Productive Use of Electricity Financing Facility, with potential to leverage over $1B in private sector investments.

UNDP is helping countries at diverse stages of development to adopt clean energy supplies. The Fossil Fuel Reform simulator explores country-level data to understand the implications of subsidies and how they could instead be used to finance different development priorities.

With UNDP support, Mauritius is committed to drawing 60% of energy needs from green sources by 2030 and totally phasing out coal. We have already helped introduce new technology that stores renewable energy and ensures a reliable supply feeds into the electrical grid.

Bahrain has achieved 95% of a national renewable energy target and 90% of an energy efficiency target by tapping UNDP support in crafting policies on green buildings, electric vehicles and incentives for renewable energy providers. With UNDP’s support, China has taken strides towards applying promising fuel cell technologies that burn hydrogen instead of oil and gas. Furthermore, introducing hydrogen fuel to energy-intensive steel production is a promising start in curbing the industry’s major contributions to greenhouse gas emissions.

This is all strong evidence that the world can decarbonize its future.

Photo of four Peruvian farmers

To combat the effects of climate change on the depleted farming region of Chullpia, Peru, local inventor Juansergio Castro found a solution: floating solar panels that provide energy for an engine to fill up reservoirs. The water is used to irrigate nearby pasture, improving the lives of residents.

Photo: UNDP Peru/Maria Paz Gonzales

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18 countries

joined UNDP’s Africa Minigrids Programme for energy access

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$600 billion

commitment from governments and businesses to invest in universal, sustainable energy

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500 million

people targeted to gain access to clean energy by 2025

logos of the following organizations: FAO, ILO, UNESCO, World Food Programme, UN Environment Programme
Gender Equality
Before the next generation
Signature solution: Gender

Gender equality

Before the next generation

Confronting the structural obstacles to gender equality and strengthening women’s economic empowerment and leadership.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed systemic gender discrimination. With less secure jobs, women were pushed out of labour markets at higher rates than men. Levels of gender-based violence soared. Making a difficult situation worse, many governments pursued gender-blind policy measures for pandemic recovery. The UNDP-UN Women COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker told this story, revealing that less than 20% of policy measures addressed women’s economic insecurity and unfair burden of unpaid care, even though both are critical to women’s ability to recover.

This has strengthened UNDP’s commitment to accelerate the dismantling of structural barriers to gender equality, now a principal direction in our 2022–2025 Gender Equality Strategy. This means the empowerment and equality of women as individuals, and the transformation of social norms, laws, policies and institutions so they uphold women’s rights and hopes for progress.

Peru put in place a framework for developing a national care system to ensure women gain the basics of decent work, social protection and essential services. Argentina is building a more comprehensive care system with a change in municipal regulations, prioritizing care as a human right.

UNDP helped to improve legal frameworks and policies offering lasting protection in 96 countries. Through the European Union-UN Spotlight Initiative, UNDP helped mobilize parliamentarians in nine countries to draft or strengthen 84 laws promising a tougher response to gender-based violence. Reforms to the federal penal code in Mexico for the first time covered digital and media violence against women. The Parliament of Papua New Guinea approved the first dedicated budget allocation to the national strategy to respond to gender-based violence. Kyrgyzstan also incorporated provisions to address gender-based violence in its tax code.

As long as there are more gender gaps closing than opening, there will be a gender-equality generation in the future.

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Refugees waiting consultation at Ali Addeh Health Centre in Djibouti. Since 2000, UNDP has made gender equality central to its work in the country.

Photo: UNDP Djibouti/Aurélia Rusek

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73 countries

supported to make social protection gender-responsive

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3,700 women-owned

microenterprises in Uganda gained skills and tools to recover and thrive after COVID-19

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96 countries

supported to address gender-based violence that arose during COVID-19

logos of the following organizations: UN Women, UNFPA, UNICEF, ILO and International Organization for Migration

Climate Promise

Helping countries reach their climate goals

The Climate Promise is UNDP’s response to the climate crisis, linking the combined expertise of over 35 partners.
Ahead of COP26 in Glasgow, it supported 84% of all Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by developing countries.

