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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Earlier today at the campus of Makerere University Business School (MUBS) we received a presentation from a representative of the UNDP, Simon Peter Nsereko. This is the first time the program has included the UNDP as part of the course, so it was a little rough. The representative we received wasn't the representative that was supposed to present, so that in itself provided an issue. Regardless, there was some useful information provided which added a different (but necessary) aspect of development to our conversations. For instance, the UNDP was our first encounter on the trip of an organization -- and an development organization associated with the largest intergovernmental organization in the world (the UN) -- which was foreign to Uganda. Considering that the SDGs were drafted by an Open Working Group under the umbrella of UN General Assembly and the UNDP it is important to see how the UNDP coordinates its efforts to achieve these goals.

The presenter discussed the reality of how the UNDP functions and works with host governments in order to fulfill the SDGs. Prior to mentioning the work with the SDGs, the presenter mentioned how 33% of the MDG targets were achieved in Uganda, meaning much of the goals were still unrealized once the SDGs were published in 2015. The UNDP mainly helps form and develop frameworks and plans for governments to adapt to their country so as to successfully implement programs and initiatives to push forward development. The UNDP also relys and works heavily upon the statistics and data provided by the home country, which in itself provides its own set of challenges.

There are obvious challenges and issues for successful implementation and realization of the SDGs since the UNDP has to work through host government. Some developing nations governments tend to be either corrupt, unstable, or both. That very fact provides a challenge and issue for the UNDP; not to mention the added complication of appeasing donor nations if progress is slow on the targeted SDGs. However when talking to Simon about these challenges he gave an interesting insight. The UNDP has to act diplomatically when working with the governments, and the UNDP absolutely HAS to work through the host governments. If the UNDP doesn't work through the host governments, or creates a confrontational relationship with them than the host government can simply limit their operations or kick them out of country.

Questions for MUBS and Drake Students:
1) Are the UNDP's challenges simply inherent based on the nature and operations of the organization? Why or why not?
2) Though there are obvious problems and challenges within the UNDP, is it still necessary for the successful achievement of the SDGs?


  1. I believe that the UNDP's challenges are because of the fact that they are operating in a developing country. The UNDP's involvement in the sustainable development goals help the country in making sure that they are focused and on the right track to achieving the goals, but are not entirely necessary.

  2. I believe that a good portion of the UNDP's challenges come from operating through the corrupt Ugandan government. It seems to me like that's largely a dead end. I think that, at least in Uganda, it would be better to have a closer partnership with NGO's. Then they can't be "kicked out" and perhaps they could make more progress. It seems like they have NGO partnerships but their level of association and work together was unclear. I don't really know how pulling away from the government would affect diplomatic relations (my guess is negatively) but I think that trying to mobilize the Ugandan government to do anything is a pretty tall order. And since the UNDP is responsible for creating the SDGs, I think excluding them from the process in some way would be ineffective and could hurt implementation.