UNDP at 50 – Leading the fight against poverty and inequality

Students laugh during a class lecture at the University of Ghana in Accra. World Bank/Dominic Chavez

24 February 2016 – United Nations efforts to enhance international peace and security may grab headlines, but the vast majority of the Organization’s resources are devoted to development, and to advancing the Charter's pledge to "promote higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of economic and social progress and development."

Through its system of specialized agencies and funds, the UN is dedicated to ensuring that economic expansion and globalization are guided by policies promoting human welfare, sustainable development, poverty eradication, fair trade and the reduction of foreign debt.

Since its inception in 1966, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) – the Organization’s largest provider of grants for sustainable human development worldwide – has been on the front lines of UN development efforts, partnering with countries and organizations to reduce poverty, empower women, create jobs, protect the environment and narrow the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’

UNDP now works in support of more than 170 countries to build institutions, increase resilience and help implement reforms. Through its efforts, it has contributed to major development gains in many countries around the world.

As the agency marks its fiftieth anniversary, the UN News Centre takes a look at the evolution of UNDP’s work over the years as the agency looks forward to what remains to be done to empower people, build resilient nations, drive sustainable economic growth and improve the quality of life for all.

To mark its 50th anniversary today, UNDP hosted a meeting in New York, attended by more than 80 ministers from around the world, to consider how to translate global development commitments, embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), into concrete action and results. “Government leadership is vital for achieving the SDGs, together with partnerships with civil society, the private sector, philanthropy and the multilateral system,” said UNDP chief Helen Clark on the eve of the meeting. “Working together, we can achieve our goals of a world which is free of poverty and inequality.”

50 Years of Sustainable Development. Credit: UNDP

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