Weathering tumultuous times

01 Jul 2009


Living Up to Commitments, the recently published UNDP annual report, highlights UNDP’s achievements in 2008 in the areas of poverty reduction, democratic governance, crisis prevention and sustainable development. 

New Horizons - As effects of the financial and economic crisis continue to mount, countries everywhere are struggling to sustain their development achievements. Lower income countries in particular are facing critical increases in deprivation, and thus particularly vulnerable to the inconsistencies of an economic crisis. Households are finding it even harder to afford basic necessities while governments are likely to reduce public health and education services. Lacking social safety nets, families will begin taking their children out of school, selling off livelihood assets and whittling down diets, with the long-term effects of such changes likely to outlast the crises themselves. Only a continued and increased commitment to human development can help the world weather these tumultuous times.

Reflecting on the current pessimistic picture, the 2009 report strongly advocates the international community to live up to its commitments even at times of burgeoning financial crisis where what is at stake for the millions in developing countries who had benefited from the strong growth of the past decade as well as the plight of the poor, who did not benefit from this global growth must be taken into account. Living up to commitments stresses the importance not letting these harsh economic times get in the way of the progress towards achieving the MDGs. 

Staying on Course: UNDP Strategic Plan 2008-2011

To ensure that aid goes to the poorest countries and to prevent the economic crisis from becoming a crisis of human development and security, the report states that the UNDP will stay the course as spelled out in the UNDP Strategic Plan 2008-2011.

Throughout 2008, UNDP has worked with its many global partners to address some of the most immediate challenges presented by the food, fuel and financial crises, and will continue to lead in developing strategic options for addressing their long term implications. The Strategic Plan which provides a clear and coherent blueprint for UNDP’s development action, will continue to set UNDP’s overall strategic vision and development, management and resource priorities. For the first time ever, the strategy will include specific indicators and targets for development, UN coordination and management results, an innovation that will help keep the organization on track and focused on the challenging times ahead.

Specifically, the Plan defines UNDP’s operational activities around its four development focus areas – poverty reduction and achievement of the MDGs, democratic governance, crisis prevention and recovery and environment and sustainable development – and clearly differentiates between a strengthened role for UNDP in supporting UN coordination and its role in operations activities. Most importantly, the Plan reinstates UNDP’s commitment to ensuring that all policy advice, technical support, advocacy and cooperation with other stakeholders are aimed concrete improvements in people’s lives by amplifying choices and opportunities open to them.

In the field of poverty reduction, UNDP contributed to the development of tools and analysis for the monitoring of MDG achievements by partnering with UN regional commissions and civil society organizations most notably in Madagascar, Pakistan and Uganda. In addition, several countries have now substantially moved into the implementation phase of national-scale MDG programmes in parts of Africa. This work also contributed to an overall assessment of the quality of information being used for MDG monitoring.

UNDP’s global democratic governance team supported the work of 129 UNDP Country Offices in enhancing public policy dialogues and participatory decision-making, especially at the local level by implementing initiatives to strengthen national parliaments and providing direct support to countries in the past year.

With regards to environment and sustainable development, the UNDP endorsed a new climate strategy in 2008 which foresees capacity development in developing countries to make informed policy and investment decisions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The strategy also sets out how UNDP works with UN agencies, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) – consisting of UNDP, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank – civil society and the private sector.

Contributions over $4 million

In 2008, the UNDP spent approximately $1.25 million on poverty reduction programmes, $1.43 million on programmes fostering democratic governance, $656 million to support crisis prevention and recovery and $404 million on environment and sustainable development programmes. Together with other programme expenditure, the UNDP’s programme support for the year 2008 totalled around $4.1 million

Please click here to read the full report.