23 Sep - 16 Oct 2020

UNDP and the Future

SparkBlue • 16 September 2020

We want your insights on the critical and emerging trends for sustainable development. Please answer the questions below:


  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
    2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?


After this consultation is closed on 16 October, we will capture the key insights we learned in a synthesis document that will be made available on this platform. We will also host a webinar to reflect back what we have heard and learned from you. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions about this consultation, please e-mail: strategic.plan@undp.org


Please check the latest weekly Summary pinned to the top of the discussion to catch up on the latest topics and threads.

Comments (247)

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Final Summary Reflection

Dear colleagues,

This global conversation drew in a wide and inspiring range of reflections from many of UNDP’s partners and friends around the world.  It provided a glimpse of what we believe the coming years will bring, and the role that UNDP could play in helping countries and communities navigate such futures in sustainable, inclusive and equitable ways.  Below are a few reflections from the rich discussion.  This is not a comprehensive summary – one is being prepared and will be shared with all of you in the days to come. Rather it is a snapshot of some of the main themes and takeaways that our moderation team have captured.


Critical long-term shifts transforming how we think about development

Many contributors highlighted the myriad risks and challenges we see in the world ahead; from rising geopolitical tensions and a weakening of multilateralism to the growth of autocracies and an erosion of support for human rights.  From ever-growing inequalities and a sharp increase in poverty – exacerbated by the differentiated impact of Covid-19 – to a rise of protest movements and activism which may create space for more equitable economic structures to emerge. Underlying these are the continuing climate emergency, growing recognition of biodiversity loss and ecosystems collapse as our second systemic emergency and widespread, protracted conflicts hindering progress, with continuing urbanization and long-term demographic shifts altering the geographic patterns of human activity.

Within the development sector contributors mentioned the decline in development funding, the dismantling of systems of international agreements and the aggravation of geopolitical power conflicts as challenges.

Yet positive signals emerge also.  Opportunities to transform our social contracts and governance systems on the back of much stronger citizen engagement – manifested in many places by protest and activism but potentially evolving to more structured engagement with the tools and platforms of governance.  The potential (while mindful of the risks) of digital tools to connect, mobilize and transact in transformative new ways. The rise of climate-positive technologies such as renewable energy and smart infrastructure. And a greater ability and willingness from developing country governments to finance and direct their own development pathways using domestic fiscal resources and the capacities of the private sector.

Taken together these trends point to a future with increasingly complex, multidimensional challenges, which will require very different solutions from UNDP


So what role should organizations like UNDP play in these futures?

Commentators called firstly for a clear return to the core values and norms that UNDP espouses. To build an organization with a clear, human-centered approach and agenda for development with a strong normative focus, anchored on a brand and ethos that embodies trust and integrity. For organizations like UNDP to advocate for and demonstrate the value of multilateralism and collaboration over exclusion and nationalism, and to take a future-focused, longer-term view of sustainable human development.

There was a strong ask for future-focused development solutions that help countries and communities leverage the potential of the future while minimizing the challenges; ranging from digital solutions with strong governance embedded in a rights-based approach, to solutions for green, circular economies and approaches to build multi-level governance systems for more diverse and urban populations.

“There is still a role in an increasingly interlinked world for an overall development integrator that is based on human rights and putting the most vulnerable at the centre of decision making but there is also a case for UNDP to focus on its unique role in promoting governance and accountability and daring to encourage alternative policies based on approaches like those of feminist economists.” Frances Guy, UNDP gender advisor 

Our normative, human-centered approach needs to be embedded in a stronger engagement with power asymmetries, building on tools like gender and intersectionality analysis to help create truly inclusive social protection and governance systems at all levels.

“When the discussion is framed around “vulnerable groups”, the focus is on an apparent laundry list (women, youth, the elderly, ethnic and religious minorities, disabled and LGBTI communities), rather than the constellation of institutions, policies, norms, behaviors that created inequalities or disenfranchisement in the first place. This serves to distract not only from root causes, but also from individual agency. Leave No One Behind should be a partnership to change the systems and conditions that impose barriers and expose individuals, communities and ecosystems to hazards and risks.”  Jessica Zimerman 

There was a call to continue UNDP’s focus on innovation and the future – for UNDP to be the global innovation lab, focusing on key immediate challenges such as Covid, climate and connectivity.  By leveraging our global reach and local capacity, UNDP can help countries to bridge the growing gaps in human progress around the world.

In this world, some people live in the year 2055 and others are still in the 1800s. From telehealth to no access at all, from Mixed Reality to no electricity, from self-driving cars to walking four hours for water, from obesity to hunger. UNDP's most important contribution is to allow people, communities and regions to travel in time and to enable the most sophisticated approaches and mechanisms to meet the most natural and human behaviors.” Alejandro Pacheco, DRR

In these and many other aspects, there was a continued reminder that UNDP’s potential rests on its ability to convene and connect, to be an innovator, advocate, partner and integrator – including with the public, private and financial sectors as well as with the rest of the United Nations system and the broader development fraternity.


What outcomes should we focus on?

A strong message emerged to ensure a continued focus on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs; not just in the individual goals but in promoting and delivering the integrated, universal, indivisible vision that the global community created in 2015.  Within this indispensable frame, there were calls for UNDP to focus more on the risks, crises and shocks that derail progress; to build stronger anticipatory capacities and greater flexibility to refocus and respond where needed, and to continue our work to strengthen resilience in the face of multiplying risks and hazards.

To do this, we are told that UNDP will require greater investments in systems thinking and portfolio approaches, in anticipatory governance capacities and to leverage the data and insight we hold in more effective ways.  Providing evidence-based, data-driven solutions not only at national levels but increasingly at subnational and local levels where so many critical choices are made.

To achieve this, there were also strong recommendations made on the internal transformations UNDP will need to accomplish; to strengthen the racial and ethnic diversity in a gender-balanced workforce, and to strengthen knowledge distribution with truly networked learning and technical capacities as the Global Policy Network was created to do. An agile UNDP is called for; with flatter decision-making structures, more flexible financial resources and partnership and programming instruments and a new mindset and model that combines “heads, hearts and hands”.

This vivid and challenging portrait of the world ahead will provide us with many insights and inspirations as we begin the process of designing our next Strategy in the months to come.  On behalf of all our Moderators and colleagues, let me thank the many people who have contributed to this discussion over the last weeks.  All your contributions have been invaluable, and will be re-read and reflected upon as we continue our journey together.

With best wishes;

Joseph D’Cruz

Special Advisor, Strategic Planning and Innovation,




Laura Rio

(1) A shared goal 

(2) convener and in the UN leader 

(3) global commitments 

(4) enforcement and incentives 

(5) climate change and loss of biodive

Ezra Blondel

1. A recognition of the inseparability of head, hearts and hands

2. Creating mechanisms to engage Civil Society in a direct and measurable way

3. Become funded by governments as well as by members of the public (like crowd funding)

4. public awareness on 'the power of one'

5. Kick back by funding governments and resistance from within UNDP 

Paulo Guerra

Dear Ezra, I have never thought about your first point, but now that you mentioned it, it seems so perfect that I am trying to understand why I have never thought like this. Inseparability of thinking, empathy and doing. Thanks for sharing.

Shaila Khan

1. Invest on social contract

2. People centric organization

3. Polycentric approach with less stringent bureaucracy

4. Reinvigorate development approach and identify value addition, especially for MIC and helping Countries to graduate to MIC from LDC

5. Invest on staff with and create opportunities 

Claudio Providas

1-new development actors on green economy and jobs; loss of development gain in governance, rights (civil, political) and democracy

2- UN convener with UNDP as the premier substantive and operational arm (integrator) with a leadership role on emerging issues governance-citizens security and rights, a new social contract

3-clear service lines in core issues combined with emerging challenges, i,e governance (erosion of democracy, state security vs civil rights), transparency, env-CC (disrupting technology)

4- a new generation of policy/programs offering based on new partnerships 

5- prolongued crisis in multilateralism 

Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

Dear colleagues and friends,

Welcome to the online consultation on UNDP and Future! It is truly a pleasure to kick start this conversation with UNDP and its partners around the world. I notice already some insightful comments which promise this conversation to be very interesting and valuable.

For those of you who don’t know my background, prior to my political life as Vice-President of Panama, I started my career at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and later worked in UNDP for 15 years.

So much of the world has changed since then and it will continue to. One thing that I would  encourage you to think about as you engage in this conversation and reflect on the questions we’ve posed is to be imaginative about the future. What we imagine determines what change we effect in the world.

This consultation will run from 23 September until 9 October and you can post your comments on any of the over 100 languages available on this platform. At the end of this consultation, UNDP will synthesize the key insights and make them available on this platform.

I am looking forward to your participation and to learning from you!

All the best,


Ali A. al-khulaifi

Dear Isabel,

Thank you for this initiative which i am sure will be helpful and constructive. UNDP needs to be more proactive and reach out for the people, people must know and contribute to your valuable work. The world is changing and new normals are rapidly evolving and for organisations to be productive and credible, they must have the tolls to sense their surrounding environment and respond immediately.

Thank you


Laura Espinoza
  1. Irreparable climate disasters will shift how the entire world responds to crises based on need and urgency
  2. UNDP should be working now to engage stakeholders in finding adaptations and emerging solutions to this pressing issue while keeping in mind vulnerable communities
  3. Net zero emissions commitments and actionable plans for reaching those commitments from all UN participants; support to peoples who have faced an undo burden of the climate crisis
  4. Positive peer pressure from environmental champions (individuals, organizations, and countries) as well as strong communication of the benefits of immediate action
  5. Commercial or political interests that minimize harm or push off immediate action
Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

Thank you very much Laura, you have your heart at environmental issues and I truly value that. I cannot see a future where we do not ensure that human beings commit to sustainability. Younger generations are very committed to the environment and that is positive. However, there are millions of people around the world that do not see the linkages between their personal contribution and sustainability. I would love for you and @Laura Rio, who has also emphasized climate change and the loss of biodiversity as a priority, to comment on how can UNDP best support the transformation of our economies to be greener. What would you both think is the one action that could be a game changer.




Claudio Providas

Very important questions raised by Isabel (Hola Isabel!), I agree on the vital importance of our work on Env and CC, it has to go beyond the policy and advisory on an evolutionary model, UNDP has to continue to partner with private sector, disruptors, looking at transformative ideas capable of creating a leap frog jump. Covid19 has been great for awareness raising, I doubt it will be sufficient to provoke change alone. On the contrary, the pressure for economic rand jobs in absence of new offerings might compromise further CC. We need to look at the future of work, urban models and transportation systems re-defined, help identify those green jobs.

Bernardo Cocco

1. Long term shifts: climate; digital economy; mobilty/migration/urbanization.

2. Future role: a mix of solution finder and service provider.  We should be investing heavily in designing, testing, and scaling solutions for green jobs, first and foremost. Particularly in LICs, we should be getting heavily into waste management, urbanization, mass transit efficiency, air pollution.  But these solutions need to pass muster, be suitably ambitious in scope and reach (not just a series of 'pilots'), and be something we can genuinely call our own, as in with UNDP's hallmark on it. 

3. Future outcome: a demonstrated ability to create employment through interventions that bring together public and private investments in climate resilience, urban growth planning, and the circular economy.  (a) To get there, we need to be able to articulate and build out a clear cut set of service offerings (based on proven solutions) to governments that  can unlock government co-financing. (b) What stands in the way, probably that we are traditionally spread too thin (too many inconsequential 'projects' and 'pilots', that don't amount to a well rounded portfolio of solutions that we can offer confidently to our 'clients', the governments we serve).

Gorka Espiau
  1. Incorporating a systems approach to development seems to be the greatest shift . Sustainability and fighting inequality (priorities for UNDP) can´t be addressed otherwise.
  2. Development institutions are learning how to be designers and facilitators of large scale open innovation platforms that will address SDGs collaboratively
  3. The main contribution can be focused on helping regions and states to implement their own large scale transformation platforms around SDGs. Conceptualizing and clarifying what are the core dimension of these transformation platforms and the necessary supporting systems would be crucial. Short term and linear programs (current UNDP management systems) stand in the way of this outcome.
Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

It is great to see your comments about the importance of UNDP focusing on large scale transformations that promote circular economies, create green jobs (thanks @Bernardo Cocco), and therefore help countries combat climate change and better manage future risks. I really like your comment on balance on solution finder and service provider. UNDP has been - with its accelerator labs - working on finding solutions. I would love to hear your ideas and our external partners' ideas on how can we become a better service provider, anyone??

@Gorka Espiau, as others from within and outside UNDP, it would be great if you could elaborate how a systems approach is transforming how we think about development. What does that look like or what should that look like in the future? Also, can you share examples on how UNDP could improve management systems. 

Many of you, including @Claudio Providas (Hola Claudio, tanto tiempo), also spoke about the importance of new partnerships and new ways of collaborating between public and private actors. How could open platforms or other forms of collaboration help UNDP move the SDGs forward, including by helping drive investment and knowledge to the world’s greatest challenges?

To all new members who recently joined this group, welcome! And remember, this is an opportunity to think big and bold about the critical factors that will transform the future of development and what should be UNDP’s role in that future. I look forward to hearing your views!

Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

This is a great opportunity to bring external actors to help us think big in our efforts to transform. Please share link with your partners and stakeholders so that they register and share their thoughts!


We are listening!

Anabella Guardia de Rubinoff

Hola Isabel,

Happy and honored to participate.

1) Initiatives that enhance opportunities and empowerment for women:

in leadership positions, political representation, economic participation, in their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

2) UNDP ought to redouble efforts to address the structural causes between gender and poverty and discriminatory practices that perpetuate them; implement policies and programs for multi sectorial gender parity; take a more active role between financial institutions, private sector and government to deliver these structural transformations.

3) Facilitate women’s decision-making power in the public and private arena.      a) ‘Women belong in all places where decisions are being made” - RBG.  

   b) Social norms, values, and the dynamics between women and their         cultures may stand in the way. To effectively address these constraints, include civil society and non - governmental organizations as advocacy groups.


Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

Anabella, great to see you here! I could not agree more, achieving parity is fundamental to advance development. Can you please elaborate on specific actions that UNDP should engage in in order to promote those opportunities.

Alicia Mata

Great that UNDP is creating these spaces to get input! Also interesting to read previous posts and follow-up questions.

1. Future shifts: 

  • Development accross needs and not by needs. Today it is clear that poverty cannot only be measured with economic indexes. Similarly, development cannot be measured by the GDP. I think there is an important shift towards re-defining what type of development we are going after. For me it looks greener, more equal, and human-centered.
  • Migrations and Severe Weather Events associated to CC. As we get more isolated on the digital world, these crisis remaind us that we truly cannot leave anybody behind. Although, for others it opens the discussion on "who belong to my group/country/race"

2. Future of UNDP: The UNDP should continue its role as a "common ground" and articulator for development. Following up on the idea of "Service Provider", I relate UNOPS to that role. I think governments are overwhelmed with short-term needs and most of the time cannot truly invest on the long-term because it takes to long to be visible. Therefore, I  like to see the UNDP as the trusted advisor that provides continuity regardless of government transitions. 

3. Getting the SDGs on everybody's has been a great initial outcome. A future outcome would be to drive private investment towards development (as mentioned above) so the sector is most sustainable and it is not seeing as a circle of debt.

a. Open interdisciplinary platforms. I liked the work that the Kellogg School of Management has been doing with its Sustainable Investing Challenge (a mix of financial instruments with SDGs).

b. Isolated actions with same reach out. If international institutions duplicate efforts and work with independent agendas reaching out to the same beneficieries with similar innitiatives it will keep being hard to have enough resources and don't leave anybody behind. 

Hope to have similar conversations within and outside Global Shapers.





Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

Thanks @Alicia Mata for your valuable insights, great to see young people from the Global Shapers community around here. I was proud to work on the establishment of the Panama Hub.

You raise a fundamental question on how we measure development. There have been previous efforts globally to design new indexes recognizing that those existing are not comprehensive enough.

As you know UNDP publishes the Human Development Report. Even though this index is not intended to replace GDP, it does incorporate more human centered data. This year, the Report will even go further with incorporating the environmental dimension. Do you think UNDP should directly dive into work to define new measurement tools? I would love to hear your comments as well as UNDP experts @Claudio Providas  @Narue Shiki 



Narue Shiki

Thank you Isabel Saint Malo. I couldn't agree more with the comment by @Alicia Mata on the limitations of how development has been measured. "Do we value what we measure, or do we measure what we value?”  Most of what’s been measured has been linked to the economic dimensions of development than the environment and social ones. For this reason, we need to redesign, rethink, reinvent and rearticulate the metrics of development that reflect the future of development that we want to achieve. We need to offer alternative metrics that strengthen the social, environmental dimensions, but also the intergenerational dimension of development that reflect the needed balance between today and tomorrow. 

Franklin Morales


  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

    The global crisis, the rise of nationalism and the acceleration of technological advancements are expanding the gap between the wealthiest nations and the developing world.   
    Climate Change continues to be an existential threat to humanity as its effect compounds other ongoing crises, threatening food supply, livelihoods, and in some places serving as a catalyst to violence and conflict.
    The erosion of human rights, rule of law and democratic values is also concerning.  As traditionally leading nations adopt nationalist and isolationist policies, countries with fragile democracies and precarious social and economic systems will struggle to keep up with their citizen's demands, and thus an opportunity for abusive leaders to take hold of power. 
    Young people around the world continue to demand positive change. As the pandemic demonstrate that traditional players (Corporations and Governments) can not provide an adequate safety net, it is imperative to empower a new generation of social and business entrepreneurs.
    The rising tension between global powers is also affecting developing countries that now have to balance their need for promoting trade and development with powerful countries against the possibility of retaliation (economic or otherwise) from adversaries of the partner nation.
  2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

    1. The UNDP should promote the transfer of technical capacity from wealthier nations to developing countries, advocate for open standards and serve as a platform for multilateral engagement and international cooperation.
    2.  The UNDP must prioritize supporting nations to become more resilient to climate shocks, ensure that nations have the technical capacity to build their food supply systems and working proactively to address challenges that may spark conflict in resource-scarce areas of the world.
    3. The UNDP must proactively engage UN member states to mitigate the risks posed by new technologies (social media, etc) to democratic institutions, also working with governments to build their social capital stock which is heavily depleted following the COVID-19 pandemics.
    4. Empower young people around the world and seek to expand the way in which governments support youth led initiatives on entrepreneurship and social change.
    5. Be an intermediary for development assistance between smaller nations and great powers to reduce the tensions and reduce the risks those nations face in engaging in activities that may be beneficial to their interests but seen as a geopolitical threat to any particular player.
  3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

    The SDGs are a good framework. I believe that climate change readiness and resilience is an outcome that hits most of the SDGs and it is the next big crisis looming.  UNDP must be well positioned to tackle it. 
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
      Private investment, youth leadership, government support to the previous two.
    2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
      ​​​​​​​Geopolitical interests and the capacity of UNDP to remain properly funded to achieve its mission.
Laurel Patterson

Thanks Isabel and colleagues for a fascinating discussion so far.

Gorka Espiau and others have commented on the importance of systems transformation. We've experimented on a limited scale in SDG integration portfolio, and the work Giulio Quaggiotto leads on deep demonstrations. One of the challenges in applying systems approaches to complex challenges is that the metrics we use to gauge development progress tend to focus on things we can measure, especially economic dimensions as Narue Shiki noted. 

A challenge to UNDP from an Aboriginal Elder who joined our recent dialogue series on awareness based collective action was:  how do you measure courage and integrity? How do you measure the power of legacy? One of the roles for UNDP should to be leading the interrogation, co-creation and activation of metrics that better reflect the future we want.  

There's a number of articles and research underscoring that the SDGs are 'off track' and suggesting need for a new agenda. I think in part this is because we've lost sight of the transformative vision and systems approach inherent in the 2030 agenda, and focused heavily on numerical measures of 'results'.  This is not to downplay the essential role of data, but a potential area for UNDP to push boundaries in how we use data and connect it with people, and the potential to build national capacities in foresight and projections, use of satellite imagery to estimate poverty, so that we can derive collective insights in real time that informs evidenced based policy making.

In the next SP and decade of action we need to expand the SDG policy space,  consider the impact of tipping points as we've been thinking about with George Ronald Gray and Peter Batchelor.  This isn't a view of acceleration as 'driving faster down the same road' but a more geometric acceleration as Abdoulaye Mar Dieye would describe it, focusing our policy inquiries and programmatic investments in areas that have the potential to accelerate progress across multiple fronts.  

UNDP needs to lead transformation in the decade ahead with empathy and humility. This is at the heart of awareness based systems transformation and our recent work with Otto Scharmer illustrated the need to build transformation literacy, in integrated approaches that connect intellect (mind), delivery (hand) with compassion (heart). This should be foundational in our integration mandate. 


Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

Thanks to all participants for an exciting first days of discussion, I am looking forward to your continued recommendations and insights. 

@Alicia Mata’s comment about focusing on development across needs and not by needs speaks very well to @Laurel Patterson’s point about UNDP’s integrator role. I have many times seen the power of collective action. The multilateral system as we know it was born as a result of collective action. Today, when the multilateral system is being put to test, should UNDP prioritize collective action at the national level or across countries. What are the challenges to both?

Narue Shiki's point "Do we value what we measure, or do we measure what we value?” shakes the discussion. I would say that it works both ways. My question goes further to wonder how can we ensure measurements have a stronger influence for better policy making.

I would also be interested in which tipping points will drive or impact development in a way that they can’t be neglected? For example, @Franklin Morales and others spoke about climate change, technological revolution, inequality, among others. Are there other tipping points that we are not thinking about but should?

I am always inspired by efforts like the one described by Gonzalo Benetti Herández and I encourage young generations to continue these efforts. Gonzalo, can you draw specific learning's from that experience that can be brought to UNDP's Strategic Plan? 


Gonzalo Benetti Herández

Of course Isabel Saint Malo, here are my ideas bases on our experience:

1-Digital divide in children and youngs is a reality in developing countries, we need take action to include and give opportunities for the future of education and work.

2-In this way, is important to connect with territory, and work together with local neighborhoods organizations to map children and youngs without access to internet and digital tools. 

3-Large companies waste a lot of technologics insumes every year. They need to update their computers, specially the software ones. 

4-UPDN can facilitate this conection between local organizations with large companies to equip with computers for children and youngs. 

5-Also can work with governments to give internet access in this points.

6-We need to encourage and involve citizens, companies and NGO's to give children courses and workshops into digital tools and skills.

7-Also UPDN could work in masive donations campaigns in which citizens could give old computers and recover these and protect environment too.

8-Access to internet and digital world has its risks. It's important to share information about the risks, specially in children and youngs.

I hope this notes can be helpful. Always ready to colaborate to improve the state of the world.



Kristen Cordell

I agree with these remarks, and wanted to add a few ideas here. During the development of the SDGs, I don't think that the development community could have foreseen the dramatic growth and expansion of digital networks. They are not only an enabling platform, but a development objective in their own right.  

Access and digital infrastructure is particularly critically during the COVID-19 pandemic in when critical services have moved online and threatened to leave many behind - by widening the gap in access and inclusion of these systems. 

According to the ITU, It will take an estimated 483 billion to close the gap in access across the world, and even more to do it in an equitable and responsible manner. 

It is critical that the UNDP use its convening power (especially that of the USG) to bring the various technical bodies to the table, to ensure the best of development approaches are used to close the digital gap. This includes improved capacity for technical analysis and programming responses. Local organizations must be at the heart of this effort, but with support of the international community. 

Anabella Guardia de Rubinoff

A few suggestions that, perhaps, are already in place:

UNDP should  support civil society organizations working with women’s rights with best practices to eliminate gender biases, and promote campaigns to increase awareness on women stereotypes,  For example, It can celebrate and honor women who have pursued careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), to inspire and encourage younger women interested in these fields.

In the corporate sphere, it can encourage and reward country members participation in the Equal Pay International Coalition (EPIC), a global initiative to reduce the wage gap between women and men;  it can encourage legislation for women to access leadership positions in government, specifically, women on boards of publicly traded companies. And support and fund NGO’s that defend women who have been discriminated against in the workplace in countries where gender parity laws exist but are not enforced. 

In the political arena, it can advocate political parties to include women as candidates for elections for public office. It can support and encourage women's participation by providing them with education and training in the electoral process. 

Alicia Mata

Isabel Saint Malo, I'm happy to read that the Human Development Report will go further with incorporating the environmental dimension! Looking forward to take a look.

Regarding your question (Do you think UNDP should directly dive into work to define new measurement tools?), I've seen that countries have developed metrics that align with each SDG. I think this approach is on the right direction and that UNDP should continue to guide and transfer best practices on these processes.

A common challenge is that every country is different, and as an Engineer I love standardization and common baselines to draw comparisons. However, after workings with artists I've come to realize that the beauty on what they do comes from the uniqueness of small details. I think development work has some of that type of beauty. Therefore, I rescue to important results that metrics should drive and that Laurel Patterson mentioned:

  • Evidence based policy making
  • Efficiency "Focusing our policy inquiries and programmatic investments in areas that have the potential to accelerate progress across multiple fronts."

How can we ensure measurements have a stronger influence for better policy making? I think a big part of influence comes from society participations. As we start to demand government plans that are based on metrics and not on general statements, our public leaders will have a greater degree of accountability on designing better policies.

@Gonzalo Benetti, glad you brought up the concern on access to computers. I share totally share it. Here in Panama one of our diputados (a Shaper Alumni) proposed a law that articulates the donation of computers. The computers would be received by the Innovation Authority (government institution) to confirm operatibility and donations would be tax deductable. Hopefully it can move forward!


Wilmot Reeves
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  • Digital technology should be considered a key long-term shift for transforming how we think about development.
  • The need for strategic engagement with the private sector to support sustainable growth and structural transformation in programme countries.
  • Helping programme countries to define innovative sources of development financing beyond traditional sources such as domestic and international resources-private and public.
  • Helping programme countries to invest in evidence-based decision making through effective and efficient disaggregated data collection, analysis and dissemination.
  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  • Its convening role will be quite strategic in bringing together different development actors around development challenges facing nations and joint efforts to finding solutions to them.
  • The integrator role of UNDP in providing the technical leadership around development solutions as strategic entry points for all other UN Agencies.
  • Playing a more direct role in helping conflict and fragile states to find solutions to their own problems, first investing in sustainable recovery and development interventions.
  • A more technical role in upper middle-income countries with specific focus on structural economic transformation that will see these countries graduating to high income status, thus escaping the middle-income trap.
  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
  • Enhanced human and institutional capacity and the enabling environment within its own organizational establishment to ably lead and support programme countries to identify their challenges and find development solutions to them.
  • Enhanced capacity to strategically provide top notch technical and policy advisory support to programme countries.
  • Enhanced capacity in innovation and digital technology, as well as environmental sustainability interventions.
  1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
  • Transformational leadership at all levels of the organisation including HQ, regional service centres and hubs and country offices.
  • The enabling environment to facilitate work streams at all levels including respect for diversity, gender equality and the elimination of forms of discrimination and abuse of authority in the organisation.
  1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
  • Failure of the organisation and its senior management to adjust to the changing reality in our world-emerging and the strong need for digital technology and enhancing the skills of its staff to be part of this process.
  • We have the emerging climate change and gender equality and empowerment of women still remaining development challenges in our world and posing a threat to sustainable development.
Rugare Mukanganise

UNDP should make its interlocutor role much more visible and bolder. Internally – by bringing all the UN agencies together so that there is minimum fight for space, dominance or duplication amongst the agencies.  Externally, UNDP should try to rope in all development partners such as the private sector, artists, sportspersons, and other partners so that they can contribute to the development agenda. There is more strength/synergy in numbers. The private sector is an important player as it often provides ninety percent of the jobs in the developing countries.  One of the agenda items for UNDP should be to work in hand in glove with the private sector as well as promoting private sector development. In Africa there is  untapped potential to develop the agrifood sector to create jobs through horticulture, livestock, aquaculture, fruit industry etc. UNDP is a trusted partner by most governments and should take advantage of its brand, to further the development agenda.


Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

Thank you all for your valuable comments. Special thanks to Wilmot Reeves and Rugare Mukanganise for joining the conversation. It is interesting to see that in many areas our internal actors and external partners coincide.

Wilmot Reeves, regarding your recommendations for internal transformation and taking into consideration the priority current management has given to such transformation, could you provide some specific examples? Many of the issues you mention are part of the current reform efforts, some have advanced more than others, what recommendations would you give management in this regard?

On the comments by Rugare Mukanganise on UNDP's role as an interlocutor bringing a diversity of partners together, I could not agree more. This is a role that is critical at the national level. Could you elaborate on how can HQ best support Country Offices in these efforts?


Amita Gill

I agree with @Alicia Mata's comment that every country is different. I would take this one step further and say that the dynamics and systems are different not only in every country but different within different regions of that country. Taking the systems approach advocated by both Laurel Patterson  and Bernardo Cocco we need to apply this within an area based approach taking into account the different actors, dynamics and issues within regions or local areas.

The social contract between the state and the population is seeing further erosion due to COVID 19. In several countries we already see public frustration with the government response. We also see systematically weak judiciary systems are limiting the protection of human rights and access to justice for many. The pandemic is undermining trust in institutions where people feel that the crisis is not being handled in a transparent manner with effective oversight.

UNDP's role as a facilitator should be to bring together all actors for development including the private sector, the population and the government at the local level to address the local needs. UNDP is in a unique position not only to play this integrator role at the local level but to build on our work on multilevel governance, also connecting these solutions to the central level. 

With COVID 19, we are witnessing the biggest experiment in comparative governance the world has ever experienced. How well countries are responding relates to the strength of their institutions and governance processes and the resilience of the social contract in societies. The current crisis has exacerbated and highlighted inequalities and exposed deep weaknesses in the delivery of public services and structural barriers that impede access to them.

This consultation is an opportunity for us all to reframe the ways that we support social safety nets, the way we deliver services and how information is shared. In its recent evaluation on local governance in crisis contexts, the independent evaluation office states that ‘The local level is where the recovery of societies deeply affected by crisis takes place, and where the resilience of communities is ultimately built.’ We need to strengthen support to accountable and inclusive local governance systems that can not only help restore services and infrastructure, but also foster social cohesion in divided communities, facilitate participation in public life, distribute resources and opportunities equitably, and safeguard minority rights.

Millie Begovic

It is difficult to decouple the timing of SP development and a particular moment in time that we have found ourselves as a global community of citizens.  COVID has opened a space for transformation that was not there previously – in some cases it has accelerated dynamics that had been brewing under the surface (think inequality, discrimination) and in others it has forced policy moves that were previously considered unthinkable (think all the transformative government responses we’ve seen to date). 

This is an opportunity to position the SP in this space not as a mechanism of how we manage compounding set of risks that have surfaced but a pathway for addressing the underlying set of risks that generate COVID like events. In some of our thinking and work we put forward an idea that the generators of these systemic risks lay at the type of a relationships that we have with technology (our inadequate understanding and ability to manage its exponential growth), nature (the exploitative, resource-heavy economic model of value creation), ourselves (broken social fabric, inadequate for the time we live in and incapable of putting forward a new paradigm of what does it mean to be human in the age of automation), and future (a need for a new set of capabilities and understanding of a context of radical uncertainty that we find ourselves in.

In this context, the SP can put forward the design principles of the future of development that would seek to engage with and rethink the type of relationships we have with nature, future, technology and ourselves.  In doing so, a few potential pathways emerge that can provide the scaffolding for our work:

  • Develop and grow new capabilities: in the context where there is no playbook or a set of ‘best practices’ to learn from, and where data and models are insufficient guide for dealing with policy issues we’ve never deal with before, the ability to compete on a rate of learning becomes critical.  UNDP can offer the space for developing those new capabilities to live in the age of uncertainty.  
  • Social economy – investment not a cost: build coalitions and design new forms of social economy where investment in welfare are just that- investments, not a cost.  Conceiving of a new paradigm that puts together the social and the economy requires entirely new mechanisms of governance, measurement and investment – in some cases this means bringing the ‘old’ back in (think of Elinor Ostrom’s work on the commons) and in others building new frameworks for understanding and dynamically managing smart growth and technological progress.
  • New institutional fabric: one built on horizontal, open and networked relationships that are closer to a (in many ways still dubious concept of) platforms that leverage not supress inter-dependencies as opposed to top down, siloed, control and command driven structures. 
  • New forms of transnationalism: one based on a concept of shared value and vulnerability (something that has become painfully obvious with COVID). In some cases this has been termed 'minilateralism' - as a concept of what is smallest possible number of countries needed to have the largest possible impact on solving a particular problem - hinting at the notion of leveraging policy for tipping points in systems to affect change. 
  • Generated out of practice: UNDP is in an unique position to harvest the emerging principles of transformation from the ground and use its field presence to continue test under what conditions is the change most likely to happen on the ground.  The future of development in the context of uncertainty emerges and it does so through the experience on the ground - UNDP has a unique mandate and position to be at the center of that discussion. 
Janil Greenaway

Resilience. I’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of strengthening resilience to the many shocks and disruptions that will likely increase in the future. We are dealing with a global pandemic now that is unprecedented in the scale and depth of disruptions. This year it is COVID-19. What will be next?

Disasters and crisis, man-made or natural, affect us as individuals, families, communities, nations. There needs to be greater focus on building resilience to future shocks. From the individual to the global, more is needed to mitigate the negative effects of what we cannot control and maximize action to change what we can.

I recall losing many precious schooling days in the aftermath of a hurricane in the Caribbean and months without electricity and clean water. We may not be able to stop hurricanes entirely, but we can limit loss of life, property, and productivity, and prevent sliding back on sustainable development progress if we build resilience at all levels. With its experience and foresight, UNDP is uniquely placed to build resilience to future shocks across themes and sectors – health, education, climate, nature, economy, you name it.

With the next SP we should push the needle on how well societies handle shocks and stay on track – ensuring that the transformation from the current disruption leads to more resilient and sustainable systems. Attacking inequality should be a big part of it.


Kristen Cordell

Resilience is critical as there are likely to be more shocks like COVID-19 in the future. We have so many lessons on how to integrate humanitarian, development and transition assistance. Yet, many times we reinvent the wheel when we begin in-country planning processes. To move the ball forward on this we (the international community) should prioritize: 

1- A strategic approach to working across the HPD nexus that includes specific steps for how to sequence and layer assistance - this was a core finding of the 2017 USG Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR).

2- Use more nimble models in country to allow for adaptive and contextual integration of HA, DA and Transition objectives -- ensure this is supported by HQ resources that can streamline coordination and information management


Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

This conversation is just getting better and better and it raises, many important questions about the future.

Many of you have highlighted the fact that the current crisis brought about by COVID is exposing the weaknesses in the current economic model and the social systems that have left so many people vulnerable. Indeed this crisis is an opportunity to set the path for transformation as @Milica Begovic said COVID “has forced policy moves that were previously considered unthinkable”. If the new SP is a pathway to help countries to not only navigate through this crisis but address the underlying set of risks that generate COVID like events, then should we consider the SDGs as a ‘risk map’ for the world? Could this help countries not only strive for the future they want to achieve but also bring about a collective sense of urgency of the future risks that if left unmanaged will impact all countries and their prospects of progress? In other words, could a heightened sense of common risks and vulnerabilities help countries and societies take bold action in the 10 years we have left until 2030? Or are countries just trying to go back to ‘normal’?

@Amita Gill spoke about eroding trust in institutions and the erosion of the social contract between the state and the population that has been exacerbated by COVID. Many of you have also highlighted the importance of investing in governance systems that allow for the creation of a new social contract that is reflective of the world we live in.Can we envisage the new social contract as one that maximizes the fact that we live in networked societies(horizontal, open and networked relationships by @Milica Begovic), where the old division of labor between state actors, the private and the civic sector need to be rethought? Many of you alluded to the importance of local systems and local actors that are vital to the resilience of communities and helps as @Janil Greenaway to build resilience to future shocks and helps address the structural barriers to tackling inequalities.

Does the pace of change and disruption being brought about by the governance crisis, climate change and technological revolution call for a new paradigm on how to think and go about development? Or is the moment we are living in just reinforcing the urgency of the 2030 Agenda we have and continue to advocate for?

Sarah Lister

"Can we envisage the new social contract as one that maximizes the fact that we live in networked societies(horizontal, open and networked relationships by @Milica Begovic), where the old division of labor between state actors, the private and the civic sector need to be rethought? "  Absolutely, we can and must. I don't really understand why we have got so locked into "state/citizen" language and thinking.  30 years ago an academic described the social contract as “a process of sustaining an equilibrium between the expectations and obligations of the institutions in power and those of the rest of the society".....as UNDP we need to look at the variety of powerful institutions influencing how societies are functioning today, and consider how we support the national (and subnational) dialogues/processes which decide whose interests and influence prevail, for the benefit of whom. Ultimately as an external actor in societies, I believe we need to be realistic about what processes will create transformational progressive change, and what is our (limited) role in supporting those.  

Tariq Malik

Thanks Sarah. I agree with you re: social contract process but lets consider expectations (of people) and obligations (of state institutions). The process of sustaining an equilibrium is a difficult task that governments are trying to deal. And its not new, Consider. Historically, governments have collaborated extensively with private firms, associations, and charitable organizations to accomplish public goals and deliver services to strengthen social contract. Come to think about ancient Greeks, They outsourced tax collections to tax farmers and leased out state's mines to concessionaires (Reference: Governing by Network by Stephen Goldsmith et al). Isn't it a networked form of government process to strengthen social contract? Today's networked forms of governance may include advances in technology - we may call it digital government. Working on-ground with developed, developing and under-developed countries, I witnessed four styles of Networked/Collaborative governance trends influencing governance processes that yield quicker results: 

1. The Digital Government: the technological advances that enhance state institution capacity to collaborate in real time with external partners, people in ways previously not possible. The secure and ethical use of real data as an asset to develop people centric processes and policies resulting in strengthening social contract.

2, The Third-Party government: the historical increase in using private firms and non-profit organizations as government partners -to deliver services and fulfill policy goals.

3. Integrated/Well Joined-up Government: The increasing tendency for multiple government agencies, sometimes even at multiple levels of government, to join together to provide integrated service.

4. Citizen-Centric Government: Increased citizen demand for more control over their own lives and more choices and varieties in their government services, to match the customized service provision -technology has spawned in the private sector.

Could equilibrium be possible in mix and match of some of the above - it all depends on ground realities of the state. 

If the contributors of this series are interested to learn more please see the future of governance series - or the digital gov. discussion - where are covering these issues in more depth


Zafar Gondal

I think over the centuries Social Contract last the meaning and drifted away from the original concept and meaning. There are powerful institutions other than state institutions, and a vast majority of these institutions are outdated. It is important to consider the power dynamic around these non-institutions and perhaps involve these in a new social contract. These institutions play important role in transformational progress and change. In many countries, these powerful institutions are in competition with the state.  I suggest mapping of such institutions, involve them in dialogue to agree on new social contract. 

Mirei Endara de Heras

Hola Isa,

Thank you for letting me know about this consultation. I agree with many of the topics brought up in response to the original questions, particularly the threats that will shift our future - climate change, migration, technology.

So, I will rather address this last part of your most recent comment:

Does the pace of change and disruption being brought about by the governance crisis, climate change and technological revolution call for a new paradigm on how to think and go about development?

Definitely!!!! A new paradigm that addresses the lack of trust in our institutions, provides content for adequate policies (based on science and on field experience), and has appropriate tools/resources to work with underserved communities.  Public-private alliances, that bank on the experience of local and regional NGOs, and are more stable, effective and transparent in resource spending, more willing and capable of becoming sustainable. 

Or is the moment we are living in just reinforcing the urgency of the 2030 Agenda we have and continue to advocate for?

I believe that the current pandemic has made clear that an important role for UNDP is to not let down the pressure and urgency created with achieving the 2030 Agenda, monitoring global trends, analyzing scientific evidence and country accountability.

Farah Urrutia

Hola Isabel,

Gracias por invitarme a participar de este interesante intercambio.  Estoy bastante de acuerdo con muchos temas traídos a la mesa.  Solo quiero reflexionar sobre un par de temas que desde mi perspectiva puede provocar un cambio en la manera de hacer las cosas y que creo pueden impactar a crear un desarrollo más equitativo.  La pandemia ha cambiado las reglas de juego en cuanto a temas laborales. Hemos demostrado lo capaces que somos en teleworking sin necesidad de desplazarnos hacia un edificio inerte.  Este cambio favorece no solo la conciliación familiar y laboral sino que está brindando también la posibilidad de contratar personas en otros países sin necesidad de migrar.  De esta manera el acceso a profesionales capaces no se ve limitado por requisitos de movilidad. Esto quiere decir que el desarrollo tecnológico y las comunicaciones puede jugar un papel relevante para paliar la necesidad de la búsqueda de un mejor futuro en otro país.  Y, cambiando radicalmente el tema gran parte de la dificultad del desarrollo de los países es la falta de institucionalidad.  Es necesario comprometer a los gobiernos de los países que no lo tienen en fortalecer la institucionalidad creando ese engranaje de cuerpo de profesionales del Estado que continúen las políticas públicas más allá del clientelismos o un cambio de Gobierno.  Disculpa no he tenido más tiempo para poner mis ideas en inglés y quizás mejor perfiladas pero espero aportar a un punto de vista para el futuro.

da qun xiang

1,The main task of the current world is to work together to achieve the goals we need .Unity and cooperation are the only bridge to achieve the goal of sustainable development .

Only by peaceful development can we bring the greatest dividends to all countries in the world, and can we bring benefits to the people of all countries in the world.

Without world peace, national interests cannot be realized.

We advocate that the multilateral world order led and led by the United Nations must be strengthened .

2,We should strengthen the openness of all organizations, and not engage in "closed door" or "mountain top" doctrine .

Only by opening up and cooperation can we achieve the goal of sustainable development of the United Nations .

We need cooperation and we need the United Nations to be the aircraft carrier that leads the world , The world will be better.

3, Uniting all the forces of the world, all organizations and individuals, is the best way to advance the goal of sustainable development .

