This new Digital Strategy will guide UNDP in its efforts to support countries to build inclusive, ethical, and sustainable digital societies. It also recognizes that digitalization will continue to re-shape how the organization responds to the monumental challenges our world now faces. That includes using its power to drive climate action and restore our natural world. And it will also complement the UN's wide-ranging global efforts to boost the digital capacity of vulnerable and marginalized groups including women and people with disabilities, for instance.

In many ways, the Strategy will future proof the organization for the technological changes now and those yet to come, including advancing ways to boost the digital expertise of our personnel.

This Digital Strategy demonstrates that UNDP refuses to stand still. With the Sustainable Development Goals serving as our guiding stars, we are looking beyond the immediate horizon to continue offering cutting-edge development support at the seminal moment for people and planet.

I invite you to read the UNDP Digital Strategy and learn more.
Achim Steiner
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Our digital journey so far

Digital technology is a fundamental force for change in this century, reshaping economies, government, and civil society – thereby impacting almost every aspect of development. The profound consequences and exponential pace of digital transformation demands both local action and global leadership to reimagine development in a digital age.

Seized by the need to ensure relevance at this time of rapid digital change, UNDP launched its First Digital Strategy to harness the power of digital technology and innovation to respond more effectively to development challenges. Building on a long history of project-level digital support for partners, the strategy represented a systematic and corporate-driven transformation process to reimagine the way UNDP serves its partners and operates its systems and processes.

UNDP will continue to accelerate these efforts and support our development partners to ensure that the arc of future digital transformation protects human rights and leaves no one behind.

In fact, UNDP has helped to adopt 580 digital solutions in 82 countries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including 96 data collection systems, 71 e-commerce systems, 61 e-learning platforms, and 149 e-governance systems (September 2020 - September 2021).

T.RICKS Resources

Digital solutions
in 82 countries adopted in response to COVID-19 including 96 data collection systems, 71 e-commerce systems, 61 e-learning platforms, and 149 e-governance systems
country requests for digital support addressed as of October 2021
partner governments supported to deploy digital technologies during COVID-19 pandemic
digitally enabled programme responses to COVID-19 developed by country offices
of country programme documents made digital references between 2019 and 2021

Digital strategy 2022-2025

Building on the progress from the first strategy, the Digital Strategy 2022-2025 is intended to maintain and accelerate the momentum that has already been generated across UNDP and among its partners.


With this strategy, UNDP puts forth a long-term vision to create a world in which digital is an empowering force for people and planet. This vision is closely aligned with the UNDP Strategic Plan 2022-2025, which outlines how UNDP will seek to support countries in three directions of change – structural transformation, leaving no one behind, and building resilience – and underlines the importance of digital as one of three enablers to achieve this change.

Creating a world in which digital is an empowering force for people and planet.

Three objectives

Digitally enabled programming
Amplify development outcomes by embedding digital across all UNDP programming.

This includes experimenting with new approaches and tools, scaling proven solutions, articulating the risks and challenges posed by digital technologies, and applying foresight to prepare for possible futures.

UNDP will fully incorporate digital into each thematic area in a way that can guide the organization's practice, allowing for innovation to flourish while ensuring overall coherence in digital programming.

Embedding digital in UNDP’s programming will be supported by the further rollout of Digital by Default, an approach in which digital outputs become a standard consideration of programme design and delivery.

Empowering digital ecosystems
Support societies in their efforts to create more inclusive and resilient digital ecosystems.

This means supporting countries in their digital transformation journey at a societal level, and creating a network of actors and systems that ensures that human rights are protected and no one is left behind in this digital environment.

Digital transformation can be disruptive and, without concerted action, can bring risks such as loss of transparent system operation, loss of regulation, and increasing inequality. UNDP supports countries to not only harness the clear opportunities that digital technologies bring, but also ensure that those risks are considered and mitigated along the way.

Grounded in a whole-of-society approach, UNDP can support partners in adopting a holistic and inclusive approach when planning and designing digital public policy. Engaging a broader spectrum of stakeholders in digital innovation supports inclusive design that can empower vulnerable populations to access digital services, help to mitigate risks from digital platforms such as cybersecurity, misinformation and digital privacy concerns, and establish accountability. This work will be done in close collaboration with UN system partners and other development actors.

Digitally native UNDP
Transform UNDP so that it has fit-for-purpose digital systems, processes, tools, and data, as well as a digitally competent workforce to effectively support the first two objectives.

UNDP will continue to develop an agile and innovative culture, to strengthen digital capacity building of UNDP personnel, and to attract a diverse and digitally capable talent pool. This will include ensuring that gender is embedded throughout digital activities.

UNDP will lead by example and adopt best practices in the development and use of digital technologies, tools, and platforms to enhance our internal performance and render more effective services.

Responsible data collection, management, use, and analysis are increasingly fundamental for UNDP’s work on the ground. UNDP will implement the forthcoming 2022 Data Strategy and Knowledge Management Strategy (currently in discussion) to ensure that UNDP becomes a data-driven organization with greater knowledge management capabilities.


