Partnerships with other UN Agencies

One UN

UNIDO, as a UN agency, provides linkages with all other UN agencies through the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) "Delivering as One" initiative. Known as "One UN", the initiative demonstrates the UN's commitment to bring together the expertise, experience and capacities of the entire UN family to support national development strategies.

Click here to read more about "One UN" and about the UN presence in the other SADC countries,  including Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Click here to read about the UN in South Africa.

The Global Compact

UNIDO is one of the six UN core agencies of the Global Compact. The invitation to UNIDO to join the initiative as a core agency in 2003 arose from the need to pay more attention to the specific needs and requirements of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - an area in which UNIDO's expertise is globally acknowledged. UNIDO now has special responsibility for SMEs engaged in the network, which make up for almost 50 percent of the about 4,500 member companies.

With a view of supporting these SMEs in their endeavor to adhere to the principles upon which the Global Compact is based, UNIDO developed the Responsible Entrepreneurs Achievement Programme (REAP) – a practical CSR based management and reporting tool that helps smaller companies to adapt environmentally and socially responsible business practices. It does this by providing a structured framework in combination with analytical software, which can be used to gather, process, evaluate and report data to track progress in implementing CSR in SMEs. Given the focus UNIDO has on sustainable industrial development in developing countries, the relationship between REAP and the Global Compact is about combining its overall know-how on SME development with a benchmark of CSR-related issues.

Click here to read more about the United Nations Global Compact and REAP. 


A cooperation agreement between UNIDO and the UNDP was concluded in 2004. The two organizations also concluded a related Framework for Joint UNIDO-UNDP Technical Cooperation Programmes on Private Sector Development. The government and private sector partners in countries where the two organisations are active, benefit from the Agreement through more effective delivery and better quality of development services and programmes.

The Agreement, which aims to combine the strengths of both organisations through cooperation in a number of areas, focusing on private sector development (PSD), introduced a new model of field representation—the UNIDO Desk.

These were to be established in UNDP Country Offices in 15 countries over a pilot period of two years, with a long-term goal of up to 80 countries. A dialogue at country level resulted in the formulation of new Joint Private Sector Development Programmes (JPSDPs).

By September 2006, 13 UNIDO Desks had been established and staffed with well-qualified local professionals, designated as Heads of UNIDO Operations (HUOs). These are in Afghanistan, Armenia, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, Eritrea, Jordan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mali, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.

There has been clear progress in three areas:

  • Joint programmes: 33 of these are under development, for a total of about $80 million. The total financial volume of the 14 programmes developed under the Framework is $52.6 million;
  • UNIDO projects and programmes: 42 are under development, for a total of about $30 million. Actual amounts will depend on the success of resource mobilization;
  • UNIDO’s visibility in United Nations programming.

It is envisaged that the number of UNIDO Desks will be increased to 30 by the end of 2009, while maintaining UNIDO’s existing field representation.

United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

UNIDO launched an initiative on Youth Employment at the Director-General’s Ministerial Breakfast Roundtable during the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting in July 2006. The Director-General, the Chief Economist of the World Bank and the Executive Director of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Employment Division led the discussions on the subject. There will be a demonstration programme in West Africa involving the African Union, the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA), ILO, and various government and agency participants. UNIDO expects that this will be the first of many youth employment programmes that benefit from improved inter-agency coherence and cooperation.


In 2005, UNIDO and UNODC signed a memorandum of understanding that envisages joint programming in up to five countries, focusing on UNIDO’s SME and private sector development activities and UNODC’s sustainable livelihood programme.

Within this framework, a joint initiative on “Corruption Prevention to Foster Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Development” was launched, which aims at developing and implementing tools and measures to promote integrity amongst SMEs and support them in defending themselves against both public and private sector corruption, and hence combines the competencies and mandates of both Organizations.

This initiative not only takes into account the ever-growing importance of the private sector in the global fight against corrupt practices, but is also in line with other developments at the international stage, such as the recent inclusion of an anti-corruption principle in the UN Global Compact and the entering into force of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

The initiative started by identifying problems and constraints SMEs generally face in a corrupt environment with the assistance of a working group of experts that met on 6-7 March 2006 in Vienna. Based on the findings obtained, the first volume of a joint UNIDO/UNODC publication on Corruption Prevention to Foster SME Development was published in late 2007.

In a second phase, UNIDO and UNODC jointly conducted a series of project development and assessment missions to Croatia, Indonesia and Malawi with the aim of obtaining more in-depth knowledge concerning the problems small companies face when dealing with corruption in the field. Furthermore, the missions aimed to discuss various anti-corruption measures/best practices and the role of relevant institutions to address corruption as a challenge for SMEs, and to develop a practicable project concept to support SMEs in this context. Now, as these missions have been completed, Volume II of the above-mentioned publication is in preparation, focusing on tools and measures to support SMEs in their fight against corruption.

At the moment, both Organizations are discussing the possibility of developing a joint "service concept" to support smaller businesses in that respect, and is looking for potential pilot countries to carry out such project.

Click here to read more about the UNIDO-UNODC Partnership.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Since the mid nineties, UNIDO and UNEP run a joint programme that established a network of more than 30 National Cleaner Production Centres (NCPCs) to, inter alia, help industry clean up their production processes and transfer cleaner technologies to industry. UNEP, for example, has suggested cooperating on the development of biofuels, and widening the role of the UNEP-UNIDO network of NCPCs to cover the identification of promising projects to combat climate change, for funding under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the implementation of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their disposal.