The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Only by bringing everyone to the table, can we address everyone's needs

Driving positive change, by working together

Sustainability Report 2019

Words by Grete Faremo - Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director

At UNOPS, we remain determined that we can all drive positive change, by working together, being bold and embracing new ideas. 

Our annual sustainability report is testament to our success. Across more than 80 countries, UNOPS-supported projects created around 5 million days of paid work for local people, of which almost 2 million were undertaken by women and young people. We delivered $2.3 billion worth of support, the majority of it in the world’s most fragile and conflict-affected states.

Our focus remains resolutely on implementation. As a resource, we support Member States, the UN family and partners to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNOPS teams around the world are currently working tirelessly to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, from providing emergency health procurement and vital health infrastructure, to supporting countries in planning their longer-term recovery.

In this and our other work, our focus remains on building peaceful and prosperous lives for everyone while protecting our planet. And that will only be possible if we all work together.


Read the full message


2019: in numbers

  • +80
    countries
    WHERE WE WORK

    UNOPS supports projects in more than 80 countries around the world.

    Find out more here.

  • $2.3B
    total delivery in 2019
    THE PROJECTS WE SUPPORT

    In total, UNOPS delivered almost $2.3 billion in peace and security, humanitarian and development projects in 2019.

  • 5M
    days of paid work created for beneficiaries
    THE JOBS WE CREATE

    Our commitment to sustainability is underlined by the jobs we create in the communities where we work.

  • 28K
    days of technical advice provided to stakeholders
    THE KNOWLEDGE WE BRING

    We contribute to social sustainability and national capacity by passing on technical skills and experience to the people we work with on the ground.

  • 2M
    days of paid work created for women and young people
    THE JOBS WE CREATE

    Of the 5 million days of paid work created for beneficiaries in 2019, almost 2 million of these days were undertaken by women and young people.

  • +$560M
    to local suppliers
    BUILDING LOCAL ECONOMIES

    One of the most reliable ways we help develop local economies is through our expertise in procurement. We encourage local procurement across all of our projects and track these results.

  • 3.5K
    kilometres of roads constructed or rehabilitated
    CONNECTING COMMUNITIES

    Roads are an essential means of transporting items between communities. In 2019, our work has helped improve access to markets, essential services and economic opportunities.

  • 83
    schools constructed or rehabilitated
    ADVANCING EDUCATION

    UNOPS works with partners around the world to ensure children have better access to education.

  • +$1B
    worth of goods and services were procured for our partners
    WORKING TOGETHER

    UNOPS is dedicated to supporting its partners by providing services that increase the effectiveness of peace and security, humanitarian and development projects worldwide.

Our Priorites

Our Priorities

Delivering on the 2030 Agenda during the decade of action

Delivering on the 2030 Agenda in the Decade of Action

We are now in a decade of action and we must all play our part. Both the public and private sectors must be fully utilized to combine our skills, knowledge and help fund and build the future of development and accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.

Grete Faremo - Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director

Financing is a critical challenge for the achievement of the SDGs. All countries – and developing economies in particular – will need large-scale investment to build resilient and sustainable infrastructure, expand capacities and implement new technologies that will help the world meet the promises of the 2030 Agenda.

SOME OF OUR INITIATIVES...

  • INVESTING FOR IMPACT

    UNOPS Sustainable Infrastructure Impact Investments (S3I) aims to help close the funding gap and drive progress towards the 2030 Agenda.

    Through the initiative, we are using innovative financing solutions to connect a wide range of stakeholders – from the public and private sectors to bilateral donors and governments – to form new kinds of partnerships for sustainable development.

    Find out more.

  • LARGE SCALE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

    In 2019, UNOPS committed to building more than 200,000 sustainable and affordable homes in Ghana and Kenya, working closely with the respective governments of those countries.

    Similar projects were also announced in 2019 in Pakistan and the Caribbean. In total, UNOPS has committed to help build more than 860,000 homes over the next decade, making it one of the largest and most ambitious affordable housing programmes the world has ever seen.

    Read more.

  • THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC SPENDING

    Published by The Economist Intelligence Unit with UNOPS support, this new body of research explores how better public spending will be crucial for local and national economies as they strive to make progress towards achieving their development priorities.

    The research investigates both challenges and opportunities associated with improving the efficiency and transparency of public spending activities.

    Find out more.

  • DRIVING INNOVATION

    Innovation and entrepreneurship will play a critical role in helping communities and nations mitigate and respond to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

    In 2019, UNOPS established a network of Global Innovation Centres, which aim to harness the unique opportunities that public-private partnerships can offer towards advancing the 2030 Agenda.

    Read more about our approach to innovation and the Global Innovation Challenge.

