UN development system contribution to the advancement of the SDGs

The reform of the UN development system, with a reinvigorated Resident Coordinator system at its center, has made UN Country Teams better fit to support national efforts to advance the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, including by strengthening focus on the most vulnerable groups and those left behind.

SDG-related capacity development and technical assistance remain the most prominent UN development system function at the country level, followed by policy advise and thought leadership

UN Country Team support to SDGs (aggregate % by function)

 

UN Country Team support to SDGs (% by SDG and function)

 
90%

of Resident Coordinator Offices/UN Country Teams received requests from Governments to support with SDG measurements and reporting

Dark Blue social card shows an icon of a document and pencil, alongside text.
90 % of Resident Coordinator Offices/UN Country Teams received requests from Governments to support with SDG measurements and reporting
https://undg.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/sdgs?card=102

To accelerate advancement of the SDGs, the UN development system has adopted a number of innovative approaches

  • At least 48 UN Country Teams reported innovation in the deployment of data and digital technologies to help countries address and monitor the pandemic
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean, 8 Resident Coordinator Offices are piloting real-time monitoring via social media and mobile platforms to assess how populations are coping

Innovative approaches by UN Country Teams

 

The most numerous innovative approaches applied by UN Country Teams are the use of Innovation Lab and Behavioral Insights

Dark Blue social card shows an icon of a lightbulb with a swerving line leading to a gear with another connecting swerving line leading to a peson, alongside text.
The most numerous innovative approaches applied by UN Country Teams are the use of Innovation Lab and Behavioral Insights
https://undg.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/sdgs?card=105

Innovative approaches applied by UN Country Teams (by SDG)

 

The SDGs with more innovative approaches are SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-being) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality)

Photo displays a pile of SDG tags .

Progress has been made in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment, while also addressing violence against women

Mauritius

In Mauritius, the UN supported a “panic button” phone app to connect women facing violence with the authorities, benefiting one in four women.
Mauritius

The UN development system increased investment in women’s organizations to:

https://undg.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/sdgs?card=111

Cuba, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Uzbekistan

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are better mainstreamed in Cooperation Frameworks, as for example in those of Cuba, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Uzbekistan.
Cuba Ethiopia Paraguay Uzbekistan

Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, the Cooperation Framework preparation process helped inform gender priorities in the Government’s Five-Year Plan.
Bangladesh

The UN development system increased investment in women’s organizations to:

Brazil, Kosovo*, Moldova and India

Provide support services at the local level in Brazil, Kosovo*, Moldova and India.
Brazil, Kosovo*, Moldova and India

Central African Republic, Nepal, Syria and Ukraine

Ensure the participation of women in local governance in Central African Republic, Nepal, Syria and Ukraine.
Central African Republic, Nepal, Syria and Ukraine

Turkey, South Sudan and Zimbabwe

Guarantee access to justice for survivors of gender-based violence in Turkey, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Turkey, South Sudan and Zimbabwe

Kosovo*

Include amendments to the criminal code in Kosovo*.
Kosovo

*All references to Kosovo on this page shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

In 2020, UN Country Teams reported for the first time on a scorecard monitoring support to advancing the UN Youth Strategy

Results found progress across a range of priority areas, with UN Country Teams working with governments and advocating for and with youth.

The Development Coordination Office is working closely with the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth on a UN Country Team information and policy support package to support UN Youth Strategy implementation.

Photo displays a batch of soccer balls with the SDG icons.

Youth 2030 Agenda

The UN Country Teams in Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, Jordan, Morocco, Niger, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Uzbekistan are piloting the roll-out of the Strategy and will also field-test and fine-tune implementation

Similarly, the results of the first analysis on the implementation of the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy are notable

Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe, the UN Country Team supported the Government to improve the offer of services by the justice system and on sexual and reproductive health rights for women and girls with disabilities.
Zimbabwe

Georgia

The Parliament of Georgia adopted a Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, backed by the UN Country Team working in close collaboration with persons with disabilities through a joint programme under the Joint SDG Fund.
Georgia

Guatemala

In Guatemala, the UN Country Team worked with authorities to ensure people with disabilities were included in the national plan to mitigate effects of COVID-19.
Guatemala
  • 121 UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plans prepared, covering 139 countries and territories
  • 18 global-level programme indicators showing UN’s collective efforts in country
  • Developed in consultation with host governments
  • Programming folds into the Cooperation Framework in 2022 onwards

