About UNDP in Egypt

Woman carrying her babyAn Egyptian woman with her baby at one of Egypt's villages. UNDP 2013

The United Nations began providing development assistance to Egypt in 1953. In those days this was done through the United Nations Expanded Programme of Technical Assistance (EPTA). In 1958 the United Nations Special Fund established an office in Cairo to expand the work of EPTA. This office became the United Nations Development Programme Country Office in 1966.

What do we want to accomplish?

UNDP’s overall mission is to help the Egyptian government in its efforts to reduce poverty and to achieve the sustainable development goals. Over the past 20 years the nature of UNDP’s support to Egypt has changed and become more focused, As such, UNDP provides support through programmes and projects that are intended to strengthen national capacities and expand the options and opportunities available to partners and beneficiaries in Egypt. UNDP Egypt supports activities in four practice areas: Poverty reduction, Energy and Environment, Democratic Governance, and Crisis Prevention and Recovery. In all our activities, we promote the protection of human rights and the empowerment of women.

UNDP projects are managed and implemented through the National Implementation Modality (NIM), whereby the Egyptian authorities and government institutions are responsible for the technical and administrative implementation of the  development cooperation project pursuant to UNDP Regulations and Rules. The implementing partner is accountable to UNDP for the resources entrusted to it, just as UNDP is accountable to the Government to ensure that its support is in line with national priorities. This contributes to the ownership of development results and better utilization of national capacities to sustain results in the future.  

Finally, UNDP is committed to showing results in its development work by adopting “Results Based Management” (RBM) approach, and applying it to all of its projects and thus creating a results-orientated project management system. RBM aims to show exactly how UNDP is making a contribution to improving the development situation of the country.  UNDP Egypt is now taking this one step further by supporting national capacities in applying results-based approaches to improve management effectiveness and accountability, monitoring progress toward the achievement of expected results, integrating lessons learned into management decisions and reporting on performance.

What are our results?

UNDP’s made significant contribution in the area of Poverty Reduction to enable the government to design and implement better targeted social protection progammes and generate jobs. UNDP supported the Social Fund for Development to generate an average of 670,000 jobs per year for the past three years, in medium, small and micro enterprises (MSME). The SFD started as a UNDP project that provides micro-credit, business development services and entrepreneurship building, and has evolved into a quasi-governmental organization focused on job creation.

UNDP's assurance to SFD's operation enabled the institution to expand its operation in MSMEs & community development and mobilize a total of 153 million USD in loans & 31.1 million in grants for its financial & non-financial services in 2015. Today, SFD has become the primary national institution working in the area of unemployment and poverty reduction, earning the trust of donors and generating more than a billion dollars in donor-funded programs.  Further, UNDP sponsored Egypt's first ever microfinance law which increased access of Egyptians to financial & non-financial services. This law is seen to help better regulate the microfinance institutions to apply sound management and provide client-oriented services.

UNDP positively contributes to strengthening youth skills, filling the “skills gap” especially for women. To date, around 83% of the Information Technology Institute intakes are employed before the completion of the programme. UNDP employs innovative methods on ICT-related topics with young graduates to access job opportunities in the ICT sector. Building on the success of the rural integrated approach to development in Upper Egypt, UNDP is now in discussions with key Ministries and IFI partners to focus further attention to mainstream the “One Village One Product” model to other parts of Egypt.

In the area of Good and Efficient Governance, UNDP pioneered several initiatives in Egypt to promote the culture of human rights and democratic governance. UNDP improved the operational efficiency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) to enable rule of law institutions to improve access to justice to thousands of cases. More people, especially, poor men and women, have access to a total of 35 offices across Egypt (16 were established through UNDP support) serving more than 400,000 families since 2008 (72,591 through offices established with UNDP support). UNDP technical support to the Ministry of justice improved the quality of services delivered by legal aid & dispute settlement offices, as documented by beneficiaries and reduced cost and litigation time of cases. Further, UNDP’s focuses on the long-term institutional capacity building of electoral authorities.  

Despite the absence of an Electoral Management Body in Egypt, UNDP strengthened Egypt electoral dispute resolution and special measures for women participating in elections contributing to stronger system for democratic governance. In 2011, support of the first parliamentary and presidential elections in the transition period, UNDP mobilized US$ 11 million, which was used to strengthen the technical and operational capacity of the electoral authorities, enhance voter participation, and strengthen credibility of the results. UNDP made significant contribution during the organization of the latest Parliamentarian elections held in December 2015.