  • THE IMPORTANCE OF INFRASTRUCTURE FOR LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

    Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) face particular development challenges. Geographical constraints limit their access to international markets and intensify their vulnerabilities to climate change.

    In a new report produced by UNOPS experts, we highlight the vital role that infrastructure plays in helping LLDCs combat development challenges.

    Read the report.

Sustainability Report 2019 video

Our Partners

42%
of 2019 partners were governments
OUR PARTNERS

Download the PDF to see our full partner breakdown

Download

UNOPS is dedicated to supporting its partners by providing services that increase the effectiveness of peace and security, humanitarian and development projects worldwide.

To advance the 2030 Agenda and support the achievement of the SDGs, we aim to engage in collaborative partnerships with a focus on sharing our expertise in infrastructure, project management, procurement, human resources and financial services.

For the fourth year in a row, UNOPS support to governments reached a record high in 2019, representing almost $1 billion dollars of our portfolio for the year and indicating a clear demand for our services. Government partners included Argentina, Guatemala, Japan, Peru, Qatar, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Within the UN family, which represented 26 per cent of our portfolio, our largest partner was the UN Secretariat, specifically the Department of Peace Operations, to which we provided a range of services.


Read more about UNOPS partnerships

  • Government of Antigua and Barbuda

    “This is a credible partnership with UNOPS which will bring foreign direct investment, that will create jobs and develop an export product. Public servants, particularly teachers, nurses, police, and soldiers, will receive special access to the housing projects. We are determined to build a prosperous and inclusive economy where everyone can shine, wherever in Antigua and Barbuda they live, and whatever their socio-economic circumstances.”

    - Gaston Browne
    Prime Minister, Antigua and Barbuda

  • Government of Ecuador

    “I am well aware of the important role UNOPS plays to support the transparency, relevance and effectiveness of highly complex projects in different neighbouring countries. I am pleased that the municipality and the Ministry of Transport and Public Works are relying on UNOPS to implement the tramway project.”

    – Lenín Moreno
    President, Ecuador

  • Government of Ghana

    “I believe we are all well aware of the challenges Ghana, and most of Africa, faces when it comes to the provision of decent, well-planned and organized housing for our citizens…I believe that with the signing of this project agreement [with UNOPS], we shall be ushering into existence a new dawn for Ghana and our citizens.”

    - Nana Akufo-Addo
    President, Ghana

  • Government of Honduras

    “We made great savings with the implementation of the new procurement systems through the United Nations and UNOPS, and this is a breakthrough in the prevention of corruption that never existed before.”

    - Juan Orlando Hernández
    President, Honduras

  • Government of Kenya

    "We are focusing on financing and investment frameworks that will unlock private sector financing. We are very excited about this project [with UNOPS] and we look forward to unlocking similar partnerships that will allow us to fulfil our duties as leaders and pave the way for adequate, decent and affordable housing for Kenyans.”

    - Uhuru Kenyatta
    President, Kenya

  • Government of Mexico

    “We want UNOPS to help our government make sure that those who participate in tenders are prestigious companies with an ethical dimension.”

    - Andrés Manuel López Obrador
    President, Mexico

  • Government of Pakistan

    “This groundbreaking housing initiative is not just a regular project but a massive undertaking that has my full support, and will undoubtedly change for the better the lives of millions of people ... I want to thank UNOPS and SHS for this great opportunity of affordable housing in Pakistan."

    - Imran Khan
    Prime Minister, Pakistan

Sustainability

1575
less tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted than 2018
Our Climate

UNOPS has been climate neutral since 2012. Download the PDF to see our full emissions breakdown for 2019 and find out more.

Download

Sustainability is at the forefront of UNOPS work around the world. We aim to help our partners maximize the positive impact and sustainability of their projects, to better serve communities in need.

HOW WE MEASURE OUR SUCCESS

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework measures the impact of UNOPS work on the environment and the societies in which we work, underscoring how our operations contribute to sustainable development around the world.

Through GRI, we speak a common reporting language to both those inside and outside of the United Nations. Here we reaffirm our commitment to measuring ourselves against international standards.


Discover more

Our Mission

Our Mission

To help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development.

How we work

We are focused on implementation, committed to UN values and private sector efficiency.

We are the only part of the UN not receiving core funding. Our partners call on us to supplement their own capacities, improve efficiency and transparency, reduce risks, boost cost-effectiveness and increase quality.

Sustainability report- video

OUR SERVICES

Each of our service lines has a focus on sustainability and national capacity development. Our financing model promotes lean, effective delivery.

Our flexible structure and global reach means that we can quickly respond to partner needs while gaining the benefits of economies of scale.

We tailor support to the needs of our partners, delivering a key element of a project, offering expert advice, or managing entire projects or programmes.


Find out more about our areas of expertise

HOW WE CONTRIBUTE

UNOPS contributes to broader efforts to help partners realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through three focus areas.

