Our approach

​UNOPS ensures its projects are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable, delivering functional infrastructure that best serves the needs of local communities.



UNOPS sustainability goals are achieved through community engagement, capacity development, and promoting gender equality and environmentally-friendly construction. Our partners benefit from UNOPS commitment to internationally-recognized standards and operational excellence, as well as the implementation of infrastructure projects in accordance with best practice in sustainable design and construction.


UNOPS designed a high-security prison in Kosovo using its sustainable management approach, upholding the highest international standards for prison facilities and prisoner welfare. Photo: UNOPS/Brendan Kiernan

Community engagement

UNOPS works closely with local communities to ensure lasting, sustainable outcomes. By engaging all stakeholders, from national authorities to local families, we help create infrastructure that is truly owned by the people it serves, in line with our policy for sustainable infrastructure.

Environmentally-conscious construction

From using local materials to considering the social impacts of a project, UNOPS promotes sustainable building practices. Our experts work to mitigate any negative impacts of projects and maximize positive impacts by, for example, taking into account climate change and disaster risk reduction. UNOPS also prioritizes the use of 'green' processes and materials, sourced locally where appropriate.


In 2011, UNOPS was awarded ISO 14001 certification for its commitment to protecting the environment when managing construction sites. As part of the certification, UNOPS developed an environmental management system to help project managers minimize any negative impacts and strengthen environmental benefits.​

Promoting gender equality

UNOPS is committed to advancing gender equality and empowering women. We incorporate gender concerns at all stages of our projects, including design and construction. Many of the facilities we construct include special considerations to help girls and women access justice, education and healthcare.

Developing local capacity

UNOPS increases local capacity through on-the-job training, specialized training for contractors  and knowledge-sharing, ensuring that positive effects of development continue long after the project itself is over. We also develop the capacity of government ministries through partnerships, direct training and advisory services.

Partnerships with industry leaders

UNOPS relies on additional guidance from key partners, including international business law firm DLA Piper and architecture and engineering firm Arup, which provide pro-bono services.


For large-scale, complex projects, we often collaborate with Arup, known for its engineering design of the Sydney Opera House. UNOPS infrastructure projects benefit from Arup's international expertise in sustainability, climate change resilience, disaster response and reconstruction.


Present in over 30 countries, DLA Piper offers its legal expertise to UNOPS, helping to develop legal tools compliant with the highest industry standards. For example, with the assistance of DLA Piper, UNOPS has developed its own construction contracts, based on those of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), which UNOPS tailored for use in the development context.