UNDP is the development network of the United Nations, working in more than 170 countries and focused on eradicating poverty and reducing inequality. UNDP helps countries develop policies, leadership skills, partnering abilities, and institutional capabilities in order to achieve development results, inclusive growth, environmental sustainability, good governance and security.
All UNDP Projects and Programmes must comply with UNDPs Social and Environmental Standards (‘SES’). The SES seek to:
- Strengthen the social and environmental outcomes of UNDP Programmes and Projects
- Avoid adverse impacts to people and the environment
- Minimize, mitigate, and manage adverse impacts where avoidance is not possible
- Strengthen UNDP and partner capacities for managing social and environmental risks
- Ensure full and effective stakeholder engagement, including through an accountability mechanism to address concerns of project-affected people
To ensure compliance with Standards, UNDP must conduct a Social and Environmental Screening Procedure ('SESP') for all proposed projects. The SESP assesses project activities for social and environmental risks and opportunities, and helps ensure that SES requirements are considered and addressed during project preparation.
The SES are supported by an Accountability Mechanism that includes two avenues for responding to concerns related to UNDP-supported projects and programmes:
- A Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU), which investigates concerns of project-affected stakeholders that UNDP is not in compliance with the Standards and Screening Procedure, and
- A Stakeholder Response Mechanism (SRM), which helps project-affected stakeholders, UNDP's partners (governments, NGOs, businesses) and others jointly address grievances or disputes related to projects supported by the UNDP.
Groups or individuals who wish to raise concerns about the impacts of a UNDP project have a choice. They can:
- Ask SECU to investigate UNDP's compliance with its social and environmental commitments,
- Attempt to resolve complaints and disputes through the SRM, or
- Ask for both compliance review through SECU and an engagement process through SRM.