|A woman talks to an outreach therapist from the Kirkuk Centre for Victims of Torture, as part of a programme funded by the EU and implemented by UNOPS. Photo: UNOPS/Jamal Penjweny|
Four high-level goals are defining the work of UNOPS during 2010-2013. They are called ‘contribution goals’ since UNOPS contributes to the results of its partners. One of these goals is to support the creation of conditions that foster sustained peace and development in post-conflict situations and fragile states.
From Iraq, Afghanistan and the occupied Palestinian territory to South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNOPS manages projects on behalf of its partners in some of the world’s most challenging environments.
Our support includes providing infrastructure services to construct roads, schools and hospitals; project management services to help strengthen police forces and clear mines, and procurement and logistics services, such as for large scale election projects.
A focus on high-quality results is built into the culture of UNOPS. We have a strong belief in national ownership and work closely with governments and communities to ensure increased sustainability for the projects we support.
Whenever possible we promote three cross-cutting concerns: the development of national capacity, gender equality and the empowerment of women, and environmental sustainability.
By keeping these considerations in mind during project planning and implementation, we help partners increase the long-term impact of their projects.
UNOPS is a central resource for the United Nations in infrastructure development, with a special focus on peacebuilding situations. UNOPS designs and constructs infrastructure that focuses on the social, environmental and economic development of communities, while ensuring the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
In addition to managing the implementation of construction projects, UNOPS helps governments procure the necessary equipment in a transparent, cost-efficient manner. In Liberia, we procured six sets of earth moving machinery on behalf of the Government to help the country implement its own infrastructure and development projects.
To improve lives now while also preparing for the future, UNOPS helps partners advance education and health in post-conflict communities, constructing or repairing core community infrastructure such as schools, health clinics and rural hospitals. For example in 2011, UNOPS worked closely with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other partners to provide schools with the facilities to promote increased attendance. In Afghanistan, with funding from the Government of Sweden, we built three football fields for schools, benefiting 5,000 children.
UNOPS supports the construction and rehabilitation of thousands of kilometres of roads every year in post-conflict settings, increasing year-round access to key services. In many cases, this involves working closely with the authorities and the private sector to build the capacity of the local construction industry.
We also help partners construct or repair other transport structures, including bridges and airstrips. For example, UNOPS rehabilitated the Pagak airstrip in South Sudan, on behalf of the United Nations logistics cluster and with funding from the Government of the United States, to help humanitarian organizations access vulnerable displaced populations.
Reducing conflict risk through infrastructure
UNOPS helps reduce risk and stabilize conflict-affected areas by constructing courthouses, police stations, police training facilities, detention centres and prisons to international standards.
In Somalia for example, UNOPS rehabilitated two prisons in 2011 as part of its wider support to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s anti-piracy activities in the Gulf of Aden region. Improvements included raising the living conditions of prisoners and increasing security.
UNOPS supports a range of direct initiatives to address the root causes of conflict. For example, we ran operations on behalf of the Government of the United Kingdom and UNEP to improve 88 water facilities in conflict-affected areas, including rehabilitating a rural water supply reservoir in north Darfur, which reduces the risk of drought and associated conflict for an estimated 50,000 people.
In Lakes State, South Sudan, we constructed water facilities and security buildings that communities identified as essential for reducing conflict, with support from the South Sudan Recovery Fund.
UNOPS works directly with people displaced by conflict, such as by building and maintaining shelters in northern Sri Lanka with a range of partners.
|UNOPS is managing the renovation of 58 primary schools and a teacher training university in DR Congo, with funding from the World Bank. Photo: UNOPS/Dorothée Clette|
Supporting UN peacebuilding with common services
UNOPS helps the United Nations Mine Action Service and UNDP clear mines and explosive remnants of war, build national capacity for mine action, destroy stockpiles, deliver life-saving mine risk education and assist survivors in a range of countries and territories.
Alongside this work, we provide vital support to four United Nations political, peacebuilding and peacekeeping missions in Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq and Kosovo. For example, we manage communication centres for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. UNOPS also provides a range of back-end services to the United Nations Department of Field Support, such as developing information and communication technology products. One such product won a UN 21 award in 2011 for improving coordination across UN peacekeeping and political field missions.
Providing management services to democratization projects
UNOPS supports a number of policies to strengthen democratization processes in post-conflict societies. For example, in 2011 a new law to facilitate the work and development of civil society in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was passed. Funded through the United Nations Development Group Iraq Trust Fund, UNOPS provided both technical assistance and coordination between stakeholders throughout the drafting process.
In Kosovo, we supported the first successful census in 30 years, providing financial, logistical and procurement services, on behalf of the Government, the European Commission and a range of other partners.