Photo: UNOPS/Ahed Izhiman

New strategic plan to drive UNOPS forward

09 August 2013, UNOPS Strategic Plan 2014-2017

COPENHAGEN – Sustainability, focus, excellence and an emphasis on national capacity. These are the key characteristics that will guide UNOPS work over the next four years, as defined by the new strategic plan approved by our Executive Board.

UNOPS strategic plan 2014-2017 provides direction on how the organization can serve people in need by contributing to the development, humanitarian and peacebuilding results of its partners.

It highlights renewed focus in the areas where UNOPS has a clear mandate and expertise – project management, infrastructure and procurement.

Within these areas we are cataloguing a set of products and services. By doing so, the organization can bring innovation and appropriate standards to our partners’ projects; standards that are recognized as best practice internationally.

The use of such benchmarking also supports the drive towards excellence. Funding for development, humanitarian response and peacebuilding is limited, and resources must be used effectively. For UNOPS this means providing value for money and being transparent about how the money is spent. It means constantly watching costs and looking for ways to deliver quality results in a timely manner.

UNOPS Executive Director Jan Mattsson said: “Under the new strategic plan, UNOPS is committed to sustainability, meaning all our work will be framed by the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability – with a strong push towards developing national capacity.”

For example, when UNOPS constructs a school on behalf of its partners, the completed school should be resilient to natural hazards and climate change, energy efficient, ensure that girls and disabled children are catered for, and be built with continued operation and maintenance in mind. In such a project UNOPS can support national capacity in many ways, from raising awareness on health and safety standards, to promoting disabled access and strengthening the capacity of local suppliers.

The Executive Board warmly welcomed the strategic plan, with member states such as France and Germany praising UNOPS for continually setting the bar higher in terms of performance.

“The strategic plan aims at making UNOPS an even more focused, efficient and effective organization, which embraces and incorporates the concept of sustainability into all its operations,” the two countries said in a joint statement.

“We further welcome the priority awarded to the principle of national ownership and leadership and the focus on capacity development,” they added.

Sweden, on behalf of Denmark, Norway and Finland, highlighted UNOPS ability to deliver results that matter for people in need, as well as the value UNOPS adds to development projects worldwide.

UNOPS has a “unique mandate to continue forging effective development partnerships focused on concrete delivery of results at the country level,” the statement said.

“With a strong field presence and proven technical capacity, UNOPS is not only a valuable resource for development partners, but also a key actor for national capacity development and knowledge transfer,” it continued.

Indonesia also welcomed the strategic plan noting that it “reflects on the need to increase the resilience of nations and communities to natural disasters.”

In 2012, UNOPS supported over 1,000 active projects across 80 countries, often working in the most challenging environments. For example, UNOPS supported its partners to build or renovate 2,631 kilometres of road, 40 schools and 27 bridges, train 21,000 people, handle 15 million medical supplies and support mine action work in 14 countries.

The attitudes outlined in this article represent personal beliefs of the author and do not necessarily reflect viewpoints of the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme, or the European Union, the Government of Switzerland and the Government of Serbia.

Please be informed that the European Partnership with Municipalities Programme – EU PROGRES was completed on 31 March 2014. If you would like to learn about the activities and results of the European PROGRES, which is a continuation of development support of the European Union and Government of Switzerland to the South East and South West Serbia, please visit