Graphic of a futuristic-looking globe pointing out the following information: Many developing countries stepped up, from a bold goal to cut emissions by 82% in North Macedonia to Cambodia’s pledge to halve deforestation by 2030.  In 2022, 120 countries and 35 partners are now part of the Climate Promise, the world’s largest offer of its kind. If these 120 countries, over 90% increased their mitigation ambition and over 95% raised their adaptation ambition.

As we look towards COP27 in Sharm el Sheikh, we are focusing on how we can work with our partners to turn climate pledges into impact. The next phase of the Climate Promise will leverage Nationally Determined Contributions as sovereign investment plans for sustainable development, including for co-benefits towards poverty reduction, education and peace.

Cover of climate vote report
Peoples’ Climate Vote

With 1.2 million respondents, this was the largest survey of public opinion on climate change ever conducted, and helped policymakers to understand public priorities for tackling the climate crisis. Published by UNDP in 2021.

A laptop computer showing the landingpage of dear world leaders . org
Dear World Leaders

UNDP launched Dear World Leaders at COP26 to enable people around the world to send messages to leaders about the climate crisis.

How safe is everyone?

Special Report: New threats to human security in the Anthropocene

The Anthropocene—the “age of humans”—has placed our planet in a perilous position. Humanity’s very future depends on countries and communities working together as a global family to reach common goals. Only then can we achieve a positive pathway towards freedom from want, fear and indignity.

This report stresses that insecurity is strongly associated with low interpersonal trust, whereby something is “not right” in the way we see, interact and cooperate with each other. We need to rebuild the broken trust between people across our societies if we are to be able to tackle challenges like climate change. Advancing human security offers a road to the restoration of trust.

In this era, we need to consider the interdependence not just between people, but between people and planet. In fact, this new security lens must be prioritized, because the unifying factor in the challenges we face is their disregard for geographical borders and nation states.

Multiple threats from COVID-19, digital technology, climate change and social inequalities have emerged, become more prominent or taken new forms in recent years. The report argues that human security can help to illuminate these development blind spots.

It’s time to redefine what human progress actually means, empowering all countries and communities to play their part in the future of human development and a more secure planet. We must pay more attention to the security of our neighbours if we are to tackle the interconnected threats we all now face.

Private sector partnerships

Each collaboration makes a difference

2021 saw significant strategic private sector engagement in pursuing the SDGs, as we continued to develop new partnerships for existing initiatives, including:

Transforming how countries finance risk management, climate action and development by working closely with industry and governments.

The Tripartite Agreement between Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), UNDP and the Insurance Development Forum (IDF), with 10 of the world’s largest insurance companies:

depiction of the following logos: Allianz, AON, Axis, AXA, Guy Carpenter, Hannover RE, Munich RE, SCOR, Swiss RE and wtw

Industry partners offer up to $5 billion of risk capacity.

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) account for thousands of our private sector partners. Businesses of all sizes are joining forces with UNDP through our Accelerator Labs Network, Sustainable Finance Hub, SDG Impact and other initiatives.

depiction of the following logos: Bitfury, Dalberg Catalyst, FlowLess, Global Shea Alliance, Jumia, NEC, SKT AeroShutter, SUP.VC, Surge Data Hub

The SDG Investor Platform encourages the private sector to adopt SDG-aligned investment practices. 18 countries received insights into 312 investment opportunity areas.

Since 2019, our partnership continues to accelerate SDG progress, drive innovation, raise non-traditional revenue streams and increase the organization’s advocacy reach, including through dynamic youth-driven initiatives like #Generation17.

  • 200M mobile devices have installed the Samsung Global Goals app
  • $4M raised through corporate and individual donations
  • Economic opportunities for 1 million youth in post-COVID Bangladesh over the next 5 years

    Women Innovators Programme (WIP) helped 21 women-led start-ups from 12 countries in the Arab States region

    Partnering platforms and programmes include: the Data Futures Platform, the UN Biodiversity Lab and Microsoft Planetary Computer and Impact observatory, the Open Solution Platform with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme and Microsoft Project 15, and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for energy access planning.

