Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

United Nations Development Programme

Table of Contents

© Giacomo Pirozzi/UNDP


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is the UN's global development network. It advances human development by providing policy advice and technical assistance to countries in support of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and plays a lead role in the UN's reform efforts.

UNDP provides support to developing countries' national governments in four areas — fighting poverty, strengthening democratic governance, preventing and recovering from crises, and protecting the environment and natural resources. It also works to halt and reverse HIV/AIDS, empower women and grow national capacities.

Through the UN's Delivering as One initiative, UNDP is coordinating the work of all UN institutions in developing countries in order to increase aid effectiveness and accelerate progress toward achieving the MDGs.

Canada has worked closely with UNDP since its creation in 1965 and sits on the Executive Board for 2010-2012. UNDP works in 177 countries and territories, including all of Canada's countries of focus for international development.

Thematic Focus

UNDP's mandate is closely aligned with Canada's priority theme for international development: stimulating sustainable economic growth. UNDP also works in sensitive areas such as democratic governance and crisis prevention and recovery, making it a key multilateral partner for Canada in fragile and conflict situations.

Economic growth

UNDP's focus on inclusive and sustainable economic growth makes it an important partner for Canada in building economic foundations, growing businesses and investing in people. UNDP provides policy advice in areas such as employment, job creation and social safety nets and helps develop the capacity of governments to formulate strategies and fiscal policies that stimulate growth to benefit the poor, reduce poverty, and lead to achieving the MDGs.

Strategy for Working with UNDP

Canada's international development work with UNDP focuses on four strategic objectives:

  1. Encouraging UNDP to focus on its areas of known expertise and comparative advantage, namely poverty reduction, inclusive economic growth, and support for democratic processes and the rule of law, including equality between women and men and human rights systems
  2. Promoting UNDP's leadership in UN reforms such as moving towards greater efficiency, coherence and coordination at the country level, as well as harmonizing UNDP business practices with those of other UN agencies
  3. Supporting UNDP's work to strengthen its programming in crisis prevention and recovery and engagement in humanitarian issues
  4. Continuing to improve UNDP's institutional effectiveness and results reporting at the organizational level


In 2011, with the support of Canada and other donors, UNDP:

  • Helped 13 countries adopt action plans to accelerate achievement of the Millennium Development Goals
  • Helped improve food security in 39 countries by supporting increases in food production, establishing mechanisms to protect crops and livestock in areas prone to drought and natural disasters and stimulating the food industry
  • Helped 62 countries create jobs and improve livelihoods, benefiting 1.6 million people
  • Helped 26 countries adopt official policies promoting small enterprises and women's entrepreneurship
  • Helped 50 countries introduce social protection programs that include youth, women and other vulnerable groups
  • Helped strengthen institutions providing access to justice to individuals and communities, and guaranteeing the rule of law, in 90 countries
  • Helped 41 countries adopt initiatives that increase access to renewable and clean energy for the poor
  • Helped 140 countries formulate and implement low-emission, climate resilient development strategies and overcome market and institutional barriers to climate change adaptation
  • Supported early action to diffuse potential conflict in 8 countries
  • Supported an election somewhere in the world every 2 weeks