What’s my beef with UNDP?

Some people have asked.

To be fair, they’re an easy target because they are big and their name starts with UN. As with any organization, there are excellent people and programs and there are the rest.

My beef is difficult to articulate and quantify, born of years of frustration and despair. This captures some of my experiences. But it’s kind of like asking someone, “why do your parents drive you crazy? Is this an evidence-based conclusion?”

Easterly and Pfutze come closest in this review of aid donor performance. For the metrics where they have data, UNDP gets ranked 32 out of 37. If you want to know how bad that is, I have only this to say: Greece is ranked 31.

Perhaps worst of all: their administrative budget is 129% of the actual development assistance they give. For my class I made a graph of all the agency scores here. UNDP is such an outlier that it needed its own graph.

Some agencies are redeemable. After working in northern Uganda, UNHCR was at the top of my List of Despair. Liberia and some excellent people have redeemed them somewhat. UNDP now crowns the list. Perhaps it too is redeemable?

In my opinion, this might help.