How we deliver

Working in partnership with other development actors, UN DESA delivers its capacity development support at the global, regional, and national levels, in a variety of ways depending on the type of capacity development support required, level of operation, and partnership opportunities.

As a global entity with no country-level presence, UN DESA works in close collaboration with the UN Resident Coordinators and the UN Country Teams, in accordance with the General Assembly resolution on the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review and the UN Development Group’s common approaches.

Service Delivery Model

The multi-dimensional nature of the 2030 Agenda has encouraged a re-examination of programme and service delivery models developed prior to its adoption, with a view to delivering more coherent and integrated support. The continuing drive for cost-effectiveness, timeliness and quality of service delivery places a strong emphasis on efficiency as well.


UN DESA delivers its capacity development support in a variety of ways through a variety of funding and delivery mechanisms, adapting its services to different circumstances and requirements

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Capacity Development Delivery Method

Seven steps have been identified for the service delivery process:
•    Communicating the service offerings and products
•    Identifying and prioritizing demand for capacity development services
•    Determining the appropriate level and methodology for service delivery
•    Identifying potential partnership opportunities
•    Resourcing capacity development initiatives
•    Delivering the services
•    Following up on results

With a pool of more than 200 experts, including dedicated inter-regional advisers, UN DESA focuses most of its capacity development efforts on developing well- tested methodologies, tools and approaches that can assist national policy makers build the necessary capacities to translate the new sustainable development framework into concrete policies and plans. As appropriate, these tools, models, and innovative approaches are tested in pilot countries, in collaboration with national authorities, through a combination of global, regional, and national interventions conducted in collaboration with strategic partners.

National beneficiaries and relevant partners are also trained as “trainers” in the context of longer-term and larger scale interventions. Partners, especially in the case of UN agencies with large country presence, facilitate the continued follow-up and sustainability of these capacity development interventions at the country level, since UN DESA is a non-resident entity. They also help bring these interventions to scale by training national stakeholders in other countries and continuing to disseminate these tools globally and regionally.

UN DESA Project Offices

UN DESA also operates three strategic project offices that pursue long-term capacity development objectives at all levels of operation.

The United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG) was established in 2006 as a project office of UN DESA with the principal mission of strengthening the capacities of public administration in developing countries in Asia and the Pacific. Since its inception, UNPOG has conducted innovative research and capacity building activities and disseminated global and local best practices on participatory, transparent and effective governance.

The United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD) was established in 2011 by the United Nations and the Government of Republic of Korea.
The purpose of UNOSD is to support governments in implementing international agreements on sustainable development, including Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, and the 2030 Agenda.

The United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), which was established in 1971 based on an agreement between the Government of Japan and the United Nations, strives to promote sustainable regional development in developing countries with a focus on development planning and management in the context of globalization and decentralization trends, and the growing concern towards global environmental issues and their impacts.

Our Resources

UN DESA’s capacity development assistance is funded by regular budget resources – Regular Programme of Technical Cooperation, and the Development Account – and by special voluntary contributions provided by Member States, generally for targeted purposes.

Regular Programme of Technical Cooperation (RPTC)
One of the funding sources that UN DESA taps into when considering capacity development work to support Member States is the Regular Programme of Technical Cooperation (RPTC). This Programme was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1946. The programme’s broad objective is to support and advance processes aimed at developing the capacity of Governments to formulate and implement policies for sustainable economic and social development. Some of the main characteristics of the programme are the sharing of experiences across countries and regions, South - South cooperation, the use of national expertise from the beneficiary countries to the extent possible and the building of knowledge networks to facilitate continued exchange and assistance and promote sustainability.

The Programme allows a fast and flexible response to requests of Member States for short-term assistance to meet small-scale capacity development-related challenges. Because of its shorter-term nature in comparison to longer-term projects, RPTC allows for more agile programming and often plays a catalytic role leading to longer-term formulation of assistance such as on the development and implementation of national development strategies and programmes.

RPTC is used for small-scale capacity development activities, like training, workshops, and advisory services. Training and Workshops are undertaken in response to an identified capacity gap in one or more countries, and upon request by Member States. Seminars and workshops are held at the subnational, national, regional or global level. A key component of the programme is that it funds DESA’s Inter-Regional Advisors who link DESA’s analytical and inter-governmental work to the needs of Member States and their national contexts.

Advisory Services respond to requests from Governments to provide specific advice on sectoral matters relevant to their development strategies and programmes and to assist governments in the formulation and evaluation of programmes leading to the enhancement of national programmes.

Development Account

The goal of the Development Account (DA) is to enhance the capacities of developing countries in priority areas of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Most of the DA projects focus on multiple countries, often across multiple regions, involving several of the ten Implementing Entities (IEs) and including partnerships with national level government, other UN agencies as well as other development partners.
Click here for more information on the Development Account.