On November 22, 1965, two organizations merged and the world was forever changed. The Expanded Program of Technical Assistance (EPTA) and the United Nations Special Fund combined to form the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in order to more effectively coordinate development efforts while avoiding unnecessary redundancy. The former body focused on providing education and technical instruction, while the latter served to assist with the implementation of sociopolitical programs. Now, together as the UNDP, the benefits provided to developing countries and developed countries alike are one of the biggest ways in which humanity is investing in its future.
The UNDP is now the world’s premier development organization. Its administrator, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, oversees a budget of billions of dollars and a staff of thousands, all situated across over 150 different countries. She is tasked with directing the UNDP to implement the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a list of targets countries must work to meet in many areas, like maternal health and income generations. The MDGs are an essential part of what the UNDP does; by creating straightforward criteria for success, the UNDP can effectively measure how close it is to achieving these goals, and what processes are or are not working.
Funded entirely by contributions from member states, the UNDP does more than perhaps any other UN organization to plan for our future. When one country develops, all countries benefit from it. Whether from the increased market access for economic growth, or the added connectivity from more human beings getting on the Internet for the first time, or the cultural values of societies which have yet to make their mark on our globalized society, there are immense benefits to promoting development and interconnectedness amongst the world’s nations. From its humble beginnings as the result of two somewhat redundant agencies merging, the UNDP has grown and shown itself to be reliable, effective, and transparent.
— Jake Simon