Enable partners to do more with less

Enable partners to do more with less through efficient management support services, delivered locally or as global shared services.

For example, UNOPS supports mine action, humanitarian, stabilization and explosive management activities, as well as capacity-building on national actors and United Nations missions, and the weapons and ammunition management work of the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS) and partners in 19 countries and territories around the world. Totalling around $240 million, UNOPS helped its main partner, UNMAS, deliver a range of results, including:

  • In Darfur, 264 dangerous areas were assessed and closed in 1,821 villages. More than 115,000 small arms ammunitions were destroyed, while 324,663 beneficiaries received mine risk education.
  • In Iraq, 426 police officers, of which 85 were women, were trained to identify, mark and report explosive hazards and more than 446,000 people received risk education and awareness training in schools, internally displaced persons camps and other high-priority areas.
  • In Mali, instructors who had previously been trained on improvised explosive device threat awareness went on to deliver more than 50 training sessions to their own troops and more than 250 survivors of explosive incidents were provided with assistance.
  • In Nigeria, a pilot project targeting vulnerable youth in Maiduguri, Borno State, trained 50 young women and 50 young men as trainers and peer educators in explosive ordnance risk education.

Help people achieve individual, local, national and global objectives

Help people achieve individual, local, national and global objectives through effective specialized technical expertise grounded in international norms and standards.

The Safety Net and Skills Development Project, a government of South Sudan project funded by the World Bank, provided cash-for-work activities through the implementation of minor public works. The UNOPS component of the project provided access to income opportunities and temporary employment to 36,158 poor and vulnerable people. The cash transfer was used to pay school fees, support relatives, and buy food, clothing, soap and medical necessities, among other things. Eighty-nine per cent of beneficiaries indicated that the cash transfers have helped move them a step closer to starting small scale income-generating activities. In 2019, 62 per cent of UNOPS infrastructure projects reported an output enabling equal access, 60 per cent enabled equal access for women and 46 per cent enabled persons with disabilities.

Support countries in achieving the 2030 Agenda.

Support countries in expanding the pool and effectiveness of resources available to achieve the 2030 Agenda. UNOPS is working to further partnerships between the public and private sectors. One way we do this is by partnering with private sector organizations whose resources and expertise can complement our work in countries and regions around the world.

For example, UNOPS continued to develop its Sustainable Infrastructure Impact Investments (S3I) initiative and explore opportunities for collaborative partnerships to mobilize alternative funding sources for the 2030 Agenda, particularly in the areas of affordable housing, renewable energy, and water and sanitation.

UNOPS S3I committed to building more than 300,000 sustainable and affordable homes in Ghana and Kenya, working closely with the respective governments of those countries. These homes will incorporate green technology and will be built using local skills and equipment – providing thousands of new employment opportunities for local people and making a significant contribution to local economic development. Similar projects were also announced in 2019 in Pakistan and the Caribbean. In total, UNOPS has committed to help build more than 860,000 homes over the next decade, making it one of the largest and most ambitious affordable housing programmes the world has ever seen.

Read more

Our Projects

Our Projects

UNOPS helps its partners provide peace and security, humanitarian and development solutions to improve lives around the world.

The Gambia

Connecting communities and advancing gender equality in The Gambia

3 min read

Indonesia

Restoring Indonesian peatlands, protecting our planet

3 min read

Ukraine

Baby boxes give newborns in Ukraine a stronger start to life

2 min read

Mexico

Modernizing transportation in Mexico City

2 min read

Gaza

Providing reliable and sustainable energy to the people of Gaza

3 min read

Our People

Our People

We work hard to recruit and retain the best expertise.

82%
of vacancies were filled by women by December 2019
Recruitment targets

During 2019, UNOPS executive leadership took decisive action in order to meet the gender parity targets. Download the PDF to see the full breakdown across 2019.

Download

GENDER BALANCE

Our partners rely on our professionalism, skills, expertise and innovative ideas to successfully complete projects in some of the most challenging locations around the world.

As members of the UN family strive towards gender equality, we report our personnel data and turnover rate by gender. This helps us to better identify issues and take targeted steps to improve.

In December 2018, 39 per cent of UNOPS personnel were women. As of 1 January 2020, 43 per cent of UNOPS personnel were women.

We recognize that we have work to do to achieve gender parity at UNOPS and we are committed to addressing this situation.

UNOPS INSIGHTS

Ideas. Analysis. Solutions.

Diseases without borders

Infectious diseases don’t respect national borders. To eradicate them, we shouldn’t either.



Here's how

Gender parity is necessary when working in challenging locations

Humanitarian aid and development projects often take place in difficult locations. The need for a diverse and gender-balanced workforce to implement these projects can’t be ignored.



Here's why

#TheFullPicture


Explore further