Steliana Nedera Moderator

Dear colleagues, what an inspiring conversation! I am happy and honored to join the group of moderators for this consultation and really look forward to the next few days! I joined UNDP in 2004, and worked with other development organizations before that - always passionate about 'what next?'. So much changed in the last two decades, and the pace of change becomes faster. How to stay relevant has always been and remains a question and a concern that gets me up and going every day - as a development professional and as a head of a UNDP country office. This discussion is so central to it - I am sure it is a source of learning and inspiration for many of us.

Thank you for being part of this community! Have a great week ahead and stay in touch! 


Paulo Guerra

1 - Combat to fake news and prejudices. They are making dialogue more difficult and unsustainable

2 - Transparent, open and participatory organizations based in result based dialogues

3 - Human centered approaches for development

4 - Improvement of funds efficiency (more automatic and digital processes, less bureaucracy, less money spent with office costs and more money spent with final benefits)

5 - Digitalization, digital technology and democratization of coding.

Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

Fully agree Sarah Lister on the need to support dialogue processes at the national and subnational level. My own country Panama witnessed several years ago the power of the convening role of UNDP on issues of national interest. How could a new SP provide tools and an adequate platform to support Country Offices in order to play this role?

I would love to hear RRs participating Steliana Nedera on this as well, what do your CO's need as support in this regard? Welcome Steliana Nedera as moderator!

Paulo Guerra how can we all combat fake news? I agree on how that is complicating dialogue. 

I celebrate Mirei Endara de Heras message on the urgency of Agenda 2030 and the importance of country accountability. You played a key role as Minister of Environment leading the way on commitment to the Paris agreements. Based on that experience and as current leader and activist from the citizens side, can you comment on how to bridge objectives and views from governments and civil society. I find that many times it seems that they are at different corners while the objectives should coincide if we are all committed to agenda 2030? How to achieve the unity of cooperation that da qun Xiang is referring to?

Farah Urrutia thanks for your message on the importance of building stronger institutions and the role of professional bureaucracies. Do you think this should be an area of work for UNDP?

Abdur Rehman Cheema

1 - UNDP needs to ensure more transparency and openness in its operations and leverage social innovation in making its work accessible by ordinary people of countries where it works. This is win trust of the people for whom it works. Once people trust, UNDP work will have impact.

2. UNDP needs too invest in building local leadership within the organization. With strong leadership, UNDP work can bring transformative changes in societies for good.   

Kristen Cordell

The trust component is huge, and it's getting harder instead of easier- given the 'infodemic' and disinformation. UNDP should work with local actors to elevate trust worthy sources of information and continue to build the capacity for NGOs/CSOs that increase citizen confidence in evidence-based information.  This is critical and immediate on public health issues, but also relevant to long term planning to uphold the trust of valued international organizations. The SP should build in a robust comms plan from the start.  

Isabel Saint Malo Moderator

Summary One

Today I come to the end of my role as a moderator for the session this week and welcome @Steliana Nedera who shall moderate the second week of the consultation. 

I would like to extend many thanks to all participants. Very often we discuss the importance of participation and bottom up processes and this provides a fantastic opportunity to be a part of the formulation of UNDP's next Strategic Plan. I encourage all of you to remain engaged and encourage others to participate.

Following I will attempt to provide a summary of the conversation, Thai I hope it encourages further interaction for this coming week.

  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

· The rising tension between global powers and how it affects developing countries caught up in strategic global rivalry.

. The rise of nationalism that leads to the erosion of human rights, rule of law and democratic values.

· Incorporating a systems approach to development as a vital shift in how we think about development, including looking at development across needs and not by needs.

· Re-defining what type of development we are going after – what should be the true measure of progress? It needs to be greener, more equal, and human-centered.

· Re-examining and reframing our relationship with:

  1. Nature (the exploitative, resource-heavy economic model of value creation) with climate change as the existential threat to humanity. 
  2. Ourselves (broken social fabric, erosion of the social contract and with-it trust, human rights, democratic values, and understanding of what it means to be human in the age of automation)
  3. The future (a need for a new set of capabilities and understanding of a context of radical uncertainty).
  4. Technology (our inadequate understanding and ability to manage its exponential growth)

· Women’s empowerment and gender equality as a determining factor to future progress on all fronts.

· Understanding mobility and migration and how it will impact our cities, our societies, the future of work and what it means to be a citizen in the 21st century.

  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  • Help build new forms of transnationalism, based on the concept of shared value and vulnerability, by helping build coalitions of countries that can have the largest possible impact on solving a particular problem. This can include helping smaller countries navigate or mitigate the effects of global power rivalry. 
  • Convener and advocate for development bringing together different development actors (from the UN system and beyond) while promoting a much closer engagement with civil society and the public at large, whose voice needs to not only be heard but count.
  • Offer the space for developing new capabilities for the age of uncertainty. Help build capabilities (that serve a public purpose) across countries using lessons and experiences from its global network and experiences. Leverage its asset as a trusted long-term advisor that supports countries across political cycles and transitions.
  • Designers and facilitators of large-scale open platforms that address the SDGs collaboratively. These open, networked platforms can help build a new institutional fabric that is built on horizontal relationships that leverage inter-dependencies. This can include designing, testing and scaling solutions for the creation of green jobs.
  • Support countries become more resilient to climate shocks, ensure that they have the technical capacity to build their food supply systems and working proactively to address challenges that may spark conflict in resource-scarce areas of the world.
  • Help to bring about new social contracts that maximize the fact that we live in networked societies, where the old division of labor between state actors, the private and the civic sector is rethought, whilst being realistic about what processes will create transformational progressive change and UNDP’s role in supporting those.
  • Help countries mitigate the risks posed by new technologies to democratic institutions, and the widening digital gap among and within countries; whilst maximizing the opportunities they bring.
  • Redouble efforts to address the structural causes between gender and poverty and discriminatory practices that perpetuate them; implement policies and programs for multi sectorial gender parity.
  • Support conflict and fragile states to find solutions to their own problems, by investing in sustainable recovery and development interventions.
  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

· Support countries achieve global commitments, particularly the SDGs, climate change readiness and resilience, and gender equality by creating a pathway for addressing the underlying set of risks that generate COVID like events.

· Help regions and countries implement their own large-scale transformation platforms around the SDGs and create the necessary supporting systems. Focus policy inquiries and programmatic investments in areas that have the potential to accelerate progress across multiple SDGs.

· Look at the future of work, sustainable urban models to help create green jobs, including through interventions that bring together public and private investments in climate resilience, urban growth planning, and the circular economy. 

· Build on and/or help redesign multilevel governance systems that enable accountable and inclusive local governance systems to help restore services and infrastructure, strengthen social safety nets, foster social cohesion, distribute resources and opportunities fairly, safeguard minority rights, etc.

· Help drive private investment towards development and help empower a new generation of social and business entrepreneurs, connecting companies, large and small.

· Lead the interrogation and co-creation of metrics that better reflect the future we want and push the boundaries in how we use data to connect it with people, build national capacities in foresight, and use of satellite imagery so that we can derive collective insights in real time that informs evidenced based policy making.

  1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
  • Creating incentives for countries to commit to and abide by to global commitments.
  • A reinvigorated development approach that caters to the needs of the diverse realities of countries, whether MICs or LICs, or LDCs.
  • Diversity in funding, particularly private investment in public goods. Articulate and build out a clear-cut set of service offerings (based on proven solutions) to unlock co-financing and align public and private investments.
  • Build on open interdisciplinary platforms akin to the work that the Kellogg School of Management has been doing with its Sustainable Investing Challenge, including a more active role vis-a-vis with financial institutions, private sector and governments to deliver structural transformations that help countries leapfrog.
  • Positive ‘peer’ pressure from the public and champions (individuals, organizations, and countries) on the benefits of immediate action on the SDGs and climate change. The role of youth leadership being particularly vital.
  • Transformational leadership at all levels UNDP and an enabling environment to facilitate cooperation across all levels including respect for diversity, gender equality and the elimination of forms of discrimination.
  1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
  • Geopolitical interests and a prolonged crisis in multilateralism, as well as commercial and/or political interests that prevent concerted and immediate action.
  • Irreversible climate change and loss of biodiversity.
  • Gender inequality and the social norms, values, and the cultural dynamics that stand in the way of women’s empowerment and societal advancement.
  • Isolated actions by different international institutions that duplicate the effort by stakeholders and are inefficient.
  • Funding for development made available from governments and other stakeholders.
  • Resistance to change from within UNDP, ability of leadership to adjust to the changing reality, ability to invest in new staff capabilities, and current management systems that stand in the way of its objectives.
  • Short term and linear projects that lead UNDP to being spread too thin (too many 'projects' and 'pilots', and don't amount to a well-rounded portfolio of solutions).

I hope this summary makes justice to the valuable thoughts shared. Thanks again and keep safe!

Abdur Rehman Cheema

Very well articulated Isabel. 

Steliana Nedera Moderator

Thank you @Isabel Saint Malo for the warm welcome and for the great moderation!

From what I can see from the discussions, there seems to be broad recognition that the pace of change and disruption being brought about by the governance crisis, climate change and technological revolution, among others, call for a new paradigm on how to think and go about development. Unless there are others who disagree? If so, please let us know, this is an open space precisely for this type of dialogue.

This new development paradigm nonetheless, may not differ so much in terms of what we want to achieve – as many of you underscored the centrality of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs as an ultimate objective, but rather how do we achieve it? @Mirei Endara de Heras pointed out well the lack of trust in institutions and based on that, how do we address the structural issues (or systemic problems) that have brought about the lack of trust and discontent that we see in the world in the first place? This is important especially when we think about how these structural issues might evolve as we look ahead into the future.



Dear Isabel,

Thank you for inviting me to share my perspectives and congratulations for this participatory and timely effort.

My thoughts as follows:

1)A critical shift that is transforming how we think about development is our notion of value (what do we collectively value) and how it is reshaping our social constructs and the development narrative itself.  The wellbeing of people and the planet is certainly displacing the fixation on economic growth.

This implies a reassessment of how we globally measure development to ensure that we measure what we value in a proper way, which definitely goes far beyond GDP.

All these is having a great impact on the purpose of business and the huge potential of the private sector to generate public value.

2)Organizations as UNDP could serve as a convener between and within countries to advance a new social contract that serves human and planetary demands of today. Also, as a bridge between public and private sectors to promote economic systems that create social and environmental benefit.  

Fostering social innovation, capacity building and skills development, systems thinking, and strengthening governance are also critical areas of work – essential to implement the 2030 Agenda and help countries overcome barriers.

3) The main outcome of UNDP’s efforts should be delivering the SDGs.

Tariq Malik

This is an very insightful thread. What makes real leaders, policy makers, and development professionals often worry is that well-intentioned policies designed to improve the lives of their communities may fail to deliver results. I strongly believe that it is time that global development community needs to move beyond asking "What is the right future policy?" and ask "What policies in future work to produce life-improvement outcomes?" The answer is simple -better governance - that is, the ways in which governments, citizens, and communities engage to design and apply policies. Moving beyond the traditional concerns about implementation, such as limited state capacity, we need to see the governments and governance through citizens eyes and hence role out citizen centric solutions. We started the future of governance discussion on Sparkblue "Rebuilding the social contract through digital governance" and it would be helpful to have a glance on discussion at https://www.sparkblue.org/event/building-new-social-contracts-role-digi…

Jean-Benoit Fournier

1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development

  • Increased opportunities for decentralization (of education, work, livelihoods) through digitalization (i.e. eventual universal internet access and ubiquity of smart devices), off-grid energy production and circular economy
  • Automation of labor and its distributional impacts
  • Increasingly volatile environmental (climate change) and social (inequalities) conditions, with concomitant pressure on institutions
  • A "reshuffling" of traditional identity groups accelerated by global social networks, resulting in a broad range of outcomes (isolation, radicalization, transnationalism, resistance to tradition, return to tradition, etc.)    

2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

  • Support national institutions in adapting to these shifts.
  • Encourage development pathways compatible with (1) climate, biodiversity and sustainability targets and (2) increased welfare of all, especially those "left behind" by narrowly-defined industrial and economic development (i.e. defined only by GDP growth) 

3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

  • Communities, regardless of their geographical situation and socio-economic statuses, have access to the same level of services as urban centers  ​​​​​​​
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
    • ​​​​​​​Further technical and institutional solutions to serve remote, poor or otherwise "left behind" communities with digitalization, access to clean, affordable and sustainable energy (off-grid), resilient agriculture/means of subsistence, etc. 
    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
    • ​​​​​​​Rising inequalities in socio-economic status in countries increasingly translating into institutional/regulatory capture, further adding to the marginalization (and potential radicalization) of vulnerable groups, limiting UNDP's ability to serve those communities.
Angelica Shamerina

I very much agree with you, Jean-Benoit Fournier . I also believe that surpassing planetary boundaries represents the gravest risk for societies and economy, since ecosystem services are a basis of every economy, whether industrial or not. Sub-national interventions and community-level work deserves more attention and investment in UNDP in view of the challenges the world is currently facing. Also agree that clean energy access supporting productive activities  for the millions living in energy-poor communities is critical for achievement of SDGs, addressing inequality, achieving "green recovery" from current crisis and other UN system goals.  

Steliana Nedera Moderator

A great point from @Michelle about what we collectively value and how that is reshaping our the development narrative itself, with the wellbeing of people and the planet gaining importance vis-a-vis economic growth. I would love to hear from @Marcos Neto, from UNDP’s Private Sector Hub, whether he sees that influencing business and their purpose, and if the shift from maximizing shareholder value to stakeholder value is really happening.


We’ve also had new insights from members and thank you @Jean-Benoit Fournier for raising the issue of shifts in identity groups that accelerated by global social networks can lead to a “broad range of outcomes (isolation, radicalization, transnationalism, resistance to tradition, return to tradition, etc.)” as well as disinformation - as well noted by @Kristen Cordell


I could not agree more on with @Jean-Benoit Fournier’s point on importance of supporting institutions in adapting to these and other global shifts – adaptation being the key word for the future, and therefore, the importance of governance systems (as suggested by @Tariq Malik) that are also adaptable to our ever changing contexts. The question is how to build those adaptable systems and do we know what they look like?  It will be interesting to see what insights we can learn from the discussion on “rebuilding the social contract through digital governance", as well as others.


More importantly, I see that our membership keeps growing! Look forward to hearing more from new members and our entire community!

Claire Van der Vaeren

1.  The new Strategic Plan will begin in an era of increased political polarization within and among countries, and social fragmentation, pre-dating but exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with roots in uncertainties about the future of work, rising new inequalities, and challenges to international solidarity and the existing multilateral order, among notable trends.  

2.  This will put a whole new premium (i) on UNDP's convening power - and responsibility to convene effectively across society, and (ii) on our ability to design for social and economic impact at scale, but with the individual and her or his integrated life journey at the center.

3. In terms of outcomes, I think we have only started to scratch the surface of opportunities and partnerships in areas like the circular economy; or greening the economy in ways that generate decent employment.  In the strive to realise the ambition of the 2030 Agenda, much will hinge also on SDGs 5, 10 and 16, and governance more generally. The focus on responsive institutions, justice, equality of access and rights will remain critical, but also on helping create visions of society that generate more incentives for collaboration than conflict. 


Aliyu Danjuma

Hello,I may argue that food insecurity is among the problem of climate change.some little idea 

United Nations should identify viable land across it members nation and set up crops farming for humaterian assistance not buying existing food crops that is meant for comsuption doing so may bring food shotage.But when you increase agriculture across the world it will generate employment, improved economic activities,As well increase revenue for the project countries and UN.

Aliyu Danjuma

Hello, Hazardous polluted air is also one of the effects of climate change coming out from our industries,Emmision from car's and other machines that used fuel for it live,Fuel has fall in the emarging world economy,Biodiversity remain the the train for the world sustainability, Create machines that are of little or no Emmision, using solar energy and electricity power, machines that of free Emmision or pollution.Atlist the world will have a couse to breath fresh air thereby increase life span, if not the world will continue with the present dangerous disease that control our breath.

Anga Timilsina

A very insightful discussion indeed. Let me add my four cents:

  1. The current crisis is a reflection of many 'unresolved issues and pre-existing conditions'. As many colleagues have already pointed out, these include governance crises; income, health and other inequalities; digital divide; climate crisis; weak or absence of social safety nets, social justice, or universal social protection; food insecurity; human insecurity, etc. COVID-19 has exposed and heightened these challenges; and this trend will continue at least in the next couple of years and beyond. For example, the World Bank forecasts reveal that COVID-19 is likely to cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998, when the Asian Financial Crisis hit. With the new forecasts, global poverty—the share of the world’s population living on less than $1.90 per day—is projected to increase from 8.2% in 2019 to 8.6% in 2020.
  2. The international development community needs to move towards more 'integrated development solutions' and new ways of working and thinking, guided by the 2030 Agenda (e.g., tapping into the vast opportunities created by technology and innovation, while bridging the digital gap). Given the impact of the current crises, our focus should be on supporting countries to build greener economies, supporting public service delivery including universal and inclusive healthcare and education, and strengthening governance institutions, mechanisms and systems that are inclusive, transparent and accountable, to build greater trust and social cohesion, and to be resilient enough to handle future conflicts and crises. There is also a renewed focus on the issue of ‘Social Capital’ as a development paradigm, which needs to be revisited.
  3. Inclusive, resilient, and sustainable’ – these are crucial in guiding UNDP's work to deliver on the SDGs. The agenda to “Leave no one behind” should be at the heart of our work: inclusive economy, inclusive governance, inclusive digital transformation, and inclusive societies. So should the agenda of “Resilience”. In particular, it is critical that governance systems, mechanisms and institutions have to be resilient not only to cope with crises like COVID-19, but also for conflict prevention, disaster management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  4. Regarding opportunities, the COVID-19 has taught us an important lesson. Most countries are trying to do their best to respond to the COVID-19 crisis own their own, while there is a wider recognition to have an effective and coordinated global response, meaning that no one country, regardless how powerful or resource-rich it is, the crisis like this underscore the reality of global interdependence, the importance of collective, and multilateral approaches to tackle major global crises. Now the question is: How to make it happen? On the other hand, there will an impact of COVID-19 crisis on development finance. According to OECD, levels and trends in domestic and external financing already fell short of the SDG spending needs prior to the COVID-19 crisis.  The current global context risks a significant reduction in the financing available to developing economies. For example, external private finance inflows to developing economies could drop by USD 700 billion in 2020 alone. Thus, the development assistance partners need to find new ways/innovative approaches of 'doing more with less'. 
Steliana Nedera Moderator

Many of you, and thank you @Claire Van der Vaeren for articulating it so well, point out that the “political polarization within and among countries, and social fragmentation, pre-dating but exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with roots in uncertainties about the future of work, rising new inequalities, and challenges to international solidarity” frame much of the context in which we operate and have to design for in the future.@ Anga Timilsina’s point about the world’s “unresolved issues and pre-existing conditions” speaks to that.


Simon Anholt, the author of The Good Country Equation, notes that the grand challenges of today are caused by the way countries and people behave. According to Anhold, “Countries compete more than they collaborate, so there are never enough resources to meet those challenges. And we still educate people in ways that only made sense before humanity

became interdependent and its problems interconnected”. So how do we change people and countries behaviour?


Many of you have also pointed out that we are also only scratching the surface in terms of opportunities to shift the economic paradigm altogether, informed by the growing appreciation for circular economy strategies (for example, the City of Amsterdam Circular Strategy 2020-2025 ), the primacy of gender equality, of a more equitable society, including by ensuring fairness and justice, just to name a few.


However, if there is indeed a greater recognition of our interdependencies (amongst ourselves, our economies, our environment and planet, etc), then why is cooperation still lacking (or is it)? And what would a revised notion of social capital, as stated by @ Anga Timilsina look like, and how would that influence or inform the development paradigm of the future?


Aliyu Danjuma

Hello.Nature can never be transfered from where it is meant to be,Moment went resaping the world began is when human being began to RE-filled rivers and began to build their habitat forcefully transfer nature for their gain. weast about 10 months without taking what is non as first aid to the pandemic interms of Restoration of nature, 


Flooding is a commodity that is most need for viable source of income,Dig a reservour and stored water for irrigation, While segmenting the riveriance area  within the flooded area even if need arises transfer settlement or Re-locate  them for the rivers.

2.As DROUGHT increases perhaps yearly or less,Some among members nation that have been torment by  drought are, Australia,some part of US, Somalia, Zimbabwe in Africa and is increasing don't you think is high time we start saving water for a commodity of export to the country needed for crop productions.

 3.Segment the river into 17 so as #open17water should have course to remembered.

4.Vehemently important How you make it looks it will attract tourism.

We should not look at flooding as a threat,but a viable commodity for irrigation as predicted that world maybe facing food insecurity,Bust agriculture for humaterian assistance,Genarate employment for the teaming youth's accross the world through farming.

UNDP!!may you look into this is.





Marcos Neto

Dear Colleagues,


I am the Director of UNDP's Finance Sector Hub. I would like address three issues:


  1. Why UNDP’s work on finance and private sector is essential for the future of development?
  2. What can we offer on finance and private sector?
  3. Are we fit for purpose to play these roles?


On the first issue, I completely agree with many entries in this conversation about the fact that COVID-19 crystalize the need for a profound change in our economic model, I agree even further than what we really need is a new “social contract”, the economy is means and needs to serve society, not the other way around.


In a simplistic way, allowed me that, society is a like a three-legged stool: government, civil society, private sector. I fully understand that for each “leg” there a large variety of players, of all sizes, with divergent interests, but as I said let’s simplify!! A contract is the rules and norms that regulated dynamic interactions among entities (yes, I am a lawyer from training). The most beautiful written contracts are those that allow for best of the interactions to take shape, while providing guardrails for the worst temptations and remedies for when anyone party abuses the letter and the intent of the contract.


Therefore, if we believe in the need for a new “social contract” we have no choice but to work on the levels and quality of the interaction among governments, civil society and private sector. In other words, we need to work both on the “legs” and the “seat” of the “three-legged” stool (the dynamic interaction among members of society).


Hence UNDP must build an offer that not only supports governments on how they deal with business, how they regulate businesses, and how governments incentive businesses behaviors change: a new enabling environment for the SDG era. However, UNDP also need to direct support/engage with companies, on their role and behavior towards governments and civil society, what business models will better deliver value for society, beyond financial returns, salary payments or taxs, the long-term issues that companies have to internalize in their operations and finances, no more voluntary loose codes of conducts. Have a look at this article by Mariana Manzzucato that I read this morning https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/united-states/2020-10-02/capitalism-after-covid-19-pandemic


Regarding point two: the offers that we have now to engage on the issues above you can be found, here  https://sdgfinance.undp.org please have a look at all of these and send me comments. These offers are alive and will be changing with time, and new ones will come in and some might come off. To be very honest, we don’t have all the answers and we are designing new ideas right now, like on digital finance with UNCDF. We are also calibrating the roles we can and should play in some of the offers, for example on thematic bonds and debt swaps. There is a lot of working going on with multiple COs in almost all of the seven areas of engagement, which you can see in the “SDG wheel of fortune”.


Finally, are we fit for purpose? We are in a better position that when we started the current strategic plan, but we are not yet set in ways that allows us to fully maximize the work with business, financial institutions and the links between government and businesses. We are working close with our BMS and all other Bureaus, colleagues on identify what changes we can make internally, and what changes might need formal modification of rules and regulations. We know we need a new intellectual property policy, we know we need to be able to engage with businesses in a different way, neither as having them as donors or vendors, but true co-creators of development solutions, we know we need the capacity to be able to invest in SMEs or startups, we know we need to expand some of the examples we have like the Malawi challenge fund, or some of the innovation funds.


Fit for purpose also means that we need to have the expertise deliver on new areas of work and that this expertise is easily accessible to you all across all CO. Again, I would say we have some, but we need much more, we are working, for example on establishing a fast roster of public finance experts, we are establishing partnerships with external players that can complement what we are good at.


I would love to have your reactions to this entry, please share your ideas, on these issues, how do we frame them for the future of UNDP and development. But also, please let me hear your pain points that we need address to be better be fi for purpose to implement the next SP.





Faiza Effendi

The backdrop of UNDP’s new Strategic Plan 2022-2025 is a protracted pandemic that may lead to global economic depression, possible sovereign defaults and financial contagion. Meanwhile climate change continues to impact food supply, human health and migration. Three emerging paradigm shifts may influence how we approach development:

  1. A potential rise of regional trading blocks and reshoring of production with its consequent impact on globalization;
  2. Technological revolution transforming production, services, communication and transportation;
  3. The changing nature of work and employment impacting cities and urban development

In this future UNDP can serve as an “Ideas Warehouse” where we may offer proprietary/patented services to Governments and private sector like e.g., on e-governance, digital markets, workplace transformation etc. Building on its experience in greening development, UNDP can deepen engagement in public finance by offering innovative debt products coupled with SDG certification.

This may require UNDP to embrace transformational thinking in the way it conducts business. For example, to serve as an Ideas Warehouse necessitates corporately standardized high quality warehousing and dissemination; rolling out UNDP’s development services akin to amazon available on a click of a button, promoting virtual offices and remote services provision, utilizing AI to mine big data on emerging mega trends and proactively developing products.

Internal resistance to change and shrinking organizational resources to make that transformational leap may be the biggest roadblocks to achieving the desired outcome.

Aliyu Danjuma

HELLO, LEADERSHIP IN THE IMAGINED NEW WORLD.Covid19 pandemic have expose the weakness of governing every sector of human endeavors, Referring the world back to revisit it nature to correct the abnormalities  that he adtificially injected into his habitats in trying to reshape the world to be a better place,The consequences is what the world is facing today fall into jeopardizing livelihoods confusion everywhere future onhold to uncertain, The world is moving along with 70% of problems unsolved mysteries.All hand must be on deck in Identifying the root cause of the following interconected problem and correct the abnormalities thrue tutorial  online classes and assessiment organice by UN for any person who want to govern a country.Some problem facing the world are,political insterbility accross the world, Quest for power, Corruption, Climate change, Poverty, Insugencies, Religious crisis,Ethnic cleansing, immigration, Healthcare, Food insecurity, Digital devide.financial crisis etc.

All this mehem chaotic problems are adtificially created by human in order to purse a threat to give way for governance.UN must come in to correct the abnormalities across members nation most importantly leadership.

LEADERSHIP Is the back born of every state, sovereign, Nation, country that exist.Some basic leadership role must be set by UN on how a nation must be govern.

    1.To qualify as a leader you need to have a certified certificate from the UN, through which you undergo training for Leadership before aspiring of been a leader.Because all this cartastrophy mentioned above are neglecgence of power, people's are into quest for power for there interest ambition to reach climax for recognition, To accumulated wealth through corrupt practices vis-a-vis  subordinate leaders are of  the same characters of his.Not knowing or ignorance of the actual role of a leadership.

    2.Humanity must live in reality in identifying who we are as human with an instinct brain to think and  do what is best right for the  ALL collection of earth specie's and the nature around him.Therefore a state need a leader with sound health and mind,  education and skills, People's centred mission vision,and fearness to problem solving,A design to a new way of doing things for the benefit of humanity,The world can be better together if we have quality leadership through United Nations tutorials assessment.


Aliyu Danjuma

Hello,Aside government in dealing with finance in meeting the highrachy of needs to it's sovereign state supported by UN, Private sector too have to be engaged in a well meaning manner for the sustainability of UNDP such as SDG to meet the deep inner needs of humanity across the world under aticulated supervisions with concrate feedbacks.


1.Throughly Assessing the private sectors in meeting the requirements of UNDP that will be duty bound in accomplishment of SDG programs,

  2.SDG should engage adhoc staff within the private sectors asign for a project  to monitor evaluation of a project to it accomplishment not the other way round sitting in office giving directive now that we are unseated by corona virus disease to face challengies bedeviling the world.I can always says Bravo to UN in finding ways to solutions at present now and the future.

3.All private sectors engaged will adhere to rules set by UN.

Vehemently UNDP are fit for this work  to monitor accountability and evaluate programs and projects meant for UNDP across province all around the world.

Zafar Gondal

The future landscape is very promising for UNDP, provided if we align our priorities and prepare the workforce to play a managerial, advisory, sound technical and coordination role.  

The 2030 Agenda for SDGs is a new charter for humanity where UNDP has a pivotal role to play. I strongly believe that for #NextGenUNDP deep and innovative professional expertise in one's area of technical expertise,  thorough knowledge of the Agenda 2030 for SDGs, critical interlinkages between SDGs, types of interaction between various SDGs, technology, and business intelligence are critical  UNDP to play the role of advisory and technical support and UNDP to become laboratories of ideas, standard setter, and capacity builder. #NextGenUNDP has to play the role of an integrator of the UN System and the private sector alike. I suggest making the knowledge of the 2030 Agenda as part of core competency. 

Climate change, environment, and biodiversity appear to be on top of the future landscape of development. UNDP has comparative advantages and may play important role in the dialogue, consensus building, policies at the global level, regional level, national and sub-national levels. We have presence, footprints, linkage, and expertise at all levels of governance. Here we must focus on environmental governance and rule of law. However, UNDP needs to focus on real change in laws, policies, institutions, civic engagement, and environmental justice. This entails fair, clear, and implementable environmental laws, access to information, public participation and access to justice, accountability and integrity of institutions and decision-makers, clear and coordinated mandates and roles across and within institutions, accessible, fair, timely, and responsive dispute resolution mechanisms.

Democracy, good governance, peace, and security are changing rapidly. These hinge on legal, economic, technical empowerment, digital inclusion, and social protection. Our focus and approach need to change now. We must focus on fit for purpose institutions, inclusions, representation, reconciliation, checks, and balance on the government, and people-friendly and accessible products and services and accessible processes. Inclusion, discrimination, and equality in sharing resources, means of production are important areas to focus on. These are some of the areas of conflict and violence.

It is also important to focus on products and services that meet the justice needs of people. Inclusive and representative justice institutions are very critical for peace, and social harmony, and development.  Failure to ensure effective, timely, equal access to justice results in substantial individual, societal, and environmental costs like economic, social, environmental, health, psychological, and well-being. our focus must shift to substantial justice, a system that prevents the arise of disputes rather than access to justice. 

Another future area is media, freedom of information, and credible information that also includes transparency, openness, and participation. Here we need to closely collaborate with

Mass migration will bring transformation in politics, security, and economy.  It requires international cooperation, rule of law and due process, sustainable development, gender-responsive, the whole of government, and the whole of society approach. We must align our position in this important area for safe, orderly, and regular migration.

Fit for purpose and strategic institutions, there has never been so important the need for stable, adaptable, and fit for purpose institutions that are inclusive, representatives, people catered, have clear institutional arrangement, dynamic leadership, continuous training and learning, accountability and voice mechanism. This has been our core area and strength. We need to prioritize a) policy and decision-making institutions,b)  legislative and law drafting institutions, c) election institutions, d)  justice and rule of law institutions, e) oversight and accountability institutions.  These institutions are captured by interest groups, are not inclusive and representative, do not meet the needs of people, the products and services are not fit for the users, lack public trust and confidence and we must reverse this situation. 

Zafar Gondal

Post COVID-19 Capable Justice Services

Yes, I love the idea of capable justice services. we may expand the idea of capable justice services to the structure of justice services, processes of justice services, and outcomes of justice services. Access to justice needs arises when the legal capability of a state is unable to prevent and resolve.  Currently, there are observable structural barriers to the justice institutions (it may be formal courts, informal justice institutions, ombudsperson, or NHRIs, etc.) like environment, legal framework, legitimacy, representative, capability, and legal assistance. The process is not inclusive and accessible particularly to the vulnerable and left behind communities. The users are not informed of the process (the journey, signposts, and actors involved) to legal assistance and determination of any disputes.  Another gap is in the just outcome like form, quality, perception, impact, fairness, individual outcomes, systematic outcomes, societal or community outcomes of the justice services. Are the users happy with the form, quality, fairness, impact of outcomes of the justice services?  The justice services have

There is a lot of evidence that for people justice is as important as education and health, and for the poor and vulnerable it becomes a vicious circle. Failure to ensure effective, timely, and equal access to justice(means access to just resolution)  results in substantial individual and societal costs( economic, social, environmental, health and well-being) that disproportionately impact women, children, and the vulnerable.  The Innovation Working Group of the Task Force on Justice finds that 1.5 million are left out their needs are not met. 4.4 billion are excluded from justice. 

So, it important to map the legal needs of people to better plan and design legal services. the legal need arises when there is a deficit in the capability of legal services.  It is important to focus on and invest in prevention so that disputes don’t arise in the first place because justice and dispute resolution id a costly affair in terms of time and wealth of a nation. It is better to prevent diseases than treatment. It is as important as the public health system after the COVID-19 crisis. Post-COVID-1919 health and justice services have become far more critical for our existence, peace, security, and economic recovery. It is also important to break state monopoly on legal and justice (access to justice means just resolution, not legal services) services and provide options. Legal services may be secured from legal professionals, government, civil society, paralegals, and simple information.  So, there is a need for new thinking and innovation at the product level, at the system level, and at the paradigm level as to what the justice system should do.  

My thoughts are based on 15 years of experience working as senior judges and magistrates, and another 15 years of critically observing, analyzing, reforming, and capacity building of the justice capabilities of many countries.

Aliyu Danjuma

Hi, Justice is right, and mandatory to humanity, Justice system in the world today especially my country Nigeria have to be rivisited to it's core values, we said it's is fearness to right,But the violations of court rules by its members through Corruption and ignorance of duty,case delayed,case contradiction High fee on beild etc, Have rotten the justice system, UN,Should design a policies on how justice system will run it activities.A PART NEEDING PART'S A PART NEEDING WHOLE AND A WHOLE NEEDING PART, Governance and justice system to humany is the critical focal point for the UN to disign a new way for justice activities.

  1.In the new normal where the dimensions of the world is changing due to deathly disease that control our breath were 2metres barrier most obvered,With the rapid development in information technology we're new skills are leaned to revarmp the activities of the world, Therefore the must be a need for a new skills on how to run justice to humanity,All legal practionersJudges undergo tutorial assessiment organised by UN,And review justice references.

  2.To create legal framework for justice system.

  3.Supervise sensitive cases

  4.And review feedbacks

Rajesh Sharma

The world is becoming more complex than ever before. On one hand, the world has more technological prowess at its disposal on several fronts to better understand challenges and develop solutions, on the other hand it is also facing numerous challenges such as the ongoing COVID crisis, climate crisis, increasing extreme weather events, and several others. In addition, new challenges such as fake news, information overload, identity theft, etc. are emerging to give us a glimpse of how serious all of these could be in the near future. There are also various societal shifts emanating from social media which are providing global connectivity in real time on one hand but are also creating social isolation and exclusion and increasing crimes on the other hand. In short, the rate and complexity of change/ development has become very rapid and we are unable to keep pace with these emerging challenges and not able to tap all opportunities available to us largely due to our inherent organizational structures, legal systems, and financial arrangements which are (probably) not designed to take us into the future in an organized manner to ensure sustainability. We need to have better systems in place to help us move forward in a more secure and safe future while anticipating and minimizing various risks, such as those associated with health, societal, economical, climate, disasters, and automation.                 

Within this future, UNDP needs to play an active role by helping itself and countries understand the interconnectedness across various systems and develop better tools, partnerships, technologies to help the world organize development differently to anticipate and address the emerging challenges and crisis. UNDP will need to be more agile and be able to anticipate changes and respond to them with far more efficiency than ever before.

One of the challenging areas for UNDP is to take the leadership role in anticipating the changes and provide a response which is continuously dynamic as the future challenges are also likely to be dynamic. Are we able to lead and guide the world and countries in planning better to these emerging challenges? Unlike in the past, technology allows us to engage with everyone (such as this dialogue!) which is a powerful tool in better understanding challenges and generating solutions.  

Challenges such as COVID-19 (or other major disasters or challenges triggered by climate change) or newer forms of digital crisis are likely to be interrupting our future efforts if we are unable to anticipate them and minimize their negative impacts.    

luiz alberto oliveira
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

    The widespread understanding that Earth is finite

  2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

    Fostering sustainable ways, both social and environmentally

  3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

    Providing swift responses to peoples and biomes demands

    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

      General education about science-based approaches to current and forecasted issues

    2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

      Long-term inertia and short-term greed

Steliana Nedera Moderator

Summary Two

Dear all, as I am preparing to hand over to the next moderator, I just want to say what a fascinating journey this discussion is! We have new members that joined SparkBlue in the past few days and the community just keeps growing!

Here is a summary of week two, and my thanks to all contributors!  

  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  • Many of you have pointed out that the “emerging trends” are not emergent but rather an exacerbation of unresolved issues and pre-existing conditions of the past. These include governance crises; income, health and other inequalities; digital divide; climate crisis; weak or absence of social safety nets, social justice, or universal social protection; food and water insecurity; human insecurity.
  • Emerging paradigm shifts raised that may influence how we approach development include:
  • Potential rise of regional trading blocks and reshoring of production and its consequent impact on globalization.
  • Technological revolution transforming production, services, communication, and transportation.
  • The changing nature of work and employment impacting cities, urban development, and societal relationships.
  • The role of media, knowledge and information (including misinformation) in shaping perceptions and narratives. Also, shifts brought about from social media which provide global connectivity in real time on one hand but are also creating social isolation and exclusion on the other.
  • Justice and the role of justice services, including capabilities, structures, processes, access, and outcomes of services that should not only protect people’s rights but also ensure redress and enable innovative ways of creating systems of justice.
  • Leadership (or lack thereof) is a key factor contributing to the current and future state of the world. Political instability exacerbated the known challenges, including corruption, ethnic cleansing, mass migration, insurgencies, among others, can only be addressed by leaders who put people and the collective interests of humans and planet at the center.
  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  • Support countries to build greener economies with better public service delivery, including universal and inclusive healthcare and education, and to strengthen governance institutions to build greater trust and social cohesion, and to be resilient enough to handle future conflicts and crises. 


  • Help societies build a new “social contract”, by re-establishing the rules and norms that regulate the dynamic interactions among different entities in society, simply put governments, civil society and the private sector; with the economy serving the whole-of-society and not the other way around.
  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
  • Serve as an “ideas warehouse” or “laboratory of ideas” offering proprietary services to governments and private sector, building on its knowledge of the 2030 Agenda and critical interlinkages across SDGs, as well as other areas such as e-governance, digital markets, workplace transformation and innovative financial products.


  • Help build inclusive, resilient, and sustainable societies, with an emphasis on resilience not only to cope with crises like COVID-19, but also for conflict prevention, disaster management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.


  • Setting standards for private sector through SDG certification.
  1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
  • Greater recognition (in great part due to COVID) of our global interdependence, the importance of collective, and multilateral approaches to tackle major global crises. 


  • UNDP to embrace transformational thinking in the way it conducts its work. For example, to serve as an “ideas warehouse” requires corporately standardized high-quality product development, storage and dissemination; promoting virtual offices and remote services provision, utilizing AI to mine big data on emerging mega trends.
  1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
  • Leadership role in anticipating changes and providing responses which are continuously dynamic as future challenges evolve.


  • Resistance to change and current organizational structures, legal systems, and financial arrangements which are (probably) not designed to take us into the future in an organized and sustainable manner.


  • Reduction in the financing available to developing economies and to international organizations.
Aissata De Moderator

Dear colleagues,

Much delighted to take over from @Steliana Nedera as moderator who has been so inspiring. Looking forward for greater engagement in this collective reflection. As we have seen, last week exchanges were exciting with interesting reflections regarding the global and unprecedented transformation were are going through and how best UNDP will continue to ensure leadership for Development.

Some key issues mentioned last week regarding the questions raised include:

1. Technological revolution transforming production, services, communication, and transportation ; The changing nature of work and employment impacting cities, urban development, and societal relationships ; The role of media, knowledge and information in shaping perceptions and narratives ; Justice and the role of justice services, including capabilities, structures, processes, access, and outcomes of services.

2. Support countries to build greener economies with better public service delivery, including universal and inclusive healthcare and education, and to strengthen governance institutions to build greater trust and social cohesion, and to be resilient enough to handle future conflicts and crises. Help societies build a new “social contract”.

3. Serve as an “ideas warehouse” or “laboratory of ideas” offering proprietary services to governments and private sector, building on its knowledge of the 2030 Agenda.; Help build inclusive, resilient, and sustainable societies, with an emphasis on resilience not only to cope with crises like COVID-19, but also for conflict prevention, disaster management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation; and also Setting standards for private sector through SDG certification.

This through : Greater recognition of our global interdependence, the importance of collective, and multilateral approaches to tackle major global crises. UNDP to embrace transformational thinking in the way it conducts its work. For example, to serve as an “ideas warehouse” requires corporately standardized high-quality product development, storage and dissemination; promoting virtual offices and remote services provision.

Fully agree with @Aliyu Danjuma that particular attention should be given to RoL and the judiciary. The pandemic has pushed to find innovative ways to diligent and reduce important backlog of cases and lack of infrastructures. The need to improve the judiciary systems and promote greater transparency is indeed an imperative for development. 

Likewise, Rajesh Sharma is right in underlining that UNDP needs to play an active role by helping itself and countries understand the interconnectedness across various systems and develop technologies to help organize development differently  and address the emerging challenges, crisis or shocks. 


Abdoulie Janneh

UNDP as a longtime trusted and valued partner of governments around the world with an extensive network of development expertise worldwide have been presented with an unprecedented opportunity to support countries to rebuild and transform addressing gaps that have been illuminated following the worst global pandemic in decades. 

The global COVID-19 pandemic provides UNDP in collaboration with other development partners and experts with the opportunity to address gaps in healthcare, economy, infrastructure and governance. We have the opportunity to build back better, stronger and more resilient. The emphasis should be on working together to achieve our common objectives, achieving the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Countries should take the chance to strengthen and rebuild the social contract, combat corruption and illicit financial flows and aim to achieve greater and more inclusive representation and voice in its governance systems. UNDP's role has been to help countries in getting there and we must do more.