    Youth Co:Lab, co-led by UNDP:

    • Implemented in 28 countries and territories in Asia and the Pacific
    • 200,000+ participants
    • 9,500 young social entrepreneurs benefited
    • 1,240 youth-led social enterprises
    • 202 ecosystem partners

    Partnership between the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and UNDP celebrated its fifth anniversary in May 2021. To date, achievements include:

    • $84M in cash and in-kind support
    • 100 crisis responses
    • 18M+ people helped in coordination with governments and the UN system
    • In 2021, during COVID-19:
      • $7.2M in cash and in-kind support
      • 1.2M people received critical humanitarian assistance
      • 53,500 people supported through early recovery programmes

    UN Family

    Partnering for people, planet and peace

    2021 marked a year of transition for UNDP and our UN partners. We were able to respond to multidimensional challenges and crises with a stronger sense of partnership and innovation. This also supported UNDP’s strong push for the acceleration of the SDGs. Broadly speaking, the partnerships covered three areas of development:

    UNDP, alongside the international community, continued to support the transition from response to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, through:

    Vaccine Equity

    Together with our partners, we are helping to achieve the realization of the WHO target to vaccinate at least 70% of the world’s population against COVID-19 in 2022. The Global Dashboard for Vaccine Equity, combining current socio-economic information, was created in collaboration with WHO and the University of Oxford.

    Logos of the World Health Organization and UNICEF
    Social Protection

    Through innovative social protection mechanisms, job creation and digitalization, UNDP worked closely with the ILO on the UN Secretary-General’s roadmap to create at least 400 million jobs in the green, digital and care economies, as well as on other joint global initiatives. UNDP also supported 88 countries to design, launch and mobilize resources in response to the pandemic.

    Logo of the International Labour Organization
    Transformative Financing

    With UNDP support, more than 70 countries used Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) to finance their recovery from the pandemic. In partnership with UNICEF, we have been able to shift more resources towards the needs of children.

    Logos of UNICEF and the Integrated National Financing Framework

    UNDP’s Climate Promise work and its leadership at the COP26 in Glasgow were carried out in strong partnership with:

    depiction of the following logos: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, UN Environment Programme, FAO, ILO and International Renewable Energy Agency

    UNDP worked alongside UN partners worldwide to build more anticipatory and preventative approaches to crises for more agile, risk-informed and long-term recoveries. In Afghanistan, we partnered with 16 UN entities and the Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan (STFA).

    Hosting crucial, specialized functions of the UN system

    Multi partner trust fund logo
    • $1.84B managed for the UN Development System
    • 120 countries benefited from UN-pooled funding services to respond to their humanitarian, peacebuilding, development and climate challenges
    • 49 UN entities engaged in collaboration through UN-pooled funding services
    United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation logo
    • 416 institutions connected, with 800+ good practices shared on the digital platform “South-South Galaxy” to scale-up South-South cooperation (SSC) for SDGs, with special focus on least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)
    • 69 developing countries implemented impactful SSC initiatives in partnership with 20 UN agencies , supported by SSC Trust Funds
    • 3,400+ development practitioners from 155 counties and territories benefited from SSC capacity development trainings across 7 thematic areas
    UN Volunteers logo
    • In 2021, as a UN system-wide service, UNV deployed 10,921 UN volunteers, a 15% increase over 2020
    • UN volunteers representing 173 different nationalities supported 55 UN entities in 160 countries and territories: 80% were from the global South, 53% were women and 59% were national UN volunteers
    UNCDF logo
    • The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) provided financial and digital solutions to 3 million+ people and supported 588 local governments with local investments through $42.5M in grants and loans, unlocking $89M in additional financing
    Our top 10 UN partners working together across our signature solutions and beyond were:
    Logos of the following organizations: UNICEF, UN Women, UNFPA, UN Environment, FAO, WHO, ILO, PBSO, WFP, UN Peacekeeping

