United Nations Development Proramme (UNDP)






UNDP works in about 170 countries and territories, helping to achieve the eradication of poverty, and the reduction of inequalities and exclusion. We help countries to develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, institutional capabilities and build resilience in order to sustain development results.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by world leaders in 2015 to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure peace and prosperity, has become the overarching global framework for the initiatives and partnerships that UNDP has developed since then. As we enter into the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UNDP supports countries’ efforts to achieve the UN’s Agenda by 2030.  We work to strengthen new frameworks for development, disaster risk reduction, and climate change to accelerate the global goals and the transformation towards more sustainable and resilient societies.

UNDP has been at the forefront of the sustainable development debate since the early stages of the post-2015 Agenda elaboration process, making a strong case for putting local action at the heart of the global development agenda. Based on its long-standing competence and experience in promoting local governance and local development (LGLD) systems, UNDP is contributing to foster awareness, capacities and concrete instruments to accompany local leaders and local governance actors in the localization of the SDGs. We support the integration of the goals into national and local strategies and plans, develop training modules and capacity development activities, and model multi-stakeholder and multi-level governance platforms to convey the implementation and integration of the SDGs into territorial systems.

As part of this effort, and in line with the widespread recognition of the potential of Local Economic Development (LED) as a vehicle for SDGs localization, UNDP through its ART Initiative supports governments in elaborating LED policies and introducing comprehensive frameworks to implement them at the regional and local level. We do so by accompanying the setup of specific mechanisms and developing tools that cut across and integrate territorial governance, planning, funding and services systems.

In this critical time for the world marked by the global pandemic crisis, the achievement of the SDGs is more relevant and urgent than ever. As the technical lead for the United Nations’ socio-economic response, UNDP is working together with specialized UN agencies, UN Regional Economic Commissions, and International Financial Institutions to assess the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 on economies and communities. In this capacity, UNDP also supports UN Resident Coordinators to elaborate country-level response plans, including tailored policies and innovative solutions at national and subnational levels.

In this context, UNDP interest and commitment to SSE is further and specifically driven by its potential complementarity with LED as mutually reinforcing paradigms for SDGs localization, and as catalysts of a transition to more sustainable and resilient societies. SSE can indeed help leveraging the economic potential of territories whilst promoting socio-economic cohesion and resilience through more balanced, sustainable and inclusive development models and outcomes. This extends to the way how enabling policy and institutional frameworks, and integrated local and multi-level governance and planning systems can serve as multipliers of the impact, sustainability and scale of SSE practices. We strive to align and connect them with local strategies, support services, programs and resources, and to enable synergies across sectors and with a diversity of national and local actors. Such perspective allows and strengthens the case for addressing SSE as an alternative productive model that can raise the capacity of territories to compete within regional and global value chains, beside its recognized value in conveying inclusive policies, services provision and sustainable resources management.

As part of its work on LED, the ART Initiative of UNDP also contributes to explore and promote the nexus between SSE and LED, within the SDG localization framework, through the World Forum of Local Economic Development. The Forum is an open working process, culminating every two years with a global event, that promotes a transversal alliance between UN Agencies (ILO), global networks of regional and local governments, civil society organizations and the private sector, including several SSE networks and UNTFSSE members, to foster policy dialogue, joint advocacy and concrete synergies on LED.


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