In addition to our traditional streams of work - poverty reduction, strengthening governance and human rights, environmental resilience - new and emerging opportunities are present for greater regional and global integration, economic diversification and reaping the benefits of the 4th industrial digital revolution to leapfrog development. We must be part of this and change the way in which we deliver in our countries. We must advocate for new sources of financing for development with greater emphasis on domestic resource mobilization and sustainable development resources. No longer can we expect short-term funds to deliver on long-term development aspirations. There has to be a match to ensure sustainable structural and economic transformation in the countries we work in. We can and we will recover, rebuild and prosper. These discussions and the development of the new Strategic Plan are the basis of this reform. 

Aissata De Moderator

Indeed Abdoulie. The social contract to foster trust in governance system and provide basic services to the populations and contribute in reducing inequalities is fundamental. The impact of the pandemic should be an opening for greater space for participation, inclusivity and accountability, not the contrary. 


Olasoji Fagbola

1. Where every nation has the right to self determination and civilization based on Indigenous Knowledge System.

2. Financing Indigenous Knowledge System instead of Tech Transfers.

3. Making adaptive goals rather than cut across goals for development because national capabilities are not equal.

4. Commercializing the SDGs.

5. Local Knowledge development.

Aissata De Moderator

Agree @olagsojiFagbola - also need localization of SDGs for greater ownership and understanding

Olasoji Fagbola

Many thanks Aissata De for the feedback. I agree with the localization agenda of the SDGs. But it has to be commerciliased, once it's commercialised, the localization agenda becomes seamless.

Aissata De Moderator

Indeed! Thank you Olasoji

Aliyu Danjuma

Yes I agree with both your saying on localization of SDG for greater efficiency and accountability.

Aliyu Danjuma

Hello,is another beautiful Tuesday morning here in West Africa, Indeed yes my brother Rajesh Sharma The world is becoming much more complex than ever before,As new normal is forcing the world to identify solution to it's deformemity on the other hand covid 19 pandemic is jeopardizing live and livelihood hard hit the under-develop members nation,As the crisis keep on escarlating so UN need to find a common ground to safe the world from total collapsing.As technology today is the simple and easier way to connect humanity in all wards of live and add valued in transforming daily life positively.Their is a need for UN to find a solution to digital divide for better together within members nation.

For solution to Digital devide  varies from population of a giving country.Eg my country Nigeria the population today is closed to 200m perhaps only 50m are earning a living from white collar jobs and have access to basic technology, Wild the rest 150m survive on daily needs and don't have access to basic technological skills, unless the wide gab between population with access to basic technological skills and the semi to  non-skills is reach in bridging the Gap to digital divide and unemployment,Then UN are close to archieving digital world,And this problem of digital divide and unemployment is applicable to so many members nation.

Having a digital world and restoration of nature will balance between nature and nurture.curb unemployment to 0-level as many local will explore their talent to the international standard,localization of SDG in this new world will increase capacity building and streathing developloment,Easy identification of places,what kind of need,when needed at  what quantity,How the need is reach, Easily ascertaing scale of prefrence to avoid mismanagement of founds, Accuracy and accountability, achieving total peace, improved nations relationship for better together, Increase in productivity and trading relationship,As under survelance their most be Fearness in justice system, As e-governance their most be transparency in balancing inequalities and social contracts, Empoweerment, work and employment by skills not papers,

UN should also review legislation in the democracy system, quantified it's impact to the billions spending every month for there well being,expecially my country.

Aissata De Moderator

Thanks again colleagues the engagement. Rajesh Sharma building on some of the themes in the conversation last week, you rightly point out that at the same time that we have more “technological prowess” than ever before, we have converging and emerging challenges and crises, like climate change and misinformation. With the rapid and evolving pace of change, it’s not about getting through the current crisis, but about the systems in place to be able to adapt quickly to address emerging challenges and crises to be 1) resilient to shocks and 2) to be able to bounce back faster when those shocks come, because we know they will if not their exact nature. What those systems look like and how they should be structured is what we need to design together.

luiz alberto oliveira thank you for bringing us back to basics. While we understand conceptually that the earth is finite, we – globally – are yet to account for that in our planning and how we exploit and use the earth’s resources. Olasoji Fagbola also points to making use of indigenous and local knowledge. I agree that short-termism is a consistent barrier to fostering the kind of long term social and environmental approaches that you allude to but as we are seeing the evidence of the kinds of risks associated with not, for example, including climate change risks in planning, in many spheres we are seeing more efforts to plan for those risks. How we scale and accelerate those efforts remains a challenge.

Abdoulie Janneh raises the point that others have made that the current crisis presents us with an opportunity to address issue that the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront; gaps in healthcare, economy, infrastructure and government. It’s an opportunity to build better social contracts and governance. Your thoughts on the outcomes UNDP contributes to building this better world is exactly what we’re hoping to gain from the conversations with you here.

Ayad Babaa
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

I believe it will be more inclusive and more built on the capability approach. Even though these are not new terms, we are still inclined on the old top-down approach of doing development, so the future will eliminate the old approach and embrace the inclusive bottom-up development approach.

  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

In my opinion, UNDP should monitor and support the development and progress of countries and governments, mainly liaising with private-public sector partnerships and agreements. Also, UNDP should help governmental institutions to create innovation labs (similar to the AccLabs but for each institution).

  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
    2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

UNDP should play as a liaison entity to support the public and private sectors. Because as of now, there is a huge gap between the public and private sectors in terms of collaboration for the wellbeing of the citizens, and UNDP should play an important rule to support and design collaborative initiatives to put both sectors together.

Aissata De Moderator

indeed! @Ayad Babaa the crisis provided greater and innovative engagement with the private sector especially in non traditional areas. There collaboration in the COVID-19 response has demonstrated unknown talent and boosted some key areas. We have seen the great impact anti-epidemic robots in Rwanda developed with the AccLab. UNDP also managed to bring in private sector to invest in several health sector to strengthen and invest in building sustainable systems. The AccLab with its decentralized and focus on local activities could be a vector for greater transformative change. Though access to energy in most remote areas constitute a challenge, private-public sector partnership in promoting investment in renewal energy will help filling existing gaps. The lessons learned from the pandemic should be capitalized to reinforce this work stream that also interest young people regardless gender. 

Aissata De Moderator

Could you @Ayad Babaa tell us more on what UNDP could regarding the suggestion to monitor and support the development and progress of countries and government through liaising with private-public sector? 

Ayad Babaa

Aissata De Hi, I think UNDP could play a great role in facilitating and creating policies on how public and private sectors work together to radically improve and speed up development in any country. Let me give you an example: Country X is weak in responding to COVID-19 because there is no efficient logistics and at the same time UNDP in country X found out that a well-known global logistics company is interested to open its activities in this country. UNDP can liaise with the country X government to ensure that all the policies are in place to open the company's activities and help the country to solve its COVID-19 response. This is just one example of how UNDP can work with a country that lacks facilities and a large global company can provide these facilities. This is not limited to a foreign company but also local SMEs that most of the time has solutions but they do not work directly with governments to rapidly solve issues.  

Oli Henman
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

- Digital transformation is a major component of the long term shifts- this provides both an opportunity and a challenge.

Recent experiences of virtual forums, eg. the SDG Action Zone shows that there are opportunities to bring in more diverse voices to shape policies as physical travel logistics are reduced and many more participants can join sessions, as well as feed in via social media and other digital formats.

However on the other hand, there is a significant digital divide, which means that the voices of those who are most marginalised continue to be excluded.

- Secondly, changes to funding patterns mean that smaller grant programmes can be made available to a much more diverse range of development actors. New technology like blockchain should enable more transparent direct support to community initiatives and a closer link to direct impacts at the grassroots. 

- Finally a greater distribution of data tools enables a wider range of partners to be able to collect their own data which can inform official programmes and fill gaps in official statistics.

2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

UNDP has a key role in the following areas:

- Provide a connecting web to link local actors with global expertise

- Enhance the digital infrastructure to ensure access is more equitable

- Enable more targeted and diverse funding approaches that support smaller groups delivering innovative solutions

- Support skills development on areas including data and impact assessment to ensure smaller groups can demonstrate the change they are delivering

3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

UNDP should prioritise working with partners including, frontline community groups and technology providers, to broker new partnerships and ensure access to opportunities provided by technology can be delivered.

UNDP should enhance the role of civil society groups in setting development priorities and it should work with local partners on programmes for maximum impact at the community level.

UNDP should consider showcasing good practice and enhancing skills development for diverse partners

Aissata De Moderator

I could not agree more Oli Henman on skills development on data and impact assessment to get closer to the people. This is is often underlined and yet still a challenge in many countries. Could you develop more on how best to achieve that building on the current situation? 

On the engagement at community level, we have lately seen more restrictions in some context for political gains. How could UNDP contribute in building a social contract and foster community trust and involvement? Would like underline by Ayad Babaa greater partnership with the private sector at local level trigger inclusivity?

Oli Henman

Many thanks Aissata, it's great to hear that UNDP is looking at skills development on data and impact assessment. I would suggest that UNDP could help by building skills on virtual engagement and mobile apps for citizen generated data. It would also be interesting to consider innovative forms of impact assessment, including use of video, social media monitoring and community testimonials. There could also be opportunities for building stronger infrastructure networks, for example by providing 'engagement hubs' where groups could meet physically but also gain access to free wifi.

In terms of engagement at community level, the environment is certainly becoming more restrictive in many places. To rebuild trust and involvement it is important to build from groups that are already embedded and trusted in their own communities. In my view, the core of a new 'social contract' would need to be built between local government and groups from key constituencies within a local community such as women, youth, persons with disabilities, older people etc, this process could also include philanthropy and development partners to ensure prioritisation of resources.

Aissata De Moderator

Like the UNDP without borders approach you are highlighting @Ayad Babaa ! The COVID-19 experience has shown the high adaptability capacity UNDP has demonstrated including through the AccLab which in many cases turned to support initiatives such as what you described. UNDP could build on the great achievement as global network in addressing the pandemic challenges during this response period to systematize this approach.

Aissata De Moderator

Not much has been yet mentioned on how to foresee the Future of UNDP and Development in liaison with electoral processes. There is a need to rethink the way electoral assistance is provided within the UN and how to build on lessons learned including loss of development gains due to complex democratic and elections related processes. We have notice that instability follow aftermath of elections can pave the ways to further unrest of different nature including trafficking of all kind, violence extremism etc. Moreover, the drop of people's trust in the institutions including the electoral and most of the time the judiciary can take decades to be rebuilt.

Kanni Wignaraja

Sharing some thoughts on a new UNDP Strategic Plan during this extended vortex we are in. With the global economy losing $375 billion a month and 500 million jobs have been wiped out in seven months, and the warning on deeper losses to human development, where does one start the conversation? Maybe by saying there is just no going back to the old ways of managing economies, societies and the environment. And our new Strategic Plan must reflect a bold re-set.

The new era will be shaped by several transitions. Geopolitics has changed around global public goods. Are we heading into a period of larger purpose-driven, self-interest led or, at best, confused multipolarity? We continue to emit record levels of carbon, and will have to accelerate to a zero carbon future and hold on to the biodiversity we have, to avoid a catastrophe. At the same time, we are in the midst of an unstoppable technological explosion, which is changing the way we learn, work, drive, relax or receive health care. There is no more ‘slow and steady’ transitions on any of these fronts.

Listening to voices from the Asia and Pacific region, UNDP’s partners from Governments, development agencies, private sector and youth groups, would like to see that UNDP offer associated with new sustainable pathways to peace and development. They count on us standing for not going back to things that allowed for all the inequalities and injustices of today, and count on UNDP’s support in imagining, designing and delivering forward. This is why we have focused on Three Wins, to illustrate in very tangible ways, some milestones along these new pathways: a people’s vaccine that is accessible to all and covered by universal health care; affordable and unhindered access to the internet as a public good so that everyone can benefit from the digital revolution, with access to information, jobs and learning; an accelerated switch out of fossil fuels and into renewable energy, to ensure a cleaner safer climate that protects our health and our planet.

We have so much to offer in each of these areas. And there are other amazing examples in many countries of actually ‘doing it’, yet not to scale. So underpinning our new Strategic Plan also has to be operating systems and financing models that get us to speed and scale like never before, behind the high value items we can deliver. This cannot happen without betting on innovation and testing of scalable models in both policy and business operations, expanding digital solutions for public services as well as for UNDP to implement differently, new financing mechanisms that work with both public and private investments, the highest standards of data-driven analytics, tracking and transparency, and the deployment of the finest capabilities behind it all. It’s an extraordinary ask, but then, these are extraordinary times! So we need to hear from you, both inside and outside, on what you think is possible.

Aissata De Moderator

A pleasure reading you Kanni Wignaraja ! We are indeed beginning to see reverses in human development ($375 billion a month and 500 million jobs wiped out in seven months) and going back to business as usual is not an option and the UNDP strategic plan might need a bold re-set. Shifting geo-politics, increasing levels of carbon being released into the atmosphere, biodiversity loss, and a ‘technological explosion’ all play into the global context.

The potential wins you are focusing on in the Asia-Pacific region that could put us on a sustainable pathway to peace and development are relevant for all societies. I agree with you that speed and scale with the right operating systems to underpin UNDP’s work is what will make the difference in impact. June Ban also raises a point that you did that UNDP will have to be a strong analyst of global development data and information. How will we do all of this? I also echo your words that we need to hear from you to build that collective intelligence!

Nick Rene Hartmann

A great opportunity to comment along with the many participants, internal and external alike, to contribute to the next Strategic Plan.  Below are my suggestions for consideration.


1. The three future critical long term shifts that should be of concern to UNDP are:

Climate Change, Energy and Ecology: These are changing the foundations of the real economy and extensively affecting lives and livelihoods, migration and production patterns and much more. These are highly interconnected global priorities for which the global needle on the whole is showing a negative trend.  These are furthermore interconnected to other key issues such as the next pandemic, which is sure to be related to humankind’s continued abuse and disturbance of global ecological systems  and degradation of biodiversity related to unsustainable and damaging production and consumption patterns.  The next curves that will need to be flattened are these, and time is already not our friend.

Governance: The role of the state is increasingly in question as global inequities rise and youth are dispossessed, in many societies earning less then prior generations.  Disengagement with governing institutions at best, and protests and active disinformation to adversely affect democratic outcomes at worst, are rapidly on the rise.  The further extension of governments being represented at the UN as a Member State driven organization makes the UN an even more distant organization from the hearts and minds of “We, the People” and becomes perceived as an assembly of the unwilling and unrepresentative, starting with the dysfunctional Security Council.  

Such a state of disconnect between people and representatives will undermine the international cooperation required to achieve the SDGs, and if not addressed, could be fatal to the postwar experiment that is the UN.  A restoration of trust in institutions at the national level is essential if any progress is to be made at the international level and prevent future crises and conflict, as long as we still believe in the role and purpose of the nation state.

Inequality & Access: This relates to both socio-economic inequalities relating to the means of wealth generation and the distribution of these means including the divide in digital opportunities.  The ability of countries to generate wealth needed to sustain the current growth model will increasingly depend on the management of national development efficiencies based on the analysis of data and information in real time. This, given that output of both the productive and social sectors will become increasingly difficult to sustain primarily by the quantity of production and increasingly by their nature, quality and efficiency.  This will increasingly be related to the governance of both national development priorities as well as international commitments including terms of trade.  There is a significant case for a review of such terms given the continued inequities in financial and trade flows between north and south. Inequality and access, like the governance work, should bring UNDP’s specific human development viewpoints to socioeconomic policy-setting in partnership with the Breton Woods institutions and other IFIs.

Ideally, the very foundations and assumptions of the current economic growth models would be revisited as part of a fundamental shift required for sustainable development worldwide. But this is well beyond the remit of just the UN, and would require a level of such unprecedented political and social will that likely only another major crisis would be able to drive such action, as much as the thinking is already distilled.  However, UNDP should regularly seek to advance this debate in UN, G7, G20, WEF and related fora.


2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

In these three, UNDP is already well positioned but needs to focus and do much more in these at a deeper and more impactful level, where it is currently spread across many small donor-led projects with significant restrictions to scaling.  

UNDP is already the lead agency on climate change and the largest implementer of climate-related vertical funds. UNDP is a trusted convener, arbiter and broker to sensitive and complex governance solutions which ensures the inclusion of marginalized populations and human rights while advancing the gender cause.  Finally, its thought leadership, paired with integrated programmes addressing the bottom billion across the world, be they in LICs and MICs, informed by bold experiments like the SDG Accelerator Labs is a strong platform to address inequality and advance digitalization.


3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

UNDP will need to ensure that it continues to push boundaries beyond the comfort of its Member States and take more political risks.  The countdown to 2030 is too short, the consequence of COVID too great, and the number of options to policymakers to make a dent in issues such as climate change growing fewer, to not take bold measures.  Bold innovation, advanced experimentation and informed risk-taking should become a brand of UNDP that attracts further thinkers and process innovators that will inspire, especially the younger generations expecting and demanding change.

UNDP must also seriously consider and advance the current UN brand, position and raison d’être, to quote from the UN Charter “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.”  And to paraphrase Dag Hammarskjöld, “the United Nations was not created in order to bring us to heaven, but in order to save us from hell.”  Born from the embers of of WWII, from war and hell, the UN is still judged by the larger public by its successes and failures in the countries suffering from conflict, starvation and natural disasters. Where there is extensive market failure, where few incentives to FDI exist, where lack of rule of rule of law leads to abuses and atrocities, this is where the UN is expected to be active.

UNDP has a long history in peacebulding, stabilization, crisis governance and partnership with humanitarian actors.  This must become a much stronger and central function and offer of UNDP’s; explicit and clear, not just contextual and secondary.  It is already inherent; prevention is the most important aspect of development as there is nothing more heartbreaking or headlining than the erosion of development gains due to man-made conflict or poor disaster preparation and management.  Failure in governance and climate will also spell more crisis and conflict.  This obvious circle needs to be bolder.

Finally, these highly upstream policy and advisory services by UNDP will remain a challenge to deliver as client governments increasingly have access to both a greater variety and higher quality of advisory services compared to the past.  UNDP needs to ensure that its specific services speak to the strength of its position as a trusted partner that has the long-term in mind and the broader collective good at heart and that on a more mundane note, that these have the funding support of UNDP’s partners and that costs may be correctly recovered for such services.

June Ban

1. What do you think are critical long-term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

  • Shifting geopolitics / multi-polarity:
    • The international community has been experiencing a backlash to globalization, retreat of democracy, the rise of populist parties, as a result increasing tendency of securitization of aid and waning support to normative agenda
    • Existing global institutions and systems face increasing challenge from new configuration of power and alliances formed along narrow geopolitical and economic interests, e.g., WTO vs a plethora of trade deals among select group of countries. 
  • Convergence of global economy:
    • The rise of middle-income countries (MICs) is a notable trend in recent years. While the MICs accounted for only about 17% of the global economy at the beginning of the 20th century, their share had doubled to 35% by 2017. The expanding influence of the MICs are expected to continue, forecasted to surpass the current advanced economies by 2030.
  • More global, interconnected, and complex challenges:
    • Increasing demand for environmental resources can compromise even more planetary boundaries, and the effects of climate change can create climate refugees and vulnerable communities within and across countries, requiring local and global action to address them.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic reflects the global community’s interconnected nature that affects countries’ political, economic, cultural, and social aspects.
  • Considering these shifts and changes, the international community should think hard about what equitable, just, fair collaboration for development should look like.
    • Development should go beyond economic measures of progress to consider human values (e.g. quality of life, livelihoods, resilience, grit, empowerment, justice, equity, etc.)

2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

  • Safeguarding and upholding normative values for multilateralism:
    • International organizations, like UNDP, are critical to remind the international community of multilateral values of cooperation, shared responsibility, and mutual commitment to global safety, prosperity, and well-being.
  • Glocalizing development
    • International organizations, especially UNDP, hold global importance with global and local presence worldwide. With diverse partners that work with the organization and their expertise and experiences, UNDP is in a strategic position to “glocalize” development needs and priorities. Understanding global shifts and trends while recognizing local contexts, UNDP can navigate the future through innovative thinking with robust data from country- and regional-level presence.

3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

  • Strong positioning of UNDP as a partner for all
    • UNDP has traditionally been largely reliant on public sector’s support for programmatic and operational work globally. But the international community, with the exacerbation of global challenges arising from global pandemic and climate crisis, is recognizing the need for more coordination and collaboration between sectors.
    • In this regard, UNDP should be at the forefront to bring diverse stakeholders and partners together for its unique and special convening capability – and engage them in challenging, critical, and constructive conversation that is forward-looking and solution-seeking.
  • Become a strong analyst of global development data and information
    • With the advancement of technology, the international community enjoys higher quality of data and information shared globally. This has been a major improvement to understand and study different countries’ and regions’ progress towards sustainable development.
    • UNDP, in this regard, should further fortify its capacity to understand, interpret, and verify information for accurate and meaningful understanding of the world – and how it is working towards a more just, sustainable, and equitable development.
Aissata De Moderator

Nick Rene Hartmann  your point overlaps with Kanni Wignaraja  in terms of the big shifts we’re seeing and where we need to see some significant changes. You also points out as June Ban  and many others have, that governance is key and new social contracts are needed. At the global level, a disconnect between people and representatives will undermine international cooperation. June Ban  expresses it as the need to safeguard and uphold the normative values for multilateralism. At the national level, restoration of trust is needed in institutions is essential. Linked to governance, the assumptions of the current economic growth models should be revisited to include human development – human values as June Ban  puts it – aspects such as inequality and access as part of a fundamental shift required for sustainable development worldwide.

UNDP needs to advance the UN brand, continuing to do the things that it does well and has been entrusted to do such as peacebuilding, stabilization, crisis governance and partnership with humanitarian actors and harness its position as an ‘honest broker’ and trusted partner to provide high quality policy and advisory services. I agree with you Nick and June that none of this can be done alone and that UNDP should be at the forefront to bring diverse stakeholders and partners together to seek and co-create forward-looking solutions.

Laurel Patterson

Dear colleagues, its great to read all the ideas and exchanges which offer new insights, connect ideas, and co-create the foundation for our next SP.  This approach to networked learning should be a defining feature of UNDP in the decade ahead.

As UNDP and through the GPN we've invested in a knowledge strategy focused on connecting people to incentivize collaboration, creating new communities and leveraging social networks for better insights. The intention is to drive a culture change toward a more networked and agile approach to learning, which is about a shift from creating knowledge products to connecting people to produce new insights to address emerging issues. 

A decentralized, connected system premised on critical connections is essential to navigate uncertainty and capitalize on opportunities, as many have outlined in this dialogue. How does the future of learning influence how we 'do business' as UNDP?What kind of global learning architecture best helps us meet 21st century social and environmental challenges?  What would that mean in terms of shifts in the organizational culture at UNDP?

Just like we're doing in this consultation, we need to strengthen a networked approach to learning, with emphasis on-demand tacit knowledge exchange, insight creation and acceleration of the flow of knowledge through people - inside and outside the organization. 

In our ambition to be a boundaryless organization, which so critical in the decade ahead, we need to ensure our SP underpinned by a dynamic and networked approaches to learning, which reduces barriers to collaboration and matches the scale and speed of the challenges in the decade ahead.

Aissata De Moderator

Laurel Patterson  indeed one of the ways to drive the work we do is in this idea of a network of decentralised but connected experts generating distributed knowledge. What that learning network looks like and how it’s constructed is still a challenge so ideas on this are welcome.

Ricardo Moscoso

After reading such a rich thread of ideas and recommendations for UNDP and the UN system in all its areas, I have to add some thoughts as a young Latin American with some experience in the government sector and having had the opportunity to  participate in Strategic Plan negotiations and approvals by Executive Boards of agencies  made up by Member States in Headquarters.

Every year during each new General Assembly Period, current political positions held by important actors show that long-term thinking about development is being constantly challenged by current political trends that are ever-changing, so the obstacles are getting only more complex in order to ensure that long-term shifts will make development a mainstream issue, which is urgently needed in order to get more public support and engagement, particularly in youth groups. 

Therefore, these long-term future shifts will be more effective if all relevant stakeholders  are properly included and represented  in advocacy plans and learning thoroughly and in a simpler way the work that is done at the United Nations on a daily basis to prevent conflicts and promote peace in areas of extreme poverty. The UN is essential to bridge the humanitarian and development nexus and this is a concept that people that are not in UN circles may not be aware of, we need the future to be inclusive and information to be widely available for all socioeconomic levels. 

Young people and vulnerable groups have to be included at the forefront of future shifts in order to change drastically the way we think about development for the future, UNDP could be more involved in bridging the human rights pillar with development, as a society with a solid human rights record is bound to reap the benefits of a dynamic and diverse economy. 

UNDP will be instrumental for the future as one of the UN's largest agencies that enjoys global recognition.  In addition to the comments that see UNDP as a convener and an advocate, I not only agree with that vision but think that beyond a convener and advocate, UNDP is an ever growing pool of knowledge. These organizations should play a more active role in capacity building in a broader spectrum of people by forging stronger partnerships with UNICEF and other sister agencies, breaking silos to solidify public school system curriculums. Development is a concept that is rarely taught in public schools, where a massive amount of students in developing economies study at, so if UNDP manages to start investing in early childhood development and beyond, new generations will be not only empowered, but ready to lead for the future. 

Before the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, the future was already complex, now with the inequality gap reaching astounding numbers, unemployment in young people soaring, domestic violence rising, migrants trapped within borders rising, refugees lacking proper care, violations to the rights of LGBTI people, older persons, indigenous peoples, afrodescendants, people with disabilities, women, among other groups the future can seem dark.

However there are certain outcomes that UNDP has to facilitate in order to impact the future in a trascendental way; gender parity has to be a priority in order to close the pay gap between men and women that has been disparate for too long; leveling 50% of the world's population would be a desirable start and a way to stop poverty levels among women rising. Gender parity and sexual and reproductive health and rights for all will be key to ensure that the outcomes are positive.

Young women and girls have to be at the center of UNDP's agenda, working closely with UNFPA as it has been doing so far to advocate for evidence based approaches to sexual education in developing economies in a tailor-based approach and respecting national legislations, but also providing them with concrete solutions. 

Nationalism, fundamentalism in religions, racism and discrimination of all types will stand in the way of all the work but if the UN system continues using all the tools available, these intersectional obstacles will subside eventually as they have done in the past, allowing for a comprehensive plan and agenda to move forward to achieve long-lasting impacts. 

Aissata De Moderator

Fully agree with you Ricardo Moscoso on the imperative to make the  humanitarian - development and I would add peace nexus in prospective reflection and thinking with greater youth involvement. Inclusivity to ensure effectivity of the non-discrimination principle will help to cover the socio-economic and cultural dimension of people's rights and reduce inequalities. You rightly pointed out the importance of greater integration and inter-agencies partnership.

Aliyu Danjuma

Hello, Covid 19 pandemic will forever remain one of the biggest treat and opportunity challenges of the world,If not for this pandemic that has expose the total weakness on how tax payers resources have long been mis-used by the politians through corrupt practices and embezzlement insighting violence, mehem, chaos religion crisis, farmers harders conflict, rising iniquities, insugencies, rising unemployment,As decades of years have gone still remains were we are underdeveloped, Living vulnerable women's and children's that have been tormented by one conflict or the other and the rising insurgencies without limitition, keep on escarlating jeopardizing livelihoods, women's children's roaming the street begging with no shelters,left  alone to survive by any means necessary in the crawl world with no education, extreme hunger/penury If this is  how lesgislation in DEMOCRACY is, Right of the citizens will not be diffended then there is a limit to legislation.

As exposed to weakness treat is clearly seeing gradually suffercating humanity and nature defining world uncertainties.

If I may suggest covid 19 pandemic is  quet a RESILIENCE  to this world. As a source to identify weaknesses. So also a source to viable ideas,to a new positive life,e-governance, social contracts, opportunities in private sectors, localization of SDG to carry everybody along, diversifying agricultural sectors through UNDP across the world, Achieving maximum security, Through digital technology innovation idears in the grassroot will be identify and improve to world's standard.prumpt calls to natural disasters.

As UNDP remain the  world leading organization impacting lives and livelihoods for decades to present now solutions to world deformemity, l remain resolute that UNDP and it partner's will come out of this in no distance time.is'nt that right fellow class members

Aissata De Moderator

Thank you @Aliyu Danjuma   for stressing the increasing eagerness for accountability and importance to address inequalities and the effective social contracts. 

Malin Herwig

@Emanuele Sapienza and myself would like to come in on the issue of trust, which has been highlighted by several people in this consultation, in particular in the context of covid-19. As @Amita Gill said, the pandemic is undermining trust in institutions where people feel that the crisis is not being handled in a transparent manner with effective oversight. @Anga Timilsina highlighted the importance of institutions being inclusive and accountable, to build greater trust and social cohesion.

At a time when citizens are being asked to embrace, for an undefined period of time,  measures that carry enormous economic costs, the issue of trust has naturally received renewed attention. Trust – or the belief that a certain actor will act consistently with expectations of “positive” behaviour – is a necessary condition for social cohesion and an important component of constructive relations. 

In order to advance the conversation around the importance of ‘trust’ and the implications for a development organization, UNDP Oslo Governance Centre (OGC) together with the Panama Hub, have been convening colleagues across regions with the aim to sharpen our understanding of trust and the implications for UNDPs policy and programmes. Using research by the Panama Regional Hub as a starting point, the discussion has gained insights from UNDPs breadth of country experiences, a think piece piece will be presented shortly, complemented with deep-dives into issues where more research is needed.

Trust captures various aspects and varies depends on needs and expectations. While it’s not necessarily a phenomena to create programmes around, it is a useful indication of transparency, efficiency and inclusion. In particular, trust appears to be essential for the successful implementation of government policies, programmes and regulations that depend on citizens’ cooperation. But trust is earned and ‘trustworthiness’ will be important going forward. / @Emanuele Sapienza and Malin

Aissata De Moderator

Ricardo Moscoso  it’s always good to hear from young people and your point that youth and vulnerable groups have to be included at the forefront of future shifts in rethink development for the future is key. Indeed, the development, humanitarian and peace and security agendas cannot be viewed as separate to make progress, and even if they are discussed together in principle, if the integrated financing doesn’t follow then it will be hard to realise those changes.

Aliyu Danjuma and many others have said, the COVID-19 pandemic brought pre-existing issues to the forefront and starkly exposed the flaws in socio-economic systems; and Malin Herwig adds is undermining of trust in institutions. And there-in lies an opportunity to address them a build resilience so that when the next shock inevitable comes, the ability to bounce back is in-built. This issue of building back trust is a continuing theme in the conversations taking place here and many have identified it as fundamental going forward.


Dr. Timothy Barker

Hello everybody and thanks for the chance to comment.

1. In terms of future long term shifts I really don't personally like to try to predict the future. One never really knows what may happen. However, generally I do wish we could especially learn from our mistakes more and "expect the unexpected". That is, we should be prepared for unimaginable scenarios as best we can. All too often, for example, it seems to me that policy is 'knee-jerk'/reactive instead of trying to be more proactive? So, in short, I'd like to see the future being planned for in the present by looking at the past.

2. I'm uncertain of the role of the UN(DP) in the future. Perhaps because of my views expressed above its difficult to envisage (certainly without thorough research about the past) what the future really holds. I doubt it will be 'business as usual'. So, perhaps an agile organisational structure would suit UN(DP) the best rather than anything too rigid? That is, it should be capable of readily adapting to whatever situations it has to deal with and certainly not get bogged down in platitudes, processes and the promises of its idealistic genesis. I do realise that personnel embedded with the organistation(s) may not like this point of view but really - although I contradict myself (don't we all from time to time) the future is uncharted territory. So, whilst we do need to keep an eye on the past and learn from mistakes again the present should be used to propose a kind of meta analysis of what the future response to the most unlikely of situations should be.

3. I'm unsure what is meant by "impact" here. I will assume it means achieving an objective and that we all largely agree upon what the objective is? Although of course in order to achieve the objective we do really need to define what "impact" truly means? So, for the further questions I'd just like to say positively we need to have a discussion about the "Development" in unDp. I have been questioning this concept lately especially from the vantage point of past failures. For instance, it seemed to be historically based upon the notion of achieving some kind of '"industrialised" society akin to the superpower nation states etc? I'd like to challenge that conception and instead posit my belief in a structural change in the widest sense possible beyond simple economic arguments. But, I'll leave that open for now as its such a complex research subject matter. Negatively, the responses that could stand in the way of reconceptualising "development" would be the power associated with the status quo. I don't feel that will ever be usurped but one hopes it may be influenced through the usual channels or otherwise.

Thanks! Tim :)

Erol Yayboke

I'm honored to provide the 100th comment! This is an innovative way of seeking public input that has obviously produced incredibly rich content to which I can only hope to add marginal value. Congratulations to UNDP and thanks to all fellow commenters for your dedication to making the world a better place.

As to the questions... 

What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

As many have mentioned, I believe our inability to take corrective action on climate change will have an increasingly disruptive impact on our ability to enable development. Additionally, the rise of alternative visions of development assistance (perhaps with less transparency, fewer efforts to build local capacity, more problematic debt, etc.) will create the need to think about the value proposition of more traditional forms of development assistance. Though Covid-19 will hopefully not be a long term challenge, it is exacerbating inequalities within and between countries that is turning back the clock on development progress. Lastly (though this is by no means a comprehensive list), I think there will be continued migration and displacement pressures that, left unresolved or at least unaddressed, could further threaten the liberal international order and the democratic foundations on which it has historically stood.

In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

Many of these challenges are addressed in the SDGs. There is no better way to think about a holistic, inclusive recovery from Covid-19 than the SDGs. The SDGs are a remarkable framework and UNDP is the primary global entity through which countries, the private sector, civil society, and other multi-lateral institutions engage with them.

What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

I believe the focus of development should always be on improving outcomes for people - especially the most vulnerable. UNDP can improve its research and learning on how to best improve outcomes for vulnerable people and working hard to make sure - to the extent feasible - that the policies of its member states align along evidence-informed strategies.

  1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

UNDP has remarkable global reach, credibility, and convening power. When UNDP invites you to attend or speak at something, that invitation carries weight. It should use that same weight to align member states' development efforts (perhaps in collaboration with the OECD DAC) behind achievable, region-, country, and context-specific goals. In a world where development assistance is plateauing, UNDP can convene host governments, the local and international development community, the private sector, academia/researchers, and other informed stakeholders to develop tailored SDG-focused country development strategies. The days of bilateral foreign assistance operating in a vacuum are numbered. We will need to find better ways to practice multilateralism (some call this 'burden sharing') and UNDP is the right entity through which this can occur.

  1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

​​​​​​​Of course this is easier said than done - as in the United States currently, politics may get in the way. While protecting its core funding interests, UNDP should not be afraid of politics, U.S. or otherwise. Governments come and go but global development challenges will always require strong multilateral commitment. I believe there are people (including politicians) in every country in the world who believe that; our job - under the leadership of UNDP - is to find them and cultivate their voices.

Aissata De Moderator

@Erol Yayboke thanks for insisting on COVID-19 impact in exacerbating inequalities within and between countries and turning back the clock on development progress. Could you share more on how UNDP could further support the required collective solidarity and strengthen multilateralism? 

Erol Yayboke

Aissata De It's a good question. Three things come to mind:

1. UNDP is famous as one of the more operational U.N. agencies... Perhaps it should dedicate more resources to development diplomacy and leading on high level agenda setting with partner countries and coordination of efforts. I know there's a nascent OCHA-for-dev entity in the system but UNDP (for now at least) has the reach to be far more effective in coordinating and focusing efforts around country strategies. It's comparative advantage is not it's operational capabilities, rather it's placement within the U.N. system, it's credibility with partner governments, and its global reach.

2. Use these assets and your convening power and reputation to help operationalize covid vaccine distribution in the developing world, without which inequality will inevitably grow. UNDP needs to be at the COVAX table representing the underrepresented, for example.

3. Consider ways to reinvigorate the 2030 agenda post covid. I don't know if this is an extension to accommodate for pandemic-related backsliding (esp on inequality), a global re-commitment  process, or something else. A big, attention grabbing effort to place the SDGs at the heart of an equitable global recovery.

Jie Sheng Li
  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play? - The UNDP must promote a human centred-development voice. While it is not able to project the same influence of MDBs and some large bilateral donors, it must promote that development is not about money or simply economic growth but about people and their capabilities.
Aissata De Moderator

Indeed Jie Sheng Li ! Continuous focus and attention on people's need and capabilities contribute to building strong and accountable institutions and ensure resilience to many chocs  

Juan Pablo Gordillo
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
    • Inclusión: think of common wellbeing ground, leverage the poor and keep capacities to recover from shocks (health, climate, war, ciber-shocks, etc)
    • Development should embrace complexity: there is no magic bullet, countries and local level communities empower different development strategies, but there is a common base, citizens demands, and there should be a voice for them, no as traditional State building, it should be built from differents points of view, and should be dialogue and participation channels to hear those voices.
    • Diversity and multiethnic communities for global citizenship: National states model is on crisis, a governance one, problems need common shared solutions across states, and diversity, migration, voluntary human mobility and global entanglement between key development topics across communities and citizens are a new normality. Multicultural environments, de-growth and many other innovative global-local initiatives should be supported.
    • Climate Crisis needs to act NOW: not only preventive, but also mitigation, green/blue bonds are needed, climate taxes, and many other innovations to build better environment protection incentives are needed.
  2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  • UNDP is a development agency, multilateral, multifunded, and almost with universal representation across countries. It should reflect a more complex world, less vertical, more horizontal, built over citizens demands, more active on policy dialogue, promoting participative and democratic values, according to XXI century. It should be backing governments, not only national, but also local, and jointly engaging stakeholders such as private sector, CSOs, academia. Should expand innovation and horizo scanning initiatives such as innovation labs to all dimensions of development. 
  • Stronger policy voice is needed, passive attitudes from international system today have a clear impact tomorrow. UNDP should stand for human rights defense, against racism, polarization, trolling, violence, gender gaps, discrimination, corruption, political missleading, information pollution, institutional cooptation, amongst others.
  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
    • Civic, formal, informal, cultural and Moral Education of citizens, a new citizenship and multiple social pacts and agreements are needed. UNDP should help governments to build policies to Support education for all.
    • Social protection common ground: COVID shown the importance to work with health, mental health, and social protection. Governments need an additional push to innovate on social common ground for all; unemployment bonds, work formalization policies, social security, pensions, amongst others must be re-designed, avoiding leaving behind people, specially on shocks and crises Such as COVID-19.
    • Social tissue must be strenghtened: building citizenship from diversity, engaging women, youth, LGBTIQ, ancestral communities and all different groups arroud a common goal; a renewed citizen, global, protecting environment, defending human rights, embracing complexity, recognizing Development pathways as complex as many biological systems. Sciences and evidences as key stones to build policies, and common goals to share limited resources, building a new confidence wave on governments, CSOs, private sector and international system.
    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
    • Bipolar or multipolar international system: States should embrace multipolar and multifaceted responses to build a renewed international system. Bipolar or unipolar systems are the lead to un-succesful  interventions on Development.
    • Polarized discourses and information pollution
    • Fiscal limitations and limited budgets
    • War: peacebuilding is a key aim for UNDP, for UN. Without peace as common base ground, no policy discussion will succeed.
    • Famine: child, women, youths, all of them need a basic daily nutritional pack, if not the future is being sacrificed today, due to inequality on resources (food) administration, policy should guarantee that no one sleeps without something on their stomach each night. 
    • Climate Crisis: Climate is the base of all human activities, is a major AIM, overall policy Support must have a clear impact on it, and governance also should allign interventions to mitigate human negative impact on the environment, ecosystems and along the planet.
    • Cyber war, cybercrime: Tech is a new weapon, and internet a new Development space; nations, citizens should prevent cyber crime, cyber war and many feasable acts that might corrupt this global network. It menaces the acces of many to education, health, work, family, etc.
da qun xiang

The speech of chairman of ACAA on “To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the Global Art Exhibition ”

Chairman Xiang yang Sep 05,2020 morning

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Good morning!

Today is the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the United Nations, “To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the Global Art Exhibition ” is held as scheduled. The world cannot live without the world order led by the UN. Cherishing and respecting the authority of the UN is to protect our rights to human rights, dignity, equality, liberty, happiness and so on. It is also to protect a world in which multilateral systems of all countries and regions coexist. For this, today in the international metropolis --- Shanghai, we witnessed the " To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the Global Art Exhibition" to meet and share our achievements with artists from all over the world online. This online exhibition gives artists from all over the world the opportunity to participate in the voice of the world, and we will continue to provide more discourse platform for artists from all over the world. The theme of the Global Art Exhibition is : "To pursue peace, cultural multilateralism, cultural inclusion and environmental protection". In this global art exhibition, artists have dedicated their peace-loving hearts to the 75th anniversary of the Founding of the United Nations through various forms of art works and performances to express the artists' voice in depicting the eternal theme of "peace, harmony and happiness".

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) established by the United Nations in 2015 are a continuation of the "Charter", a continuation of development and innovation, and a clearer and more ambitious blueprint for world peace and development and the improvement of human living standards. They are a beacon shining at the crossroads where countries around the world wander. With lighthouses, the countries of the world will not get lost on their way forward. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations are the common goals pursued by artists, all peoples and all countries around the world. Artists use their artistic works as the carrier to express their voices and their dedication and pursuit of the goals.

As the world faces the great challenge of COVID-19 epidemic in 2020, artists have also shouldered the responsibility of art. They can use the brush to show how to fight against the virus and enhance the confidence and determination of Novel Coronavirus. This is the soul instinct and mission of artists. Novel Coronavirus prevented artists from communicating face to face and thus brought global artists closer together. Our online exhibition "To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the Global Art Exhibition" in Shanghai today shows the determination of artists around the world to work together to fight the virus.

As the stage of the multilateral system in the world, the United Nations is a big family of cultural diversity. On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Founding of the United Nations, we provide cultural colleagues and artists from all over the world with the opportunity to display the diverse cultures of various countries, so that the diverse cultures and arts of various countries can blossom and bear fruit on the stage of The ACAA of United Nations. Today's online exhibition " To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the Global Art Exhibition " opens an unprecedented opportunity in human history to give all people in the world the right to development brought by learning from diverse cultures, and at the same time, to enjoy the diversified demands of cultural and artistic life. This is a cultural feast that the UN gives a voice to the world's diverse cultures and arts.

