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UN development system and UNDP globally

UNDP is committed to working closely with partners across the UN system. Globally, the UNDP Administrator is the Vice-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), which unites the funds, programmes, specialised agencies, departments and offices of the UN system that play a role in sustainable development. The Administrator also convenes the UNSDG Core Group comprised of DESA, FAO, ILO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN Women, WFP, WHO and the rotating chairs of the Regional Economic Commissions.

Created by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and endorsed by the General Assembly, the UNDG is the main UNDS internal coordination mechanism at the global level. It is instrumental in enabling action on the ground and ensuring that United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) have the support, guidance and impartial oversight required as they assist governments to deliver on the 2030 Agenda.

UNDP also administers the UN Capital Development Fund, which helps developing countries grow their economies by supplementing existing sources of capital assistance by means of grants and loans; and UN Volunteers, which fields over 6,500 volunteers from 160 countries, serving with 38 UN partners in support of peace, security, human rights, humanitarian delivery and development through volunteerism worldwide.

United Nations Country Teams in Azerbaijan

To ensure that all United Nations assistance provided to Azerbaijan is aligned with the national development agenda, the UNCT comprised of all the UN agencies operating in the country formulate a joint assistance strategy every five years. Previous strategy documents were popularly known as the United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAF) and were in place until the end of 2015. The new guiding principle for all UN Country Teams operating in Azerbaijan has since evolved into the United Nations-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework (UNAPF), which replaced the UNDAFs. The current UNAPF for the period 2016-2020 is being implemented in Azerbaijan since 1 January 2016.

The UNAPF sets the strategic vision and direction for the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) during the period 2016-2020 and is the result of a consultative process between the Government and the UNCT and its national and international partners. It analyses how the United Nations System can most effectively coordinate its activities in response to national priorities, while also serving as an easily accessible overview of United Nations general goals and activities in Azerbaijan. The UNAPF has been particularly guided by the country’s aspirations under ‘Azerbaijan - 2020: The Vision of the Future’ development concept, related national strategies and policies, and the nascent post-2015 international development goals as well as by the United Nations’ comparative advantages with regard to helping achieve tangible progress toward these national and global goals. Building on the last UNDAF for 2011-2015, the UNAPF represents a further step towards a more mature partnership with the Government of Azerbaijan, with greater efforts for a strategic and focused approach of the United Nations to allocating its relatively limited resources, fulfilling its normative and advocacy role, and providing overall high quality support to Azerbaijan in a sustainable manner.

UNAPF has identified three strategic priority areas and five outcomes to focus the development agenda for the next years, which reflect the UNCT’s collective priorities. Within these priorities, cross-cutting issues of a human rights-based approach; gender equality; youth; specific capacity development for monitoring and evaluation (e.g., institutional, technical, managerial); and improving the overall evidence base will all be present, with a particular emphasis on the provisions of gender equality and efforts to close de facto gender gaps.

Strategic Priority Area 1: Promoting Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Development Underpinned by Increased Diversification and Decent Work

Outcome 1.1 By 2020, the Azerbaijan economy is more diversified and generates enhanced sustainable growth and decent work, particularly for youth, women, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups 

To increase the impact of development cooperation activities and international aid for inclusive and sustainable development as well as to leverage various flows of resources, such as knowledge, information, new technologies and innovation transfers, and finance, from a range of development actors, including the public and private sectors, international organisations and development financial institutions, the United Nations System will support the development of new innovative partnership approaches, given that collective actions of multiple stakeholders are needed to pursue a transformation to sustainable societies and to finance such comprehensive and complex development processes. The United Nations will focus on developing human capital as a necessary pre-requisite for a diversified, competitive and knowledge-based economy.

Through its work the UN will ensure that most vulnerable sections of the workforce, including young people, women and persons with disabilities, have access to skills and resources matching labour market demand. To this end, UN will support national institutions in designing and rolling-out new vocational education programmes and start-up businesses in the non-oil sector, e.g. ICT. The United Nations will build on the existing partnerships with national institutions and help them develop and scale-up innovative models, approaches and tools to enable a transformational shift towards more inclusive and productive employment. Experiences gained from implementation of these interventions are expected to bring important institutional knowledge, lessons learned and models which may be replicated to cover more people in other parts of the country.

The United Nations will target relatively economically disadvantaged geographic areas and will seek to remove obstacles to equitable regional development. This will be done through support to upgrade and extension of the ICT infrastructure into rural areas, and assisting the people in using these new opportunities as a source of new jobs.

Strategic Priority Area 2: Strengthening Institutional Capacities and Effective Public and Social Services

Outcome 2.1 By 2020, Azerbaijan has enhanced institutional capacities for transparent, evidence-based and gender-responsive policy formulation and implementation

Outcome 2.2 By 2020, Azerbaijan has made progress in line with international human rights mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review, and other treaty obligations, and has strengthened capacities for implementation, monitoring and reporting aligned with international standards

Outcome 2.3 By 2020, quality public and social services are accessible to all and help achieve more socially inclusive and equitable development results 

Through institutional capacity development, the UN will particularly seek to assist in creating social cohesion, including supporting efforts to ensure this between the Government and the people. Enhanced systems of local governance respecting rights-based approaches can also significantly reinforce local participation in decision-making processes. Meanwhile, civil society is an indispensable partner for achieving national development goals, with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) arising countrywide to convey the voice of the public and specific segments of society through peaceful social dialogue and play an important role in service delivery. Increasingly vocal and social media-savvy youth are now engaged in greater public participation and debates over the future goals and priorities of development. To respond to these trends and create an enabling environment, a series of new measures is needed to address the voice and aspirations of society at large.