    Don't choose extinction

    Frankie and celebrities warn the world about climate

    Helping us fight climate change and inequality, a global line-up of Goodwill Ambassadors, celebrities, activists and influencers participated in and promoted UNDP’s #DontChooseExtinction campaign, starring Frankie the Dinosaur. Lending their support—and famous voices—were Jack Black, Eiza Gonzales, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aïssa Maïga, Greta Thunberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Antonio Banderas, Billie Eilish, Padma Lakshmi, Michelle Yeoh, Cody Simpson, Ellie Goulding, Dave Matthews, Rosario Dawson, Aidan Gallagher, Lil Dicky, Alexis Ren, Ronen Rubinstein and others. Celebrity media appearances on top-tier morning and news shows reached 367 million people, while their social media posts reached 118 million and counting. The campaign launch video has reached 1.2 billion views.

    Photo of Jack Black, photo credits Getty Images

    Jack Black

    Photo of Aissa Maiga, photo taken by Holly Schnaudigel

    Aïssa Maïga

    Photo of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, photo taken by Uka Borregaard

    Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

    Photo of Eiza Gonzalez, photo taken by Holly Schnaudigel

    Eiza Gonzalez

    The COVID-19 “A Shot for All” public service announcement featured our Goodwill Ambassadors Padma Lakshmi, Yemi Alade, Michelle Yeoh and Connie Britton, calling on world leaders to work together to ensure that vaccines are available to everyone, everywhere. The announcement was promoted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and was covered by Al Jazeera and other media outlets.

    The year was rounded off with a key celebrity moment at the SDG Global Festival of Action, where the United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) honoured Goodwill Ambassador Padma Lakshmi with the top prize, 2021 UNCA Advocate of the Year Award, for her work with UNDP on fighting for equality, including global vaccine equity.

    Hello #FutureSmartUNDP

    Our new development benchmark

    The world keeps getting smarter—but also more challenging. Every day, a virus is trying to outsmart us. Too many people are being left behind. Conflict is rampant. And the climate crisis has reached a state of emergency.

    At UNDP, we believe it’s time to set a new benchmark for the future of development. UNDP’s new Strategic Plan has a vision to stay at the forefront of development thinking and action. We aim to help countries go beyond solving immediate development challenges ¬and confronting the complexity of the moment, to achieving systemic change so that people can better equip themselves for whatever they may face in the future.

    What is future-smart development?

    #FutureSmartUNDP is an evolution of its predecessor, #NextGenUNDP. It continues to build more innovative ways to think, invest, manage and deliver until no one is left behind. More than a mantra, being future smart is the sustainability sweet spot that combines a future-focused approach with intelligent, informed decisions.

    Working together in this way means we are well placed to build a better future for all, with people and planet in balance.

    Invaluable investors

    Top partners

    The Global Fund logo

    The Global Fund

    United States Flag

    United States

    Germany flag


    Multi partner trust fund logo

    Multi-Partner Trust Fund

    European Union flag

    European Union

    Japan flag


    GEF logo

    Global Environment Facility

    Green Climate Fund logo

    Green Climate Fund

    Argentina flag


    Sweden flag


    Norway flag


    Dominican Republic flag

    Dominican Republic

    United Kingdom flag

    United Kingdom

    Netherlands flag


    El Salvador flag

    El Salvador

    Highlights in 2021

    financing icon

    15% increase in government financing

    Contributions from government financing increased from $1.13B in 2020 to $1.30B in 2021

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    18% increase in vertical funds

    Contributions from vertical funds increased from $988M in 2020 to $1.17B in 2021

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    14% increase in the proportion of non-earmarked thematic funding windows

    The share of flexible contributions to thematic funding windows increased from 24% in 2020 to 38% in 2021