In today's " To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and the Global Art Exhibition", one of the important offline activities--- "China-Russia Friendship International Exhibition", embodies the Russian artists’ cultural art which shows the development of friendship between China and Russia, also has manifested the strong desire of the Chinese entrepreneurs, artists to consolidate China-Russia friendship from generation to generation. Today, online and offline, there are typical works by artists from China, Russia, Asia and Latin America. These works show artists' strong desire to "pursue peace and build a better world" as well as their aspiration for a better life in the world and the peaceful development of mankind.

Finally, I wish all today's activities a complete success!

Thank you!

Time : Morning Sep 05,2020


James Wagala

1. UNDP can moderate agenda setting for development. For example, lead identification of high impact interventions in the development world, shape the ideas and rally other like-minded organizations in the actualization of those interventions. 

2. We can work towards strong, resilient, self sustaining communities. The focus should be on leaving the communities self sustaining and resilient. this will require:

  • Robust capacity development effort focused on embedding ling-term capacities in the communities in which we work.
  • Implementing a phased exit strategy so that communities do not remain reliant on our support.
  • Working with other partners, especially governments, to carry on the work even as UNDP exits.

3. One of the things that can quickly erode the gains we are making is conflict. 

I appreciate to be a member of this noble course. We can focus towards improving the welfare of the community. This can be achieve by Improving the Human Development Index in the following indicator, Health, Education and Standards of Living. When designing the plan focus on the above.
Adam Bouloukos

Hi Friends,

Great exchange so far!

Here in Saudi Arabia , I am buried in G20 events and all the parallel discussions in the engagement groups. I have two key takeaways: Ministries of Finance are on the periphery of the development debate; they must be seen as key drivers of success and social stability. And, 2, CSOs are the future. the sheer energy , dynamism and innovation that they represent is palatable. 

On the questions, specifically:

1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

We need to recognize the shifts (or dilution perhaps) of multilateralism and see how UNDP can be a champion for multi-stakeholderism. 

2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

UNDP needs to give voice to CSOs and elevate their engagement, scale up successes, and act as an honest broker to convey genuine on-the-ground innovation to government.

  • 3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome? We need to invest in the GPN. It is an immense resource I feel we have trouble navigating and we are IN the organization. It should be the primary channel to 'sell' our thought leadership. 
    2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome? COVID stands in the way. It has taken away our natural face-to-face ability to share, compare, criticize our efforts. 
Aissata De Moderator

Thank you Adam Bouloukos. Could you share more on how UNDP would be a champion of multi-stakeholderism - what more does it take?

Laura Rio

1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development? When measuring development, a shift from thinking in terms of statistics, numbers, reports, to more in terms of harmony of people with the planet. from sectors to development brought about through networks and teamwork.

2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?  Act as a connection with the lived-in realities of the communities we work with.  Be a flatter decision making organization: empower teams and act with speed even and especially when information is patchy.

3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

 A change from societies, economies and  political systems dominated by ever increasing and self-destructive material consumption and economic growth to equal societies and circular economies  that can be symbiotic with nature, maintain and enhance natural capital. 

  1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?  Invest in people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. Invest in life A forest that is alive is worth more than a forest that is dead). Keep human rights and equality at the centre of change. Develop digital skills for the age of automation and mobility. 
  2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome? increased competition over natural resources and climate change; derogation from conventions, treaties, and agreements on human rights esp. in times of emergency; proliferation of zero-sum games & social traps, and  inequalities. Limited freedom of expression, lack of privacy and no data protection, discrimination of vulnerable groups; surge in crime and gender-based violence
Etab Al Taki
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
    2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

1- UNDP new focus will not only be on strategic thematic areas- signature solutions, which are still valid, but rather on policy support and methodology. The question is how best we can translate a strategy to create a new development reality, and how to deliver with high quality, impact and innovative added value, 

Some examples include:

- livelihood challenge, including the overlap issues with other UN Orgs – UNDP is to create its’ specific business model for inclusive growth such as integrated spatial/area planning at the sub-national level,

- Creating integrated local economic units linked to national priorities, 

- Local governance interventions should go hand in hand with local development plans, and

- Integrated environment to support micro-business and entrepreneurship. 

- Invest in the local culture, music and art, sport, and active youth participation as entry points for social cohesion and peace-building and a new way to find out what connect people, especially in a crisis setting

- Support Governments and communities to put in place emergency response and readiness plans, and re-gaining people’ trust and ‘hope’ in development as the only way forward, and creating new and innovative ways for work, including strengthening digital education, digital services, and digital business, as examples of the lessons learned from Covid-19  

2- Future external focus on the role of UNDP as integrator and knowledge hub and UNDP added value in areas related to youth, integrated rural development, governance, equality, policy support, women empowerment, climate action, and resilience using SDG Integration as a framework.

- Internal focus within our programmes and M&E system on the outcome and impact level at each CO level, and on measuring and communicating the transformational change and the benefits we contributed to at the community and national levels within the SDG framework.

3- In addition to UNDP signature solutions, which are still valid, there is a growing need to focus on SDG interlinkages, policy support, and well-tested approaches and capabilities to deliver on development promise.

4-Leadership, prioritization, and enhancing the commitment of international development community, donors, and political leaders to deliver on their promise to people prosperity, protection of our environment, and human rights and ethics. 

5-Lack of finance, and the impact of political and economic sanction on local communities and local businesses in a crisis setting. Managing high expectations and growing and emerging needs due to Covid-19 is also a challenge.


Etab Al Taki

Thank you for this great opportunity to exchange ideas with other members through this platforms, I found such discussion and collective thinking platforms very useful, looking forward to read all comments and valuable contributions.

Tsegaye Lemma

Adding my two cents to these interesting exchanges. Obviously, this discussion on the new Strategic Plan is happening against the backdrop of seismic shifts around the world that many have already eloquently elaborated.

But when discussing potential role for UNDP, it might be useful to reflect on changes in the space we operate. First, the international development industry is getting crowded as new actors both public and private actors join the ranks. For instance, according to the Economist, nearly a quarter of USAID spending in 2016 went to for-profit firms, and similarly 22% of bilateral spending by DfID went to contractors. This means cultivating a distinctive brand identity and value proposition will become ever more important to operate in the market place. Legacy and mandate alone won’t be enough.

Second, the demand for development services is becoming sophisticated. The traditional bricks and mortar types of projects are leaving the scene to designing complex projects like smart urban transport system in crowded and emerging cities; or instead of drafting new laws or regulations, to facilitating strategic foresight exercise for Prime Minister’s office; from community rehabilitation projects to crafting an economic diversification programmes, etc.

Third, the way development gets financed is changing too. The traditional aid model – a resource transfer from North to South – is becoming an outdated approach. As ODA increasingly come under pressure, the grant-in-grant-out model is becoming less prominent. Funding partners are also increasing looking to see their aid money leverage in more private investments through blended finance. On the other hand, more and more middle income countries are able and willing to pay for development services both in and outside of their country, but on their own terms.

Last, the development industry is not immune to the disruption power of technological innovations. The way development programmes and projects get delivered, monitored, and reported on and the type of solutions in demand are all being shaped by technology. To compete in this space, organizations like UNDP need to be at forefront of innovation and digitization and use it to enhance operational agility and optimization and improve its interface with partners and beneficiaries alike.       

When thinking about which outcome UNDP should be trying to achieve, it is important to think about the kind of development vision and challenge critical to developing countries and international partners. For me, there remains sticky and foundational challenges to development as well as new and emerging ones. For instance, the world has never been this connected and many joined the race to be leaders in the 4th industrial revolution be it AI and nanotechnology; yet a good portion of humanity still faces serious obstacle to enjoy the benefits of the first and second industrial revolutions – mechanized production, access to electric grid, water and sewage supply systems, etc. As such, there’s a role for organization like UNDP to deal with both the sticky and structural development challenges head on and or find a way to leapfrog using the latest available knowledge and expertise. More specifically,  

  • The unfinished agenda of poverty eradication: Despite the past progress in poverty reduction and human development, the current COVID crisis and the impending climate and conflict crisis puts this task much more challenging. Global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years, with 150 million people joining the ranks. Hence, tackling poverty and inequality remains a relevant mission to UNDP and its partner. Going beyond the simplistic income-based measure of poverty, UNDP has to use the multi-dimensional approach and measure of poverty in its work and programming. We need reflection on how we target the poor (the poor person or poor country), the latter is increasingly becoming irrelevant as two-thirds of the poorest people live in middle-income countries, which also speaks to the growing inequality. Figuring out where secure jobs in the future should come from in adds additional dimension to the anti-poverty and inequality fight.
  • ‘The Governance of Things’ in the age of uncertainty and discontent: This is a space UNDP cannot afford to take for granted but think through new forms and approaches to governance. Besides the retreat away from democratic and human rights being witnessed around the world, the wider adoption of social media, big data and internet access is fundamentally changing how people interact, access services and consume information. The power these assets and capabilities provide companies, governments and interest groups growing by the day with serious consequences to the social contract. It has become too obvious how disinformation campaigns breed mistrust, hate and conflict. If this trend remains unchallenged, coming together to solve common problems, hold people with authorities to account or even agree on facts will become too difficult. This is consequential to any development effort.  
  • Dealing with an existential issue: the impending climate crisis and its implications to sustainable development and the future of people and planet should be a preoccupation to any development agency, let alone the United Nations premier development programme. The track record and multi-sectoral approach to address both climate change adaptation and mitigation measures will be critical for UNDP to play a crucial role in this space. Our success or failure in this area carry significant ramification to many aspects of development, migration, peace and stability.  

While these three areas pretty much in UNDP’s past and current portfolio in one way or another, the way in which we have to approach them has to change. Based on the change in the operating space, UNDP cannot be everything to everyone, i.e., it has to define carefully which role to play in which specific context along with appropriate configuration and specialization. We have to move from a ‘doer’ to ‘enabler and facilitator’ of change by people on the ground. Our programming has to graduate from small projects towards a more portfolio and platform approach. Furthermore, in order to achieve the aforementioned outcomes, UNDP has to match the new roles it wants to play with updated and relevant competencies, organizational culture, operational instruments and partnership modalities.   

Aissata De Moderator

Could not agree more with you @Tsegaye Lemma on the need to rethink governance support and move from small scale project to larger interventions given the changing demand for development services you rightly pointed out. Noting your suggestion for greater focus on people's daily challenges through for instance, development of smart urban transport system to address crowded and emerging cities.

Ali A. al-khulaifi
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  1. Pollution and protecting the environment: there is too much damage being done to the environment and almost nothing is begin done to protect it from this damage. There have to be a concrete, continues and serious efforts from UNDP, NGO and Environment program toward major polluters in the world to work with them to limit this pollution. 
  2. Increase of population in developing countries: which puts too much pressure on jobs, government services education and developmental plans.
  3. Migration: movement of population, internally and externally sometimes are unpredictable and in many cases are caused by wars, escaping prosecution, environmental causes and looking for jobs. These must be studied since they constitute future shifts.
  4. Remote interaction and the excess use of AI: this is clearly apparent during the COVID crisis. People, Sates and business will experience new normal which must be taken into consideration.
  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

UNDP should be more proactive and concentrate on the 4 cycles that hindering developments efforts, poverty, education, health and decent jobs and in cooperation with other organisations.

      1. UNDP should first reach out for the ordinary uneducated people to let them understand fully its mission and objectives and start cooperating with it and supporting its mission.
      2. Education: Many governments in developing countries are not putting much emphasis on good education either on funding, schools, equipment and teachers training and retaining this will result in ignorance which will be reflected on jobs, poverty and poor health.
      3. Jobs: All countries must concentrate its efforts on creating decent jobs. People without or low income, combined with mistreatment and discrimination on the job have nothing to feed their families and also have nothing to lose in creating unwanted destabilizing in countries.


  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

Equality in development amongst nations. There are of course many discrepancies and disparities amongst nations, poor, developing least developed and developed, this must not be acceptable anymore since instability in one nation will certainly affect others.

    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

UNDP should be a mediator between developing and developed countries to help in that regard. There have to be more and continues work between North, south and south south cooperation. UNDP must work closely with WTO, ILO, WIPO and other agencies to facilitate help and understanding

    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

International cooperation is vital and critical in that regard. It is also important that all people of the world know precisely the mission and objectives of the UNDP to support it and fight for it. All member States must also support UNDP especially on the financial way. UNDP must also reach out for business and philanthropists to donate and support its mission.


Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thanks @Ali for your thoughtful contribution.  It reminds us of the core development challenges; poverty, health, education and jobs which underpin human development. I also liked the reminder of our mediator or 'bridge' role between developed and developing countries.  A critical function in this current environment.

Qinli Helena Huang

Develop in a sustainable way with less to no sacrifices of our environment, less to no disturbance of wildlife’s natural habitats, and no over-exploitation natural resources that only for a short-term profit or financial gains of a few, as well as for human consumptions. Yet, to build a society still can preserve and even maximize each member’s freedom to be free from hunger/thirst/violence/social inequality/injustice, promote freedom for self-growth, freedom for a better life, freedom to access higher education etc.. We can’t be a generation to leave problems to our future generations for solutions, but to develop a sustainable human habitat in harmony with nature, environmentally, economically, societally for generations to enjoy, cherish and keep solving the universal puzzles that we are not able to finish in our lifetime, and our children can carry on.

In order to achieve this, we will have to find the balance of development, preservation and conservation, restore our relationship with the nature and respect all living beings that we share the same planet with; harnessing and utilizing renewable energy in every field possible; exploring new biodegradable materials for future manufactory, packaging, that our nature can handle, and can be resolved overtime without harsh chemical residues or with limited to no toxins emissions during the degradation process; researching on methods can support sustainable farming; and finally to achieve the goal of zero waste, that everyone and everything can live a life to the fullest cycle, recycle, reuse, renew and optimize the usage of all resources that our planet earth and each one of us can offer. For example, when considering to develop an area, shall we mark the areas where on the route of wildlife’s seasonal migrations and their natural habitats, and preserve the area as it is; areas suffer frequent natural “disasters” like flooding, hurricane, or wild fire, can we reserve those areas for scientific researches on harnessing natural resources such as hydro, tidal, wind or solar power, and thanks to GIS, GPS, remote sensing technology, all of these become possible now; once a green area planned to be developed by real estate for human use, can we also develop a matching forest plan for neutralizing, maybe innovative architectural designs also can help accomplish this when take recycled building materials, human-nature balance into consideration.

With support from technologies such as AI, internet of things, mechanical engineering, robots can set free people who work in repetitive, hazardous and dangerous environment, and all we have to learn is how to “talk” to the machines via algorithms; computers now can store, analyze, and visualize data for us to better understand the situation; platforms like MOOCs, open doors to all people for higher education; patients don’t have to go to hospitals in person, or even waiting in line to see a physician, but a team of medical experts are online to care for non-emergent diagnosis and treatment advises. Certainly technologies are transforming our ways of life, the revolution is ongoing, it is everywhere, in respect of infrastructure, manufactory, agriculture, livestock, architecture, transportation, waste management, healthcare, education, social engagement and many many more.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thanks Qinli Helena Huang 

Finding our balance with nature is probably the greatest challenge we face today (with the climate crisis being the most visible part of that, but not the only one).  The Covid pandemic has given us an opportunity to reinforce this message, and we need to find better ways to do so.  What kinds of things can UNDP do better/ more of to build the kind of world you describe?

Annelise Parr

Alongside the truly innovative and bold new ideas so many colleagues have been sharing, I know that UNDP will be reflecting on those things it’s done well. One of these is consistently improving the transparency of our work and that of our partners. UNDP leads in this field, both through the open publication on a monthly basis of detailed information on its projects and the results achieved, and by heading up the Secretariat of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). The initiative acted quickly by issuing new guidance in April to support its more than 1200 publishing organisations to flag their activities as COVID-19 related, making that crucial data open and accessible to anybody with an internet connection for coordination, analysis, accountability, storytelling and a host of other uses.

Principles such as aid transparency and open data may feel less exciting in a new strategic planning cycle, but nonetheless they remain incredibly important to the organisation and to our partners and should remain front and centre in the new Strategic Plan.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

I completely agree on the importance of transparency, Annelise Parr .  In our internal UNDP discussion a couple of weeks ago there was a thoughtful exchange about the importance of trust in the modern world, and how UNDP's commitment to transparency has gained us important credibility with our partners and stakeholders.  And I know our digital team are working with GPN colleagues to strengthen the use of our open data platform for insight and analysis.  I certainly don't foresee UNDP reducing our commitment to these principles.  But what else can we do in the coming years to both improve our transparency, and to become more trusted more broadly?


Samuel Rizk

Hello colleagues - a late contribution but picks up on comments above from Nick Rene Hartmann, Isabel Saint Malo and Amita Gill as well as Sarah Lister.


It's good t be hopeful for a more quiet and peaceful future, but also to be prepared for turbulence ahead. The signs are all around us, since before the COVID crisis. Going by the current trajectory of conflict, disasters and fragility, achieving the SDGs by 2030 will be a challenge- only 18% of fragile and conflict-affected states are on track to meet SDG targets related to unmet basic needs.  Tremendous setback to development gains. With the impact of the COVID pandemic, human development is declining for the first time in decades. A recent study of UNDP on Yemen warns of exponentially growing impacts of conflict on human development and projects, and if the war continues through 2030, the development setback will increase to four decades – a setback of nearly two generations.


The challenges are enormous and increasingly complex and multidimensional which requires us to think differently: shrinking civic space, broken social contracts, social protests, climate insecurity (Catherine Wong) , more intense and protracted violent conflict, spreading of violent extremism (Nika Saeedi)  and radicalization, human rights abuses, governance deficits, and unprecedented levels of forced migration and displacement leading to acute humanitarian crises.


There is increasing recognition that most complex conflicts (and heightened risks of fragility) are occurring in middle income countries – income and wealth are no longer a guarantee for peace. In fact, socioeconomic inequalities are the emerging enemy, as reported in the Human Development Report. Also, challenges we're seeing in Europe these past few months point to this trend (Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan) as well as longstanding challenges in Africa, Arab States, Latin America and others.


The spread of COVID19 has further exposed deep inequality and critical fissures in social relations. Recent analysis by well-respected organization, Peace Direct, based on inputs from over 400 peacebuilders from more than 60 countries, indicates that the COVID-19 crisis and the response to it are exacerbating the underlying roots of conflict, particularly inequality. Violence and protests are flaring up, peace processes are threatened, responses are not adequately conflict sensitive, and peacebuilders are struggling to sustain their work.


Development solutions at the heart of prevention and peacebuilding


Development is a key prevention and peacebuilding approach and a strategy and should be recognized as one. While growth and poverty alleviation are crucial, preventing violence and conflicts requires inclusive solutions through dialogue, local and national mediation, strengthening social cohesion, institutional reform and inclusive policies. To overcome structural exclusion and inequality, inclusive institutions and policies are key. Of vital importance is building the resilience of actors and institutions to cope, manage and recover from shocks and crises. 


Institutions and infrastructures at the center: as the Administrator noted to the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) supporting national partners for building and sustaining peace is critical, and effective, when done through inclusive, responsive accountable and transparent institutions.


UNDP can provide integrated prevention and peacebuilding solutions to countries to mitigate, prepare for and prevent conflict risks/conflict drivers, address root causes of conflict and provision of peace dividends in support of political process through its programming in the areas of conflict prevention and peacebuilding, Core Government Function, Rule of Law (more from Katy Thompson?) , PVE, Climate security risks, governance, disaster risk reduction, Gender and Youth. UNDPs prevention and peacebuilding efforts needs to be inclusive and focused on institutions and people centered. Through our extended country presence, UNDP’s work in prevention and sustaining peace should address different dimensions and stages of violence and conflict to prevent their outbreak, escalation, continuation, and recurrence.


In conflict and crisis contexts, UNDP´s work must to be conflict-sensitive, politically-smart, risk-adaptive and with strong linkages/integration across resilience, recovery and governance portfolios for a greater preventive dividend. This is evidenced in our work on social cohesion and insider mediation.


Supporting national leadership for peace and building consensus. Asako Okai shared this perspective in the Istanbul Mediation conference. UNDP's prevention offer and approach should engage national stakeholders at all tracks- national political leaders, civil society, local leaders, including faith based, women and youth leaders and the bureaucratic system at all level. This brings an important element in the dialogue and consensus building allowing for making linkages between the political and the civic space, strengthening participation in policy/decision making.


Central to UNDPs work on conflict prevention and peacebuilding should be a continued focus and greater investment on building and engaging national capacities for conflict prevention and peacebuilding ( Sanna Tasala ) , recognizing the sustainability of nationally owned and led processes. UNDP should operate with the premise that every country, community has their own conflict prevention, negotiation, mediation and consensus building capacity embedded in institutions, systems, processes and actors. At the heart of this lies a developmental approach to prevention.


Partnerships for Prevention and Peace: UNDP should deliver integrated policy and programmatic prevention solutions through catalytic funding, technical assistance, rapid diagnostic assessments, quality assurance, and partnerships with UN peace and security pillars, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and civil society organizations across all development contexts. There are many chaampions of this among the donor/partner community, our implementing partner in civil society, out thinking and reflecting partners in academia and think tanks, among others (private sector and peace? Why not, Livio Sarandrea has done excellent work on business for human rights)


Forward-looking prevention and peacebuilding agenda: Development for Peace? (a catchy title for when UNDP is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize - Haoliang Xu and Adriana Dinu predict it'll be next year and I'm sure Asako Okai and George Conway agree :)


We can do (more of) the following:

Focusing root causes of conflict and crisis – especially the socioeconomic and governance drivers. This requires longer time frames for investment and support, engagement and financing - all of which require political will.


Conflict-sensitive, risk-informed, and evidence-based prevention: Conflict analysis and early warning is key to allow early action to prevent conflicts. Working across the UN system, UNDP is uniquely positioned to develop and implement conflict sensitive programmes in all development contexts, based on a sound analysis of conflict drivers and stakeholder analysis.


Shape/align/support national priorities-underpinned by a shared analytical framework:  Given the long-standing presence, relationships and trust gained through sustained engagement with governments and other national stakeholders, UNDP is well positioned to shape and support the development/implementation of national priorities. While the timeframes are largely dependent on national actors, the value to a dialogue and building consensus around development priorities cannot be underscored.


Linking local solutions to global policy discourse and advocacy: Building on our global presence and vast multi-dimensional and integrated prevention programmes, UNDP can link the local solutions and experiences with the global policy making, advocacy and though leadership.


UNDP’s advocacy and work for prevention (including our Prevention in Action consultations that are ongoing with Monica Rijal) and peace should link integrally to global frameworks, to accelerate progress towards sustainable development. The Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are important vehicles for providing integrated solutions aimed at conflict prevention, peacebuilding and sustaining peace.  Crucially, and beyond just SDG16, the SDGs put integrated development solutions at the core - as a prevention and peacebuilding strategy and approach.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Many thanks Samuel Rizk !

Anything that gets us closer to a Nobel is definitely worth trying :-)

A lot to unpack here, but let me pick up on one point you made building on Sanna Tasala 's earlier comment.  How do we get better at the developmental approach to prevention that identifies and strengthens existing national and local capacities for conflict prevention and peace building? I've seen our Peace and Development Advisors do some wonderful work in this regard, but I sense that we don't capture and talk about that enough.  Are there good UNDP analyses, reports or processes to highlight this work?

You also talked about how we can provide integrated prevention and peace building solutions by combining our work across a diverse range of areas from ROL and A2J to DRR, climate security, gender and youth.  Do we have good examples of where and how we've provided such an integrated solution?  Would be great to highlight these also, and build from them in the coming years.

Aissata De Moderator

Summary three

Many thanks to all our many contributors this week.  It’s been great to see such a variety of voices and contributions. Thanks to @Erol Yaykobe of the Center for Strategic and International Studies for reminding us of the primacy of the SDG framework and of the importance of UNDP speaking up for multilateralism, echoed by @Juan Pablo Gordillo. Thanks luiz alberto oliveira for reminding us of our finite natural resources, and Ayad Babaa of the importance of private sector collaboration. 

Oli Henman commented on the need for stronger skills on data and impact assessment to get closer to the people, and I also appreciated the comments from many other external contributors on different dimensions, from including young people in rethinking development to the importance of balancing people and planet.  Not least thanks to so many UNDP colleagues for joining in, from both HQ and the field.  I know your bold, thought-provoking ideas will inspire a rich final week of discussion in this forum. Thank you all!

What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

  • Rapidly shifting geopolitics and constant uncertainty.  Positive change (eg technological prowess) alongside converging challenges and crises (eg slow progress on climate change, misinformation).  Digitaliazation presents opportunities (more diverse voices and sources of data) and risks (digital divide, cybercrime, overuse of AI) – and is shaping how development support is delivered
  • A disconnect between people and representatives that is undermining international cooperation. The need to safeguard and uphold the normative values for multilateralism; and to build back trust in institutions (see upcoming report on trust from Oslo Governance Centre)
  • Increasingly interconnected development challenges that reverberate across all dimensions (cf COVID-19); and don’t respect borders – they need shared solutions across states. This means governments want increasingly sophisticated solutions
  • The need to view the development, humanitarian and peace and security agendas as a coherent whole – and secure the necessary integrated financing to implement that agenda
  • Changing modes of development financing: more blended finance, MICs financing their own development
  • New development actors – more private companies joining the space
  • The opportunity to address issues that COVID-19 brought to the forefront (gaps in healthcare, economy, infrastructure and government), to build better social contracts and governance
  • Need to make development a mainstream issue, include more diverse voices, and broaden public support for it. Explain more clearly UN’s mission to prevent conflict and eradicate poverty
  • Migration and displacement pressures could further threaten democracy
  • Rise of alternative visions of development assistance (with less transparency, fewer efforts to build local capacity, more problematic debt, etc.) prompt a re-thinking of the value proposition of more traditional forms of development assistance
  • Ministries of Finance are on the periphery of the development debate; they must be engaged as key drivers of success and social stability

In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

  • Co-design systems that can adapt quickly to emerging challenges and crises; systems that are more resilient and able to bounce back faster
  • Rethink how we measure development progress, going beyond economic growth to include “human values” (inequality, access, people and planet in harmony etc.) in socioeconomic policy-setting: human-centered development
  • Help build new social contracts and foster community trust and involvement, including through using local and indigenous knowledge.  Strengthen the social tissue: build diverse citizenries around common goals (human rights, protecting the environment, evidence-based policy etc)
  • Convene diverse stakeholders to seek and co-create forward-looking solutions (including private sector, cultural partners). UNDP is the entity to do this. Include youth, differently able and vulnerable groups in rethinking development. Give voice to CSOs and elevate their engagement, scale up successes, and act as an honest broker to convey on-the-ground innovation to government
  • Include in the development vision both longstanding issues (poverty is far from being eradicated but it may manifest in different dimensions/geographic areas) and newer challenges (eg the digitization-governance-social contract nexus) 
  • Advance the UN brand, continuing to do the things UNDP does well (peacebuilding, stabilization, crisis governance).  Prioritize prevention (conflict destroys development)
  • Maintain SDGs as framework for holistic recovery from COVID. Jobs creation and education are fundamental to livelihoods and hence to sustainable development
  • Build resilient communities by focusing on long-term capacity development
  • Nationalism, fundamentalism in religions, racism and discrimination of all types will stand in the way of all the work of UN

What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

  • A change from societies dominated by material consumption and economic growth to equal societies and circular economies that can maintain and enhance natural capital
  • New systems of planning and budgeting that take account of the earth’s finite natural resources
  • New sustainable pathways to peace and development: moving on from today’s inequalities and injustices and imagining, designing and delivering forward
  • Broader access to opportunities offered by technology, working with community groups and tech partners; build skills in data and impact assessment
  • More multidimensional risk planning (eg including climate change risks).  Scaling and accelerating efforts at such risk planning

What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

  • A bold “reset” in our next Strategic Plan: no return to the old normal
  • Making UNDP more agile and responsive to an increasingly dynamic, uncertain environment. This includes building a decentralized, connected knowledge system premised on critical connections, as well as better understanding the “interconnectedness” across systems
  • Developing a UNDP operating system (ie how we work in the broadest sense) that can deliver at speed and scale
  • Not being “everything to everyone”.  UNDP must define which role to play in which context. Move from a ‘doer’ to ‘enabler and facilitator’ of change by people on the ground.  Move programming away from projects towards a portfolio and platform approach
  • Make UNDP a flatter decision-making organization: empower teams, act with speed even when information is patchy
  • UNDP should reflect a more complex world, built on citizens’ demands, promoting 21st century participative and democratic values, engaging new partners and expanding innovation to all dimensions of development.
  • Stronger UNDP capacity to gather, interpret, use data.  Continued transparency
  • Boldness to speak up for multilateralism, no matter the current political climate
  • Keeping human rights and equality at centre of change

What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

  • “Short-termism”: a consistent barrier to fostering longer term social and environmental change
  • Shying away from the political, not speaking out on difficult issues
  • Increased competition for natural resources and climate change
  • Derogation from human rights agreements and erosion of rights for the vulnerable
  • Lack of finance
  • Impact of political and economic sanctions on local communities in crisis settings
  • Managing high expectations and growing needs due to Covid-19  
Ulrika Modeer

I agree with so much of your analysis and ideas of ways forward! Thanks for contributing! /Ulrika

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thank you Aissata De for steering last week’s discussion so deftly.  A lot has emerged and I’m looking forward to where the discussion goes as we enter this final week.

Marco Zupi

Thank you for the interesting discussion and the opportunity to share some points schematically.

First, COVID-19 has made us aware of some structural fragilities that link environmental imbalances that translate into health imbalances that can in turn produce disasters in the area of economic value creation and work. In the context of a Covid-19 pandemic, it is clear that a critical long-term transformation requires a recovery capable of bringing together economic value creation, decent job, environmental sustainability (less pollution, less global warming), but also good health and the wealth of time (and the ability to reconcile work and affection) that we have forcibly experienced in quarantine. Therefore, the UNDP HDI relevance to education and health as key dimensions of development is crucial, considering that the status and dynamics of education and health services quality (and quantity) is heterogeneous within and between countries. A universal and intertwined agenda rather than silos approaches is essential.

Second, a change in our lifestyles and coordination of choices and coherence of policies is essential, all over the world. Therefore, a balance is needed between public and private choices, collective and individual actions, central and decentralized decisions.

As a consequence, third, the common awareness of the relative marginality of the actors of local administrations (as well as subnational actors in general) from the profound processes of change that are led by private and public authorities at national or transnational levels shows the importance of multi-stakeholders approach. In this sense the experience of the implementation of Agenda 21 in the 1990s, intended to involve action at international, national, regional and local levels, was particularly significant in the attempt to promote coherent agreements and initiatives ranging from local and national to global action plans. However, even these experiences are likely to be of little impact when they fail to change other political plans and more economic interests. Mainstreaming is key: local level alone is not able by itself to induce permanent transformations (sustainability) in the national and global decision-making and laws.

Fourth, de iure (law, regulations, conventions, agreements, formal norms) reality is a key layer of reality, but is not the only one. De habitu (attitudes, opinions) reality is another key layer of reality and must be changed. In practice, prevailing common sense must change, as we do not live our lives on separate tracks; as individual and communities we have a great power/responsibility to change things. Therefore, UNDP has a critical role to play, in addressing the change of mainstream policies in every country, but also to support international territorial partnerships involving subnational governments and the energies of civil society in all its forms (enterprises, active citizenship, intermediate bodies) and to encourage the youth to become key agents of change, encouraging to think critically but to have clear visions. Therefore, UNDP should not underestimate the importance of the cultural dimension and value of its role, and the implications of any response on it.

It is true that important things must be done in improving technical capacity, planning, project cycle and evaluation results-based orientation, but the green, digitalization, more inclusive solutions are not a technical-administrative issue, they means a process with a great political value and cultural change. This should be directly addressed by UNDP.

Carolina González APC-Colombia
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

Las consecuencias a todo nivel que ha generado la pandemia por el COVID19 a nivel mundial podrían tener un impacto sobre la manera como se concibe el desarrollo. Será necesario reforzar aún más la cooperación entre los países no solo para optimizar la respuesta en materia de salud, sino aquella referida a la recuperación económica y social de quienes han quedado mayormente atrás. El carácter inesperado de la pandemia, propone reflexionar sobre la importancia de fortalecer enfoques de carácter preventivo y enfocados en la resiliencia tanto a nivel social como económico, ante futuros choques de diverso tipo, que puedan tener afectaciones masivas.

Por otro lado, los cruces de problemáticas que afectan a la población se hacen cada vez más críticos, por ejemplo, comunidades afectadas por el conflicto armado, el cambio climático (desastres naturales por ejemplo) y el COVID19, exigen una respuesta coherente y holística que les permita superar esa tripe afectación no únicamente a través de medidas asistencialistas, sino por medio de acciones que vinculen el apoyo humanitario con el desarrollo.

  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

Es el escenario antes referido, el PNUD podría seguir jugando un rol fundamental en líneas en las cuáles tiene una fuerte experticia: promover la recuperación económica de comunidades afectadas en gran medida por el COVID19 (los más dejados atrás) incorporando la innovación y la articulación efectiva con el sector privado. Por otro lado, el PNUD también cuenta con amplia experiencia en temáticas asociadas a la construcción de paz, la resolución de conflictos y el desarrollo sostenible. En el cruce de afectaciones mencionado en la respuesta anterior, su contribución podría ser un valor agregado. Finalmente, es clave que las acciones de PNUD (caso Colombia) siempre respondan a las directrices establecidas en el United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), marco acordado entre el gobierno de Colombia y el Sistema de Naciones Unidas en el país.

  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

Continuar trabajando de manera cercana con las autoridades nacionales y territoriales de cada país para complementar los esfuerzos de los gobiernos nacionales en torno a las prioridades de desarrollo. La experiencia que tiene el PNUD a nivel internacional en la implementación de modelos innovadores en torno a sus líneas prioritarias, es un valor agregado que podría ponerse al servicio de los países.

What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

  • La experiencia de PNUD en el relacionamiento con actores diversos del desarrollo a nivel nacional e internacional.
  • Su reconocimiento y trayectoria en la implementación de acciones en pro del desarrollo social, económico y ambiental.
  • Su rol central a nivel internacional en la agenda asociada al Desarrollo Humano (Ejemplo: Publicación de Informes Anuales sobre Desarrollo Humano) lo que le permite tener un conocimiento actualizado sobre las tendencias y desafíos del desarrollo​​​​​​​What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
  • Falta de recursos
  • Falta de articulación con otras agencias del Sistema de Naciones Unidas
  • Falta de articulación con gobiernos nacionales y territoriales
  • Falta de acciones con mirada de largo plazo
Sam Quan Krueger

Great list of ideas.  As a comms specialist, what I like about the current strategic plan is that it attempts to provide clarity around UNDP's approach: 6 signature solutions to address the 3 development challenges.  It also tries to be reasonable in terms of how we/UNDP would implement the solutions, within our finite resources (e.g. people, money).

That type of clarity (and a disciplined commitment to it) will be needed in the new strategic plan, especially if, given finite resources, we want to effectively position UNDP in the minds of our priority audiences.

Adedeji Adetoyi

Good Day Everyone, 

This has been an interesting, Insightful and intriguing discussion.


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has pointed out the needs of the FUTURE. 


Pandemic has weigh and show our adaptive gap, strength and weaknesses, it has brought about how we approach our fundamental challenges and also speed up digital transformation i.e TECHNOLOGY is in the frontline of changing the PARADIGMS. 


Leadership and Better Governance is the groundlaying for stable and sustainable future. 



UNDP has been outstanding and a major solution provider and can strengthen their commitment to working with developing countries, small island developing countries and local communities including indigenous people in delivering gender responsive support, as close as possible to ensure and enhance a smooth transition and developmental approach towards projects that are environmentally, socially equitable and sustainable. 

Aliyu Danjuma

Hello, fellow members Deforestation is among the problem bedeviling our natural environment, cutting down of tree's for 🔥 firewood,chacoal, planks making etc added with wildfire is over stressing our Forest.

Due to this nagetives human activities  lead to rising cases of animals pourching, comsuption of infected animals lead expose to so many diseases, Disappearance of some animals specie's

UNDP should enforce lows across it members nation to continue in tree planting yearly,Let save the animals and the environment.

Some marine life specie's are also disappearing due to over fishing, Oil spilled in our ocean ,more insight on this issues class members for UNDP prompts call to this mehem.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thanks Aliyu,

We do a lot of work in these areas, ranging from community-level efforts (for instance though the GEF Small Grants Programme) up to national-level REDD initiatives at the sector level.  A lot to learn from those initiatives.  Are there ways we can improve our approach in this area?

Zafar Gondal

In addition to my previous suggestions, I believe that digital governance for social and public goods and harnessing of frontier technologies for sustainable development, for environmental justice, for democratic governance, for capable institutions and rule of law are critical future shifts  UNDP must paly a role in these areas as no other UN agency can do alone. 

Digital Governance for social goods and public goods

UNDP has a pivotal role and must play in this developing and unchartered area. New technologies and AI involve considerable risks that must be managed well to take advantage of their benefits, while protecting ethical values as defined in fundamental rights and basic constitutional principles, and to preserve a human‑centric society. There are major concerns related to technologies and AI  such as possible job losses, potential damages they might cause, a lack of transparency, the increasing loss of humanity in social relationships, the loss of privacy and personal autonomy, information biases, as well as error proneness and susceptibility to the manipulation.

Similarly, Frontier technologies for sustainable development are bound to play an important role in addressing challenges for people, prosperity, and the planet. However, there are challenging to manage frontier technology policies around the world like fear of inequality, balancing efficiency privacy and ethical concerns, exclusion and development gaps, and so on. There is a lot to do at the national and international levels. At the national level, it is important to align innovation policies, priorities, and context. At the international level, there is a prioritized need for robust cooperation for managing and harnessing frontier technologies for societal and public goods.

It is important to provide digital tools to the democratic and justice institutions to listen to the needs of the users. The young generations prefer different settings and structures of institutions that are more informal, want different products and services, and different outcomes. The state justice institutions are far behind.

I am also attaching some research documents for further elaboration.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Welcome back Zafar, thanks for these additional insights.  Digital governance capacities has come up a few times now as an area UNDP needs to invest in over the coming years.  We have a solid platform to build from in our existing governance work, and we can work on how to apply similar rights-based approaches to governance in the digital realm.  And thank you for sharing the research documents; I'm sure these will be of interest to many of our colleagues.



Ulrika Modeer


1. What do you think the future looks like and how do you see UNDP’s place in it?

  • Looking at many inputs in SparkBlue’s “UNDP and the Future,” we all seem to be in agreement that the future of development looks to be more complex, multipolar and ever challenging and rapidly changing.... The future will largely depend on how we address some of the deep-rooted, systematic problems of today – such as climate crisis, inequalities, human rights, health and safety – while preparing our systems for the future.
  • It was also made abundantly clear that we cannot possible solve these complex problems and be ready for the future with the old mindset, bureaucratic and institutional infrastructure and cooperation model. Someone referred to heads, hearts and hands. That a unique skillset UNDP has but in order to maintain and develop our critical role as a thought leader/innovator, convener and enabler, assisting partners navigate through these complexities and uncertainties, we need to develop our skills of communication and adcocacy.


  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development? 
  • Some of the main shifts key in shaping our future are:
    • Geopolitical shifts: the international community is moving towards a more fractured and multipolar system with visible signs of leadership vacuum and inaction by the traditional powers, as emerging actors not yet willing and or able to step into the role. We also witness the rise of nationalism and populism that voices reservations towards globalization – politically, economically, and socially, forcing government to forgo their commitment to multilateral initiatives and instead favoring a more transactional alliances.
    • Increasing inequalities': Our HDR decsribes it well, its real but also a matter of percetion and closely intertwined with migration, human mobilty, the refugee situation and increasing xenophobia, fueled by populism.
    • Climate and biodiversity crisis: Human-made climate and biodiversity crises  and natural disasters are already becoming more threatening and prevalent in people’s lives. This urgent global crisis must be communicated more clearly with transparent data, advocacy plans, and strategic plan of action.
    • The trend of autocratization: one-third of the worlds population lives in countries undergoing autocratization and we see a substantial decline of democracy. At the same time we see pro-democratic movements mobilizing across the world. The changing social media landscape impact is key.
    • Technological advancement: with the advancement in technology (e.g. artificial intelligence), we are expected to experience a large disruption in our labor market. The supply chain will be transformed as it integrates technological development, and labor forces that used to rely on people will be replaced with technologies. The advanced technology also will change the way we interact, communicate, and travel – and the fast-paced transfer of information, ideas, and knowledge can be both opportune and disruptive to people’s lives. And the development field will not be spared.


  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play? 
  • UNDP, as it has done in the past, should reinvent itself and play a key roles in solving complex challenges. More specifically,
    • UNDP as a convener: should bring in diverse stakeholders across sectors – beyond our usual suspects. Building on our reputation and capacity, we have to sharpen our engagement and cater to specific audience group much more purposefully. Civil society is key alongside with academic institutions and the private sector, not least investors.
    • UNDP as a transformer/innovator: programmatic insights and expertise in development policy issues can be fortified to build UNDP as a solution-seeking innovator that generates new, creative ideas and solutions for development. 
    • UNDP as an advocacy leader: UNDP’s special platform echoes across the world, as people listens to what UNDP has to say with credibility and trust. Further expanding on UNDP’s trust with many people and communities worldwide, UNDP should substantially improve its ability to advocate for global causes that demand people’s attention and awareness for positive changes in the future.
    • UNDP as an integrator: UNDP has been at the forefront leading the UN development system’s reform efforts – relieved off the burden of coordinating the system and the space to focus on its mandate but positioned to bring a more coherent One UN voice to respond to global crises. No other agency leads on the implementation of the SDGs. UNDP should take a step forward and show an inclusive leadership on integrated solutions ie how to deal with inequalities at the same times we deal with the climate crisis. Our ability to create a an attractive storyline to drive engagement for the SDGs is key. People and actors need something to believe on and the want to be part of the co-creation of a future to long for. UNDP should not "preach and teach" but engage
  • Amid these challenges ahead of us, UNDP has to claim its leadership role in the international development space and solidify the global community’s resilience with empathy, humility, and grit. 
Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thanks Ulrika for this thoughtful commentary.  You captured the need for reinvention and gave some important pointers for where we need to go. I particularly like your insight about UNDP having a special platform that echoes across the world.  Further expanding our credibility and trust with empathy, humility and grit is a nice goal to have.