The UN development system response covers the five pillars of the UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19

  1. Health First: Protecting health services and systems during the crisis
  2. Protecting People: Social protection and basic services
  3. Economic Response and Recovery: Protecting jobs, small and medium-sized enterprises, and vulnerable workers in the informal economy
  4. Macroeconomic Response and Multilateral Collaboration
  5. Social Cohesion and Community Resilience

As the COVID-19 crisis took hold, the UN family came together to ensure that the Development Coordination Office, the Resident Coordinator system and the whole UN could ensure business continuity and make sure the COVID-19 response would lead to a better recovery for the SDGs, further rooting the reforms.

Pillar 1: Health First

Protecting health services and systems during the crisis

Advancing the Sustainable Development Goals

https://undg.org/2021-unsdg-chair-report/sdgs?card=140

Indigenous peoples have been increasingly involved in finding solutions to the issues that affect them, including in response to the compounding risks of COVID-19 and climate change

These efforts include strengthening national data capacities to ensure greater visibility of and response to indigenous peoples and the challenges they face.

Ecuador

In Ecuador, the UN Country Team developed strategic lines of action on issues like the empowerment of indigenous women in the Amazon region and strengthening indigenous food systems.
Ecuador

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, the UN Country Team promoted new partnerships to face the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 and the structural barriers that indigenous people have faced for many years.
Costa Rica

UN development system contribution to the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts – a foundation for SDG acceleration

The pandemic sparked a global development crisis that undermined hard-won gains and progress towards the SDGs

The UN development system response to COVID-19 showcased the value of strengthened coordination to enable an immediate comprehensive and complementary health, humanitarian and socioeconomic response by UN Country Teams.

With Resident Coordinators’ coordination and WHO’S technical lead, UN Country Teams delivered:

54.2M

COVID-19 tests

14.4M

Sample collection kits

1.1B

Units of personal protective equipment

SOURCE: WHO, MARCH 2021

Under Resident Coordinators’ leadership and UNDP’s technical lead, UN Country Teams have also been vital to protect development gains and set countries on a path to a better recovery in the longer-term

$5 billion

UN Country Teams geared over $5 billion to the COVID-19 socio-economic response

$3.0 billion

Repurposed funds

$2.18 billion

Additionally mobilized

  • 121 UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plans were prepared, in consultation with host governments, covering 139 countries and territories
  • 18 indicators were developed to track the UN’s collective efforts in country
  • The work will fold into the Cooperation Framework in 2022 onwards

The UN development system response covers the five pillars of the UN Framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19

  1. Health First: Protecting health services and systems during the crisis
  2. Protecting People: Social protection and basic services
  3. Economic Response and Recovery: Protecting jobs, small and medium-sized enterprises, and vulnerable workers in the informal economy
  4. Macroeconomic Response and Multilateral Collaboration
  5. Social Cohesion and Community Resilience

As the COVID-19 crisis took hold, the UN family came together to ensure that the Development Coordination Office, the Resident Coordinator system and the whole UN could ensure business continuity and make sure the COVID-19 response would lead to a better recovery for the SDGs, further rooting the reforms.

Pillar 1: Health First

Protecting health services and systems during the crisis

Lead entities: UNFPA, WHO and UNICEF

Targeted UN support for the COVID-19 response enabled countries to maintain essential health services despite the spike in demand for acute COVID-related care.

Kuwait

The UN Country Team in Kuwait boosted the participation of people with disabilities through a national campaign, which provided nearly 24,000 food baskets to vulnerable groups and workers, 50,000 face masks, 20,000 surgical masks, 40,000 pairs of gloves, and 3,100 advocacy publications for families of people with disabilities.
Kuwait

Brazil

In Brazil, Resident Coordinator’s engagement with governors in the Amazon region paved the way for UN support to vulnerable communities: cash transfers to 40,000 migrants, documentation to 20,000 refugees, 2,000 medical consultations to at-risk communities, and medical kits to 7,000 indigenous health agents.
Brazil

UN Country Teams supported 240 million people with essential non-COVID related services

 
240M

people supported with essential non-COVID-related services including:

- 142 million women with maternal health services
- 73 million children with non-COVID vaccinations
- 48 million children with nutrition programmes

Health facilities receiving UN Country Team's support to maintain essential immunization services

 
30,000

UN Country Teams supported nearly 30,000 health facilities to maintain essential immunization services

Pillar 2: Protecting People

Social protection and basic services

Lead entities: UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, FAO, WHO, UNICEF, WFP and UN Women

UN Country Teams supported governments around the world to adapt, extend and scale-up social protection services, including cash transfers, food assistance programmes, social-insurance programmes and child benefits to support families

UN Country Teams leveraged the social protection programmes developed through earlier allocations of the Joint SDG Fund with up to 20% of budgets reallocated to address COVID-19 impacts, such as better healthcare and lower-cost informal social-protection interventions.