Practice Leader

UNDP is an established global leader of digital development based on its country programming expertise across all regions. UNDP supports partners in developing policies which are rooted in human rights and ethics, and that protect governments and citizens from potential risks such as cybersecurity and data privacy.

Thought Leader

UNDP is a global voice of authority on the use of digital technology for development, advocating for and advising on strategic, responsible, and rights-based applications of digital technology. UNDP is a leader in collecting evidence, raising awareness, forging consensus, sharing best practice, and providing guidance on key issues related to the opportunities and risks that arise with digital development.

Trusted Partner and Convener

UNDP is a trusted partner and convenor across the public and private sectors as well as an active contributor to discourse on inclusive digital ecosystems and digital public goods. UNDP convenes global digital development conversations while aggregating and leveraging its insights from its presence in the Global South. Within the UN system, UNDP serves as an integrator, and works closely with other agencies to ensure digital approaches are coherent.

People and Culture

UNDP has an agile and innovative culture with a digitally competent workforce.

Systems and Processes

UNDP will continue to build a fit-for-purpose digital infrastructure, including systems and tools that enable continuous service and process improvements, and delivery of high quality and cost-effective services.

Data and Knowledge

UNDP leverages data and knowledge as strategic assets. UNDP conducts inclusive, rights-based, and sustainable data collection and management, use, and analysis. UNDP’s evolving knowledge management work ensures that evidence is shared to inform decision making, and that learning systems are in place to continually iterate and enhance the organization’s ability to respond to emergent complexity.

Guiding principles to digital transformation

As digital technology rapidly evolves, it is vital that UNDP’s approach to digital remains rooted in clear principles based on experience and international frameworks that put people and planet first.

UNDP commits to the following approach:

UNDP puts human rights at the centre

Human rights will be at the centre of UNDP's approach to digital, as digital technologies increasingly mediate everything from health care, employment, education, to participation in social, cultural and political life. As digital technology evolves so does our understanding of its impact on human rights - whether positive or negative.

UNDP promotes inclusive and gender sensitive approaches that leave no one behind

UNDP advocates for digital transformation that is intentionally inclusive, and thoughtfully designed and implemented, to ensure that all processes put people at the centre. The aim of people-centred digital transformation is to build a more open, transparent, and accessible society that leaves no one behind.

UNDP contributes to shared global standards and frameworks that protect people’s rights

As digital transformation accelerates, UNDP will ensure that its digital work is aligned with and supports global standards such as the UN Charter4 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

UNDP advocates for open digital standards and open data

UNDP advocates for open digital standards to unlock scale, reusability and interoperability. Leveraging digital public goods can unlock transformative solutions and digital infrastructures to enable a more equitable and transparent future, with a strong emphasis on protecting rights and preventing misuse.

UNDP works to strengthen local digital ecosystems

UNDP employs a whole-of-society approach and work with a new wave of leaders, companies, and digital innovators to develop thriving local digital ecosystems built on inclusivity, sustainability, accountability, and rights.

UNDP leverages strategic partnerships to catalyse inclusive approaches to digital development

Partnerships are critical to catalyse inclusive approaches to digital development, including the provision of adequate resources to implement the relevant international standards to safeguard and protect people.


UNDP’s role and positioning in the digital development space, and therefore its ability to deliver on its Digital Strategy 2022-2025, stem from several defining features of the organization:
Broad mandate and integrator role in the UN System
UNDP’s broad mandate on poverty and inequality enables the organization to play an integrator role in the UN System. This allows UNDP to maintain strong relationships with the central parts of governments, to leverage its thematic and technical experience across all SDGs, work across sectors and enable connections to take a holistic approach to digital transformation across society.
Longstanding expertise in supporting governments on digital transformation
UNDP has extensive experience in working with governments across all geographies and levels, providing neutral, expert, and independent support on diverse aspects of their digital transformation, from strategy to technology procurement, as well as convening across public and private sectors and capacity building.
Rights-based, intentionally inclusive, approach
Inclusion and the protection of human rights are core to UNDP’s mission. UNDP continues to advocate for and implement ‘intentionally inclusive’ approaches to digital development that place people at the centre. This includes longstanding expertise in developing ‘gender  responsive’ approaches.
Proactive consideration of potential risks of digital technology
To anticipate and mitigate risks and harms of digital technologies, UNDP takes a critical and rigorous approach to the selection and application of digital solutions and partners. These risks can take different forms, the most serious of which are risks to human rights.
Unparalleled country presence
UNDP operates in 170 countries, including in fragile and conflict-affected areas. UNDP also has strong ties to local digital and innovation ecosystems through the Accelerator Lab Network, which has been set up in 91 locations covering 115 countries. This enables UNDP to develop solutions that are rooted in local ecosystems and which can be scaled and adapted to fit multiple contexts.
The UNDP Digital Standards handbook cover

Read the Digital Strategy 2022-2025.

If you would like to understand the UNDP Digital Strategy 2022-2025, please download either the full version or the summary version as a PDF. We also offer downloads in multiple languages (upcoming).