Aliyu Danjuma

Hello,A concern issue Age berrier when it comes to employment many potential builder's are left behind untry due to ages so-pass employment this ideology has to look into,Or strictly base on experience,I could only agree with experience but not over ages deprived you from offering useful skills that is capable of adding value to an organization in which he would have employed to serve,

Perhaps UN and the government  of it members nation should invest on skills however even if 60years base on his skills is capable of adding value to an organization let it be because there is no  rising why he can be denied that privilege to serve humanity,Eased restrictions base on experience and try those with new skills.As the world move further let also move further to maximize the potential of our wealth through investing in all ages,maybe an idear raise by individuals or group  of people between the ages of 40,50,60, Are capable of  solving  40% problem that has been there for decades of years, let's enlarge to what challenges are and open to all ages perhaps we may fine an answer to changes that  world  is looking for.UNDP and the rest of the family your insight please.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

hi Aliyu,

We certainly need to find ways to leverage the potential, skills and talent of as many people as we can, whether as staff, partners or collaborators.  As we expand our channels to communicate and collaborate I'm sure we will find more ways to do so, particularly using digital tools. 

Yemesrach Workie
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  • Digitalization: One visible but powerful shift that is taking place that will transform the way we think and do development is digitalization. Following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, it even gathered huge momentum. With majority of youth adopting technology and the high return it demonstrated across societies, the long-term impact on the way we do development is significant. We must prepare ourselves to offer solutions that are technology driven and understand the fundamental driving factors for technology and work more effectively with private sector which is driving the digitalization process across the globe.
  • Globalization and trade- the changing landscape in the globalization and trade is impacting many countries development approaches and the policies and choices they are making. While noticeable protectionism is setting in in many countries and impacting the volume of global trade, there is a need to rethink the next Gen trade and globalization to help countries understand and respond to changes appropriately. With the dwindling official development assistance, it is evident that resources for development are coming from government themselves through domestic resource mobilization and private sector. This means significant shift for institutions in many countries that were accustomed to using aid money and were tuned to such. This also means significant change in the role of the state vs private sector.
  • Uncertainty and increase in disaster- the most important change that is deepened and become a long-term trend is heightened uncertainty due to numerous reasons. The among others are related to climate change, outbreak of pandemic, global governance challenges as mentioned above, increased inequality, etc,. while it may seem obvious that we always lived in uncertain world These means the manner in which decisions are being made by individuals, firms and government are shadowed on their risk assessment and apatite which could have enormous impact on the return.  While it is difficult to address all uncertainties that are affecting the long term decision of all stakeholder, it is possible to appreciate and assess them in a manner that decision makers are fully aware of the risk and return rewards.
  • Increasing trend in renewable energy: with a significant reduction in cost of production of renewable energy, private sector is increasingly finding business case to investment in renewable energy.
  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  • Brokering role between the government and the private sector. while for years, UNDP attempted to play a major role in supporting private sector and bringing private sector to actively engage in development, fundamental shift is needed in the way we work with the Private sector. The current model which is being tried is small in its scale and has not made UNDP a main UN wide player in catalyzing private sector investment. The close partnership with UNCDF needs to harness while UNDP’s field level presence could help hugely.  There is a need to develop innovative solutions for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which are in the loosing end of the long -run structural shift in many economies of the world. The current business model to support SMEs has not yet shown success at scale. UNDP to play this role, needs to sharpen its understanding of the private sector and speak business language that will help to broker.  
  • Monitor and ensure the implementation of the leave no one behind principle – with in the UN system and across UNDP should maintain its focus on poverty, inequality, human development, and vulnerable groups. Deepening the knowledge on the most vulnerable and ensure that new and innovative approaches are designed to reach to those who are likely to be left behind is key.  This could take a form of policy and demonstrative programmatic approaches. This includes supporting countries to address digital divide.
  • Promoting anticipatory Governance: while many agencies across the UN system has been engaged in the space of disaster risk reduction and management, there a need to consolidate, coordinate and extend the approach to private sector. This will help countries manage future disasters effectively. It will help private sector anticipate disasters and make appropriate investment decisions. The current sector focused approach is no longer applicable given the wide-ranging impact of disaster across sub-sectors and population groups. This calls for wholistic anticipatory Governance approach to be promoted.
  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
  • Increase in human development and reduction of poverty across counties arising from the adoption of anticipatory governance approaches that are driven by digital technologies.
  • Sustainable consumption and production practices.
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
  • Knowledge management: beyond identifying what countries are doing, putting effective system that distills success factors and enable replication of innovative ideas is key for UNDP to register positive outcome. The current approaches need to be consolidated and critical assessment and evaluation should be done to enable solid system for knowledge management.
  • Specialization: Building expert base of the institution and making it available to all countries. While there are some areas where UNDP build some credible knowledge base and expertise such as climate change and NRM. Ability to use existing staff flexibly. Mix the staffing with specialists on selected areas.
  • Collaborative approaches: the institution is yet to amass the power of its staff through collaborative approaches. The current nascent approach needs to convert into a true collaborative platform.  
  • Operational policies: Continuous evolving of operational policies and processes. Policies should continue to evolve responding the needs of the countries.
    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
  •  Resource limitation: the decline in core resources demands that we are increasingly reliant in non -core and unpredictable resources. Sustaining large scale programmes is difficult in such condition.
  • Manmade and natural disaster increases- distract countries from long term development trends.
  • Resistance to shift to Digital platforms
Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thank you Yemesrach Workie for this comprehensive reflection.  I agree with many of the things you said, but I want to pick up on two of them:

1. Promoting anticipatory governance, particularly with and for the private sector.  This is an interesting area of work that we could explore further.  Have you seen good examples of this in our existing work, or people elsewhere doing things we can learn from?

2. You talk about a resistance to shift to digital platforms: can you describe more about this and what we can do to overcome it? I know that the shift to digital platforms was quite abrupt when Covid hit, and many of us struggled to adjust to so many new ways of working at once.  But hopefully we are learning and improving as we go along.  Would be great to reflect on the lessons we have all learned so far and how to build on these.

Knut Ostby
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
    1. The Covid19 pandemic will leave behind long term effects such as (i)a setback in trust among countries and more constraints to international cooperation, (ii)a setback in sustainable development and poverty alleviation efforts, and (iii) an openness to new solutions in technology, regulations and social relations addressing the fallout of the pandemic.
    2. The (welcome) rise in attention to climate change will continue, and there will be a more genuine global willingness to seek solutions.
    3. Technological development continues to create change, including connectivity through internet and social media, and an increasing role of renewable energy leading to a decreasing strategic importance of oil. That will impact power balances globally, offering a strategic advantage for those who innovate. It will also affect politics, conflict and peace in the Middle East, perhaps making these conflicts more localized and with less global impact.
    4. The shift in the international power balance will continue, including the rise of powers in Asia, and they will have an increasing impact on global agenda setting. Private sector is increasingly in a position to act as real power brokers globally. And a plethora of protest movements will continue to emerge, as people question the “old” world order, locally and globally. These shifts would likely erode old power structures and would create an increase in lateral and networked connectivity, which can create opportunities for development solutions, including towards reduced inequality and more sustainable solutions.
  2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
    1. UNDP is well on its way to be a thought leader in selected areas, something we have aspired to for a long time. Innovation labs at CO level have been a success and UNDFP could aspire to become the Global Innovation Lab for the global international development community.
    2. Where should we focus innovation work? In the above discussion on future shifts I am proposing “Three Cs” – Covid, Climate, Connectivity - as key drivers for future trends. Each of them has a short, medium and long term potential for high impact innovation and delivery of development results.
    3. As the UN Charter foresees, the key role of the UN is among other things: “To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems…”. This is as important as ever. To do this in our new environment means forming new types of partnerships with emerging actors, not only among member states different from traditional donors, but also with private sector and non-state actors, towards achieving SDGs.
    4. Meanwhile, we should not forget our comparative advantage in operational presence in almost all countries, with relationships, deep understanding of context, a well oiled machinery for operational delivery etc. Although this is not new, it has an immense value and can continue to provide an invaluable service to the international development community. UNDP should continue to prioritize this role.
  3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
      1. We currently have a number of well functioning Innovation Labs at country level but we could envision a future where UNDP is seen as the Global Innovation Lab for the international development community. The hitherto experimental work on Innovation Labs, driven from the CO level with HQ support, should be brought more central to our planning and resource allocation, and we should build on existing successes.
      2. In later years we have become better at innovative partnership building, and in communicating our work but we still need significant strengthening of those dimensions of UNDP’s work. We should recognize that as a thought leader and as an organization frequently delivering policy advice or implementing pilot projects, we depend on others outside UNDP for larger scale success. To get that, we need to reach out and communicate widely and frequently, and with high quality, on all levels of our work.
      3. UNDP should continue to stay close and deliver on support for coordination, and continue to aspire to the SDG integrator role. An important part of this is MAPS, which needs to be strengthened and to receive stronger inter-agency support.
      4. We should continue to deliver operational support to others and be a service hub in the system. This is a low hanging fruit as capacities are already in place, but needs political level attention to strengthen inter-agency cooperation and acceptance.
    2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
      1. Overall political appetite for multilateral development funding has been eroded. Further erosion would undermine UN/UNDP’s ability to facilitate international cooperation for development.
      2. Power shifts among major world powers as well as between state and non-state actors can create focus on power rivalries between blocks and countries, and serve as a distraction that endangers the climate for international cooperation.
      3. Fragmentation of UN system efforts for development. Effective coordination and coherence will be critical for our success.
Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

It's great to hear from you Knut Ostby and I hope that you're keeping well.

Amongst the many important points you made here, there are a few I want to highlight:

- the idea of scaling up our existing innovation work and positioning UNDP as the Global Innovation Lab for development is compelling.  This resonates with the many inputs received so far calling for UNDP to be more future-focused.

- at the macro/ megatrend level, you mentioned in passing how the growth of renewables will have significant implications not just for energy access but for global politics, conflict and peace.  Certainly an issue we need to be conscious of, and we need to think through the second- and third-order implications on jobs, local economic development, transportation etc. also.  Would be an interesting exercise for our energy team colleagues to put their minds to.

- and I like the "Three Cs" summary of drivers; Covid, Climate and Connectivity are certainly emerging as key issues to focus on.


Knut Ostby

Joseph D'Cruz Many thanks! This is an important discussion and we have many choices to make in UNDP. With the right choices we can make a big difference!

Aliyu Danjuma

Hello,We cannot under estimate the power  and benefits of digital technology in the imagine new normal,

But digital technology needs to be reviewed, Humanity fold their hand and allow AI to take decisions of our daily lives, computer can take human emotions and can be used to produce fake news which can be very difficult  for human to navigate, Democracy elections can be manipulate,Facial recognition system could be abuse to control citizen,price determination algorithms to set up price above market level thereby harming consumers.

Again who will be blame when potential damage occurred by the operation that's to says malfunction in automated system could have multiplaying effect,Hacking become a booming business for the unanimous thereby cousing a threads to online business, Biased to operation system it is meant for the purpose meant to operate.

AI needs to collect data and process data in making intelligence decisions access to data is fundamental to the development of digital technology.. privacy of such data need to be protected,As is been used since 25/2018 in Europe,Genaral data protection need to be review into adding more protective majors as the world is about to adopt full digital technology,

And autonomy in machines and software tools may decrease the intelligence and autonomy of human users,Over used of digital technology will lead to lost of human capabilities.Increase in Job loses,rising semi skilled and unskilled unemployment, Increase in hacking,more technological bias,

Critical thinking to forward shift.

UNDP should set lows base on international standard governing digital technology .

UNDP should look into who will be responsible if hacking occurred, malfunctioning,and other digital errors,

UNDP should look into occurance of  large natural disasters to which may affect digital technology prior to dependancy,and leaning skills to employed more to reduces over dependancy on toys,robot to control our way of life should be of praorities.






























alka bhatia

The discussion and the views already expressed are rich and  touch all the right spots. So without repeating what has been noted already, I would focus on the following points (where the shoe pinches):

1) The only constant in our world is ''çhange''. Thus one of the key imperatives for the organisation is to always be mindful of this and to therefore not necessarily be repetitive or prescriptive in our approach. Given the diversity of issues and the fact that we can't be everything to everyone, we need to be more responsive to what is required by the people we are required to serve. Often our preconceived ideas and specific mandate to deliver on certain issues overshadows our ability to be responsive and agile. Given UNDP's broad mandate, it is predictably difficult to keep the focus. So while the SDGs provide us with our compass COs should have the necessary flexibility to tailor responses and even venture into new areas and partnerships. Someone mentioned a flatter decision making structure and I agree that it is the need of the hour; especially as we are living in uncertain times requiring quick turnaround and decisions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, it is also important to keep in mind that development is a slow process and the emphasis on delivering just because we are coming to the end of the year leads to a wastage of precious resources: almost tantamount to throwing them away just to meet targets. We need to review this and be more realistic and distinguish between emergency response and a more sustainable but transformative approach that requires, behaviour change, institutional strengthening and people engagement. 

2) For us to achieve transformative impact in time and at scale it is also important that the support provided by UNDP is sustained by the necessary expertise on the ground. So if a CO is working on innovation, digitalisation and financing then the necessary expertise should be made available to the CO. We should determine what UNDP's offerings are and then we must have the ability to back these up with the necessary resources both technical and financial.

3) On the issue of resource mobilisation as well, perhaps we need a review of our strategy. RM should not be left to CO's. For corporate offerings and service lines we should have the necessary resources at the central level, which are made available to CO's on a need basis. The pressure on COs for RM takes away precious  time from focusing on the real requirements and it is a much tougher deal without the requisite resources at the CO command. This is especially true in a MIC context; these classifications are synthetic at best since the issues facing these countries may be of equal importance, but with a very limited resource ability. Therefore, it is important to revisit country presence based on country classification if resources are an issue. We need to have more equity at least in terms of expectations from COs, as they differ considerably in terms of  resources; yet are expected to deliver and report in a similar manner. 

4) Much more attention is also required to be given in the next phase on our rules and procedures.  Regrettably in their current form they hamper delivery and partnerships. Our decision making and turnaround times need to considerably shorter and 'flatter'. We put a great deal of emphasis on private sector but our mode of engaging with them is not the best or most innovative. It also belies the meaning of partnership.

In conclusion, UNDP is functioning in a large part in a rather crowded development space and if we are stay ahead and continue to be meaningful its important for us to back up our service lines with necessary resources: human and financial supported by transparent yet flexible rules and procedures without undermining accountability.  We also need to be demand driven to ensure sustainability and impact. 


Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

hi Alka,

Great to hear from you and thanks for taking the time to share these ideas.  Your comments point to the importance of revisiting how we work, which is so crucial if we are to reinvent ourselves for this era.  Some of these are well within our remit and can and must be improved; streamlining rules and procedures (a lot of work on this already, but definitely more to do); building flatter and more nimble decision-making systems, building more expertise on the ground, etc.  Others like revisiting funding structures for MICs will take collective effort with our partners and Board.  But you're right that the Covid experience has shown how distinctions like those are less relevant in this era and may need to be updated.  Still, a lot of work to do in this area and we'll need a strong collective effort to make it happen!

Bushra Hassan
  1. In a post-pandemic era, we have learned how fragile our economies and lifestles are. The element of good governance is now beyond demoratic systems but also about priorititizing individual well being over political or constitutional gains. The differentiated impact of pandemics on different groups has further laid bare systems of inequality, prejudice and protections as they exist. Universal health care (Kanni Wignaraja), digital governance and service delivery mechanisms, New Ways of working with digital employments particularly in a world that fights multiple versions disaster, including climate patterns, pandemics, natural disasters and an ongoing nature of war. As Laurel Patterson identified, the way we design needs to present a more holistc nature of the problem but more importantly, our tools of measurement must now move beyond numbers of documents but also, measuring the immeaurable. How indeed do we measure intgrity and power; how do we measure courage and a sense of safety; how do we measure privilege and lack thereof. How do we ensure that our solutions take into consideration the changes in the society while looking at the good being done to individuals Claire Van der Vaeren 
  2. Our proposed solutions require an external reflection of the world but also an internal reflection on what we have lacked in terms of our own systems and processes.  
    1. A way to redefine development beyond HDIs and more towards Bhutan's GNH; a measure of women's sense of safety and opportunities - a more anthropological approach to economic development;
    2. The focus to influence or support governments while keeping our hands on the human at the centre of our work Isabel Saint Malo 
    3. Our own humility - it is difficult for UNDP to play a role of convenor and leader,when we are unable to attribute success to our own initiatives. In an attempt to work alongside governments, UNDP's can sometimes lose focus on its own direct results. The measure of those results, whether they be capacities, service delivery or humanitarian, is what will allow for us to assert ourselves as finders of solutions. It is only through evidence-based success as solution provider, will we become recognized as finders of solutions Bernardo Cocco 
    4. Reiterating Ezra Blondel and Shaila Khan 's points, te inseperatability of heart, head and hands are critical not just in the work that we do in COs but also in the way we treat our own staff. 
    5. Tariq Malik 's focus on citizen centric digital governance, which is also a key pillar of Kanni's 3 Wins coming from RBAP - also strengthen ou committment to Trasparency of Results Annelise Parr . Digital solutions around goods, services and digital governance remain can often miss out a human picture.
    6. Our ways of monitoring and evaluating our work, similarly, needs to invest in digital and human-centric solutions. Organizaions that struggle to demonstrate direct influence and impact will not be seen a leaders. The focus on reaching out to people and developing a collective base of human-cenered design and monitoring of our work, goes on to strengthen the Governance and Crowd-Funding mentioned by Ezra Blondel 
    7. UNDP also needs to maintain a continuity of its work as it expands in its original mandate with changing times. We need to continue on with the old as we invest in the new. Our work on resilience and Sustainability, must never overcome our focus on livelihoods. Income generation, improved lifelihoods in the long-run, for all , whether through digital entrepreneruship, policies. 
    8. Ensuring that the tools of the how we do business does not supersede the WHY of it. Innovation, Digital Transformation, systems design are the need of the time. As long as the organizations continues to remember the WHY are we using them in order to demonstrate, the Return on Investment is higher through these tools.
Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

This is a great summary and weaving-together of points many colleagues have made. Thanks Bushra Hassan ! And you final point, reminding us to always think of why we focus on these issues, is paramount.

Massimo Longo

Apology if I will end up saying things that others have already said before me, unfortunately it is not easy to check any comments so far :) .


  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

  • First of all, we should consider the cost of the development. Here is a chart of the HDI of many countries against the Ecological Footprint per capita of that country   https://www.footprintnetwork.org/content/uploads/2019/05/2019-EF-HDI-1024x540.jpg  And in my opinion the correlation between the two is quite clear, or at least the correlation between some of the factors within the HDI and the EF. And with it the main question, how much development is sustainable?
  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

  • In depth analysis of the environmental impact of the various factor of the HDI, starting with the economic growth (that we measure using an exchange tool, money, that has no intrinsic stable value but a very variable one subject to many external factors. A bit as measuring distances with an elastic meter-tape). Analysis to establish a more efficient development of the whole world, and not of only few countries at the expenses of others due to the limited natural resources to sustain that development.
  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

  • Definitively a complete re-thinking of us as humans as top of the food chains and the acceptance that we are only part of a planet ecosystem.
    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

  • The idea that only others are part of the problems and only us part of the solution.


Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thanks Massimo, and don't worry about repetition - always good to have colleagues reiterate and reinforce what they think is important.

Linking development to our environment; living within planetary boundaries or within the 'donut' as Kate Raworth terms it, is clearly one of the overarching challenges of our era.  This is the broad theme of this year's Human Development Report, and I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas and solutions our HDRO colleagues produce.  Let's keep an eye out for the report launch and build on that work as we get into the conceptualization and design phases of our Strategic Plan next year.

Aliyu Danjuma

Hi,The only constant in our world is  change .alka bhatia the pandemic have really change  the dimensions in all sector of life, knut ostby. The pandemic will live a long time effect in the world,As the world is about to be fully digitalized, Theirs a need for UNDP to regulate and manage the affiars of AI industries,Yemesrach workie, Digitalization is powerful shift that will transform the way we think and development,so UNDP as I said earlier should set rules of  engagement for  the  AI functioning and sensitive  activities.Buhra Hassan The impack of the pandemic on different groups have further laid bare in inequalities.Ensuring equal right for all humanity as the world further shifted so also positive changes in different aspects of life has to occurred.

Oksana Leshchenko

Thank you for organizing this fascinating discussion. While the full impact of the COVID19 is hard to predict, most would agree that the world will look different in the post-virus era.  E.g., social distancing will change the way we work and do business, there will be an acceleration of contact-free services, telemedicine, and e-commerce. The value of human life will become an explicit element of policy decisions.

For us at UNDP the important question is the long-term effects on human capital. For instance, school closures are expected to have lasting impacts on students’ learning. Fewer years of schooling translate into substantial losses in future earnings over the working lives. The adverse effects of the COVID-19 on learning and human capital are expected to be greater among the poor than the nonpoor. Moreover, poor households have less access to mobile technologies that could enable distance learning during period of school closures. Increasing food insecurity could translate into a higher incidence of malnutrition. Many countries are reporting significant disruptions in immunization.

In this context, and for countries that still face a trade-off between containment and recovery, the proposed solutions can be developing capacity for “smart containment”, devising strategies for “smart schooling” that protects students, teachers, and their families, etc. However, the return to the pre-COVID trajectories will depend on availability of COVID19 vaccine. Questions remain about the costs of the vaccines and their delivery, how development partners will choose to help, and how local financing systems may interact in implementation. Programme countries will likely require support with effective vaccine communication campaigns, logistics for storage, and building capacity to distribute COVID19 vaccine effectively and fairly in order to ensure social stability and facilitate economic recovery. The international community should help poor countries get access to vaccine. Otherwise they will be last in line.

Aisha A

I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the in-depth conversation happening on this platform. I will like to buttress the points highlighted by Oksana Leshchenko , the impact of COVID19 will be even more apparent in the future for youth in the developing and developed countries. As we currently see, low income communities are grappling with how best to pivot and provide tangible learning experiences for their youth, but the odds are stacked high against them , digitalization is a whole new territory on it own. These same communities lack consistent power supply, access to renewable energy or data. A problem that’s been foretelling for years; way before COVID19.    All efforts thus far to carry the marginalized along is proving futile and consequentially they would be left behind in no time . In the developed world, the lock down have affected a whole lot of small businesses  and young people in the workforce are suffering the consequences of closed business. This is telling now but we expect to see more of how mitigating efforts of COVID19 have tainted the future and prospects of many. The long term impact on human capacity should therefore not be neglected and proposed solutions needs to factor in solutions that would foster economic stability and independence. 

Intentional efforts needs to be made to ensure that on global scale vaccine response and supply reaches far and wide. Now is the time to develop vaccine coalitions on the backbone of existing coalitions that have been able to address vaccination needs on a global scale. It will be consequential if we vaccinate some and relent on efforts to vaccinate all . 

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thank you Oksana and Aisha A  for these complementary reflections.  

You're right that there will be longer-term impacts from these disruptions of education that will be evident well beyond the pandemic.  And perhaps compounded by the economic and livelihood impacts also.  It's possible to imagine that if children can no longer access education, parents who are facing income shortfalls will be tempted to pull them out of schooling and put them to work- whether that is unpaid care work or service employment elsewhere.  It is important that we look to future scenarios like this and already start thinking about what we can do to mitigate likely impacts 2-3 or more years ahead.

Alexandra Soezer
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

One of the key shifts that I see in the area of climate change is an increasing need and demand of countries for an ambitious programme/project implementation support at sectoral scale. When UNDP’s ambitious current support under the Climate Promise is completed, the focus of countries will shift towards implementation of sectoral programmes that go far beyond pilots. This need for large scale implementation of climate programmes which target whole sectors will require us to look at new partnerships that can complement our policy support and targeted technical assistance. Such partnerships might also require new internal policies to engage private sector and financial institutions strategically to truly complement our core competences.  

  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

UNDP will remain the trusted and often the first-choice development partner for many governments, in particular on climate change. However, instead of stretching us too thin and beyond what we can deliver based on our core competencies, UNDP’s role could become increasingly a facilitator and convener between public, private and financial sector, setting standards and SDG frameworks for private and financial partners and engaging selected private and financial actors in programmes through Country Offices. This could also involve a strategic engagement of global corporations to respond to the most pressing development challenges at a larger scale in the countries we support.  

  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

UNDP’s should use its credibility and convening power to express without political fear a clear position and strong voice for sustainable and low carbon development in all countries UNDP supports. Defined by the SDGs, UNDP’s and other UN agencies’ position is clear on all key development issues and we should convey this also stronger to private actors to achieve a faster shift towards sustainable development.

    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

Funding barriers often hinders us and our development partners to collaborate closer on actual implementation beyond webinars and conferences. However, acknowledging that we can’t achieve transformational change at the speed needed alone and identifying strategic partners that strengthen and deepen our support will be essential to increase the impact of our work on the ground.

    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

Apart from political events that we cannot influence, the lack or insufficient engagement of new actors such as private sector and financial institutions might hinder us to grow stronger and bigger. In order to increase our technical footprint we will probably have to acknowledge that other areas of support such as implementation of targeted financing mechanisms to achieve faster and large impact will require us to develop strategic cooperation and pro-actively reach out to partners for joint programming and implementation.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thanks Alexandra Soezer 

Shifting how we tackle the climate emergency as you suggest will be crucial if we are to achieve real impact.  We have a tremendous base to build from with our existing engagements; whether in our project portfolio or through flagship initiatives such as the Climate Promise. But I agree that we can do more to convene, facilitate and build networks and coalitions for action.  The funding barriers you mentioned are real, but perhaps with focus and effort we can convince some of our funding partners to underwrite such coalition-building work complementing how they underwrite project implementation.  We certainly have the footprint and on-the-ground network to deliver real progress in this if we commit to it.

Valerie Cliff

For the new Strategic Plan, we need to set up our results framework in a smarter way.  When we look at open.undp.org, we have most of our activities rolling up to only the first 2 signature solutions and almost nothing in closing the clean energy gap for example, which surely is one of the most critical things standing in the way of lifting people out of poverty while at the same time cutting GHG emissions and meeting climate change mitigation targets.  I know part of this is due to system related constraints but we have to be able to tell our results story correctly in the next SP period.  We are excellent in transparency and that is great, but what use is transparency if we aren't able to tell the right story about our work. 

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

hi Valerie!

There is definitely an unevenness in the level of activity and investment across the signature solutions and outcome areas. Part of this may well be a reporting system constraint as you mentioned, but I think it also speaks to the challenge of being so heavily funded through non-core earmarked resources.  We could definitely use more focus and a stronger narrative across some of these areas of work, and I agree that we need to improve how we 'tell the story' in the months and years to come.


Angelica Shamerina

Thank you so much for this very substantive and enriching discussion and the opportunity to contribute. I would like to second the comments of my colleagues Alexandra Soezer and Oksana Leshchenko pointing out that climate change and COVID pandemic are, in my view, the most important transformational shifts influencing the development work right now. 

While I agree with Alexandra Soezer about the importance of private sector engagement, I would like to also stress the importance of sub-national and community work, particularly in the context of climate change and energy access. In my view, UNDP, with its extensive on the ground presence, has a potential to make a significant positive difference in supporting local solutions with substantial SDG co-benefits. These local solutions can then be taken up by larger initiatives, including the ones with private sector, aggregated and scaled up. 

Similarly, in the context of COVID impact and recovery, I would like to add to Oksana Leshchenko excellent suggestions and mention the importance of "green recovery", particularly in the local and community contexts. Multiple studies point out that energy access initiatives have a potential  to generate jobs, particularly at the community level. The conservation and sustainable use of natural capital also have significant positive economic impacts. Supporting such initiatives at the local level will likely speed up economic recovery and will help regain development advances lost during the pandemic. 

Aliyu Danjuma

Hello,The extent agony to what covid 19 pandemic have inflict on us far northern Nigeria is miseries continued to excalate as covid 19 become the dominant dangerous disease in the world,Let the world take a senergy steps in revarmping the world, Education is the most vital where it will be better than non @okshana leshchenko rightly said  non  develop countries will fill the impact and challengies of inadiquet knowledge and skills.  than the deveplop countries,In my country Nigeria only the white collar jobbers have access to a computer, smartphones the gab admit difficult challengies to curb,more to information on covid 19 than TV, newspaper and smartphone,150m don't have access to such technology more people believe to says no Corona while we keep having multiple death, This become a weakup call to me I took to the street and several town to advocate on the danger's of covid 19 in my language here attached,I also open a page on Facebook book title, my bid to curb the spread of covid 19 with several follower,As school is reopening in my state Iam prepare to advocate more for students to stay safe.The focus countries will shift toward implimating  sectorial programs that go far beyond pilot. Well aticulated by Elesandra soexer climate change is a global problem for everyone responsibility,UNDP should engage private sectors for serious awerness 

Bravo to moderators for taking us through this wanderfull school of thought, always their for UNDP the world leading organization impacting live. 

Aliyu Danjuma

As the pandemic keep escalating badly hid the under develop country urgent need  for vaccines is vehemently important. As aticulated by Aisha A.


As International Organizations and donors adapt to their new reality, i want to amplify the experience, voices, and perceptions of those on their own frontlines- of how the ripple effects of the pandemic are felt by the world's most vulnerable people and what can be done to support the less priviledged people and one of the first things we did was to donate the sum of $2,000 Dollars share the money by depositing it in individual account and another thing i did was to wire another $250 to help Nigeria Community with face mask, connect with local partners to ask questions like "what can i do to support them while taking steps to combat the pandemic and all of the social political and economic side effect of COVID-19 . Most importantly, i wanted to amplify the community voices and their accomplishments during this challenging time

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Summary Four

As we enter the final week of this discussion, we continue to see wide-ranging reflections being shared, reflecting both the breadth of UNDP's work and also the diverse issues and challenges we foresee in the years to come.  Thank you to Bushra Hassan for a thoughtful synthesis which wove together many threads colleagues had contributed previously.  Adding some of my own take-aways:

On critical long term future shifts:

A range of reflections encompassing the impact of digital technologies and connectivity and the need for effective governance mechanisms in this area ( Annelise Parr and Zafar Gondal , amongst others); the ever-present climate emergency, and beyond that the growing recognition of our broader impact on the environment and loss of ecosystems (from Qinli Helena Huang , Aliyu Danjuma and others) and the fact that the Covid pandemic will have lasting impacts on education which cascade on to livelihoods, poverty and other related factors (the discussion sparked by Oksana Leshchenko 's post).

Knut Ostby aptly summarized this as the "Three Cs" of Covid, Climate and Connectivity, adding also references in passing to larger geopolitical trends such as the impact of renewable energy on geopolitics and conflict, while Yemesrach Workie mentioned changing patterns of global trade in this vein also.  On conflict, Samuel Rizk and colleagues highlighted the continued challenge of conflict and disasters, and the need to build resilience both to climatological hazards as well as to conflict- calling for a more integrated and locally-informed approach to this from UNDP.

On the role organizations like UNDP should play:

In each of the areas mentioned above, colleagues and partners have identified clear roles for UNDP, whether it is in

- raising the ambition of our work on climate and environment while focusing more on coalition-building and mobilization (including with the private sector) as Alexandra Soezer captured, or

- building on our existing expertise in governance and growing strength in digital to offer solutions for digital governance (capturing what Zafar Gondal offered including the useful PDF resources he posted), or

- connecting our sustainability and development work to help define new frame for progress as Massimo Longo asked for.

Underpinning all of these was the challenge many colleagues presented, to rethink and improve how we work, recognizing the importance of our operational capacity on the ground (which Knut Ostby reflected) as well the ways in which we can improve our systems and capacities as alka bhatia and others commented.

Looking forward to seeing what the coming days bring!



Livio Sarandrea

Hi Everyone,

Happy to participate this this engaging discussion. I would like to emphasize some of the points already made by others on the criticality of partnering with the Business Sector. It is now clear that the targets of the 2030 Agenda will not be met without an acceleration in Responsible Business Practices throughout global supply chains. UNDP has positioned itself in the last 3-4 years as an actor with the right level of expertise and presence in the territory to champion what we have called “Aligning Business strategies and operations with the SDGs”. Such engagement should continue and hopefully grow in volume and scope in the next strategic plan

Responsible Business practices have been promoted by our HQ, our regional offices and at country level in many of our thematic areas of work: from Environmental Protection/climate change adaptation to Human Rights, Transparency and Accountability, and SDG Financing to name a few. Our future will be shaped to a large extent by decisions made by the Business Sector. Adherence (or not) of companies to internationally recognized standards has a dramatic impact on inequalities, decent work, women’s empowerment, life on earth and below water. Business that respect rights and freedoms have the ability to move the  needle on reducing poverty and can make a big difference between conflict and peace in many of the current global crisis. Clearly the private sector and the State-Owned Enterprises have an opportunity to make a difference in meeting targets of virtually every SDGs. In growing numbers these actors have acknowledged this responsibility and are reaching out for help in implementing international standards of conduct.  

In the next strategic plan UNDP should seize the opportunity to position itself as the main UN player in support of Responsible Business. It should do so by building on and scaling up successful initiatives such as the Business Call to  Action, the SDG-I just launched by the Private Sector Hub, the Business and Human Rights program integral to the work of the Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights team and the transparency and accountability work carried out by the Governance team.  

Development partners, most notably the EU which has announced legislation on mandatory environmental and Human rights due diligence, have shown great support for UNDP’s work with global supply chains and are encouraging us to do more. Business associations and large multinationals are showing increased interest in responding to demands from consumers and investors for more sustainable business practices. They have also understood the importance of national and regional policies that level the playing field. UNDP shall not miss the opportunity to build on this growing momentum to get even closer to the Business world in the next strategic plan.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Great to hear from you Livio; I hope you're keeping well!

Thanks for the reflections on the importance of engaging with the business sector and helping companies align their business strategies and operations with the SDGs.  From what you have seen, which are the best examples of companies that have done this well, and why?  What are the kinds of changes they have made and how did we help in that process?  As we develop this area of work I think it would be useful to be able to talk about such positive examples to build from.

Penny Stock

Many thanks JD, for posing this important question -> Finding our balance with nature is probably the greatest challenge we face today (with the climate crisis being the most visible part of that, but not the only one). The Covid pandemic has given us an opportunity to reinforce this message, and we need to find better ways to do so. What kinds of things can UNDP do better/ more of to build the kind of world you describe? Here are a few thoughts from my side:

UNDP has a critical role to play for Nature, Climate and Energy as the UN’s Development agency. As we know, our role pivots on our ability to convene different groups – globally, nationally and locally – around a development vision where every member of society is able to thrive, equally and sustainably. Environment sits at the heart of this equation as the foundation of economic growth and social security. Failure to protect the environment forecloses future development options.

In addressing the interlinked nature and climate crises, UNDP must be ambitious. We must tackle these crises head on and bring solutions at scale that address the magnitude of the challenges faced. 

People around the world increasingly recognise these challenge and have seen their Governments take rapid action to tackle the impacts and aftermath of COVID19. The world now knows what is possible if we want to tackle global existential threats. 72 politicians and heads of State recently stood at the Biodiversity Summit to pledge their commitment to reverse nature loss. The nature and climate crises have become election issues. Media coverage of global warming and nature loss is ramping up. Businesses are already changing to meet the demands of consumers who want to buy what they value, not just what they need.

Our role is to articulate the value of the environment through the development lens, promoting integrated solutions that deliver multiple benefits. 

In terms of Nature, UNDP can play a pivotal role by supporting:

  • major (global, national and local) policy, legislative and regulatory reforms that incentivise and enforce conservation of natural assets and sustainable use of natural resources, and penalise environmental destruction and emissions;
  • economic and business models and practices that correctly value natural assets and profit from conservation and sustainable use of natural resources; and
  • elevation and empowerment of indigenous peoples and local communities, who defend and steward most of the world’s remaining biodiversity.

In this vision of the future, conservation is redefined. It is no longer the domain of the conservation sector; everyone, everywhere is a conservationist because our future depends on it. This is the real shift.

What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

UNDP’s Vertical Fund portfolio (GEF, GCF, Adaptation Fund, LDCF, etc.) is our great asset. Going forward, these projects can be positioned even more effectively as: 

1. Catalysts to unleash the power of the private sector to drive change at scale. Many in the private sector and philanthropy are keen to contribute and turn business models towards planet and away from degradation. The key is how to harness this willingness to engage and shift. One approach is to optimise blended finance approaches where public-private partnerships create the space for external and domestic investment in biodiversity-friendly and emissions-reducing enterprise. Our VF portfolio is very well positioned to catalyse changes at national and sub-national level that allow the private sector to pursue nature-based solutions, enforced by strong institutions, policies, legislation and regulation. The grant space opens up and shapes the private space. UNDP can do more to connect with the private space on the ground to match all the momentum on the global stage.

2. Opportunities to elevate and empower local communities and indigenous peoples. While we fully recognise and support the intrinsic role of IPLCs in biodiversity rich areas towards conservation and climate change resilience, a paradigm shift is needed: from inclusion to governance. It is time to support IPLCs to develop and implement conservation and natural resource management projects of their choice, and under their leadership. With our partners, UNDP can commit to improve the access and power of IPLCs to influence the global conservation agenda and step up efforts to empower community-led territorial governance and action on the ground.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

hi Penny; thanks for coming in on this issue.  You've amplified what I think is an important point - that our role is to define and advocate a development vision that has sustainability at its heart, right alongside equity and inclusiveness.  We do so much good work on the ground through the vertical funds and elsewhere, and I agree that there's an opportunity to elevate this work by tying it to that development vision we need to create.

Interestingly both the opportunities you describe talk (implicitly) about building on our existing partnership with national governments and expanding from this base to engage better with the private sector (echoing some of what Livio Sarandrea said above) as well as strengthening our work to empower local communities - which Samuel Rizk talked about a day or two ago in the context of our work on prevention.  We need to find a larger development vision and approach in the intersection and combination of these pieces of work that are all talking about the same partners and stakeholders.  How can we tie these pieces together and make them greater than the sum of their parts? (other than locking you, Sam and Livio in a room together, which is impractical in our pandemic times :-) )

Aliyu Danjuma

Hi,Far northern Nigeria live in extreme penury/poverty majority we live on one quare meal a day the insugencies have hard hid us living vulnerable women's and children's to survive by any means now couple with corona virus disease,Surffering is excalating more jobblessness on the raise  spending the little we earn from farming activities on feeding and schools fees,which I safe some to emback on sensitising communities about the danger's posed by covid 19 pandemic.UNDP should please do more to reach out to the vulnerables.As rightly said by TEDDY  E IGORI under-develop countries are the one Surffering the conciquencies posed by covid 19 pandemic,How you reach out to the needy engaged ad-hoc staff to identify vulnerable community collect visual data of each house hold and help them it could be the lasting solution capturing video data to avoid mismanagement and perfect scale of preference will be drown to know the most important needs to start with. 

Sehnaz Kiymaz

Greetings to all, 

Thank you for these valuable insights and conversations, and happy to contribute to it. Regarding the questions:

1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

Here, I believe it is important to realize that the COVID-19 pandemic actually did not create the crises we are finding ourselves in, it had exacerbated them and made them more visible to many of us. In this sense, it is due time to consider all the distruptive and oppressive systems we've been inadvertently supporting until now, and work on transforming these systems into those that are more fair, just and equitable for all, systems that would leave "no one behind."

2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

And for this, I believe, UNDP stands in an important point in its relation to the SDGs. We need to rethink how we think about development, not in terms of economic growth at any expense, but in terms of human welfare, prosperity and sustainability of our planet. Development and the SDGs cannot be decoupled from the human rights. In this sense increased connections to development principles and the SDG framework to the UN human rights mechanisms will also be very important.

  1. 3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

Increased collaboration with the civil society, and increased focus on the role of states as the duty bearers will be important in this process. As the state pulls away from its responsibilities towards its citizens, the people (and so often women) have to shoulder the remaining burden. 

Second, as mentioned above, stronger connections and collaborations with the human rights mechanisms of the UN will be important to bring about this impact. 

Third, and especially due to the context enforced on us by the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are now bound and connected to the internet, which pushes those who do not have sustained access to the internet and IT technologies further to the margins (which we know women and girls to be at a greater disadvantage for). For this reason, closing the digital divide for everyone, should be one of the priorities as well. 

Fourth, the calls for a rethinking of our economic governance and strategies should be considered, where UNDP with its many offices throughout the World, and its decades of experience can play a crucial role in. UNDP can bring, alongside with civil society, the realities from many parts of the World. 

  1. b. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

Our current deep seated oppressive systems such as, neoliberalism, patriarchy, militarism, racism, extractivism has long widened the inequalities. It is time to transform them to be able to deliver the change needed for us, the People, and the planet. However, these systems are also very much engraved to our daily lives, institutions and understandings. Critical analyses, such as feminist analysis, is crucial to bring out the real effects of the systems of power, and alternative building, collectively, is necessary to transform them. 

I'd like to include the recommendations of the Women's Major Group in relation to the COVID-19 Pandemic process, "From the Pandemic to 2030: Feminists Want System Change" (in English, Spanish and French) where you can find the recommendations of the WMG in the six entry points of the Global Sustainable Development Report (2019). 

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thanks Sehnaz for reinforcing (as others have) the need for a focus on systems and rethinking how we think about development. The link between the SDGs and the rights agenda cannot be overlooked also.

 And thank you for sharing the link to the WMG briefing series; for those who haven't seen them I encourage you to check out these short and thoughtful two-pagers, which mix both first-person voice and a series of strong recommendations.  

Christian Luy

Thanks for the opportunity! 