Chile

In Chile, the UN Country Team redirected $1.5 million from the Joint SDG Fund to boost social protection and inclusion for the elderly.
Chile

Thailand

In Thailand, the government approved the UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plan proposal to boost existing social transfers to children, elderly and the disabled, with a top-up of an approximate $10 additionally per month for three months, benefiting over 6.7 million people.
Thailand

India

In India, UN Country Team’s efforts helped the country deliver a five-fold increase in investments to address gender-based violence. In addition, nearly 5 million children and women received essential care for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health.
India

Serbia

The UN Country Team in Serbia adopted a data-based approach to address the impacts of COVID-19 on older persons.
Serbia

UN Country Teams worked to provide water and sanitation  

Over 36 million

People were reached with critical water and sanitation supplies

Of the gender-disaggregated figures available this includes:

  • 4.7 million women and 6.6 million girls
  • 5.6 million men and 6.4 million boys
  • 1 million migrants, refugees, stateless persons or internally displaced people
  • 250 thousand persons with disabilities

UN Country Teams backed distance/home-based learning

263 million

children globally supported

UN Country Teams backed delivery of meals and/or take-home rations to primary school children

Over 17 million

Primary school children received food assistance through UN support

This includes children supported with:

  • 8.7 million meals
  • 271 thousand cash transfers
  • 6.3 million take-home rations

UN Country Teams supported the integration of measures to address gender-based violence as part of COVID-19 response plans

86 countries

Supported in integrating measures to address gender-based violence by UN Country Teams as part of the COVID-19 response plans

UN Country Teams backed social protection schemes and services

Nearly 120 million

(Nearly 60 million women, over 60 million men) people benefited from social protection schemes, with 44 million having received financial aid packages and another 8 million people employed through cash-for-productivity programmes.

  • Over 44 million people benefited from cash transfers
  • 32 million people benefited from water and sanitation services
  • Over 26 million people received food and nutrition
  • Over 17 million people received psychosocial support
  • Over 7 million people received legal aid
  • Nearly 8 million people received human rights protection

Pillar 3: Economic Response and Recovery

Protecting jobs, small and medium-sized enterprises, and t vulnerable workers in the informal economy  

Lead entities: UNDP, UN Women, IFAD, WFP, ILO and UNICEF

The economic fall-out from the COVID-19 pandemic has hit certain sectors the hardest

Small and medium-sized enterprises, farm workers, the self-employed, daily wage earners, informal-sector workers, refugees, and migrant workers have faced major challenges.

In this context, several UN Country Teams have focused on protecting workers and sectors most affected, including by helping businesses to contain massive layoffs and protecting households and individuals through expanded social-protection, teleworking and work-sharing policies.

Mexico

The UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plan in Mexico includes support for universal unemployment insurance.
Mexico

Cameroon, Chile, Jamaica, Kenya, Montenegro and Thailand

The UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plans in Cameron, Chile, Jamaica, Kenya, Montenegro and Thailand address green recovery and digitalization.
Cameroon, Chile, Jamaica, Kenya, Montenegro and Thailand

Guatemala

The UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plan includes agroindustry and resilience skills training.
Guatemala

Maldives

The UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plan in the Maldives addresses labour governance to enable decent work for vulnerable groups.
Maldives

Iran

The UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plans in Iran and many other countries are leveraging digital technologies for stronger social safety nets and universal health coverage.
Iran

Seychelles, Dominican Republic, Cabo Verde and the Maldives

Given the vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States and the importance of sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, livelihoods, and jobs, UN Socio-Economic Recovery Plans of countries such as the Seychelles, Dominican Republic, Cabo Verde, and the Maldives seek to capitalize on the opportunities of a blue economy for a better recovery.
Seychelles Dominican Republic Cabo Verde Maldives

Countries reinforced employment policies and a regulatory environment to protect key groups through UN Country Team support

  • 52 countries reinforced women protection
  • 52 countries reinforced youth protection
  • 47 countries reinforced informal workers’ protection
  • 47 countries reinforced migrant workers’ protection
  • 35 countries reinforced workers with disabilities’ protection

UN Country Teams supported private sector companies and formal and informal sector workers

UN Country Teams supported over 1.3 million formal sector workers and over 580,000 informal sector workers. Also, the UN provided support to around 375,000 companies, mostly micro, small or medium enterprises.