Particular attention will be given to further developing the capacity of the Government in collecting quality disaggregated and sub-national data to fill specific data gaps, analysing these through a more unified database, and further promoting evidence-based policy decisions as crucial for making development plans effective. This will be especially critical, given the disparities found across the country despite its middle-income status. The United Nations System can particularly highlight support for addressing data gaps that will lead to better implementation of United Nations UN-Azerbaijan Partnership Framework 2016-2020 June 9, 2015 33 programming principles, including a human rights-based approach (improved data on vulnerable groups), gender equality principles (sex disaggregation) and environmental sustainability (data on climate change and disaster risk and resilience).

Strategic Priority Area 3: Improving Environmental Management and Resilience to Natural and Human-Induced Disasters

Outcome 3.1 By 2020, sustainable development policies and legislation are in place, are better implemented and coordinated in compliance with multilateral environmental agreements, recognise social and health linkages, and address issues of environment and natural resource management, energy efficiency and renewable energy, climate change, and resilience to hazards and disasters

Under this outcome, the United Nations System will prioritise strengthening populations’ resilience to environmental and hazards/disaster risks as well as to climate change. This will include a focus on improving the effectiveness of relevant institutions for sustainable management of natural resources, including forests, water, land and biodiversity. Moreover, energy and climate change are central to sustainable development efforts, affecting all aspects -- social, economic, and environmental -- including livelihoods, access to water, agricultural productivity, health, population levels, education, and gender-related issues. Rapidly increasing energy demand in Azerbaijan calls for accelerated efforts to develop renewable energy sources and enhanced energy efficiency.

Derived from the UNAPF, currently, UNDP operations in Azerbaijan are largely guided by the UNDP Country Programme Document for 2016-2020.

UN agencies in the country

The United Nations System in Azerbaijan currently embraces 19 UN funds, programmes and specialised agencies, both resident and non-resident, which are working together in formulating common approaches to strategic issues and ensuring coherence in action and advocacy in support of national development priorities. The UN in Azerbaijan is driven by a vision of a unified UN presence that acts, speaks and delivers as one, fully drawing upon the comparative advantages of UN agencies and harnessing the wide range of expertise across the UN system, with an emphasis on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Fit-for-purpose to deliver on Agenda 2030. Global stance

As countries implement the 2030 Agenda, UNDP is by their side.

UNDP’s strength comes from having the trust of developing countries, owing to our impartial character, longstanding presence and commitment to the poorest and most vulnerable. We also play a key role as the support platform of the wider UN Development System, helping agencies work together for sustainable development.

Our Strategic Plan 2018-2021  sets out the direction for a new UNDP, optimised to help countries achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With an improved business model making us more effective, transparent and accountable, we can deliver stronger results for those we serve.

Our new Integrated Results and Resources Framework clearly shows the allocation of resources and results achieved, allowing stakeholders to easily monitor performance, learn lessons, and hold the organisation accountable for the funds entrusted to it. Executive Board members were pleased with the new reporting format based on the Framework, and welcomed the 2015 Annual Report as a step towards greater results-based management.

UNDP has improved standards for programme planning and quality assurance, and a robust process for programme appraisal. Country Programme Documents show better targeting of resources. Data is used more rigorously to inform programming, and new quality standards for projects have been rolled out.

UNDP is today a leaner and more efficient organisation, operating even closer to the field.  UNDP’s new structure reflects a staff reduction of 12 percent at headquarters and regional levels. We have also moved a further 20 percent of staff from New York to regional hubs to strengthen our support to country offices.

For two consecutive years, the Aid Transparency Index has recognised UNDP as the most transparent development agency in the world, while AidData (2015) names UNDP among the development partners that communicate most frequently with host government counterparts. We have put in place an open data platform that enables wide global usage of data. More details of UNDP’s activities, budgets and results are being published than ever before on open.undp.org, covering more than 4,000 projects in 155 countries and territories.

As of 1 January 2015, UNDP adopted mandatory Social and Environmental Standards for all of its projects and programmes. These standards will strengthen UNDP’s efforts for increased quality in its programmes and ensure social and environmental benefits for the people we serve.

UNDP is guided by the United Nations Development Group’s common approach implementing the SDGs, called MAPS, or Mainstreaming, Acceleration, and Policy Support.

Adequate levels of Core Resources and lightly earmarked funds are essential for UNDP to carry out its mandate and to coordinate UN system support to help countries “land” the SDGs.  With about US$5 billion in voluntary contributions annually, UNDP remains a partner of choice and passes the “market test” in an environment in which partners can choose from many organisations to work with.

All sources of finance — domestic and international, public and private — are needed to achieve the SDGs. UNDP is redoubling efforts to develop partnerships with International Financial Institutions, civil society, the private sector, as well as individuals.  The aim is to have UNDP support governments in securing increasingly diverse sources of innovative financing for development and ensure that such financing is risk-informed.

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