  1. On a long-term perspective, development will be influenced more and more by digitalisation with all pro and cons, interconnectedness and globalisation with all pro and cons, and phenomena of crisis (climate, economic, health, etc.). Fast and flexible reactions are more and more necessary. Donor countries, supporting development efforts need to convince more and more the public and voters about the effectiveness and results achieved. So development policy will be more and more driven by internal policy needs, which makes coherence, coordination and multilateralism more and more difficult. 
  2. Organisations like UNDP should strengthen coordination, harmonisation and joint cooperation efforts. The communication about development needs should shed light on the complexity and interconnectedness of the world and help to convince the broader public about of the need for development, also in donor countries. In general, cooperation efforts should focus on the one hand multi-level governance systems, but focussing on impacts at the local level, benefiting people at the local level. This is key.
  3. Outcome needs to be visible at the local level by improving people’s life! So how do we get there? Who should join efforts? How can we find allies and create synergies with all the stakeholders involved? We need to get back to the basics, discuss effectiveness, exchange experiences and create common position. UNDP is an excellent and acknowledged player to do so.  
  4. Politics, also in donor countries, is getting more and more “irrational”, influenced by fake news, inferences from abroad, etc. How can we react on that? That’s not easy to answer… Perhaps with more transparency, social control, civil society engagement and support to independent media? Could be a path…
Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Thank you for taking the time to comment, Christian!

You're right that the confluence of so many fast-moving trends (digitalization, globalization, the climate crisis, etc) call for more flexible reactions.  And a big challenge for us in UNDP is to build stronger systems and capacities for such flexibility.  At the same time, that complexity and interconnectedness of the world that you refer to makes communicating the role of development ever-harder.  

It was perhaps easier to explain what 'doing development' meant when this was about digging wells, building schools and training doctors.  But as you rightly say, development today is about complexity and flexibility across multi-level governance systems. How do we capture and convey this in a way that would resonate with the public and policy makers, particularly in donor countries?

Aliyu Danjuma

Thanks to penny stock Failure to protect the environment forecloses futurefuture development option, Covid 19 pandemic further expose and exercibate to a challenges to thinks right to the solution of climate change which have hitting up our natural environment,As many viable  ideas  have been presented to out able moderators for analysis in balancing between nature and nurture to control climate change and Improve biodiversity to safe the planet from total collapsing.

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Dear colleagues,

We are very honored to receive a contribution to this conversation from Sir Richard Jolly and Frances Stewart. Their reflections are in the PDF attached below.

Many of you will be familiar with these esteemed colleagues and leaders in the field of human development. Do check out their thinking.

It is exciting to see so many valuable insights that are coming in our last week of discussions. Keep them coming!

Johanna Durget

For the new strategic plan of UNDP we need to consider reviewing and reinforcing our monitoring, evaluation and learning system. There is a strong need of an online and participatory platform where each project/programme can enter quantitative and qualitative data and monitor them more easily and more efficiently. The Atlas sytem is outdated and is in a strong need of a new face, where hard data could be processed and transformed into charts, where we could directly have an overview of a project in a more visual and efficient way.... 

We are actually looking for feedbacks and perspectives on any programme who has had an experience witth a MEL platform where data is updated live and processed to monitor a program with efficiency and accuracy.

Even though some programmes might have set-up their own platform, I do think we should have an harmonized platform like this for all UNDP. 

Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

hi Johanna,

I liked the fact that you talked about monitoring, evaluation and learning!  Indeed that learning element is so important in improving what we do.  You'll be happy to know that there is already a corporate process underway to upgrade Atlas, and other pieces of work from our Effectiveness group to build more systems and capacities to capture and analyze all the data we generate. You can see some initial examples of this at data.undp.org.

On MEL systems, I know that Eduardo Gustale and the team in the Accelerator Lab Network initiative are exploring this also.  Still early stages but you might want to reach out and see if there are areas where you can learn from each other.


Eduardo Gustale

Thanks Joseph D'Cruz 

Johanna, indeed in the Accelerator Labs we are exploring new ways of doing Monitor, Evaluation, and specially Learning. This is also driven by the nature of the project. It is not specifically one live platform, but a series of different tools and inputs from the labs. Happy to engage to be able to exchange some ideas!


Darko Pavlovic

The next 10 years will likely be defined by more inequalities, stronger impacts of climate change, and “surveillance citizens acceptance” as the technological revolution progresses.

Inequalities will likely lead to more wars and unrest, as the rich grow richer and the poor are left without the basic income to survive. The trend of less democratic  (dictatorial) regimes is going to be on the rise, where populist parties will do anything to come to power and use the social media and other means of mass media to keep their citizens sedated.

Climate change will gain in strength and we will see more adverse effects such as stronger and more frequent hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and torrential rains.

The technological revolution will transform our everyday lives to be more comfortable and connected at the expense of any privacy. Our lives will be more exposed and sold to the highest bidding company which will then target and tailor the ads to influence and shape our behavior.

In such an environment UNDP should focus on one area and do it well.

We are spreading our efforts too wide and too thin. We cannot solve all the world’s problems but we can focus on issues where we have a comparative advantage.

We should develop our brand and interventions around one flagship area for the next Strategic Plan and other areas can provide support to the main area ( when people who don’t work for UN think of different UN Agencies- UNHCR in their mind is focusing on refugees, UNICEF on children, WHO on health and UNDP has not distinguished itself in a brand which is recognizable, which is in my mind a big disadvantage).

Aliyu Danjuma

Hi,AISSANTA Dee I was unable to comment on yesterday's issue due digital network problems and inadiquet of power,Untill UNDP fill the gab to  digital divide and electricity supply to under-develop nation,We will continue to have bad network and insurficient electricity,

Your yesterday's  discussion  ma. Is highly appreciated.

Sonja Lokar
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  • Falling apart of the global  UN forged consensus on parliamentary democracy, international rule of law, a global free-market economy and the common goal of UN nations to build a civilization of indivisible human rights for all (UN strategy of the nineties of the 20th century).
  • Growth of AUTOCRATIC  EXECUTIVE BRANCH of power of nation-states,
  • Geostrategic race for global MILITARY, economic and cultural supremacy between old and new superpowers
  • Growing people’s resistance to unbearable social differences within and between nations, regions, global North and South, East and West.
  • Impossibility of political decision-makers to ignore climate threats
  • Internet and digital technologies, robotization, artificial intelligence will serve both to strengthen the powers of manipulating and controlling the people and the possibilities of the people to organise and practice new types of  participatory democracy
  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  • UNDP would need to insist on new indicators of development, far more complex that the now prevailing GDP  - measuring and comparing protection of the populations, aware of so-called intersectionality,  from discrimination, exploitation, exclusion, ecologic endangerment, and all sorts of violence.
  • UNDP should develop innovative pilot projects to solve the most challenging ecologic, social, economic development issues in middle and less developed countries, by bringing together world best and domestic scientists and experts, civil society and local communities and disseminate the best practices.


  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

Insist on the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and all its SDG, wherever possible, due to the changing political landscape.

    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

Giving priority to the issues where UN nation-states still have the consensus.

Bringing together coalitions of nation-states willing to work on common challenges, even if these challenges are not any more considered as a part of the global consensus.

Supporting crosscutting issue coalitions in the nation-states aiming to solve a specific crucial development issue.


    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
  • A growing number of illiberal democracies
  • Aggravation of geostrategic power conflicts, resulting in armament race, new proxy wars, regional destabilisation, new humanitarian and refugee crises.
  • Further dismantling of the system of international conventions and agreements
  • Lack of efficient development strategies for the global poor which will aggravate massive economic migrations
  • Continued dismantling of the welfare states and further marketization of human services which will exclude poor people from a healthy environment,  water, food, decent housing, quality education and culture,  health care, personal safety and social security and destabilise societies from within.


Aliyu Danjuma

Yes your very right sir.Darko pavlovic inequality will  trigger unrest as the rich grow more poor remain much more poorer left without basic income to survive this may lead to raise in dictorial regime,UNDP must Re-disign how a nation will be govern,Get  satisfied an aspirant  through online schooling before a leader is qualify to aspired for any political seat. 

Erin Stern
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

I think the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need for development to be flexible, rapid and adaptable, as well as the critical importance of supporting civil society at a time when they are stretched for resources, staff, and yet key players supporting communities amidst this crisis, and holding government and policy makers to account in terms of their response to the pandemic.

  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

Organizations like UNDP can play an important mediator role between civil society and government (bridging social capital), and also support needs based and responsive capacity development, leverage the voices and demands of civil society and community members, and play a critical advocacy and mobilization role, including with other UN agencies, government and private institutions. 

  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

Prioritizing partnerships and collaboration with civil society and government in ways that are participatory, meaningful and responsive to needs from the ground up. 

    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

Funding and management that is too bureaucratic, slow, or unresponsive.

Aliyu Danjuma

Well said mr.sonja lokar, implementation of Agenda 2030 and all its SDGs programs should be giving more praorities.

Rodrigo Domingues

UNDP is by nature a global brand. And one which has been evolving its communications in line with a new era of #NextGenUNDP. Visually and verbally, the work is becoming representative of a bolder, more agile, future-focused organization.

But we can’t stop there. A new Strategic Plan is the most significant point to build the brand further, so that we can evolve UNDP together.

While our broad mandate is one of our strengths, it also poses a branding challenge: diffused focus. A strong brand is one which its employees can agree on what it is, what it does, and why it matters. And for its audiences, a unique positive reaction every time they see UNDP’s name. Whereas a weak brand starts by trying to say too much, and ends up doing the opposite.

A big—and exciting—question for all us here: how can we sharpen the focus of UNDP's Brand to be positioned as the development leader of the future?

Alejandro Pacheco

Dear collegues,

There is so much said, that I will refrain myself from going deep into the digital divide, the shift towards peer trust (threatening institutiona legitimacy), the trend to systems thinking and complexity theory (back 50 years), the transition of companies and business models to have an impact in society/environment (again back 50 years) and so many topics worth digging into. 

My brief comment goes as follows: in this world, some people live in the year 2055 and others are still in the 1800s. From telehealth to no access at all, from Mixed Reality to no electrity, from self-driving cars to walking four hours for water, from obesity to hunger. UNDP's most important contribution is to allow people, communities and regions to travel in time and to enable the most sophisticated approaches and mechanisms to meet the most natural and human behaviors. Somewhere in the middle, a sort of balance may emerge.




Stella m Katiku

I think its high time to rethink on better ways and strategize on other lens of countering the unexpected. The event of covid- 19 has left has with so many lessons to learn or with nothing at all........  Things which go beyond our knowledge , state control ,sovereignty  and so forth, The very existence of the well known institutions have lost their importance  in this error.

I think there is need to reformation of those institution like UN based on hierarchical nature of the powerful over the weak. We need to realize the emerging error of glocalization which not only go beyond  the state sovereignty but also the international system. Here , these forces can either include or exclude based on the interest at hand. I  think its high time for the UNDP to change and reform in a  way to counter such forces  ( framework) and not  conform but with out of the box ideas. As a  result we see emergence of other powerful actors that may seem to be invisible they have a very profound impact  at large. 

We need a more human centred approach rather than state centred.






Its time to change the way we think about development, if we as a global community, are serious about ensuring prosperity for all through the universal and comprehensive 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, then we must close all remaining gaps. and this means changing the way we thing about development policy, more than 80 percent of people in developing countries are living in societies where inequalities are higher today than they were 26 years ago. countries have long been driven force behind. what do we do with countries that reach higher levels of national income or growth, yet still face stark vulnerabilities such as poverty, fragile middle classes economic instability, regional disparities, economic instability, regional disparities, insecurity and unequal access to education and health services

when we talk about development our approach to development, we should measure development differently, first are we using the right metrics to measure sustainable development? Are gross domestic product and other income-focused indicators all that matter.If development is multidimensional, what other measure could we use to capture that?.

Rishi Chakraborty

Some of the critical long-term future shifts include the accelerating impacts of climate change, rapid urbanization, digital transformation, and the fourth industrial revolution, and widening inequalities, amidst the current situation of COVID-19 response and recovery. In this context, UNDP can continue to engage multiple stakeholders by bringing together national and local/regional governments, NGOs, civil society, IFIs, multilateral organizations, and other development agencies to ensure the most effective response to these shifts. Like COVID-19, climate change can threaten development gains in many local communities if the risks are not factored into long-term development strategies. Around 40% of the world's population lives within 100km of the coast (which is home to many of the world's major cities), which are increasingly threatened by rising sea levels. Furthermore, a 2018 report from the World Bank, which focused on three regions — Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America — found that without tangible climate action, more than 143 million people in just these three areas will be forced to move to escape the impacts of climate change by 2050. In order to leave no one behind, UNDP must ensure that communities that are under-resourced in coping with the impacts of climate risks receive the necessary assistance, expertise, and best practices/lessons learned for an effective response.

Tariq Malik

Good discussion, rich conversation. I can see the centerstage is set around governance. But we have to be absolutely clear that governance for what? The shared principle that we cherish what I gather from discussion is that it's about achieving goals of security, growth and equity. Richard Jolly and Frances Stewart see it through the prism of explicitly making sustainable and secure Human Development as the central core. Makes sense. But 'how' is the key question. May I suggest to rethink governance for development and move from traditional approaches to new way of governance model as advocated by WB couple of years ago. Data and Technology are good tools but just establishing a 'Technology Theater'  won't ensure digital dividends of development unless we move away from traditional approaches of governance. Hence, it is important to re-think governance while developing new strategic plan from the lens of three key principles -to set up the stage for achieving secure human development goals:

  • Moving away from traditional approach of investing in designing the right form of institutions -to- thinking not just form but also functions as well
  • Moving away from traditional approach of strengthening rule of law to ensure that policies and rules are applied impersonally -to- in additional to rule of law, thinking about the role of law as well
  • Moving away from traditional approach of building capacity of institutions to implement policies -to- thinking about power asymmetries in building capacities
Aník Gevers

I like the theme of "move away from traditional approach" - how long has development work been done in a certain way and is that getting us closer, quick enough to achieving the SDGs? It's time for transformation such that development helps to create structures and systems that support progressive, more equitable, safe, and thriving societies all over the world. I also want to amplify the importance of thinking about power asymmetries and how to address these and not replicate problematic power relations and 'power over' - UNDP is a powerful organisation and we need to think about how that power is used and for what it is used.

Aliyu Danjuma

Thanks for your insight.   Rishi chakraborty

Aník Gevers


  • Development can not be an externally-driven, "rescue" approach that tends to be colonial and patriarchal. Instead an intersectional feminist approach is one that emphasises co-creation, collaboration, egalitarian (non-hierarchical), meaningful participation, inclusivity, non-extractive, and contextual nuance. If UNDP doesn’t embrace and embody feminist principles internally then it has no hope of doing development work in a way that will address this issue and also fundamentally address core issues that negatively affect more than half of the world’s population. Investing in LMICs to drive their own development and investing in facilitating factors for this (e.g., tech) is important so that people in these countries are no longer seen as beneficiaries but rather as key actors and drivers of development in an equitable partnership with UNDP.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how interconnected we are and yet a lot of the response (understandably) is about separation with the risk of intensifying existing inequalities – this is a significant development challenge. Interconnectedness also applies to development issues – working in siloes is not helpful because issues are not standalone but interconnected with a variety of development concerns and challenges in each context.
  • We cannot ignore the impact of VAWG in holding back development in almost all other areas - while women and girls live under the threat of violence or with the aftermath of violence as well as within in discriminatory families, communities, and societies then we will miss their contributions to development and never achieve a society in which no one is left behind and all can thrive. There has been some evidence that development work can increase GBV/GBV risks, thus, evidence-based risk mitigation and safeguarding strategies are essential within all of UNDP’s development work. This work needs to be fully committed and not done piecemeal or in a tokenistic way. Too many teams do not fully take on gender work, or, very often, the gender focal point is expected to do it all but generally holds a junior position and with little support, respect or resources at their disposal. Gender work is every team members responsibility. There is increasing vulnerability that many gender gains will be reduced and so we need active efforts to claw back some of the gains and stop any further loss. Further, we know that GBV can be prevented but it’s important to follow evidence-based guidelines and approaches to do this work ethically and effectively; it is time to move away from business-as-usual in this sphere and engage with the global evidence base on this topic so that UNDP can contribute to large scale solutions around GBV. Feminist development - intersectional feminist development - is an essential approach that UNDP should adopt.
  • UNDP could be more bold and disruptive of problematic status quos. Especially in the global context where there is increasing fake news and rejection of science/evidence and influential nations regressing on key rights and social progress. The potential reelection of Donald Trump is a significant risk to progressive global development and the UN broadly, and UNDP in particular, need to ensure that their work and agendas are not coopted by conservative powers. Further, UNDP could play a larger role in disrupting the “power over” dynamics of the global North and bring more balance and positive uses of power and empowerment to development work.
  • More meaningful assessments/evaluations of quality, process, and impact are needed so that UN development work is not considered successful just because it conducted x number of activities with y number of people (with a minimal % being women); this kind of metric is no longer useful or good enough. There is little measurement of adverse events including long-term so more follow ups are needed not only to assess sustainability but whether there were no long-term adverse consequences.
  • There needs to be some attention to larger structural development work that will fundamentally change systems and norms. Issues around feminist economics to deal with the fourth industrial revolution that could put millions of people and professions at risk as they become redundant (we will need new skills and new types of employment) as well as increase income inequality and financial volatility. We also need systems and structural level change around climate change and environmental degradation. All of this systems/structural development work should be done with an intersectional feminist lens and take up calls for social justice within each context (e.g., black lives matter; LGBTQ+ rights; abortion rights; etc.).
  • At the end of the day, it is essential that UNDP’s strategy is more than great sounding words on glossy paper but something that is actually infused throughout the culture within UNDP as well as the work that UNDP supports and facilitates so that the strategy becomes a lived reality. Too often the policies and strategy are there but teams end up maintaining the status quo by continuing with business-as-usual and working within a system that itself has not changed or embraced the changes it wishes to create in the world. 
Sheila Bittar

Penso que para propor qualquer transformação primeiro é necessário respeitar os contrastes culturais para minimizar as divergências de pensamento e ações. Penso também que precisamos ampliar os mecanismos de acesso as informações educacionais de qualidade – educação/conhecimento é essencial para qualquer transformação. Talvez assim, posamos minimizar os preconceitos e buscar um diálogo amplo, aberto e realista. Precisamos racionalizar o uso dos recursos naturais, minimizar o consumo e difundir como as ações neste sentido podem fazer o mundo ser mais humano, duradouro e justo para todos. Resumidamente: observar, analisar, dialogar, entender, discutir, ponderar, construir propostas junto as comunidades e implementa-las, reavaliando cada passo dado. Por fim, multiplicar e difundir o que deu certo e errado com as ações propostas.

O que pode levar as propostas não darem certo? Não ouvir sobre as necessidades e anseios da sociedade local/comunidade; não avaliar os aspectos fisiográficos da região e suas peculiaridades e não adequar propostas as novas condições socioambientais; e, por fim, não discutir e mediar ações e estratégicas propostas de enfrentamento para sanar os anseios elencados. Menos politicagem e mais politicas estratégicas com propostas para enfrentar presente e futuro.

Maja Stojanovska
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

Data, digital tools, young people and new social contracts. The future decision making will be based on new extensive amount of data, that should be compiled with the new available digital and technological development tools to answer complex problems. The global problems are not going to be sectorial, and therefore most of our approaches need to be more inter-sectional. Young people should be the main partners for any future action, especially as they are the risk population that increasingly is disconnected from the existing social contract with the states. Migration and social security will play a big role in establishing the new future social contract in the states.

  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

In my opinion UNDP does not need to play a role of a think tank - therefore no need to extensive investment in research, but use of secondary research. However, UNDP should connect the dots between all the different disciplines to provide solutions to achieve the SDGs. UNDP work should:

- be more SDG integration focused

- be more inter-sectional and establish links between different perspectives (racial, age, gender, multi-poverty, etc) in each solution

- have young people actually being part of design thinking and implementing activities on all topics and levels

- have representative proportion of racial and ethnic representation in all national offices - diversity in representation is the key

- make internal operations digital and streamlined, with less bureaucracy 

- listen to, support and quickly respond to global movements - BLM, me too - UNDP cannot be in the background on these transformative movements, but should help governments find solutions to answer to these clearly massive challenges. 

  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?
    2. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?


Elizabeth Dartnall

To follow are our initial/broad thoughts on the hard, yet extremely important questions you pose:

  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  • The Fourth industrial revolution: This shift will impact on how we work, and the kinds of skills needed in the workforce. It impacts on employment and the risk that millions of people and professions will become redundant
  • Climate change: Environmental degradation in general, and increased food insecurity. We know hungry people are not able to actively engage in development programming. 
  • Rising income inequality and financial volatility: Covid-19 has shown that governments can and should do more to change current economic paradigms of economic growth and development. How can we learn from this, e.g. changing international financial institutions and lending practices? How do we ensure women have access to sources of production and land?
  • COVID and future pandemics: The pandemic has highlighted our interconnected, yet much of the response, understandably so, is about separation with the risk of intensifying existing inequalities. This is a significant development challenge.


  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  • Vulnerability and loss of gender gains: With increasing vulnerability any gender gains will be reduced and active efforts to claw back some of the gains and prevent any further loss would be important.
  • Gender sensitive socio-economic policies: Such policies, from a feminist perspective, should be explored and shared, including land rights and addressing food insecurity.
  • Intersectional feminist approach: Employing such an approach means co-creation, being inclusive, non-extractive, non-patronising and egalitarian in development. It would be important to embrace and embody feminist principles internally.
  • Interconnectedness: This concept also applies to development issues. Working in siloes is not helpful as issues are all interconnected with a variety of development concerns and challenges in each context. Being bold and disrupting problematic status quos are fundamental. Talking about “leave no one behind” and “vulnerable populations” indicate inclusivity but does not meaningfully engage in difficult conversations around Black Lives Matter, feminism, pride, abortion rights, refugees and more.
  • Disrupting power: Act as a voice and/or influence in disrupting global “power over issues” and redress issues around science, evidence and fake news. Organisations such as UNDP may well counteract influential nations rolling back rights and progress.


  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

·       Greater emphasis on, and investment in social justice.

·       A new economic and financial order.

·       Skills development and investment in technology for low and middle-income countries (e.g. affordable data costs).

·       Investment in gender equity programmes, violence prevention programmes and internal transformation within the UN.

·       More meaningful assessments/evaluations of quality, process, and impact are needed so that UN development work is not considered successful just because it conducted “x” number of activities with “y” number of people (with a minimal % being women). This kind of metric is no longer useful. There is little measurement of adverse events including long-term impacts and more follow up is needed to assess sustainability and to ensure there are no long-term adverse consequences.


    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome? 

·       A second term in office for Conservatives in the United States under Donald Trump.

·       Conservative forces within the UN and countries from the North holding on to power.

·       Increased and ongoing corruption and political instability.

·       Food insecurity.

·       Continued high levels of violence against women and violence against children.

Deborah Guisado
  1. The critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development, from my point of view, are:
    1. The lost of biodiversity, due to climate change and wildlife world trade.
    2. The new normal in extreme weather conditions. 
    3. The not ending of poverty and the inequalities in human rights.
  2. The UNDP should put pressure in changing international environmental policies and put pressure to end inequalities and for that, we need to end tax havens and financial secrecy jurisdictions. Governments, bankers, big corporations, etc are depriving people of opportunities to have health care, education, security, justice and essentially a fulfilling life. Here are 5 steps to put an end to them.
    1. Stop public councils from issuing public contracts to companies operating out of tax havens.
    2. Create public registries of beneficial owners of companies, trusts and foundations.
    3. Introduce full transparency of deals and secret agreements between companies and governments.
    4. Introduce public country by country reporting by multinational companies.
    5. Introduce automatic information exchange between all countries.
  • Also, we need to stop arms trading. In many developing countries secrecy factories are used to build them. 
  • Carbon taxation.
  • The focus in the Arctic market, stop the new routes. Due to ice melt, new routes are opened and the risk of natural catastrophes are imminent.
  • Policymakers should work along with scientific educational institutions and local communities from the most remote and endangered areas. They must always be included and taken into consideration.
  • Nations should invest at least 1% of their GDP to make the transition to renewable energies.
  • Reduce drastically globalisation will increase human rights.
  • Pharmaceutical companies around the world also buy illegal drugs which they cannot be produced in their own country.
  • Take green advanced countries as a role model, like Scandinavian. Governments with a vision and willingness to transform their economy into green ones, like Costa Rica.
    1. I think what it would contribute positively to achieving that outcome is to give people ALL the information and being transparent. Then they will also request their governments to act accordingly, but if people do not know what their governments and big companies are doing they won’t change their minds, they won’t speak up. Education is the best weapon to eradicate injustice and any other problem around the planet.
    2. Many events and responses will stand in the way of such an outcome, like political and business interests will stand in the way, Brexit is an example, because of the decision making on EU Tax Policy.

Thank you,

Deborah Guisado

Shyara Bastiansz
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

Climate change; the trade-offs between development and not placing further strain on the planet.

Pandemics/ public health disasters and globalization; is it still relevant in a socially distancing world?

Challenges to income generation with loss of work for large portions of society. COVID19 has set in motion a chain reaction of events, leaving little time for policy makers and Governments to come up with alternate modalities. Shocks such as these will be more frequent in the future. Resilience is more crucial than ever.

Development designed as traditional project management; based on predictability, is not sustainable. How we design better programs within higher degrees of uncertainty and lower chances of predictability, will determine if we make impactful change.

Digital will be the norm of the day. The demand and dependency on digital equipment and solutions will be more than previous decades. More resources will need to be spent on building capacity on learning new technologies and data privacy. Paradoxically, with so much information available on digital platforms, will there be any room for privacy at all!

  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

A clearer mandate: UNDP has been having a sort of an identity crisis for a while. The previous SP laid out a very broad mandate, that sometimes resulted in efforts being lost in translation. The organization spent more time trying to define what ‘SDG integrator’ meant, rather than focusing more effort to achieve the SDGs.

UNDP needs to help countries achieve the SDGs. This should be our primary role. As an organization, we need to have our own strategy to make this happen. The UN and UNDP needs to first internalize the global goals, before asking Governments to do the same. 

  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

Simple solutions to complex problems.

a. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

Identifying sustainable pathways on critical issues like waste management, energy generation, production & consumption (i.e. everything that we produce and consume and making sure that we manage the by-products of these processes, like air/ water/ plastic pollution, clearing of forests).  Income inequality is another big issue that threatens the basic concept of sustainable development and we need to figure out how to reduce that gap (HOW: technology transfer from developed to developing countries, supporting social entrepreneurship and inclusive sustainable businesses, education = making sure the young population is properly equipped, addressing the health of the population = more productivity), strong public sector/ political leadership,  including encouraging women in development/ production/ politics.

Innovation for development solutions: using creative design thinking in our approaches to design solutions.

b. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

Not walking the talk- failure to show clear, concrete results that justify the volume of resources channeled to the organization.

Rigid accountability frameworks that are too bureaucratic.

Not being able to compete with the new, more creative and innovative organizations providing development solutions.

Not hiring enough young people to bring new, non-traditional approaches to the strategic direction of the organization.

Not normalizing failure.

Lower resource availability to promote a culture of experimentation within the organization.

Bassel Al Madani

Greetings All,

I hope that you are doing well,

I would thanks UNMGCY for inviting me to tihs open dsiscussion, it's such a pleasure for me.

This is Mohammed Bassel Al-Madani a highly driven person determined to create a lasting, positive impact on the world, very passionate about supporting promising UN SDGs projects and start-ups that create opportunities for young people and build strong, healthy, and entrepreneurial communities.

Mohammed Bassel Al-Madani, a senior student in civil and environmental engineering, social entrepreneur, SDGs advocate, community leader, 2030 visualizer, founder, and CEO of @EntrePioneers2030 platform


regarding your questions about the UNDP preparations for its next Strategic Plan 2022-2025. I would share with you my following answers:

1- What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

Wars, crises and renewed conflicts, overpopulation, loss of human resources, climate change, societal problems and unemployment, administrative corruption, fair governance, management of the use of technology.In that future.

2- what role should organizations like UNDP play?

Confronting and solving the challenges facing vulnerable and fragile societies, especially in areas of conflict, wars, and crises, an example of this is my country, Syria, which has suffered from 10 years of war and the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, especially with the number of refugees and destruction of infrastructure, we in Syria need to rehabilitate the infrastructure Infrastructure, rebuilding hospitals, schools, universities, and medical centers, supporting youth and entrepreneurs, and rehabilitating the economic situation and living conditions. In Syria, now more than 80% of people are below the poverty line.

3- What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

A bold “reset” in our next Strategic Plan: no return to the old normal
Making UNDP more agile and responsive to an increasingly dynamic, uncertain environment. This includes building a decentralized, connected knowledge system premised on critical connections, as well as better understanding the “interconnectedness” across systems
Developing a UNDP operating system (ie how we work in the broadest sense) that can deliver at speed and scale
Not being “everything to everyone”. UNDP must define which role to play in which context. Move from a ‘doer’ to ‘enabler and facilitator’ of change by people on the ground. Move programming away from projects towards a portfolio and platform approach
Make UNDP a flatter decision-making organization: empower teams, act with speed even when information is patchy

4- What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

Failure of the organization and its senior management to adjust to the changing reality in our world-emerging and the strong need for digital technology and enhancing the skills of its staff to be part of this process.
We have the emerging climate change and gender equality and empowerment of women in addition to Wars, crises and renewed conflicts, overpopulation, loss of human resources, climate change, societal problems and unemployment, administrative corruption, fair governance, management of the use of technology still remaining development challenges in our world and posing a threat to sustainable development.


I wish you all the best UNDP in your plan.

I'm looking forward to collaborate with you in Syria in the near future.

thank you.



Here is my email: basel.mb0@gmail.com / Mob: 00963991346542

Malin Herwig

We may not know what the future will look like but we know that the current crisis has revealed underlying fragilities in our societies, and deeper conflict lines, exposing the state of social contracts, the quality of governance processes and complex set of risks.

While we have known for long that fragility and crisis are the biggest obstacles to achieving the SDGs by 2030, the consequences will be different as the world will become more volatile and unstable.

The pandemic will affect politics in fragile states but will also change dynamics in countries that haven’t necessarily been seen as fragile. Consequences of the economic crisis and political decisions during the pandemic are likely to see increased problems arising from old fractures in the system.

The economic crisis is lowering the cost of joining violent groups, with new consequences and dynamics. Some groups are more able to take advantage of the crisis, including violent extremist groups which have an ability to use vulnerabilities of society and turn these into group strengths. The conflict environment is likely to be different after the start of the pandemic.

As crisis are related to development failures, without a doubt UNDP needs to be at the forefront of prevention, working across multi-dimensional and interlinked risks and vulnerabilities. In regards to the future of role of UNDP, I would like to highlight UNDPs unique ability as a partner in fragile settings and support inclusive governance processes and prevention of future crisis, including reducing vulnerabilities, inequalities and build resilience to future risks.

Lastly, with deepening geopolitical tensions and fear of nationalistic backlashes, UNDP and the broader UN need to continuously demonstrate the advantages of multilateralism and collaboration. This may be an area for innovation, trust building and engaging new partners.

The GlobalTaskforce of LRG

Please find herewith the contributions of the constituency of local and regional governments, gathered through the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments


  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?


  • A world predominantly urban with cities transformed into key places where sustainable development challenges must be tackled.
  • Demographic changes with greater mobility and increased population in developing countries alongside growing proportions of older persons globally leading to social, economic and environmental challenges.
  • The necessary move to a post-growth economy: shifting towards sustainable production and consumption patterns with goods and services produced with lower environmental impact and tackling the systemic inequalities. This based on fair and sustainable economies and advanced human wellbeing, moving beyond GDP.
  • Digital revolution, its challenges and threats as well as its potential to bring new sustainable development solutions.
  • Climate change and the increased demand for natural resources, energy and food.
  • Multi-level and multi-stakeholder partnerships and its power to transform the prospects for sustainable development.
  • Foster intergenerational dialogue to explore alternatives for sustainable development.
  • Protection of the common and basic needs and access to public services for all.
  • Fair, sustainable and free societies that respect the environment and guarantee rights
  • A relation of proximity with citizens with political systems to foster solidarity and trust
  • Localisation is the keyword. And localisation goes hand in hand with the cultural dimension of development. We need more research on the way local cultures are catalysers of development. With "culture" we mean: heritage, creativity, diversity and knowledge. The narrative "culture is the fourth pillar / dimension of development" needs more support and it perhaps should become "culture is the first dimension of sustainable development"



  • Development should strongly rely on local and regional governments and their associations, at all phases of development process. Local governments are at the forefront of promoting the development of their territories and managing this process through local and regional policies they adopt, which makes them the ideal hub to transversally plan and implement territorial development. They are day-to-day actors and are most capable of understanding the dynamics and needs of their constituencies, as well as providing them with essential public services and sustainable policies, as well as innovation centers. Because of their proximity to citizens, they are ideally placed to implement development plans tailored to their territories.
  • Essential to ensure a full seat of Local and Regional Governments at the Decision-Making Table such as UNDP


  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?


  • Greater role of support and promotion of local and regional governments: UNDP should use its position itself on the ground as coordinator to support and promote the role of local and regional governments as key policy makers to and implementers of development plans. Local and regional governments are often side-lined in decision-making and in the implementation of development plans despite the fact that they have expertise and knowledge on the state of play and needs of their territories, particularly through the data they possess, which would facilitate the delivery of actions. 65% of the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda have a territorial component and need to be implemented at local level, in order to be successful. UNDP can play an important role in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, by working closer with local and regional governments and promoting the localisation of the SDGs.


  • Territorial approach to development and decentralised cooperation should be recognised as one of essential means to mainstream the 2030 Agenda in international development cooperation


  • Provide knowledge and information on the sustainable development situation at global, regional, national and regional/local level so priorities in policy-making can be made according to and effectively address the needs and further support knowledge and experiences exchange between relevant development actors in contributing to sustainable development.


  • Continue collaboration with other UN entities and local and regional governments which action intersects with the UNDP work on the localisation of the SDGs.


  • Build partnerships with relevant actors, notably local and regional governments, and engage them in the design and implementation of UNDP strategy.


  • Further promote UNDP Art’s programmes supporting local governments, decentralisation, localization, and the recognition of local and regional governments as international actors


  • Involvement of UNDP to further explore the connection culture - development


  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?


  • Support sustainable development pathways through building capacities of key development stakeholders, including local and regional governments, and including or through national associations of local and regional governments
  • Support effective engagement of key stakeholders, notably local and regional governments and their associations, at all stages of the programmes or projects, in the design and implementation of sustainable development strategies and programmes at global, regional and national level, namely in the SDGs follow up and review, through mechanisms that supports the on-the-ground delivery of the SDGs.


  • Promotion of good practices and horizontal cooperation in the implementation of development plans and policies in co-creation with local and regional governments: these good practices could be replicated and help all local actors in the particular country, especially through facilitation by the national association of local governments, and around the world to take action for development. With the support of UNDP, each local government could then develop a development policy that promotes the implementation of sustainable development objectives.


  • Develop innovative financing mechanisms and tools to enable access to resources at local and regional level to develop urban actions


  • UNDP could base its work on human-rights based development, and place unexplored rights at the centre (including cultural rights, environmental rights and digital rights)


  • Ongoing efforts towards gender equality, including women leadership and gender mainstreaming in public policies at all levels





Joseph D'Cruz Moderator

Dear colleagues from the Global Taskforce,

Your inputs and suggestions warmly received.  Our thanks for taking the time to consider these questions and provide an invaluable perspective on how we can strengthen our engagement at the local and regional levels.  Much appreciated!

Rasha Natour

Dear UNDP, 

Thank you for facilitating a space for civil society actors and key stakeholders to contribute thoughts on the 2022-2025 Strategic Plan. Please find below the responses on behalf BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative  which focuses on breaking the poverty trap for the extreme poor through effective programmes and policies. Thank you again for the opportunity, we are happy to discuss any of this in further detail!

1.     What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?


The global pandemic has proven the need for investments in transformational change. It underlined the need for extreme poor communities to have strong foundations to face major shocks, such as COVID-19 and the resulting economic disruptions. In order to achieve long-term, sustainable impact, the global community needs to invest in holistic programming, policy, and system changes that are inclusive of the most marginalized people. Specifically, the development community should invest in and support government-led social protection programs and policies to establish a pathway out of poverty for those living in extreme poverty and toward continuous growth and development. We will not have large-scale, meaningful impact for those who are most marginalized without adequate social protection programs and policies that support their growth and build their resilience.


As the pioneer of the Graduation approach, BRAC knows it is possible to break the poverty trap for the long-term through holistic programming designed to meet the multidimensional needs of people living in extreme poverty and build their resilience. In order to increase the reach and scale of  the impact we have seen through Graduation, we apply our learnings to inform policy and systems change, particularly social protection programming and policies. We have seen great progress through this approach and believe this is a direction that would benefit from additional support and prioritization from the development community.


2.     In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

UNDP is a critical leader in the global community and can play a key role in shaping the dialogue to focus on inclusive social protection programming and inclusive policies, particularly of people in extreme poverty. UNDP and other multilateral organizations should encourage and support governments to develop sustainable social development programs as part of their national commitment to poverty reduction and development. This support can be through the provision of financial assistance or guidance and advising on developing effective social protection programs, policies, and systems that meet the multidimensional needs of those living in extreme poverty.

As the duty-bearers for their citizens, governments play a critical role in attaining the SDGs and ensuring continuous growth and development. Institutions such as UNDP and BRAC are valuable resources to support the fulfillment of these duties. Building off the long-term success of the Graduation program in Bangladesh, BRAC has directly implemented and provided technical assistance on Graduation in 13 additional countries over the last 18 years, and we continue to expand our reach as we explore government partnerships to design and deliver effective, inclusive social protection programming and policies worldwide.


3.     What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

UNDP should have an explicit focus on people living in extreme poverty in all strategies, with specific outcomes related to extreme poor households. We know that the ranges of poverty are vast, and the extreme poor are often so deeply entrenched in poverty that they are left behind from growth and development. We cannot afford to overlook that people in extreme poverty often do not fully benefit from traditional development programming and investments given their unique needs.  The lack of impact outcomes specific to those living in extreme poverty would only guarantee them being left behind and the gap will widen between the extreme poor, poor, and non-poor communities. Given the layered inequalities and barriers they face, the extreme poor are often overlooked or inaccessible as program participants or they do not fully benefit from development interventions given the complex, interconnected needs that must be addressed to break their poverty trap.

BRAC knows that a specific, intentional focus on people in extreme poverty leads to different and better results. The Graduation approach was born in Bangladesh after evaluations indicated that the poorest people were not benefiting from BRAC’s existing anti-poverty programming. Once we adopted a specific focus on extreme poor households and adjusted programming accordingly - resulting in the Graduation approach being born-  we saw incredible impact. We broke the poverty trap for the long-term. With a specific focus on people living in extreme poverty, we saw and continue to see inspiring impact. Based on BRAC’s Graduation program in Bangladesh, 93% of participants experienced sustained benefits seven years after the program ended. This included a 37% increase in earnings, a 9% increase in consumption, a ninefold increase in savings rate, and a twofold increase in household assets and access to land for livelihoods. These results demonstrate the impact we can expect with a specific focus on those in extreme poverty, as well as the impact we could miss as this level of long-term impact would not have been achieved with traditional poverty reduction programming.  


a.     What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

The inclusion of the extreme poor as a distinct impact group in UNDP’s strategy would contribute to this outcome positively as it will lead to a focus on the extreme poor across UNDP-funded programming and result in pro-extreme poor programmes, policies, and measurement outcomes. As a leader in the development sector, UNDP’s strategy signals a direction for the rest of the international community. We strongly believe that the inclusion of the extreme poor as a distinct impact group will result in the uptake of a focus on the extreme poor by many other development actors which is much needed if we are to meet SDG1 by 2030.


b.     What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

Here at BRAC, we feel that effective targeting of people in extreme poverty, efficient programme design, and strong partnership with governments will protect the outcomes from event-specific threats. We have seen that addressing the unique, multidimensional needs of people living in extreme poverty results in long-term impact and increased resilience in face of unexpected events, including the global pandemic. By addressing the holistic needs of people living in extreme poverty through effective programming, they are better positioned to respond to events and shocks that would otherwise have exacerbated poverty conditions.


Based on our work with the Department of Labor and Employment in the Philippines in partnership with the Asian Development Bank, a Rapid Diagnostic Assessment found that 67% of Graduation participants were able to continue operating their livelihoods during the quarantine and only 20% took out a loan during quarantine. Furthermore, 89% of participants kept their assets and households showed increased financial resilience: 75% accessed savings at home (only 29% had any savings at the start of the programme). Graduation participants were able to rely on the progress made in the programme, and the partners were able to engage 


The recognition of people in extreme poverty as a distinct impact group with unique needs will reinforce the international community’s commitment to the extreme poor. This would result in much-needed programming and targeting specific to extreme poverty,  which will allow us to make long-term impact for these communities and build their resilience in face of unexpected events. However, we cannot expect such important results without prioritizing this traditionally overlooked, underserved community.  



Carolina González APC-Colombia
Wolfgang Schiefer
  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  • From the perspective of the World of Work, there are a number of long-term structural trends that will frame the context in which development thinking needs to take place as they impact on people, societies and how societies interact internally and externally. These are: automation, changing trade patterns, demographics, migration and climate change.
  • These long-term trends have been overlaid and to some extent compounded by the negative effects of the current COVOID-19 Crisis. The medium term-crisis response will be the main determinant for the period of the next UNDP strategic plan.
  • The main impact of the COVID-19 crisis is likely to emerge in a number of socio-economic areas of relevance for UNDP’s poverty reduction mandate: a large overhang of crisis-related unemployment and underemployment; a substantial increase in human vulnerability, precarity and inequality, especially for vulnerable groups facing discrimination due to age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic or other status; a deterioration of public finances; an acceleration of the digital transformation of economic activity, a structural shift in economies with a particular impact on MSMEs; and a restructuring of global supply chains.


  1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play
  • The response to the COVID-19 crisis and the long-term trends set out above will require a multidimensional and multi-disciplinary response of the UN system, in particular the UN Development System. UNDP can add value and strategic focus in that context by operationalizing its integrator role building on its global operational experience and footprint and community level networks, hence reemphasising its facilitator and institution building role.
  • UNDP should also continue to be a driver of innovation in development thinking and approaches through analytical and research work and through its flagship reports.