    Funding Windows

    (Millions of US$)
    Bar chart showing the following Funding Windows contributors: Germany 37.2 million us dollar, Denmark 24.5 million us dollar, Netherlands 7.4 million us dollar, Switzerland 5.1 million us dollar, Luxembourg 4 million us dollar, Republic of Korea 3.9 million us dollar, Sweden 1.8 million us dollar

    Top 2021 UNDP funding partners

    (Millions of US$)
    Bar chart showing the top UNDP funding partners for the year 2021:
                                                        The Global Fund 546 million us dollar, 
                                                        United States 400M million us dollar,
                                                        Germany 378 million us dollar,
                                                        Multi-Partner Trust Fund 377 million us dollar,
                                                        European Union 334 million us dollar,
                                                        Japan 308 million us dollar,                     
                                                        Global Environment Facility 297 million us dollar,
                                                        Green Climate Fund 284 million us dollar,
                                                        Argentina 241 million us dollar,
                                                        Sweden 220 million us dollar,
                                                        Norway 115 million us dollar,                      
                                                        Dominican Republic 108 million us dollar,                                                          
                                                        United Kingdom 108 million us dollar,   
                                                        Netherlands 93 million us dollar,
                                                        El Salvador 86 million us dollar, 
                                                        Switzerland 83M million us dollar (An additional $13.3M core intended for 2021 was received in March 2022),
                                                        Denmark 79 million us dollar,     
                                                        UN Agencies 76 million us dollar,        
                                                        Canada 74 million us dollar,
                                                        Republic of Korea 73 million us dollar,
                                                        Honduras 61 million us dollar,
                                                        Belarus 56 million us dollar,
                                                        Colombia 56 million us dollar,
                                                        Egypt 48 million us dollar,                      
                                                        Turkmenistan 45 million us dollar,
                                                        Panama 44 million us dollar,
                                                        Brazil 41 million us dollar,
                                                        Haiti 40 million us dollar,
                                                        Dominica 40 million us dollar,
                                                        Australia 35 million us dollar

    Top core contributors

    Core funds are flexible, regular resources, not earmarked for a specific project or theme.

    Germany flag


    United States flag

    United States

    Sweden flag


    Japan flag


    Norway flag


    Switzerland flag


    Netherlands flag


    Canada flag


    United Kingdom flag

    United Kingdom

    Denmark flag


    All financial figures are provisional as of April 2022 and subject to change until the completion of audited financial statements.


    Recognition from partners and innovators

    “A commendable example of cross-sectoral and cross-country collaboration among organizations and communities … for more effective monitoring and implementation of SDG 15 targets”

    Earth Observations for Sustainable Development Goals (EO4SDG), Group on Earth Observations (GEO) SDG Award

    “UNDP has achieved excellent outcomes on gender diverse recruitment, promotion and succession planning … Genuine support and dedicated resourcing are in place in order to ensure gender diversity and inclusion”

    Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Awards

    “The United States will continue to look to UNDP to provide strong leadership and coordination among UN agencies to link their work across the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding spectrum”

    United States Mission to the United Nations

    “UNDP was a formidable presence in the lists of top 10 influencers … and was among the top 10 donors in helpfulness in four of six regions”

    Listening to Leaders 2021

    “UNDP has handled the turbulent context of the recent years well. It demonstrated great resilience and new dynamism in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic”

    Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN)

    “We are very pleased with this symbiosis, this teamwork with international organizations … especially with UNDP”

    Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Panama

    “Thank you for the fantastic and indispensable support in recent years. You have earned our appreciation and esteem”

    Somaliland House of Representatives

    “I would like to express my satisfaction with the quality of the cooperation and the fruitful partnership that binds this Ministry and UNDP”

    Ministry of Solidarity, Social Development, Equality and the Family (MSDSEF), Morocco

    “[UNDP is] solving the acceleration problem with a portfolio mindset, employing the power of the collective, and it’s doing so at an unprecedented scale”

    Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

    “The [SDG Impact] Practice Standards … strategic partnership with UNDP solidifies our alignment in thinking, and allows us to support the rollout and adoption of the standards”