Since 2003, UNDP supports national partners to accelerate the progress towards achieving gender equality and eradicating Female Genital Mutilation in Egypt (FGM).  UNDP works at both the grass root and policy levels with full engagement of civil society, as the main agents of change, and the National Council for Women and the National Population Council. UNDP joint work is focused on increasing the reach out to different population groups including men, women, religious leaders, media personnel, community leaders. Key national achievements in this area are the passing of the law criminalizing FGM in 2008, the adoption of a national strategy for combatting FGM and the decrease in FGM prevalence rates among girls in 15-17 age group from 74% in DHS 2008 to 61% as per the results of the 2014 Egypt Demographic Health Survey (DHS) launched in May 2015. While these results are encouraging, eradicating FGM in Egypt has a long way to go. After being widely accepted for many years, FGM is now considered by as a clear violation of human rights.

Under decentralization UNDP supported sub national institutions to improve basic service delivery through piloting local development plans that address poverty and inequality in four governorates, linked to the annual investment plans. UNDP support to the Government strategic urban development plans priority areas  is well in line with the newly produced “Sustainable Development Strategy EGYPT VISION 2030” offering an inclusive model to the government for planning and budgeting of local investment projects that engages local decision makers and the community.

UNDP made significant progress leading to Egypt scaling up green solutions and signing a historic deal on Climate Change in 2015. With the support of UNDP, Egypt submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions. The COP has witnessed the launch of Africa’s renewable energy initiative that attracted over USD10 billion of committed funds.  In this respect the UNDP portfolio provides technically and financially viable technologies to support Egypt in contributing to the global efforts in reducing GHGs which will be measured in totally by the end of UNDP projects in 2017.

To help Egypt efforts to adapt to climate change, UNDP strengthened the capacities of 8 ministries to explore new funding mechanisms to reduce Green House Gas emissions and delivered technical solutions on climate adaptation, and piloting soft engineering solutions for coastal zone protection. UNDP has helped the Ministry of Electricity and Energy introduce and promote energy efficiency concepts that succeeded in reducing losses in transmission cables from 7% to 3.5% and aided in the preparation of a national code for energy efficient buildings and the introduction of energy efficiency standards and labels. The successful demonstration of energy efficiency projects in some governmental buildings yielded 30-40% energy savings. Also, UNDP strengthened the legal and regulatory framework of Egypt to meet its obligation towards the Montreal Protocol scaled up its bioenergy pilot and established the Bioenergy Fund.

UNDP is making headways in strengthening mechanisms for sustainable management and access to natural resources in Egypt. The year 2015 marked the establishment of the Egyptian Nature Conservation Agency (NCA),  an important achievement where UNDP played key role  for the cabinet of Ministers to approve the creation NCA and its strategic plan. UNDP strengthened the GOE commitment to invest in protected areas and Bio-tourism sector with a long term outlook to return on investment.

Data from the Nature Conservation Sector show that protected Areas in Egypt revenues generated during 2015 reached approximately $9 million including entrance fees and concessions which a positive indicator in light of the tourists slow inflow to Egypt in the past 3 years.  UNDP has contributed to the drafting of the policy frameworks covering nationally declared protected areas in Egypt (8 PAs are nationally declared in total).

Through social media, UNDP launched several campaigns, reaching out to more than 30 million young people on key issues related to violence against women, people with disability, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Who are the decision makers?

UNDP Egypt is now one of 17 UNDP offices in the Arab region covered by the UNDP headquarters Bureau for Arab States (RBAS), which acts as the link between the UNDP Administrator in New York and the UNDP Resident Representative in the field. Since 1977 the UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt has also been the Resident Co-ordinator of the UN system in the country. In this position the Resident Co-ordinator represents the UN Secretary-General and co-ordinates the operational activities of the UN system at the country level. Currently there are 22 UN agencies represented in Egypt. An addition role of the UNDP Resident Representative is to co-chair the Development Partners Group (DPG).

Current Staff Count for Egypt

Contract TypeSub Total
Service Contract 25
UN Volunteers 5
UNDP Staff 50
Total 80