A year of significant contributions by UNOPS

COPENHAGEN – UNOPS implemented $1.14 billion worth of aid and development projects in 2013, up from $977 million in 2012, supporting partners in the delivery of tangible benefits to people in need.

Key operational results completed on behalf of partners in 2013 included the construction or rehabilitation of 3,560 kilometres of road, 81 bridges, 35 government administration buildings, 31 schools, and 26 hospitals and health clinics. UNOPS purchased over 19,300 units of machinery and equipment, as well as over 4,000 vehicles. In total, UNOPS procured over $ 749 million worth of goods and services on behalf of partners.

In addition, a total of 2.5 million days of paid work were created for local people and more than 47,000 individuals were trained in various fields. UNOPS provided over 14,600 days of advisory services.

These results were highlighted at the Annual Session of the Executive Board of UNDP, UNFPA and UNOPS on 27 June in Geneva, where the 2013 Annual Report was presented by Executive Director Ad Interim, Vitaly Vanshelboim, and adopted by the Board.

UNOPS supported its partners to improve access to essential health care, handling nearly 7.7 million medical supplies, and procuring or distributing 11.3 million doses of medicine, including HIV/AIDS medicines, through support to health funds in countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia.

Additionally, UNOPS assisted and supported the mine action work of the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), and partners in 18 countries and territories around the world.

Delivering sustainable results

Delivery in low-income countries and those affected by conflict continued to increase in 2013, reaching 62 per cent of total delivery compared to 51 per cent in 2012. New engagements signed last year between UNOPS and its partners reached $1.96 billion, up from $1.35 billion the year before.

Nearly half of all UNOPS projects worked to develop national capacity. A project to increase access to modern energy services and agro-enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa, funded by the Gates Foundation and UNDP, contained a wide range of formal training, technology transfer, knowledge sharing and networking elements for local communities.

30 per cent of projects supported gender equality and the empowerment of women. A World Bank-funded infrastructure project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo taught women construction skills and aimed to have at least 30 per cent women on the committees overseeing the operation and maintenance of completed rural markets and roads.

An additional 30 per cent of UNOPS-supported projects worked to improve environmental sustainability. This included incorporating sustainable-building techniques into the construction of a climate communications centre in Kalimantan, Indonesia, run entirely on solar power, as part of a Norwegian-funded project under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme.

"UNOPS continued to improve the way it operates, benchmarking itself against international standards, and promoting approaches and processes that produce sustainable results", Mr. Vanshelboim noted when he addressed members of the Executive Board in Geneva.

In line with the ambitions of the new Strategic Plan, UNOPS established a sustainability programme to provide dedicated resources, focus and coordination to its sustainability initiatives. This included the development of a 'Sustainability Marker' to review and assess the likely social, environmental and economic effects of a project, including the consideration of national capacity development. The Sustainability Marker enables project teams, along with partners, to maximise benefits and minimise harm throughout the project cycle, from the proposal stage and design stage, through to implementation. As well as improving UNOPS reporting on sustainability initiatives, it helps UNOPS deliver better, long-lasting projects for the people we serve.

UNOPS has also been producing toolkits to support project teams in embedding sustainability through the whole project lifecycle. For example, to help improve social inclusion, UNOPS launched community engagement and gender mainstreaming toolkits, providing guidance on how to involve key stakeholders in project planning and enable more equitable access to project benefits.

Further information about UNOPS key operational and management results, as well as case studies of the projects that UNOPS supported in 2013, are available in UNOPS latest Annual Report.