United Nations Development Programme

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The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is an agency of the United Nations with the mission of assisting nation-states in their efforts to end extreme poverty, as well as to promote sustainable economic growth and improved standards of living for their populations. It is the biggest United Nations development assistance organisation, having offices in 170 different countries, and its headquarters are in New York City.

The United Nations Development Programme places an emphasis on building local capacity in order to achieve long-term self-sufficiency and prosperity. It runs initiatives to attract investment, technical training, and technological development, and it offers professionals to assist construct legal and political institutions as well as increase the private sector. Other goals of the organisation include fostering technological innovation.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is now active in 170 countries and receives all of its funding via the voluntary contributions of UN member states. In addition, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is managed by a board of 36 members that is directed by an administrator, who is the third-highest ranked official in the United Nations after the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General.

The Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance (EPTA) and the Special Fund, both established in 1958, merged to become the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on November 22, 1965. The justification for this decision was to "avoid duplicating their operations." In 1949, the EPTA was established in order to aid poor nations in both their economic and political aspects, and in the same year, the Special Fund was established in order to broaden the scope of the UN's technical support. The concept of a Special United Nations Fund for Economic Development (also known as SUNFED), which was originally referred to as the United Nations Fund for Economic Development, gave rise to the creation of the Special Fund (UNFED).

Countries such as those in the Nordic region were among those that supported the establishment of a fund overseen by the United Nations (UN). However, wealthy nations, most notably the United States, were opposed to the fund. The United States feared that the Third World would take control of such a financial source and would have rather that the fund fall under the supervision of the World Bank. In order to create the Special Fund, the idea of SUNFED had to be abandoned. This Special Fund was a compromise reached over the SUNFED idea; it did not give funds for investment but rather assisted in bringing about pre-conditions that were necessary for private investment.

As a result of the United States' initiative to propose and establish the International Development Association under the auspices of the World Bank, it seemed as if the EPTA and the Special Fund were engaged in comparable lines of activity. In 1962, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations requested that the Secretary General investigate the potential benefits and drawbacks of combining several UN programmes that provided technical assistance. Two years later, in 1966, the EPTA and the Special Fund combined to become the UNDP.