This includes:

  • 349 thousand medium and small enterprises
  • 24.8 thousand other companies
  • 581 thousand informal workers
  • 1.3 million formal workers

Countries adopted fiscal, monetary and legislative stimulus packages thanks to UN Country Team support

41

Countries are climate/environment sensitive for a greener recovery

51

Countries are gender sensitive, including to address needs of women heads of household

Millions were supported by food supply protection regimes

4.7 million

people working in food supply

Pillar 4: Macro-economic Response and Multilateral Collaboration

Lead entities: UNDP, UN Women, FAO, ILO and  UNICEF

With the global economy experiencing the worst recession in 90 years, countries have a massive need for counter-cyclical fiscal and financial support

Cabo Verde to Lesotho, Mongolia and Costa Rica

Several UN Country Teams integrated their ongoing support to SDG financing into their UN Socio-Economic Response Plans to form the basis of a COVID-19 financing response – from Cabo Verde to Lesotho, Mongolia and Costa Rica.
Cabo Verde to Lesotho, Mongolia and Costa Rica

Cambodia and Colombia

The UN development system supported the Government of Cambodia with analysis on the economic and social impacts of COVID-19, and Colombia with an analysis of COVID-19’s impact on SDG financing gaps.
Cambodia and Colombia

Countries undertook socio-economic impact assessments, backed by UN Country Teams support with a focus on at-risk populations

  • 62 countries focused on economic needs
  • 74 countries focused on labour markets
  • 79 countries focused on multi-sectoral needs
  • 33 countries focused on fiscal and public debt
  • 78 countries focused on human impact needs
  • 77 countries focused on gender-sensitive needs

Countries implemented policies informed by UN Country Teams, backed by socio-economic impact assessments focused on at-risk populations

  • 53 countries focused on socio-economic policies including employment
  • 47 countries focused on labour market policies, including food security
  • 44 countries focused on fiscal policies
  • 50 countries focused on social protection policies
  • 47 countries focused on women’s empowerment policies

Pillar 5: Social Cohesion and Community Resilience

Lead entities: UNDP, UN Women, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, ILO and UNICEF

The pandemic placed considerable strains on social cohesion, magnifying existing fault lines and creating new ones

  • UN Country Teams, under the technical lead of ILO, helped facilitate over 1,000 national and over 500 sub-national dialogues for employers and business organizations as well as trade unions on how to respond to the pandemic and the increased domestic violence, racism, xenophobia, stigma, and other forms of discrimination, and how to prevent and remedy human rights abuses.

Many trade unions/business organizations benefited from UN Country Teams-backed capacity-building to address COVID-19 impacts

2.8K

Employers and business organizations

300+

Trade Unions

Community/civil society organizations benefited from UN Country Teams’ support to address COVID-19 impacts

Over 25,000

Community/civil society organizations benefited from UN Country Team support

Including the following number of community organizations/institutions:

  • Over 7.2 thousand for youth
  • Over 49 for human rights (National Human Rights Institutions)
  • Over 2.8 thousand for indigenous people
  • Over 2.6 thousand for at-risk populations
  • Over 1 thousand for informal settlements
  • Over 300 for religious groups
  • Over 2.7 thousand for fragile settings
  • Over 4.6 thousand for livelihood support

The results of the UN socioeconomic response to COVID-19 capture a proportion of the UN development system contribution at the country level to protect and advance sustainable development.

At the same time, they showcase the strong performance of entities on the ground, the ability of the system to deliver together under Resident Coordinator’s leadership and the kind of system-wide results reporting that the UN aims to produce in order to capture its contribution to the advancement of the SDGs

This first reporting effort also provides a clear indication of where UN development system reporting can and must improve as the reforms mature, and will inform further efforts to strengthen a common UN development system approach to measuring system-wide contribution to the SDGs.