  1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?


  • The outcome for UNDP (and indeed the UNDS) is set out in the integrated 2030 Agenda and the SDGs bringing together the three dimensions of sustainable development. Progress towards achievement of the SDGs from the new baselines, reset by COVID-19 should be a central focus. Main areas of comparative advantage for the UNDP appear to be poverty reduction, inequalities and governance.
  • Secondly, UNDP can contribute to achieving more peaceful and just societies. This would imply a re-balancing towards conflict and crisis prevention, linked to governance and institution building, beyond responsive action in the conflict-development-peace nexus.
    1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?


  • UNDP should aim at scale for impact. UNDP should therefore place itself at the forefront of the SG’s call for more networked and inclusive multilateralism and a new social contract through its strong convening capacity and experience in creating effective partnerships, particularly in countries at all levels of government and society.
  • A rights-based and human-centred approach will contribute to focussing on poverty and vulnerabilities.
  • The COVID-19 response and recovery will be dominant in the short-term strategic plan period. In parallel, UNDP will also need to monitor and integrate the longer-term structural transformations outlined above and rebalance and redesign development approaches accordingly.
    1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?
  • The main imponderable and potential impediment in this respect is the future of multilateralism and the multilateral development system against the background of the long-term economic impact of COVID-19.  While the effects are hard to gauge this might have a significant impact on funding, in particularly via voluntary contributions.


Diego Lopez

1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

  • Decarbonisation processes and how we ensure that no one is left behind in these processes.
  • The challenges of the future of work and how we guarantee employment and livelihoods in a world that is shifting towards greater digitalisation.
  • Big data and how we put it to work in development processes for more targeted approaches.

2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

Co-convening role for different actors and stakeholders to work together towards common challenges. Ensuring a specific role in development programmes and processes for different types of actors which can contribute to these through their specific areas of expertise (for example trade unions and how they can contribute to upscaling the quality of different processes and programmes with their experience in the areas of decent work, social protection, social dialogue…)

3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

Contribute to building resilience based on the key elements of SDG 8 (decent work and inclusive growth), putting decent work, social protection and just transitions towards environmentally sustainable economies and societies for all at the centre.

a. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

Greater inclusion of the social partners (workers’ and employers’ organisations) in its planning and implementation processes

b. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

The "business as usual" approach

Sungeun Choi

Thank you for organizing this discussion and providing a platform to share inputs. My name is Sun, following formal and informal discussions around human rights issues from Geneva including Human Rights Council sessions and its related mechanisms. I will make one general answer cross-cutting all three questions raised with my experience with UNDP so far. 

While listening to human rights concerns and Member States’ strategies and views on their internal as well as global human rights situations from the Human Rights Council, I could clearly understand strong linkages among human rights, development, and peace & security.  Especially as the world is facing numerous global challenges cutting across all social, economic and political sectors, which will eventually lead to the success and/or failure of the 2030 Agenda, human rights concerns I hear from the Council are also becoming  much more multifaceted and intersected with inequality, climate crisis, pandemic, and other so many different systematically and socially structured issues.

Human rights are the fundamental principle and foundation of stability, development, and peace. UNDP as integrator and accelerator of the 2030 agenda, have a clear role to promote human rights for a long-term development that UNDP will need to continue to mainstream human rights in our programmers and policies and strengthen a human rights- based approach. Human rights should not be any more considered just for human rights people, UNDP also need to step up and see how we can more integrate and mainstream human rights into all our programmes and policies we are offering.   

One of tool I want to highlight is the Human Rights Council’s Universal periodic Review (UPR)mechanism that UNDP can further build up our systematic approach to human rights in our programming and strategies. UPR is a unique process born with the Human Rights Council in 2006,  which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member states once every 4.5 years. It is designed to ensure equal treatment for every country when human rights situations are assed with an opportunity for states to declare what actions they have taken to improve as well as challenges they are facing and commitment for the progress till next cycle.

The Secretary General’s Call to Action for Human Rights also valued the UPR process and asks for UN engagement with all Member States at HQs and field levels with recommendations made from UPR and make full use of it with other human rights tools as a basis for meeting the challenges, opportunities for implementing the 2030 Agenda.  

Looking at human rights issues from the preventive approach, UNDP are well positioned to open up dialogues with our programming countries through rather softer topics starting from UPR recommendations. I believe through this process UNDP can play a strong integrator role of human rights as well as risk mitigation through UPR process, bringing future and action-oriented narratives to the prevention of human rights violations, which often lead to human rights emergencies and crisis/conflicts.

Already many COs have been supporting countries to mainstream human rights to their national development and SDG localization plans and strategies by integrating recommendations of Human Rights Mechanisms including UPR and Treaty Bodies and other mechanisms. UPR recommendations are already being used and applied for developing country level programs and projects.   

For having systematic ways to support human rights mainstreaming to UNDP offer, we can further strengthen internal UNDP’s capacity on utilizing UPR and other Human rights mechanisms  by sharing good practices and experiences already existing in COs and providing hands-in skills for UNDP colleagues to enhance their engagement with UNCT, States, and other partners.

I believe more can be commented by @Sarah Rattray on how UNDP can further mainstream human rights agenda to overall UNDP offers.

CC: Katy Thompson  Tim Heine Roqaya Dhaif 


Zena Ali Ahmad

We are witnessing critical shifts of a changing world order at the global and regional levels that will influence the way the world functions. Issues such as increasing nationalism; questioning the added value of multilateralism, democracy and the capitalist/liberal economic model; functioning in an age were uncertainty is the norm, dealing with increasing risks; a retraction of the human-right based agendas, digitization, and increased inter-connectedness of all agendas are all factors that influence how we imagine development in the future. The current crisis, unlike others, had a global reach- exposing that all countries, to varying degrees, have some sort of fragility that need to addressed. History has shown that fragility is a recipe for conflict, which we are witnessing today.

‘Business as usual’ and the models that we have tried and tested will not be able to cope with these global and regional changes, and will require a major re-evaluation of how we think ‘development’ and the tools that we have used.

This is an ideal time where agencies such as UNDP could re-assert itself as an ‘influencer’ in the development priority-setting in such as changing world order. Perhaps the most important role that UNDP can embrace over the near future is helping countries re-imagine their future in an age of uncertainty and risk. This should be done through supporting the world, regions and countries, in ‘options’ for the future through high-value thought- provoking research that could be brought down for ‘validation and discussion’ at regional/country levels; policy advice (not the usual model we have used but one where everyone participates in re-imagining the future and arriving at a ‘compact’ for an inclusive and just society); and piloting models that can be scaled up. While the world (and countries) re-imagine their future, UNDP needs to continue to support the implementation of important agendas for prevention, conflict resolution, peace building, climate change, SDGs, etc. Areas such as inequality and rule of law and environment and inequality will not only remain crucial in any future world order, but are seen to be increasing as a result of the changing dynamics.

The next few years are crucial in shaping the world for the next decade. If we are successful in moving a rights-based development agenda forward, one the embraces future challenges, and helping the world and countries make informed decisions about a future that all their constituencies can embrace, we would have contributed to a new world that embraces diversity for peace and reduces future conflicts over competing political agendas and resources. However, the contribution of UNDP cannot be realized if we do not invest in serious critical thought leadership that can influence the future agenda, both for the UN and multilateralism as a whole, but also for countries as well.

Frances Guy

thanks indeed for the opportunity to comment.   the potential future role of UNDP is the key question. Sometimes it feels like the organisation has tried to continue its original role as an overarching development agency without taking into account the growth of specialised agencies or the key role of national civil society.   There is still a role in an increasingly interlinked world for an overall development integrator that is based on human rights and putting the most vulnerable at the centre of decision making but there is also a case for UNDP to focus on its unique role in promoting governance and accountability and daring to encourage alternative policies based on approaches like those of feminist economists.    The need to create a greener, more inclusive and fairer future post pandemic offers a unique opportunity for a changed more radical approach based on the resilience of local communities.  (transformed lives, resilient communities)


Susanne Olbrisch

Great input already. A couple of additional reflections on our climate portfolio regarding the questions:

  1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
  2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?
  3. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?


  • Civil Society: Ongoing CSO/youth movements can be leveraged more by UNDP to push for climate action. In addition, things like Mission 1.5 are crucial to catalyze change.
  • Private Sector: Get private sector on board. Not through developing ‘project pipelines’ as the private sector isn’t working on a project logic, but through a stable enabling environment for business investment (replacing perverse incentives with green ones) and de-risking measures.
  • Linking Climate Change and Development Agenda: To foster climate action, more strongly seek synergies with development issues that people care about: health, reducing plastics, food sovereignty… offer great entry points for climate action that can showcase how climate action also support livable livelihoods.
  • Leveraging UNDP’s unique selling points: To do that, make yet stronger use of the fact that UNDP is on the ground around the globe. Stronger collaboration among different teams and expertise are needed to deliver meaningful integrated input on climate and development. A closer collaboration with economic advisors has been initiated to facilitate this.
Prateeksha Singh

Hi all, its been really great reading several of the responses, and learning more about what colleagues think. It has showed me both how diverse/varied our perspectives are, as well as how shared. 

For critical long term shifts-

I think the increasing emphasis and application of systems thinking and how we view our 'portfolios' of work as not just.a 'number of projects grouped together' but as systemically interconnected set of interventions on an issue or in a place.

Another key one is us approaching project design not from a place of jumping to solutions, but from a place of inquiry, learning, curiosity.

Being aware of the need for us to shift the power dynamics we engage in by viewing those who we serve not as 'beneficiaries', 'vulnerable' or 'target groups, but as people who despite being structurally marginalized. hold immense lived experience with that challenge area, and can be our design/thought partners.

Having more inclusive leadership, and local partnerships and vendors/consultants vs the norm of North American/European.

For the role - I think UNDP is actually doing some pioneering work in the development space when it come to exploring and experimenting with deep systemic and portfolio design work. The issues we work on though require deep collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders on the ground, so how can we use this work to engage more deeply. I also think about how UNDP can engage more deeply with donors to challenge them to also operate and fund more systemically and provide an alternative to the current way programs get funded (and people get compensated). 

Outcome - A truly integrated portfolio of projects where there are shared incentives across project teams to work on an issue from diverse angles. and, Offices recognized for their impact on the ground. 

-leadership that supports doingdifferently (at all levels)

- a rethinking of how we do resource mobilization, attracting different sources of funding, which will ultimately create a shift in what we incentive (delivery).

Many things can get in the way, some are- remaining comfortable with the status quo, operating from a place of 'scarcity' mindset (in terms of funding, partners, etc), not opening up our circles to engage with very different types of thinking, country colleagues not feeling empowered (esp. if their leadership does not embrace doing differently). 


Raquel Lagunas

Thanks for opening this discussion, and crucial questions. Collective answers are always stronger than individual ones! 

On the future shifts that it will change how we think development, I see first the clear failure of the economic model -neoliberalism- plus the difficulties to find alternatives - countries will be also impacted by the debt crisis; the crisis of governance and erosion of trust in governments and public institutions that COVID 19 exhacerbated- we need a new paradigm and find political alternatives; the increased of inequalities among countries will help to the raise of global/national movements that uses unhappiness and vulnerability, exclusion to win, link to the transition towards more authoritarian democracies including  governments that are misogynists threatening women’s rights; the climate crisis and global warming will accelerate the need for a new green economy but it will push to think urgent short term solutions; new technologies/digital revolution will create the need for a global governance framework that can regulate e.g. privacy, cyberviolence, security, data management for public interest, or ethic code for algorithms; and big corporation will take more space in the new thinking about development; finally the increase of civil engagement, green and feminist movements, and youth asking for a different world.

I think UNDP should keep its feet set on the ground of highly reliable data, evidences and analytics about foundational aspects of development -though leadership-–; we should be in every country the voice of people left out by the system -the poorest-,  and increase our support to civic engagement and grassroot movement building (enhance the role of non- State actors); put at the top of our agenda addressing the fragility of the social contract and take stronger positions about what democracy entails including sensitive aspects like tax heavens or extremism/religion – ; UNDP can be the organization able to capture, catalyze, represent and amplify solutions proposed by alternative groups e.g. feminists economists, top think tanks, CSOs' networks like women’s peacebuilders, etc. UNDP should of course continue being that trustable organization that works with governments for human development and for human rights, dignity, social justice and equality.

To achieve these outcomes, we need to improve internally: less bureaucracy, more flexibility, operational agility, adaptative expertise, thought leadership. We can be more daring and bold, pursuing paths that may not have been opened before, and dare to talk about uncomfortable topics. 

Intensify efforts in internal change (HR strategy, changes in procurement, creation of safe environments for innovation, further partnerships with global thought leading institutions.


      Yoshihiro Saito

      Thanks for sharing very interesting and important questions with all the staff as well as creating this platform, much appreciated. 

      1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

      Two things I came up in my mind in response to the guiding question 1.

      (A) Development challenges are getting more and more complicated and inter-sectoral such as COVID-19 which has multi-level approaches are necessary to protect citizen and thrive as a country. This challenge is an example of multi-dimensional challenges we need to address to mitigate risks and challenges such as health, economic and governmental challenges we are facing. So, when it comes to the long-term and future shifts that are transforming how we think about development, the key elements diverge but challenges we face are more interlinked with each other and gaps between silos should be addressed well.

      (B) Also, a human-centered approach should be thought as a critical elements such as an individual’s happiness and mental aspect. Although many developing countries have been growing in terms of the GDP to catch up with their economy, an individual’s mental happiness is not catching up so quickly compared GDP’s growth. So, we should pay more attention to that element as well.


      1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

      The areas of scope should be considered again carefully based on the data in response to the emerging trends and needs of the world. What other agencies strength and weakness, what are the comparative advantages of UNDP, why UNDP do change our intervention, should be central questions to think about our future scenario. World bank also has been getting bigger their presence on the ground (at least governance support) so key players on each thematic areas have been changing so we should think about past 5 years' rapid change (Key players and impacts of the other agencies have).

      In terms of programming, given the limited resources, we should focus on our comparative advantages to leverage our impact more with stronger evidence-based data-driven programming on the ground. 

      Let me know if you need any clarification on my comments (and sorry if any comments are pointless in advance) 

      Jessica Zimerman

      Thank you so much for creating the space for this thought-provoking consultation. As many people have pointed out, COVID-19 has been a great revealer and forced us to confront the magnitude of so many existing challenges: from racial and ethnic inequalities, to poor or non-existent safety nets, to the pervasiveness of violence within the home. Amidst all the havoc and hardship caused by COVID-19, I agree with Millie Begovic in that “COVID has opened a space for transformation that was not there previously”, and even more so, I feel we are faced at a crossroads: we can rebuild the same structures and systems that provided the tinder for the pandemic to run amok, or we can transform those systems and structures to truly “build forward better,” galvanizing tremendous audacity and imagination to do so.    
      To meet this enormous challenge, here is some food for thought for us as individuals and collectively as UNDP:  

      1. Adopt a systems approach and prioritize feeding multiple birds with one seed
      • COVID-19 has demonstrated so aptly that crises and challenges are not singular: the pandemic is health crisis, as well as governance crisis, climate change crisis and gender equality crisis. UNDP has a long history of multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary projects, but there is still more scope to put holistic, systems thinking at the heart of all that we do. We have many of the structures already in place: from the Global Policy Network, to Accelerator Labs, to UNDP’s integrator function. We also have many necessary tools, though are not using all of them to their fullest potential. One such tool is feminist gender analysis – by interrogating power dynamics across the full-spectrum of an issue area, it brings conflict-sensitivity, political-economy, socio-ecology and many other analytical frameworks all together. There are no silver bullets, but it is incredibly useful for exposing and identifying ways to grapple with many of the shifts mentioned here (political polarization, governance issues and decreased trust, extractive economies, etc.). It also reveals how every initiative is an opportunity to contribute to gender and other equalities, which need to be at the core of any social contract. Efforts should be redoubled to exploit its usefulness across all programming. 
      • It also bears mentioning that some cross-cutting issues, such as gender-based violence (GBV), undermine all efforts to achieve the SDGs. In the case of GBV, it lowers productivity, decreases tax revenues and contributes to intergenerational cycles of violence, increased rates of maternal morbidity, poor mental health, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS to name a few. Preliminary findings from the Ending GBV and Achieving the SDGs global project indicate that integrating a GBV lens within sectoral programmes (livelihoods, climate change, etc) can actually accelerate progress towards other goals, including poverty reduction, more resilient communities, good governance, social cohesion, etc. By exposing GBV risk factors, a GBV lens also helps us to fulfill our commitment to Do No Harm (you can find an example of that here). This ability to do more with less is all the more imperative in the face of potential belt-tightening and decreased ODA.    
      1. Recalibrate the language of vulnerabilities: individuals, communities and ecosystems are not inherently vulnerable, they are made vulnerable by systemic inequalities. When the discussion is framed around “vulnerable groups”, the focus is on what often looks like a laundry list (women, youth, the elderly, ethnic and religious minorities, disabled and LGBTI communities), rather than the constellation of institutions, policies, norms, behaviors, etc. that have created inequalities or disenfranchisement in the first place. This serves to distract not only from root causes, but also from individual agency. This was touched on by Prateeksha Singh as well. In the next Strategic Plan, our commitment to Leave No One Behind should be framed as a partnership to change the systems and conditions that impose barriers and expose individuals, communities and ecosystems to hazards and risks.  
      2. Create spaces for critical reflection and radical honesty. I agree with Laurel Patterson and many others that support more emphasis on networked learning. One of our greatest untapped resources is our collective ability to learn from what isn't going as planned and what could have been done differently/better. This happens on a small scale, but, in part due to the size and scope of our organization, it isn’t uncommon for the same lessons to be learned in different parts of the house. Critically reflecting on and sharing “mistakes” or “failures” can feel like a luxury of time and humility many of us don’t feel like we have. The organization should promote and provide incentives for developing growth mindsets, safe spaces for critical reflection and learning from: what didn’t work well and why; what could be improved (even if targets have been met, we’re not always measuring what’s most critical, as @Anik and others have mentioned); and how did we manage complexity, risks and uncertainty. This call for critical reflection and radical honesty is true across our programming and also operations. In the case of the latter, the Administrator’s anti-racism efforts are a solid step in right direction.   
      Sarah Rattray

      Dear colleagues, 

      A few thoughts below specifically on the human rights and dignity dimensions of the future we want to see. 

      What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

      Many of the previous comments have already outlined some of the trends we are seeing in relation to development: rising inequalities within and between countries which manifests itself in extreme wealth and continued marginalization for some groups who are not keeping up with development progress; the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 and approaches to ‘build forward better’; climate change and corresponding accountability and justice needs; the relationship between humans and the environment around them; rising authoritarianism and nationalism and the fear of the ‘the other’ which is manifesting itself in stigma, discrimination and infringements of the rights of people on the move be they migrants or refugees; concerns and opportunities in relation to the rise and use of technologies as it affects daily lives with tremendous promise but also concerns re: privacy and implicit bias in this largely non-regulated sector that can affect how large parts of the global population live, access services and interact with each other and governments.  

      Running through the above and in general is also the sense that the international norms and systems that we have relied on since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are being less adhered to, less regarded and in some cases there is a real backsliding in certain contexts which is undermining the universality of human rights and the normative agenda resulting in the polarization of the human rights discourse and reverting back to a 1990’s discussion on hierarchies of rights or applicability of certain but not all aspects of the frameworks that guide our work.  Human rights don’t undermine sovereignty on the contrary the normative frameworks are based on the agreements of sovereign nations themselves and data is clear that strong human rights cultures and the enjoyment of human rights in societies prevents human rights violations and conflict, leads to less exclusion and can break the cycle of generational marginalization by addressing inequalities structurally and in a more sustainable way. At the same time adverse human rights conditions can be important early warning signs for prevention.

      The Secretary-General issued a Call to Action on Human Rights in February 2020 highlighting 7 areas where globally there is a backslide on human rights and where more by the UN system jointly and also by individual entities needs to be done. They are: (1) rights at the core of sustainable development; (2) rights in times of crisis; (3) gender equality and equal rights for women; (4) public participation and civic space; (5) rights of future generations, especially climate justice; (6) human rights at the heart of collective action; and (7) new frontiers of human rights.  UNDP is active in all of these areas and playing a really important role on the discussions across the system – bringing to bear our extensive programming experience, relationships with national counterparts and programming approaches.

      While we are seeing some positions held by member states that are less progressive than they were 15 or even 5 years ago when the SDGs were agreed, and a rise of regionalism which can affect multilateralism – there are some positive aspects. Technical cooperation on human rights and development has greater prominence and in many regards, acceptance. There is an explicit understanding that advancing and supporting member states in their obligations to realise human rights and achieving the SDGs are two sides of the same coin and mutually beneficial. With 93 percent of SDG goals and targets linked to human rights obligations in the normative framework. The interlinkages between human rights and development to achieve the SDGs need to be built upon further and more explicitly in the future. Now human rights considerations that can be included in VNR reviews explicitly and we see more and more human rights mechanisms providing advice linked to the SDGs. The Human Rights Council is increasingly referencing / including the SDGs in its deliberations with more to be done.

      Whilst there might be a backsliding on some human rights issues, now with the 3rd cycle of the Human Rights Councils’ Universal Periodic Review process underway – 100 percent of member states are participating in this process. Both as states under review and as peer states providing recommendations based on their experiences: this is a unique opportunity to support triangular cooperation on human rights in development. See the post from Sungeun Choi on this.

      The role of national human rights institutions – institutions which UNDP has supported in over 90 countries and where we have a strategic partnership with the UN Human Rights Office for joint support – are increasingly recognized. Indeed the presence of a well-functioning NHRI is the only indicator of sustainable development progress in the SDGs that relates to institutional capacity. UNDP’s convening role here continues to benefit these organizations – as it does in other areas of our support such as in implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

      What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future? What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

      UNDP should aim to mainstream human rights effectively and systematically across the work that we are doing including going beyond our discrete programming areas on human rights.

      Bridging the technical cooperation gap between human rights outcomes and development processes and systems is a role UNDP can play extremely well. In over 25 countries UNDP is supporting integrating of human rights into development planning processes at country level also including: UPR and treaty body outcomes, national monitoring and follow up etc, rights-based budgeting and integrated development and human rights systems. This needs to be brought in more systematically as a ‘matter of course’ for our development planning.

      Human rights-based approaches to our development support across our mandate and thematic areas will not only improve our development impact but result in inclusive development processes. We are doing this extensively in many countries through direct programming and supporting in general the human rights-based approach – but we need to more mindfully integrate human rights into certain areas of work, particularly in our approach to macro-economic policy and rights-based approaches to budgeting.

      What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

      Greater awareness of human rights-based approaches is needed and specific support in some thematic areas should be geared up. Explicit commitments on utilizing a human rights-based approach to our development cooperation is needed including by our senior leaders in the field with the corresponding support.

      Power dynamics and inequalities as they manifest themselves in relation to marginalization require us to take a fresh look at the structural barriers for progress including social norms, generational marginalization and intersectionality – rather than approaching the barriers as silos to appreciate more fully how they compound and interact. The GPN is equipped to take this cross-team approach to multi-faceted challenges. This incorporates but goes beyond  Leave No One Behind approaches. 

      Lastly, some interesting points on the relationship between human rights which puts people at the centre and nature and the environment have been made. This shouldn’t be considered an anthro-centric dichotomy. At the upcoming Human Rights Council in February 2021 we are hoping to see the first ever resolution recognizing the explicit human right for all to a healthy environment. By continuing to support the human rights dimensions of the discussion on the environment, nature and biodiversity we will be looking at the human rights standards and principles in this relationship for sustainability. It also opens up new opportunities in relation to accountability and technical support.

      Thanks for the lively discussion.


      Pelin Rodoplu

      Dear Moderators 

      Thank you for this great discussion. It is great to hear these comprehensive feedback and innovative opinions.  As a national officer in programme, UNDP Strategic Plan is a guiding document to formulate our interventions at national level in the field and it is the key lighthouse for us.

      Challenges we are facing globally shows us that our work is indispensable. However our task is getting harder under the current circumstances. We need to carry many hats as the change agent, equality agent, climate agent, innovation agent and delivery agent and many more. Our global initiatives like SDG Impact trying to transform impact investment principles and standards, Digital Finance to tackle financial liberation as well as bringing a more inclusive regulatory framework gives us hope but we definitely move on and try to spread and increase implementation. 

      1. I will agree on the summaries provided and want to highlight, de-globalization, polarization in governance, climate change, green growth, skills gap and digital transformation, increasing inequalities will be key topics.

      2.  We need more agility in all fronts. We need to act quick we need to find and keep the best talent, we need to work with the best expertise we need to engage with strategic partners to bring the best practice from theory to practice, we need to invest in knowledge products, we need to increase our own assessment tools/methodologies, we need to invest in data and methodologies like human development report, we need to benefit internal best practices and start replicating the good practices. We also need to invest in impact measurement, impact analysis and evaluation capacities.

      3. Bolder policy frameworks, independent, impartial status and communicating the results and impact focusing on fact based assessments will support our vision and increase our contribution for the future we want.  

      Aliyu Danjuma

      Hello,UNDP shift together with the growing numbers of women were men found themselves in woman's world today constituting women as half  population of the world,But yet men become dominant in public offices living woman under miseries.. your take please. 

      Hiroko Amano

      Thank you for the opportunity to provide input to this important discussion. 

      1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

       Acceleration of globalization and the digitalization of the economy backed with leading-edge science and technology have brought in a number of unintended negative impacts to societies in developing and developed countries alike, such as worsening of inequalities and global warming.

      Today, the rapid and worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is further threatening the survival, livelihoods and dignity of people in many countries, and efforts to stem the spread of the virus are taking an enormous toll on economies and societies.

      Accordingly, the international community must act in concert so that every individual is duly protected and empowered to live in dignity. Every actor in the humanitarian, health, and development fields should work together by focusing on people’s well-being. These are the essence of the human security approach, which is more relevant than ever under the current situation.

      Moreover, in the anticipated world of the post-COVID-19 crisis, we must build back better a more resilient, more inclusive, and more sustainable society without reverting to our old normal. Health systems need to be strengthened toward achieving universal health coverage (UHC) to prevent future pandemics and mitigate the impact of public health emergencies. Systems need to be put in place where people can freely and promptly access reliable information in a transparent manner. In order to build back better, mobilization of private finance is becoming increasingly essential. In addition, we should not forget the common agenda for humanity, such as addressing social disparities, including the digital divide, and climate change, which have already been identified as looming challenges since before the COVID-19 pandemic. In dealing with these transnational threats, international cooperation is called for more than ever before.

      2. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

       As a development institution with a longstanding worldwide presence and commitment to the poorest and most vulnerable with an expertise in wide range of areas, UNDP should be an institution that practices and demonstrates the concept of human security. Utilizing its unique convening power, UNDP should be at the forefront in order to bring diverse stakeholders and partners, including private sectors, together in order to tackle widespread and cross-cutting challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of the people.

      3 . What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

      Realizing the society in which the right of people to live in freedom and dignity, free from poverty and despair, is ensured. All individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential.

      (a) What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

       Identifying new threats to human security as they emerge, finding appropriate solutions that protects the dignity and well-being of individuals, especially the most vulnerable.

      Advancing human security requires international, national and sub-national efforts. Within this framework, the private sector has an invaluable role to play in ensuring the human security as well as achieving SDGs.  UNDP will be able to play a key role in promoting the involvement of private sectors toward the achievement of SDGs, through changing their behavior by embedding the SDGs into their decision-making processes, and supporting governments to establish enabling policy and regulatory environments while facilitating multi-stakeholder partnerships.

       (b) What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

      Taking a silo approach, lack of coordination between the development actors, not only among the UN agencies, but also International Financial Institutions, Bi-lateral Partners, Private Sectors.


      Michael Comstock

      What an interesting discussion thread!  Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. 

      The embrace of environmental sustainability is one of the most critical, long-term shifts shaping how we approach development.  Recent decades have seen progress in moving away from a strict focus on economic growth toward sustainable development.  But the need to develop sustainably will become increasingly evident in the next decade as we approach planetary boundaries (e.g., with respect to a climate change tipping point, biodiversity loss, materials use, etc.).  Climate change in particular is one of the clearest threats to development, given its link to economic growth, migration, health, water supplies, food security, and other development issues.  Climate change and sustainability must continue to be mainstreamed into development strategies, plans, and initiatives to ensure a livable world for future generations.  This includes, among many others:

      • Decoupling greenhouse gas emissions from economic growth and pursuing a future with net-zero emissions by mid-century at the latest;
      • Changing the paradigm away from linear take/make/waste consumption and production to a circular economy with minimal waste;
      • Rapidly expanding renewable energy and removing fossil fuel subsidies;
      • Re-envisioning cities around sustainable transportation;
      • Adopting more sustainable agriculture and land-use policies;
      • Adopting nature-based solutions to fight climate change, safeguard ecosystems, and protect biodiversity; and
      • Improving resilience to the impacts of climate change.

      Time is running out to achieve these changes.  Organizations like UNDP have a key role to play in the future in:

      • Facilitating national commitments and action and encouraging ambition (e.g., on climate change, biodiversity, conservation, etc.); 
      • Supporting future international agreements (e.g., on plastics, circular economy, etc.);
      • Convening key stakeholders, with an increasing focus on the private sector and financial institutions;
      • Working with developing countries to secure financing for ambitious climate/sustainability efforts;
      • Sharing and highlighting ambitious national commitments, successful policy innovations, and corporate sustainability efforts; and
      • Amplifying the voices of youth, women, and vulnerable communities in calling for action.

      This will require UNDP to have the courage to go up against the fossil fuel industry, large polluters, and financers of these industries.  It will also require UNDP to venture outside its comfort zone as a neutral broker and advocate more whole-heartedly for a price on carbon, removal of fossil fuel subsidies, and other policies that can change the game in countries where we operate.  At the same time, UNDP must focus on being more nimble in order to quickly adapt to changing realities, such as COVID-19 recovery, digital transformation, and others.

      Sergio Novás Tejero

      To join all those who are almost left behind (by the deadline 😊) and commented today in this open and participatory conversation, which must be acknowledged and appreciated, I would like to share my insights.

      The critical long term, future shifts transforming how we think about development are: i) extreme inequality will be ethically unacceptable; improved data and metrics will show the enormous amount of human lives sacrificed and the years of life lost because of the ethically unjust distribution of inequality that can be avoided. Equity, seen as the fair distribution of inequality, will be the key issue together with ii) the green economy which must ensure that we do not overuse the maximum level of non-renewable resources that prevent and reverse the deepening of climate change, making development more difficult for subsequent generations. The green economy will greatly impact the society as we know it now, being a great opportunity for the regeneration of the economy and the planet.

      And iii) having within our reach the real possibility of radically and globally transforming our consumption of non-renewable natural resources, reducing them, and our access to skills and knowledge, through the iii) digital transformation, which will mean a disruption in development allowing access to a universal common welfare.

      UNDP role, and impact outcome, is to be a platform for facilitating democratic access to knowledge through knowledge management at the technical level, and for ensuring knowledge as a universal public good at the political level, ensuring that the use of any existing knowledge (patents) is not blocked in order to save human lives and avoid suffering, facilitating conciliation with governments and knowledge generating entities in the interest of sustainable human development.

      There is knowledge, it is being created constantly the key is to ensure that it is applied to the human needs of all countries and communities.

      Deepening UN reform will contribute to achieve this outcome, so UNDP must be a champion implementing UN reform by generating technical and political conditions in countries and communities to apply UNDP own and other agencies' expertise to the global and local challenges of sustainable human development.

      Kulunu Thamara Jayamanne

      Dear Moderators/Penholders and fellow UNDP colleagues,

      Thank You for this forum, and the opportunity to shape our next strategic plan

      Some thoughts below..


      - If we thought the sustainable development narrative on socio-economic-and environmental progress was 'progressive' the current challenges from political polarisations to polar ice caps melting to viruses (could also mean those that are digital) spreading faster than ever, there maybe new frontiers and new meanings of what development is and what it holds for people. May points us faster than we thought about the future beyond the 2030 agenda. 

      - Agreed on the common themes such as digital transformation, nexus between politics and development, geo political dynamics, climate change, inequalities and so on but for 2022 onwards, we need to identify what is new within these 'not new' challenges/opportunities, in this moment and moving forward. What are the sharp and transformative trends in order to ride or break those waves. 

      - The evolution of the perception, space, role and so forth of international development organsations and the negative trends (among others that are postive) that has affected organisations such as UNDP and how the development sector interacts with its eco system, and the support and the trust from other actors is something to monitor. What is that, beyond the need for development and progress and need for solutions, makes nations, peoples, organisations, sectors and individuals want to partner with organisations such as UNDP and others. If the development sector is struggling, then understanding why first would give UNDP and edge in leading the way to clear new pathways for other whole sector to follow


      - Leaning towards the view that however is the context UNDP and similar organisations have a sizeable and more importantly crucial role to play moving forward in realising development, in every context and setting. One can look back to why these organisations were formed, the core values that transcend time, and the proven track record of delivering transformative results. Or the otherway is to look forward and if we are to solve all our existing challenges (many which are existential), is there a sector, a set of organisations with the primary motive of helping other actors realise development. Is there an organsation that pushes actors towards a progressive goal, has the capacity and DNA of doing development. Is there someone who can both take a systemic view, but also empathise with all. Is there someone do the things, or go the extra mile that no one else is either willing or capable. Is there someone who can constantly set new narratives, inform ways of development, convene and broker, but also importantly show the way in delivering wholistic and inclusive development.

      3. The outcome

      - Striving relentlessly for continued and ambitious progress to realise the ideals of the SDG framework and what is beyond that, for both people and the planet, perhaps building on our signature solutions. 

      a) - However UNDP needs to dig deeper beyond buzzwords, harness all its core capabilities to strengthen its role, presence, perception and clearly define its understandably broad mandate and communicate a different way of approaching development

      - The current push we saw on mainstreaming innovation, being a learning organisation, encouraging experimentation and being grounded, agile and flexible, to continue, even more aggressively in the next cycle

      - UNDP needs to (not that it is not) get closer to people. Beyond interactions and communications through programmes and projects, engage with individuals and organisations and make our value addition clearer to them. What is UNDP, What can UNDP do, why UNDP, who is UNDP? awfully simple questions but why assume, let's help people answer these better. 

      - Continue to push the boundaries on moving away from traditional and limited ways of measuring the impact of development initiatives

      - A rethink of our resource mobilisation strategies and ways of taking back some of our lost bargaining powers with governments and other actors in certain contexts

      - Leading by example, in 'walking the talk' from the tiniest changes within our own offices to large developmental challenges'. Encouraging the culture of challenging the status quo, for colleagues to the actually critical of whether we are walking that talk'

      - Make it somehow easier for actors to engage with UNDP and vice versa. If ideas and experiments come up, the business processes need to support it.

      - Engaging young people as a key partner of UNDP even more than what we now and set out a clear strategy on how UNDP can, together with other development actors, play a larger role in not just realising better development for youth, but with and through youth

      b) If we don't get our pitch right, be it to donors, governments or people. So crucial. If UNDP's role is challenged, under perceived etc. it could be because our value isn't clear. And if we are to update and upgrade our strategies, we will need to pitch them right as well.

      - if we don't change the way we design, implement and evaluate projects. As in building on what is already identified as robust, there surely must be more frontiers we can explore within this space

      Thank You.. Much to learn and also be hopeful for UNDP, when reading the comments..



      Diego Antoni

      Very inspiring to read the many contributions. All very insightful. 

      There seems to be abundant evidence on the longer term transformations that  will affect our lives and future generations. Some are consequences -inequalities, discrimination, racism, exacerbated individualism, environment degradation, violence in the home and in the public space- and some others correspond to systems -the neoliberal model, white supremacy, a patriarchal approach to power- that have been in the making over time and that continue to fuel human/life suffering while shaping our social norms, culture and values. Without operating at the deeper level of collective, communal and individual mindsets and culture it will be challenging to dismantle or adapt the systems that have been creating the harm. We will continue to swim against the tide.

      With its new Strategic Plan, UNDP has an opportunity to actualize the analysis of what culture/social norms mean in the context of development and the distribution of power. This analysis is the baseline for our organization to identify the pathways towards the alleviation of human/life suffering. The pathways must of course be rooted in human rights. They can also draw from emerging thinking around what it means to reconnect with our shared humanity. Both Anik Gevers and Elizabeth Dartnall have mentioned in this consultation "intersectional feminism" as an important lens with which we can look at the worst forms of intersecting discrimination and violence and approach power distribution in a more collaborative and humane way. If UNDP has clarity about the moral awakening that is required as the main outcome to be achieved, then the strategies and actions will be easier to discuss and agree upon.

      Pamela Cruz

      What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

      As a global community we should firmly realize that the current development paradigm within capitalism is environmentally unsustainable. Aiming for de-growth, and providing feasible large-scale solutions that combat deforestation and desertification worldwide. The biodiversity that enable us to exist is perishing due to unsustainable economic practices. The earth will continue without humans if we fail to incorporate natural finite resources in our economy. Circular economy has to be the norm. Also is important to include young peoples voices, as well as CSO expertise in local development initiatives and more people-centered under the SDG framework. 

      In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

      UNDP should scale up lobbying efforts with local governments to propose well developed plans that allow local communities to participate in decision making, and further pressure governments to conduct significant changes with regards to climate change. Support for LDCs to improve the quality of life in their territory, and as an intermediary between most developed and developing countries to establish equal partnerships. Metrics and data have to be improved also with help of UNDP and development agencies to improve these partnerships and track the progress on sustainable development. Include the perspectives and expertise or CSOs and grassroots organizations in the design and definition of policies and plans in local contexts. Engage private sector as a key actor for sustainable development in local and national contexts. 

      What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

      Efficient policies built in cooperation with local governments. UNDP should focus its efforts on smaller scale projects with a wider scope, to avoid unfavorable overlaying political structures that do not cooperate with international organizations. UNDP should stop promoting PPPs as the only finance mechanism available for development

      What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?   

      Collaborating with civil society and SMEs.

      What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

      The OECD and the G20 "recommendations".

      Will Charouhis

      UNDP has a key role in mainstreaming the changes needed to reach a net-zero carbon emission global society by 2050. Many proposals have received push back from the Member States, primarily because of cost.  The bottom line that has played out in summit after summit the last few years is that some Member States simply cannot or will not make the sacrifices necessary to achieve the net-zero carbon landscape required to save the plant's habitability as we know it. The continued back and forth is resulting in little progress in an area we cannot afford to fail, and we are not even close to reaching the agreements necessary. And even when agreements are reached, parties do not live up to them in all cases. I get it--these are big problems with seriously hard choices that affect everybody. But we cannot give up, and we have the intelligence and technology to find solutions that do not require actions that would decimate some economies.  We need to not only consider carbon-pricing, but ways to cut carbon altogether. For example, a circular consumption pattern that prioritizes reusables over single-use and even recyclables and biodegradables can save everything from energy to trees to landfills. Planting trees would absorb carbon and add beauty. Architectural design to improve energy efficiency is appealing as a cost-savings to end landowners. Educating on the benefits of a healthy diet and pursuing an agricultural policy that supports a vegetarian diet would help--people are going to eat foods that are readily available so let's increase what is sustainable.  And family planning (by choice with education, not by any implicit force), is the single best way to eliminate carbon-permanently.  These are things that with education, might be welcomed changes rather than sacrificial changes. And a mass media campaign that makes it "cool" to be green can initiate a change at the grassroots level that permeates up to the world policy and leadership level (think the "anti-smoking campaign that literally changed a widespread individualistic addictive habit and an entire worldwide industry). Will Charouhis, Founder, We Are Forces of Nature, age 14 

      Aliyu Danjuma

      As UNDP is about to drow the cotting to this exclusive insight on how the world will be  revarmp to meet existing challengies,, prompt Action is very necessary to meet global demand, Regards to all mediators and fellow members who contributed immense in finding solution to the world deformity,Iam always there  to serve Humanity.

      Anjali Kwatra

      It's wonderful to see so many thoughtful contributions here. I'm sneaking in just before the deadline...

      Over the past two years UNDP has been working on further developing our joint capabilities to drive forward successful advocacy in order to make the greatest positive change and impact.

      As UNDP seeks to transform and innovate, including building on our SDG expertise and partnerships to co-create and co-deliver solutions at country level, I believe that strengthening advocacy should be a key element of this transformation, so that we complement the delivery of solutions on the ground with larger policy change at country, regional and also global level.

      To do this, we need strong advocacy tools. Impactful communications campaigns require original research, key statistics, cutting-edge policy analysis, bold policy recommendations, illustrative stories, or notable results. These can inform clear recommendations for change, which can form the basis of a strong call to action, which could also attract new partners.

      Over the coming years we will need to collectively understand better how we can use strategic advocacy to help UNDP make the greatest impact in the world.

      Joseph D'Cruz Moderator


      As we wind down to the final hours of this conversation I want to pay tribute to the many people who have provided inspiring, insightful and provocative responses to the questions we asked.

      Creating this space for an open, public conversation was an act of trust and of optimism. Trust that those we serve around the world would be willing to share their honest and transparent feedback on a public platform; to provide the guidance and aspiration that we need to steer our path in the years to come.  And optimism that the future we describe together would have a strong, relevant and challenging role for us in UNDP.

      The wealth of insight and perspective you see in the messages above validates our trust and our optimism.  It describes a challenging world ahead: with the impact of the Covid19 pandemic still reverberating, the climate emergency looming ever larger and inequality, exclusion and distrust tearing at our communal fabric.

      And in that landscape it calls for a UNDP that acts with greater ambition and sense of purpose; with agility and innovation, while building new partnerships and crafting better ways to operate in increasingly complex and uncertain conditions.

      Your messages ask more of us; more effort, more engagement, more creativity, more trust, and more courage. But it reminds us that there many of you willing and waiting to tackle these challenges alongside us.  From eminent development thinkers like Sir Richard Jolly and Frances Stewart to networks and coalitions like BRAC and the Global Taskforce of LRG, to leaders of the future like Will Charouhis and countless others. Thank you all.