    Social Value International

    “[UNDP Accelerator] Labs are helping governments make complex systems visible and understand problems closer to real time—enabling them to respond more effectively to localized issues”

    Nesta’s Centre for Collective Intelligence Design

    “Having effective access to the right data is critical to a nation’s effort in combating COVID-19. To solve this challenge, the UNDP conceived of a COVID-19 socio-economic recovery data platform”

    DrivenXDesign award, UNDP COVID-19 Data Futures Platform

    “We are very satisfied and excited for what is yet to come”

    Centro de Estudio de Estado y Sociedad (CEDES), Argentina

    “The joint efforts in SDG-related areas have resulted in noteworthy impact”

    Amitabh Kant

    Chief Executive Officer, National Institution for Transforming India, Government of India

    “Sincere thanks and appreciation for the valuable contribution made by UNDP”

    Ministry of Tourism, Sri Lanka

    Working near and far

    Panama Regional Hub / Argentina / Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean* / Bolivia / Brazil Chile / Colombia / Costa Rica / Cuba / Dominican Republic / Ecuador / El Salvador / Guatemala / Guyana / Haiti / Honduras / Jamaica** / Mexico / Panama / Paraguay / Peru / Suriname / Trinidad and Tobago*** / Uruguay / Venezuela

    *covering Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Monserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
    **covering the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Turks and Caicos Islands
    ***covering Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago

    New York headquarters

    Amman Regional Hub / Algeria / Bahrain / Djibouti / Egypt / Iraq / Jordan / Kuwait / Lebanon / Libya / Morocco / Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People / Saudi Arabia / Somalia / Sudan / Syrian Arab Republic / Tunisia / Yemen

    Addis Ababa Regional Service Centre / Angola / Benin / Botswana / Burkina Faso / Burundi / Cameroon / Cape Verde/ Central African Republic / Chad / Comoros / Côte d’Ivoire / Democratic Republic of the Congo / Equatorial Guinea / Eritrea / Eswatini / Ethiopia/ Gabon / The Gambia / Ghana / Guinea / Guinea-Bissau / Kenya / Lesotho / Liberia / Madagascar/ Malawi / Mali / Mauritania / Mauritius and Seychelles / Mozambique / Namibia / Niger / Nigeria / Republic of the Congo / Rwanda / São Tomé and Príncipe / Senegal / Sierra Leone / South Africa / South Sudan / Togo / Uganda / United Republic of Tanzania / Zambia / Zimbabwe

    Bangkok Regional Hub/ Afghanistan / Bangladesh / Bhutan / Cambodia / China / Democratic People’s Republic of Korea / India / Indonesia / Iran, Islamic Republic of / Lao People’s Democratic Republic / Malaysia* / Maldives / Mongolia / Myanmar / Nepal / Pacific Office in Fiji** / Pakistan / Papua New Guinea / Philippines / Samoa*** / Sri Lanka / Thailand / Timor-Leste / Viet Nam

    *covering Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore
    **covering Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu
    *** covering Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau

    Istanbul Regional Hub / Albania / Armenia / Azerbaijan / Belarus / Bosnia and Herzegovina / Cyprus / Georgia / Kazakhstan / Kosovo (as per UN Security Council Resolution 1244 [1999]) / Kyrgyzstan / Moldova / Montenegro / North Macedonia / Serbia / Tajikistan / Turkey / Turkmenistan / Ukraine / Uzbekistan

    Brussels Representation Office* / Geneva Representation Office / Germany Representation Office / Nordic Representation Office** / Tokyo Representation Office / Washington Representation Office

    *covering European Union
    **covering Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden

    Doha (Partnership and Technical Advice Office) / Istanbul International Center for Private Sector in Development / Nairobi Global Centre on Resilient Ecosystems and Desertification / Oslo Governance Centre/ Rome Centre for Sustainable Development / Seoul Policy Centre for Knowledge Exchange through SDG Partnerships/ Singapore Global Centre for Technology, Innovation and Sustainable Development

    futuristic illustration of the earth