      Although we moderators have not been able to respond to every message individually, I assure you that every one is being read carefully, and the ideas and suggestions captured to help inform our future direction.  These perspectives will inform and inspire us as we set out our strategy for the future of development in the coming months. We will be sharing a summary of these reflections in the coming days, and we look forward to continuing our conversations on the many platforms that UNDP is active on.

      with my deepest appreciation and respect;


      Javier Antonio Brolo

      Thank you for providing this space and contributing to such a rich and diverse dialogue. I look forward to the synthesis of responses. And also hope to get the opportunity to engage in dialogue. 

      1. Long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development.

      There is a risk that thinking about development will have a preference for what is easy to show and use alienating technical language. Overcoming it will require recognizing that the "developed world" also has challenges and can learn from the "underdeveloped world", focusing on what is fundamentally important for the wellbeing of people, society and the planet. 

      I think our thinking about development, and its causes, needs to be accesible to more people, making sense and connecting with their daily experiences. So far, I believe that it would be useful to realize that interventions for development basically do one, or several, of these four things: -improve understanding, reduce costs, facilitate cooperation, or modify institutional incentives-. This would make evident that everyone can develop (more) in so far at it is adopting the best alternative available to deal with a temporary issue, and it would help to learn and gain capacity across development topics. There will be a need to move away from thinking development in terms of context and time dependent problems, that give the impression that development is achieved by only improving those indicators and after that there is no more work needed. 

      2. What role should UNDP play in that future. I believe organizations such as UNDP should play a leadership role providing clarity and a reference for what is important about development: the wellbeing of people and the planet. It can provide guidelines and guidance to governments and society on how to overcome its challenges, as well as support and defend individuals committed to promoting development. Also, it can channel resources and knowledge to achieve development.

      3. Outcome should UNDP achieve an impact. To achieve development, UNDP will need to have integrity, legitimacy and rigor. If I were to choose one outcome to focus on, it would be to increase the authentic legitimacy of public institutions, the ability of institutions to show that they are fair and effective at responding to societies demands. Doing this will require increasing knowledge, reducing costs, facilitating cooperation, and positively modifying institutional incentives of government institutions and society to achieve the goals that people consider a priority. It will contribute positively when society is empowered and its leadership is committed. Also, it helps that UNDP can enable opportunities to connect local communities with the world. 

      However, its efforts will be hampered when societies are polarized and fragmented, or when the state is captured in the interest to protect a dominant group. Also, when there are traps between the interests of the market and the wellbeing of people. In these instances, organizations such as UNDP would need to leverage on the opportunities of exogenous shocks to gain space to act reducing resistance. 

      Kalyan Keo

      I would like to build on the many great contributions colleague have provided throughout this discussion thread, particularly on tackling the climate crisis. The silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity to reset the business-as-usual development and shift towards a carbon neutral and resilient pathway. “that future” is here and UNDP has to be bold and smart in taking fast but effective decisions and actions. We need to urgently address the root causes of the crisis while double down our efforts to support the most vulnerable. While many great solutions and suggestions have been proposed thus far in this thread from dealing with fossil fuel subsidies to invest in climate-smart agriculture and embrace circular economy, I would like highlight three concrete ways that UNDP’s role can be further elevated in “the future” to help countries accelerate and scale those bold climate policies and actions.

      1. Leverage our in-house expertise and equip them with the resources and tools to become “climate champions”. UNDP’s portfolio spans across key sectors in the governments across 170 countries and territories from public administration reform, to building infrastructure and social services, and to supporting national development and key sectoral development investment plans. If each UNDP staff who is leading work/program on these key issues with the government brings the climate lens into the discussion and process, we would probably hold the world record on just getting climate on the government day-to-day discussions! One strategic entry point is to through our large network of economists who have great influence and leverage in national planning process including engagement with finance ministries, with whom as many in this discussion thread have agreed that “the future” UNDP should be engaging more.
      2. Build on existing efforts, but at scale. This is also applicable for any topic but I would like to bring this up in the case of how UNDP has done in supporting countries on raising ambition of countries’ climate pledge, or the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Often and intuitively, with new leadership, with new planning cycle, we tend to jump into the hype of creating new projects, creating buzz words, new platforms, new pilots etc. While I do understand we need to create and improve our way of work and support, many times we have often overlooked the great existing work that we have been pursuing over the past years or even decades in tackling issues that go beyond our planning cycle. Tackling the climate crisis is an example. It requires long-term support and leveraging the broader portfolio across all UNDP. The UNDP’s flagship initiative the Climate Promise is a great example of mobilizing the broader UNDP to tackle the most existential crisis of our humankind. While there are areas that can be further improved, the concept and its vision is the kind of initiative that UNDP should scale and become the blueprint for other areas in the future of UNDP’s support to countries be in addressing inequalities to tackling digital divide or health crisis.  
      3. Accepting failure as one of our success indicators. We often share success stories, best practices and amplify great performers (often measured by the delivery rate). We send our report to donors with all great stories looking for the next tranche of funding to continue our work. We do report on lessons and learned from our evaluators. However, the conversation of ‘failures’ is not a norm. Often in events and communications efforts, we jump to the success stories, the great achievement. Rarely do we come across on our materials that speak to our failures, which we have plenty to share. In the case of tackling climate crisis, as many have already raised, we tend to shy away from calling out the biggest polluters. We still continue to embrace partnership with big corporations that fuel the brown economies. “the future” UNDP should not shy away from this. We should be brave to put failure on our agenda, tracking our failure in our data and KM platforms, and make it one of our success indicators, as per the old saying that “we learn from our mistakes”.

      Thank you for the opportunity to share my contributions to shape development of the UNDP’s Strategic Plan and “the future” of UNDP.


      Devika Iyer

      Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion on critical and emerging trends for sustainable development.

      Many of our colleagues in this discussion have alluded to the future of work as being a critical long term, future shift in how we think about development. This shift has already begun. Indeed, the fourth industrial revolution and its technologies is sparking radical shifts in how we live and work. While there are many arguments made on the tremendous benefits that these technologies bring in the form of higher productivity, GDP growth, and improved corporate performance, what does this mean for 61 percent of the world’s workers in the informal economy?  Moreover, research suggests that informality is likely to grow in the future world of work.

      While the 4IR and its technologies offer significant opportunities for workers in the informal sector (we have witnessed the growth of gig-based work), considerable challenges remain. In most countries, workers in the informal economy are not recognized, registered, nor protected under labor legislation and social protection. The work is often characterized by long working hours, low or irregular incomes, lack of access to finance, markets, training and technology, and weak job security.

      UNDP can play an important role in mitigating these challenges faced by informal workers. In partnership with fellow UN agencies, UNDP can advocate for and support national regulations to provide full protection, a livable wage, and security for informal workers, drawing upon its expertise in providing integrated solutions. Working in partnership with the private sector and civil society, UNDP can support governments in providing informal workers with access to markets, finance, training and technology. For instance, large-scale and strategic initiatives with technology companies and academia can help train informal MSMEs in digital skills, online business development, etc. Given that women make up a disproportionate percentage of workers in the informal economy, special attention needs to be paid to ensure that their vulnerabilities are being addressed.

      A headline outcome that UNDP needs to achieve to make an impact is a livable wage, decent and productive work, and full protection and security for informal workers in programme countries. While achieving this outcome may appear to be a tall order, we must remind ourselves that mankind was able to land on the moon – so this is certainly possible! An important issue that stands in the way of achieving this outcome is that we still work in silos – both across UN agencies as well as within UNDP. While each agency has its own mandate, complex issues such as informality cannot be tackled alone.

      Best wishes,


      Minerva Novero

      Colleagues’ reflections and ideas have indeed been fascinating and instructive. Coming in this final leg of the internal process (and slipping this in before the deadline!), one gets to see the array of critical issues coming to the fore and see more clearly the vastness of the spaces and areas where UNDP could be impactful. Just a couple of quick points to add, dear JD and colleagues, particularly on areas where partners might have expectations of greater UNDP role:

      • Interplay of complex trends: Many have referred to growing complexity of issues and challenges we face. Feeding this complexity is, among others, the way they interact (or collide) in specific settings. The interplay particularly of megatrends (such as rapid urbanization and digitalization in low income countries or in MICs; increasing poverty/inequality and increasingly in increasingly digital economies/societies; climate change, demographic shifts and technological shifts/4IR; etc.) requires inspection beyond the “practice” approach some may tend to do. The next SP can expand on how we understand this in UNDP and how the future UNDP will operationalize truly “multidisciplinary” way of working and providing support to countries (fully leveraging and further enhancing the intellectual capital of the GPN, enabling mechanisms for development and rapid deployment of multidisciplinary support in non-crisis mode, etc.).
      • Digital development: The call for approaches that are “digital by default” inspires many to push boundaries and to explore truly innovative solutions. As we invest in more efforts that leverage digital technologies, it would be great to see in the next SP how UNDP is also stretching boundaries when it comes to helping build the digital ecosystems in countries lagging behind. This is one opportunity to establish the various innovations or digital efforts we do on the ground as building blocks that support the coherent evolution of countries’ digital capacities and landscapes (now seen as critical in countries’ competitiveness and long-term prospects). Many of the countries we support are facing enormous digital inequalities (within and between countries). It is great that the digital divide is now better understood across dimensions (beyond infrastructure) and really understood in terms of inequalities and exclusion (inequality in access to services and information, inequality in access to opportunities, exclusion from socio-political and economic spheres, etc.) but there needs to be more coherent picture of what role UNDP will play in this space, beyond the infusion of “digital” in projects. The Accelerator Labs would be great assets here, particularly in keeping an eye on the evolution of countries’ digital landscapes and helping inform efforts that tap and build local capacities for organic, context-specific digital development, and in helping connecting the tech and non-tech/online-offline dots that propel real transformation.

      Look forward to the next phase of this dialogue, and to expanding on these and other points. Thank you for this opportunity to engage and contribute!

      Glaucia Boyer

      Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this very interesting and timely discussion!

      Critical, long-term future shifts that are transforming the way we think about development

      Some perspective-taking is perhaps also useful. Here are some longstanding trends likely to continue in the long-term future, in great part thanks to the work of the United Nations until now:

      • Decreasing world population, living longer, better educated and healthier lives
      • Increasing gender equality, with more women empowered, leading and shaping a new world
      • Less and less poverty even if the pace of poverty reduction has slowed down over the past years
      • Greater peace: the world has become more peaceful, fewer people than ever before die in war, a person’s likelihood of violent death has declined over the centuries
      • More democracies despite the recent authoritarian setbacks

      Despite the challenging times, the more immediate losses in poverty reduction, threats to freedoms and protection, we should still be proud of our work and optimistic about our future.

      Trends the pandemic will accelerate in the next couple of years and decade:

      • De-globalization, localization
      • Reversals of international mobility and possibly even urbanization
      • Broadband access, automation, artificial intelligence
      • Hybrid office-remote work for many more   
      • Hybrid learning opportunities with higher quality, lower cost, much larger scale, with the opportunity to re-think our educational system
      • Sustainability: greater demand for green solutions

      Shifts in development thinking: the adoption of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs marked the culmination of universal development, largely in response to the post-development discourse.  North-South, geographic and aid driven development practices are superseded by the now accepted notion that development challenges are as relevant for the North as they are for the South, and that our challenges are common.

      Mid-level income countries fragility, migration/ refugee crisis in Europe, the foreign terrorist fighter phenomenon, for example, show the importance of South-North learning when searching solutions.  

      Roles UNDP should play

      • UNDP has been the greatest supporter of South-South development transfers; there is no organization better positioned to start South-North transfers, and this can be done in hybrid formats and creative, fun ways;
      • Generate knowledge by combining in seamless ways communities of practice and gathered perceptions with evidence from data integration and analysis initiatives;
      • Partner and invest in increasing forecasting and early warning in relation to conflicts, as done for years with natural disasters. Deepen preparedness and prevention through governance, rule of law, peace and security.
      • Engage in meta-evaluation of human development as enlarging peoples choices and freedoms and human security as securing people’s choices and freedoms: review its state-building /resilience on fragility the one hand, its citizen security work on the other; explore opportunities to bridge the two by supporting community-level social contracts and even peace agreements where needed.

      Outcomes and impact in the future

      To leave no one behind, identify vulnerabilities exacerbated by the overlap of COVID-19, climate change and conflict. These are likely the places where UNDP will be most needed in the future.

      Work with the pandemic to accelerate world change towards sustainability. Like other colleagues recognized, the SDGs capture our results for the next 10 years or more. In the future, we want to leave a healthy planet to our future generations; we want all to be happier with their lives.

      What contributes positively: acceleration in trends mentioned above; UNDP’s special mandate; inspiring leadership; visionary managers; workforce commitment; partnership opportunities in all these new areas, civil society, communities, young people.

      What stands in the way: corruption in governments; bureaucratic state, power acquired through private data manipulation by tech companies; aid dependency; state failure, fragility.

      Cathie Carrigan

      I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in this process and read such thoughtful comments from colleagues around the world.  


      1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

      Access to—and trust in—information seems to be increasingly variable even as more actors and kinds of entities are entering the development sphere with more tools. As leaders and states grapple with these shifts in a multipolar world, the role of development will be impacted by power shifts and an increasingly complex policy landscape.  

      1. In that future, what role should organizations like UNDP play?

      Our research on the impact of COVID-19 on the philanthropic sector in countries around the world invited experts to make recommendations to improve coordination. The most common recommendation has been to create the global infrastructure for sharing and communicating lessons learned from this crisis, given the expectation that there will be others and countries need to be able to communicate about what is working and what isn’t, both at the national level and globally.

      Organizations like UNDP could utilize the network, infrastructure, and experience already in place to focus on bringing partners together at intersections of policy and resources to focus on building trust and sharing learning among actors from different sectors. UNDP is relevant as a trusted partner, but all organizations have a role to play in navigating future challenges. By convening disparate partners with a focus on trust, the UNDP can facilitate new communication lines to create a more efficient platform and better able to respond to the evolving landscape.

      1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

      What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

      UNDP would add significant value by facilitating a scan of exemplary models and exploring how to establish a communication platform that allows for polycentrism—information on innovation disseminated at a global level in such a way that a small, rural nonprofit leader halfway could access and adapt—and share results back to the national and global levels.

      What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

      Beyond access to online participation (i.e., the digital divide), national policies focused on control could constrain actors’ access to resources and information.

      Rokya Ye Dieng

      What do you think are the critical long term future shifts that are transforming how we think about Development?


      COVID-19, the global pandemic has challenged the tested approach to development. Decreased economic activity and the consequent unemployment  has led to the rise of new vulnerable groups whose condition must be addressed through innovative solutions brought by their communities and other stakeholders in line with the inclusive and equitable policy of leaving no one behind. The insecurity as a result of terrorist activities, destroying the gains of development and the well-being of their victims is one which should confronted with sustainable alternate opportunities to lead to their reintegration of society. Continued cooperation with governments will ensure mutual accountability and multilateral stakeholders as development partners should be strengthened.

      FUTURE Role UN should play

      The role of upholding Human Rights  and advocacy for good governance to ensure peace and security should continue to distinguish its role. Diversification of portfolios which implements and addresses the multiple challenges communities face with the effects of COVID-19 is a prioritized role for the UN for the vulnerable groups and newly emergent ones. This can be achieved by designing attractive packages for partners. Going forwards, the UNDP must engage stakeholders to formulate joint policies which provide local and innovative solutions in emergent crisis and also be proactive  and adopt swift implementation on action-based research.

      What Outcomes should UNDP achieve to make this impact?

      To show successful outcomes, knowledge and application of new ICT technologies must be harnessed. Continued digital transformation would help build capacity and increase opportunity in many areas.

      Julien Pellaux

      Thank you for the opportunity to contribute. The advantage of coming late into this discussion is that all important points have already been made and don’t need to be repeated. I very much agree with the emerging analysis of this discussion. 

      If I had to mention a factor/shift which I personally see as one of the most determinants for how we think about development today, I would highlight the issue of growing inequalities and the populist movements we are witnessing in response. 

      It is worrying that a narrative of exclusion, discrimination and isolation is becoming the dominant one in several places around the world, and unashamedly so. It is ironic that this narrative is embraced by those who are most impact by inequalities today. In my view, this points to a failure of those like us in the UN who support human rights, social justice and equality (including gender equality) to properly articulate why sustainable development that truly benefits all can only be based on these values. The narrative of “exclusion” is winning and it is time to invest more in shifting it. 

      In this context, I believe that UNDP has an important role to play in better articulating why greater social justice and greater equality are the right strategies, why sustainable development that is based on human rights, on striking the balance between people and planet works, why exclusion, racism and populism fail for all (except for the privileged), in better linking civic engagement with development, and in mobilizing financing and finding incentives for investments into areas that support human development rather than benefit a privileged few. 

      I also think that there is scope for UNDP to better leverage the UN system. UNDP should have an intimate knowledge of the expertise and comparative advantages of other UN agencies and know how best to leverage them and find the right “mix” in order to solve complex and interlinked problems.

      Mazen Gharzeddine

      Fully agree with the point raised by Julien.

      And to reinforce the last point: If UNDP is to move forward meaningfully and credibly on its integrator role (beyond our own agency-specific mandate)- the first task at hand: understanding. Understanding much better what other UN agencies do, how they see their role now and in the future, and what their value addition/their comparative advantages are- so that we can credibly ‘connect dots’ - and do so in dialogue with the RC Office. In addition, the efforts to alleviate multi-dimensional poverty and tackle inequality/exclusion (a core part of our mandate as per current SP) provides an excellent  platform to ‘hit two targets with one stone’: to connect dots very meaningfully (integration), while gaining depth in pursuing our own development mandate. 

        Carlos Estuardo Mazariegos Orellana
        1. Critical shifts transforming the way how we think about development are (1) the rise of pervasive digital systems providing both opportunities (e.g. designing more transparent, equitable and accountable social systems) and risks (e.g. magnifying inequalities, new privacy and security threats), and (2) economic and health shocks created by the current pandemic and potential future similar events at a global scale.
        2. UNDP should play an active role in enabling the reinvention of a new economy towards more efficient civic and government systems, taking advantage of the local capacities, knowledge and trust already built around the organization, while partnering with new actors specially academia and private sector where scientific knowledge, power and additional capabilities are concentrated.
        3. Relevant outcomes include (1) deploying digital privacy-conscientious systems for providing more agile, inclusive, and transparent responses to society’s problems, and (2) funding the infrastructure required by this new economy. In order to achieve such outcomes, legal and ethical frameworks would need to be reviewed and integrated.

        Consulted source: Building the New Economy, MIT Press

        Katharina Davis

        Hello! Greetings from the climate team, I am excited to contribute!

        What do you think are the critical long term future shifts that are transforming how we think about Development?

        Economic transformation

        With COVID and rising sentiments of nationalism, we may see a retreat from a global trade system, as countries look to secure supply chains for critical products. The world economy is also entering another big recession. This may have a substantial impact on those economies that look to become industrialized economies in the next decade or two.  How can they diversify their economies? 

        In addition, some countries are increasingly questioning the economic system in place. Is this sustainable? equitable? environmentally sound? New models such as circular economy and doughnut economy models are explored. The EU is already looking to transition to a circular economy model to decarbonize by 2050. Overall, products with stronger environmental profiles may be in higher demand from high-income economies.

        This will change the quality standards and profiles that will be allowed into European markets. What will this mean for exporting countries in Asia or Africa? How can UNDP help them anticipate and prepare their economies for these trends? 

        What opportunities are there to start preparing in a green COVID recovery? How can UNDP work with UNIDO on the new industrial plans that are being developed, to ensure that they are also socially and environmentally sound?

        Regional problem solving

        The Paris Agreement is, like many other agreements, looking at national solutions for a global problem - climate change. But when you unpack the goals for decabornization and resilience, you quickly see that the problems you are trying to adress are often in transboundary nature: water management, energy systems, transport and infrastructure, etc. And yet, countries carry out their own emission scenario and decarbonization modeling, setting their own national targets. Similarly, transnational climate change impacts (cross-border risks) and measures to adress them are not reflected in NDCs. More momentum and investment might be generated if regional initiatives were integrated into NDCs and vice-versa. Is there a role for UNDP to play to facilitate joint planning, and convince the UNFCCC to consider transnational climate risks and decarbonization opportunities?

        What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

        • Strengthen engagement with regional organizations, banks and other institutions to link regional processes with ongoing work on NDCs
        • Go sub-national and link up with international and regional city and local government networks
        • Form strategic partnerships with business networks and organizations (rather than working sporadically with individual private sector companies)
        • On the global and regional level, form strategic partnerships with think tanks and academia to help digest the vast amount of information that UNDP has access to.
        • On the local level, promote partnerships with local academia and research organizations to strategicallly strenghten LOCAL capacities. F.ex. on data collection, monitoring for climate impacts and emission reduction.


        Katy Thompson

        Dear colleagues,

        We are inspired by the depth and complexity of the views expressed in this strategic discussion to identify trends for development and to re-imagine UNDP’s role in this changing and challenging landscape. As the Global Rule of Law, Security and Human Rights Team, in an attempt to draw on diversity of experiences from within, we undertook a similar exercise to crowdsource and re-think thematic priorities and global trends that impact UNDP’s work vis a vis rule of law, human rights, security and inclusive social contract - in July 2020. We would like to share some of the highlights as they relate to future of development discussion:

        1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?
        • The rising prominence of digitalization and the challenges that come with it: Challenges to equitable and inclusive governance that stem from digitalization should be addressed and incorporated to UNDP’s future programmatic support. These challenges include considerations of representation, socio-economic or gender specific barriers to access the technology, disability and other factors exacerbating inequalities through digital divide.
        • The shift in development paradigm towards securitization and the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI), privacy and data protection, as the video-surveillance and the use of AI is becoming more prominent in the Rule of Law and community security, there is a greater need to reflect on the impact of technologies on personal freedoms and privacy rights and to re-balance between communal benefits and individual rights. AI systems’ ability to exacerbate mass surveillance and intrusion into personal lives reflect and reinforce some of the deepest societal inequalities, fundamentally alter the delivery of public and essential services, undermine data protection legislation and disrupt democratic process. To that end, UNDP’s future work should focus on rights-based AI responses to address collective harms, democratic oversight, enhancing platform regulation and simplifying data protection acts with a more people-centric approach.
        • Emerging environmental treaties to protect the rights of access to information, public participation and justice in areas such as the sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity conservation, the fight against deforestation and climate change and water and air quality (e.g. Escazu Agreement) set the context for strategic engagement focused on environmental and climate justice.

        2. In that future, what role organizations like UNDP should play:

        • Continue playing a key role in convening dialogue between diverse stakeholders including civil society, academia and governments. Expanding and strengthening partnerships and supporting human rights system (National Human Rights Institutions and Universal Periodic Review processes) and ensuring civic engagement approach to development as it will be important to contest rise of authoritarianism.Traditionally, UNDP’s work is perceived to be embedded in Government’s structure, on the front-line of supporting national agendas of member-states who occasionally contradict demands of civil society for justice, participation and democratic governance. This historical “human rights dilemma” vis a vis UNDP’s corporate mandate and commitment to support national authorities is accentuated by rising tendencies of authoritarianism and shrinking civic space.
        • Leverage internal and external networks, expertise, and partnerships to generate integrated solutions to address development challenges including contributions to humanitarian-development-peace nexus

        For further insights on global shifts that are transforming how we think about development including socio-cultural changes and trends vis a vis gender equality, business & human rights, and what role UNDP can play to transform power dynamics for a more equitable and accountable future, we invite you to review the high-level summary of the ROL consultation attached.

        Best wishes to all, Katy

        Mazen Gharzeddine


        • What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development?

                  A critical shift in how we think about development: the move away from short-termism, the embracing of  complexity, and the recognition of the importance of being strategically steady yet tactically nimble in jointly tackling such complex challenges. Poverty and inequality remain critical and complex challenges - new inequalities are rising. While the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed accentuated the need to tackle these challenges upfront - COVID-19 should not be the sole driver of how we think about development long-term: that is, we should have a much longer-time horizon, while being nimble in tackling ‘the urgency of the now and the here’. In other words: development is also about recognizing that what seems to be ‘immediate problems’ are often the result of having under-invested, for far too long, on solutions to the deeper drivers: i.e. if there is chronic underinvestment on what is important for long-term development, we will tend to end up with a series of short-term ‘emergencies’. The new ‘smart development‘ should seek to reconcile this simple fact with another fact:  political and electoral cycles tend to be too-short in perspective; news cycles, social media, and the pace of digital technology changes (with increasingly short ‘shelf-lives’ of new technologies) are increasingly reinforcing short-termism. Our own joint development narrative should therefore seek to increasingly counter short-termism, using evidence and proven approaches in making our argument for longer-term solutions (to leaders, organizations, media and citizens). 

        If the intent is to change the development trajectory of countries and regions it is important to embrace a longer  time-horizon (strategic issues for the organization beyond country-level interventions - e.g.cross-boundary, multi-country, regional or global initiatives, are indeed much more complex - and reinforce the need for a longer-term horizon). A strategic vision     with at least a 20-year horizon; or at least aligned with the 2030 Agenda time-horizon, is therefore very important

        And this is part of the honest conversation that perhaps we should have with the Executive Board and Member States, on the time-horizon of the Strategic Plan: developmental vision calls for a longer-term perspective; development calls for inter-generational shifts - and an honest dialogue, with a strong evidence-base, of what has worked or not for countries to change their development trajectories - often over the course of decades. The socio-economic transformation that countries such as Singapore, ROK and China have gone through, for instance, did not take place overnight - but over the course of decades. What are the key lessons to draw from such experiences - and how best to leverage the growing toolbox available to development - from AI and Big Data to green technologies- to capitalize on such experiences? 

        And finally- a long-term vision does not mean we need to have a ‘crystal ball’ to see or anticipate the future. The future, by definition, is unpredictable (a year ago, no one expected the cataclysm of COVID-19 pandemic), A long-term vision simply says: “This challenge is very complex, and to make a meaningful dent on such challenge (to really contribute to change the situation for millions), we need to sustain our attention, efforts and investments, over a long time horizon’. Poverty, inequality/exclusion (including, very importantly, gender inequities and the disempowerment of women), and climate change are cases in point - to be able to meaningfully contribute to address them it is important we go ‘for the long haul’ together with our partners - governments, civil society, academia, sister UN agencies, IFIs, bilateral and multilateral partners, private sector. 

        Can we seek to articulate, jointly, a 20-year strategic vision, to be discussed with member states and other key stakeholders? Or at least a vision that is co-terminus with the SDGs i.e. 2030 horizon (as ably suggested by Sophie Kemkhadze, UNDP DRR for Indonesia, in another dialogue). Thanks


        Haoliang Xu
        1. What do you think are critical long term, future shifts that are transforming how we think about development.

        The first thought that comes to mind is to look at all the megatrend reports that have been published.  There are many.  I find the 2012 US NIS report on Global Trends 2030 very incisive on megatrends, game changers and future scenarios https://publicintelligence.net/global-trends-2030/

        I also find the 2016 PwC report on megatrends and their implications on global defense and security interesting:

        • Shift in global economic power
        • Demographic shifts
        • Accelerating urbanization
        • Rise of technology
        • Climate change and resource scarcity

        They have striking resemblance to the findings of a 2017 UNDP-EIU foresight exercise to analyze megatrends that would affect sustainable development in Asia-Pacific:

        • The new world order: Changes in the global balance of power
        • Urbanization and sustainable development
        • Climate change
        • Rising inequalities
        • The fourth industrial revolution

        It is very interesting to read the 2020 EY report “Are you framing the future or is the future framing you?”, published in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic.  It provided a similar list of “primary forces” that are considered the root causes of disruption: technology, globalization, demographics and environment, which the report says are not new but work in waves to shape megatrends and lead to alternative future worlds in terms of the global order, societies and economies , firms and markets, and households and individuals.

        Whatever report we read, some themes are common and recurring: changing world order, climate change/decarbonization, digital and technological revolution, demography, urbanization, inequality, migration, etc.  But whatever report it is, the discussions ultimately revolve around the wellbeing of countries, societies and people, with a much heightened awareness of planetary health.

        COVID-19 is injecting a new element affecting development for years to come.  Beyond the visible effects, there are not-so-visible drivers of change that might alter the contents of sustainable development.  We are witnessing multiple tipping points – small shifts that may drive structural changes – around the world, just like they did during previous episodes of great global disruption including the Great Depression of the 1930s and the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918.  For example:


        • A digital disruption is happening: tele-working, tele-schooling, tele-medicine won’t be going back to where they were in 2019 – they will shift the way we work, travel and provide services for a very long time.
        • A window to slow down CO2 emissions is also opening: The past 6 months have seen a cleaning up of air pollution and a CO2 emission reduction of 8% - precisely the rate of change we need to meet the IPPC CO2 goals for 2050. The price of oil is dropping, and the cost-efficiency of wind solar and other renewable energies is rising.
        • Social expectations are shifting between governments and citizens, with respect to universal health care (UHC), paid care work and even universal basic incomes (UBI) – in the summer UNDP proposed a Temporary Basic Income – a basic income guarantee for all poor and vulnerable people around the world –  that we believe captured the potential scope of changes.
        • An increase in Gender-based violence has put a spotlight on the gross social, economic and political inequalities between men and women, and highlighted the role of changing social norms, overt and hidden biases. Gender equality must accelerate, we cannot wait decades for labor parity and political parity to happen in a leisurely pace.
        • Any more.


        All of the issues mentioned above are complex and interconnected.  None of them can be solved by a single sectoral ministry or competently dealt with by one UN agency.  Amplified by COVID-19, they have highlighted to us once more how intertwined sustainable development issues are and how they are changing. Issues such as inclusive growth, poverty eradication, urbanization, governance systems improvement, jobs, or the prevention, peace building and humanitarian-development-peace nexus agenda are all entry points to address complex and interconnected systems challenges.  These complex and interconnected issues put pressure on all governments, but particular the developing country governments.



        1. What outcome should UNDP achieve to make an impact in this future?

        Ultimately, people will judge their governments based on whether their lives are improving, whether they feel there is social justice in their societies and whether they think their future generations are secure.  The international community has agreed a common vision in Agenda 2030, and this is the outcome we should strive to help achieve.


          1. What would contribute positively to achieving that outcome?

        I think it is critical we have a paradigm shift in our development thinking – let’s reevaluate how development success is measured. COVID 19 has shown us the limitations of our current systems (of development and how we think about it) and created a political momentum for us to shift the development paradigm, challenge long standing assumptions, and raise our ambition in how we think about and address development complexities. The cost of keeping GDP per capita as the key measure of development success is enormous: so many things are invisible to GDP such as biodiversity, pollution, inequality, and vulnerability.  UNDP’s HDR 2019 on inequality made a convincing call for us to move beyond income, beyond average and beyond today.  Perhaps, it is time to finish the work started by the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission? https://www.oecd.org/statistics/measuring-economic-social-progress/  The world needs to move beyond GDP with a set of national and global metrics that capture a harmonious sustainable development pattern – within planetary boundaries and leaving no one behind, as demanded by Agenda 2030. 

        I also think it is important to squarely put people’s interest at the center of development (as the SDG agenda demands) and embrace partnerships across society to find solutions.  It is interesting to read the Oct. 9 NYT article “Our Democracies Need to Change”, which states that “As global crises shake nations to the core, attendees at this year’s retooled Athens Democracy Forum point to the need for governments to be more responsive to their citizens.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/09/opinion/international-world/athens-democracy-forum.html This article in a way highlights the debate about the issue of social contract.  The first tipping point in UNDP’s vision paper about a post-COVID-19 world focuses on the shift in behaviors and expectations that we are witnessing today worldwide and is highlighting that people are agents of change and must be linked to governance, human rights and the rule of law.  Other tipping points also speak to the wellbeing of people: access to universal health care, and bridges to basic incomes, social protection and care; pushback against misdirected subsidies, a climate crisis and unsustainable uses of nature; a drive against gender inequality to address discrimination and bias; the need for building resilience against shocks; manage the unmanageable debt, limited fiscal space and disrupted trade threatening the recovery; and etc.

        It is high time to recommit to international cooperation and rediscover UNDP’s role as a critical provider of international public goods.  Sustainable development in the next four years will require a renewed commitment to multilateralism and a strong affirmation of the UNDP’s place in it.  If the contents of development are shifting, so is the demand for multilateral action.  UNDP has been a provider of international public goods, and COVID-19 again demonstrates that the world needs the UNDP (and the UNDS) to play this role.  In many ways, the swift response of UNDP during the current pandemic – across socio-economic streams – demonstrates UNDP’s capacity and effectiveness.

        There are many other examples of UNDP providing policy and operational support to our programme countries at scale.  An important example is the UNDP’s support to our governments to incorporate the 2030 Agenda in their national development strategies and plans in the first two years of the SDGs.  UNDP’s Climate Promise https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/climatepromise.html is currently supporting 114 countries to review and renew their NDCs (as part of a comprehensive strategic review), the very core on which the success of the Paris Agreement depends.  UNDP, for example, is also focusing on high demand areas of SDG integration https://sdgintegration.undp.org/, SDG acceleration (through its 90 Accelerator Labs) https://acceleratorlabs.undp.org/, and SDG financing https://sdgfinance.undp.org/


        One issue we need to address is adequate and predictable core funding for UNDP to play its public goods role effectively.  The imbalance between core and non-core is affecting UNDP’s potential to be fast, responsive and effective.  Demands for UNDP support remains strong, yet UNDP faces high levels of financial pressure and uncertainty.  This situation undermines the UNDp’s ability to be strategic. The demands for UNDP support will likely expand to new areas and require the UNDP to provide new public goods – responding to the immediate impact of the pandemic is just a starting point; other issues will follow: preparing for future pandemics, providing a framework for restructuring sovereign debt, securing financial mechanisms to accelerate energy transitions, reduce fossil fuel subsidies and implement carbon pricing, among others.  None of this can be effectively supported by the UNDP if it were not adequately supported.


        Finally, we need to embrace complexity and uncertainty.  Despite the innovations that have taken place, we have not fully embraced development complexity and became capable of dealing with uncertainties. Too often do we still look for ‘single dimensional answers’, which we address through standalone projects.  Development is not linear and complexity and interconnectedness are defining most of the challenges we face. UNDP needs to build uncertainty into its response, embrace the notion of ‘programme’ instead of ‘project’ and look to the broader picture.  This means to build on past and current investment in Innovation Facility, Accelerator Labs, and Chief Digital Office, acquiring new capabilities and skills to stay relevant and continue to be a credible and value-adding partner to our governments and other partners.  I believe we needs to make three big shifts:

        First, from magic unicorns to system approaches: no contract tracing app, no testing equipment in isolation will “solve” COVID-19, just like no hackathon or blockchain solution in themselves will “solve” climate change. Look at the examples of Vietnam, South Korea, or Senegal, all widely credited as COVID-19 successes: they put in place comprehensive programs that tackled social, regulatory, procurement, behavioral issues on top of medical and technology responses. And when the Singaporean government launched its contact tracking app, it did so with a blog titled: “This is no panacea”. Let’s embrace this spirit and acknowledge the complexity of the issues we are dealing with. Unicorns are not the answer: in face of complexity, we need to expand our options, not reducing them by locking ourselves into one single path in the hope that it scales up, as if by magic.

        Second, from trying to predict the future to sensemaking in the present: there is a fundamental difference between risk (which is quantifiable) and uncertainty (which is not). We often conflate the two and expect that we can predict upfront what are by their own nature unpredictable events like COVID-19. We need to become better prepared at sensemaking the present, with all its contradictions and contemplating multiple possible futures (no matter how unlikely they might seem). The Philippines Senate has a dedicated committee on SDG, Innovations and Future Thinking. In the wake of COVID-19, UNDP will soon start working with the committee on resilient food systems, starting from the here and now. I am sure that many similar initiatives are under way in our countries. Increasingly, we need to focus our attention on new ways of understanding the present, without getting carried away with the false security of “predictions”.


        Third, from financing individual projects to financing portfolios and system transformations: the government of Slovenia is working with Climate KIC to shift its entire national economy into a circular economy. In the wake of COVID-19, the city of Amsterdam has committed to radically shift its whole economic development paradigm to comply with the “doughnut” model of sustainable growth (within planetary and social boundaries). A number of governments, from Togo to Pakistan, have adopted temporary basic income schemes as a first step to rethink their safety nets. We need bold funders and donors who will be willing in the future to finance this type of big system transformations, moving beyond individual projects. This requires patient capital, taking a long-term view (we won’t “fix” inequality or plastic waste in 3 years) and the willingness to shift towards portfolio approaches.  At UNDP, we have started working on seven “deep demonstrations” – from Burundi to Bolivia, from Tunisia to Vietnam – to learn by doing what funding systems transformation means in practice. We need more of this. 

        These shifts are important.  They need our Member States’ encouragement and support.


          1. What events and responses would stand in the way of such an outcome?

        Lack of a clear strategic intent as an organization; withdrawal in the face of complexities and uncertainties; lack of commitment to multilateralism and inadequate resource base resulting in unhealthy competition and leakage of focus and energy; lack of new capabilities that allow UNDP to meet 21st Century challenges.

        Mazen Gharzeddine

        Very insightful perspectives. Taking the liberty of sharing a quick comment on your very interesting reference to ‘patient capital’ - I fully agree that to tackle the complex problems you refer to above  a ‘system change’ approach is critical - and such ‘patient capital’, in my view,  goes hand-in-hand with such an approach. I believe we have evidence that such ‘patient capital’ can indeed work well for complex challenges: Montreal Protocol has demonstrated that sustained investments can indeed be transformational, and that a complex challenge such as the depletion of the ozone layer can indeed be reversed if organizations and investments ‘stay on course’. 

        The Global Fund to Fight against AIDS, TB and Malaria is also a good example: meaningful impact often goes beyond traditional programming cycles of four or five years - in terms of detection, treatment and viral load (with its ramifications on mortality rates over time). The GF has indeed been pivotal in reversing the impact of such diseases across many countries - but it called for patience and rigour over time, in line with your very important observations.  

        Following the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be interesting to explore the space to leverage such ‘patient capital’ to address multidimensional poverty and inequality (challenges that remain, in my view, chronically under-invested on) - i.e. a socio-economic version of the environmental vertical funds or health vertical funds. I believe UNDP can lead that conversation with member states, IFIs and donors - and to put on the table a very simple contract: if you commit patient capital, we commit, as an organization, to contribute to address poverty and inequality - measured in the form of MPI, and inequity indexes (Gini coefficient but also beyond - HDR 2019). It is indeed a large call and indeed a large ‘strategic bet’ - and will depend on our ability to advocate, leverage partners and manage complexity - but I believe it is doable if we rally as an organization around these two simple sets of parameters (MPI, and inequity indexes, including Gini but also beyond Gini in line with the HDR 2019). There are proven, well-tested methods and approaches ‘out there’ we can easily leverage (from Nepal’s MEDEP/MEDPA and Thailand’s OTOP to impactful social protection schemes in Latin America, among many others). A Socio-economic vertical fund will indeed help bring to scale such successes across the world ( tailoring them to country-circumstances and priorities) and provide seed capital for innovations at the same time. Such a ‘revisited contract’ between UNDP and donors/member states (‘patient capital’ in exchange for two critical - and measurable- global public goods - i.e. alleviation of poverty and reduction in inequality - through a ‘system-change’ / multi-partner or platform approach that UNDP can lead on) might be worth exploring as a bold, but risk-informed, strategic bet for the organization.

        Bushra Hassan

        Hi, I really like Elizabeth Dartnall  insight. indeed, I have been wondering where and how do we reconize and identify the psycho-social and anthropological impacts of uncertainity, chronic violence, heightened concerns for livelihoods and the well being of our families, and the need for increasd humanity in and for our children, which cuts across all of our thematic areas. How are we defining human well-being? Growth is no longer a key-factor for economies. Some more developed countries continue to face more uncertainity in the current pandemic, and some so-called less developed have shown better governance, and also through cultures of respect for others, lack of provileges people are managing with grace.


        Echo-ing some of Haoliang Xu, Perhaps it is time to invest in deep-dives of social causes of strength and resilience, exploring nature based solutions through ingdigenous communities, good governance not through democracy but citizen well-being and satisfaction, - and define how we invest in systems. Is GBV increasing because men are suddenly losing respect for women, or it is because the lifeskills we have given our children does not prepare them to handle anxiety and stress so welll. If there were healthier options available for men to be able to reflect on and express their anxieties, would women remain vulnerable, as easy targets? Of course, it is not as straight forward but our development conversations need to come down a little from the very economy and growth driven models, to those of values, lifestyles and human connections. 

        However, going back to Haoliang Xu , we need to invest in how we are measuring UNDP's direct impact on national landscape. For example, what have these SDG integrated development plans changed in the country contexts? How are UNDP's interventions around increasing capacities measured? In an attempt to bring national change, we must be able, perhaps more now than ever, to demonstrate what successes can be attributed to UNDP. The measures of people's perceptions of governance and safety, are critical - and how can UNDP articulate its role in the change - especially without investments in project and programme monitoring and data collection systems. 

        Raquel Lagunas has briefly mentioned something we dont sufficiently talk about. The burdens of our risk aversion have brought forth operational complexities (procurement, HR) which makes it difficult for us to be adaptive, flexible, agile and responsive. If the time and work pressures of our offices are spent in reducing audit recommendations and we would invest the same capacities in understanding national norms, cultures and needs - we are likely to avert more significant risks around human dignity and UNDP's client orientation. 


        While many colleagues have referred to challenges around staff opportunities, flexibilities and capacities - what is hidden under the carpet are instance of staff discomfort, harassment either for reasons of race, non-compliance to accepted social norms, sex, sexual identities etc. The differentiated nature of how the organization treats male and female managers, is then reflected in how we are unable to achieve GEN2 and GEN3 in our projects. The underlying problems are the same. We want to bring transformational changes in the world and perhaps our work needs to start from within. Many offices are already undertaking these initiatives with staff surveys, surveys, external consultant reports, systems thinking to resolve office dynamics. These are so far processes. If we wish to see change in the world, we first need to become it.