Strong partnerships are the cornerstone of UNDP’s work to strengthen systems for health. In its support to countries, UNDP works closely with other United Nations entities, development organizations, civil society organizations, the private sector, academia and key populations to develop resilient and sustainable systems for health. This page highlights some of UNDP’s key partners for health and outlines how collaboration, drawing on the comparative advantages, can facilitate greater impact and sustainability. At the regional and global levels, UNDP helps to drive the health agenda through its participation and thought leadership in a number of multi-stakeholder initiatives. This includes collaboration with 12 multilateral agencies under the SDG 3 Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All.
UNDP has worked in partnership with the Global Fund since its inception in 2002 to implement grants to tackle the epidemics of HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria in some of the most challenging operating environments. UNDP has served as interim Principal Recipient of the Global Fund grants in 53 countries since 2002, supporting governments to implement large-scale health programmes, strengthen systems for health and reach marginalized and hard-to-reach populations with critical services, often in some of the most challenging country contexts. The partnership has saved 7.3 million lives. Key results include 1.5 million people currently on HIV treatment, 95 million bed nets distributed to protect families from malaria, and 1 million cases of TB successfully treated.
UNDP’s partnership with the Global Fund focuses on three interlinked objectives: 1) supporting implementation, 2) developing the capacity of national entities to assume the Principal Recipient (PR) role as soon as circumstances permit, and 3) strengthening the policy and programme quality of the Global Fund-related work. Through this approach, UNDP has successfully transitioned the PR role to national entities in over 30 countries since 2002, including for several regional grants. Cumulatively, the partnership has contributed to saving 7.3 million lives and has also helped 56 million people to receive counselling and testing for HIV, 967,000 TB cases to be treated, 88.5 million cases of malaria to be treated and 77.4 million bednets to be distributed. 1.4 million people currently receive HIV treatment through UNDP’s partnership with the Global Fund. Learn more here.
On 4 May 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNDP signed a memorandum of understanding to help support countries to achieve the health-related targets of the 2030 Agenda, with an emphasis on the realization of their commitment to leave no one behind. In current WHO–UNDP collaborations, there is a joint commitment to strengthening country capacity to achieve universal health coverage, acting decisively on multisectoral responses to health emergencies and ensuring the delivery of essential health services in fragile, vulnerable and conflict-affected settings.
In line with WHO’s leadership on universal health coverage, UNDP and WHO are supporting countries to strengthen the capacity of their health systems, including by addressing the social, economic and environmental determinants of health. UNDP and WHO have developed a joint programme on activating national responses to non-communicable diseases to support countries to develop national responses to their non-communicable disease epidemics by strengthening efforts across sectors. For the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the Convention Secretariat has initiated a project for WHO and UNDP to support: the FCTC 2030 project. This project aims to strengthen the implementation of the WHO FCTC to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
UNDP’s partnership with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) focuses on strengthening health systems to enhance equitable access to vaccines in the poorest countries. It currently has project agreements with Gavi in India, Tajikistan, Zambia and Indonesia, and continues to expand collaboration in others. UNDP India established a strong partnership with Gavi, taking the lead of a grant for rolling out the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN), a digital logistics management information system for vaccine cold chains, developing the national monitoring and evaluation framework for immunization and supporting national research.
In Zambia, collaboration with Gavi started in 2018, when it started providing financial and project mentorship to health districts. They received funding directly from Gavi to strengthen their immunization programmes, improve programme delivery and increase accountability. In recent years, Gavi and the Global Fund have increasingly coordinated their country-level engagement and investments. By leveraging its longstanding partnership with the Global Fund and ongoing health implementation support in countries, UNDP is well positioned to support synergies between Gavi and the Global Fund.
As a co-sponsor of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNDP supports the implementation of the Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026 to end the AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030. The strategy’s focus on the critical links between HIV, health, human rights, inequality, poverty and conflict are of particular importance to UNDP. The UNAIDS Division of Labour, updated in 2018, outlines the roles and responsibilities of co-sponsors to leverage comparative advantages and collectively deliver on health and development goals.
Under this division, UNDP is the convening agency for the “human rights, stigma and discrimination” focus area, while it co-convenes on “HIV prevention among key populations” with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and on “investment and efficiency” with the World Bank. In the role of convener and co-convener, UNDP provides technical leadership and supports coordination and knowledge generation to advance strategic action in each area.
The World Food Programme (WFP) assists 80 million people in around 80 countries each year, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. On any given day, WFP has 5,000 trucks, 20 ships and 92 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance to those most in need. It also makes this global capacity and expertise in humanitarian logistics available to United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and governments. UNDP benefits from the logistical support of WFP in the context of health programme service delivery in challenging operating environments, including conflict-affected countries.
The partnership between UNDP and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is committed to achieving tangible and complementary results across the humanitarian-development continuum. This includes work in health to support governments and communities as they respond to urgent needs, to ensure resilient and sustainable systems for health are in place to contribute to universal health coverage. UNDP also procures pharmaceuticals for health programmes via established UNDP partnership agreements with the UNICEF Supply Division.
UNDP’s partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) enables complementary interventions to ensure that HIV, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria services reach mobile and displaced populations. Under a multi-country Global Fund grant, UNDP works in close collaboration with UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to provide TB prevention, care and treatment services for migrants, refugees and returnees in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan. This includes leveraging the existing presence of UNHCR to ensure migrant and refugee communities are involved in programme decisions and outreach. In Djibouti, UNDP partners with UNHCR, the Global Fund and the Government to bring TB diagnosis and treatment facilities to refugee camps, increase awareness, reduce stigma and stop the spread of TB.
UNDP’s health team collaborates with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on issues related to environmental health, with the objective of reducing the impacts of air, soil and water pollution and chemical exposure on human health. Joint activities in this area include strengthening the readiness of low- and middle-income countries to address pollution and the related health impacts, such as by developing national health and pollution action plans, coordinated by the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution , and by developing governance tools to strengthen and streamline environmental health governance, policies and legislation. UNDP and UNEP also collaborate at the national level to develop health-promoting and environmentally sustainable road safety policies and policies on greening the COVID-19 vaccination as a part of UNDP’s support for vaccine equity. In addition to country-level initiatives, UNDP and UNEP, with other partners, provide guidance documents for decision makers and other actors on how to improve environmental health outcomes globally and also support the scaling of One Health approached for pandemic prevention and preparedness in collaboration with Nature4Health.
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme makes significant contributions to UNDP’s health implementation support in a growing number of countries where UNDP serves as interim Principal Recipient of the Global Fund grants for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes. Through assignments to UNDP country teams supporting health programme implementation, UNV contributes its expertise across a range of functional areas, including finance, monitoring and evaluation, engineering, IT, procurement and specialized knowledge of health service delivery. In addition to offering expertise to enhance UNDP’s health implementation activities, UNV brings unique added value to UNDP’s work in health and development by strengthening linkages to local communities and building local capacities. The UNDP-UNVP partnership is an important channel for strengthening the role of volunteerism in health policy and programming in support of sustainable systems for health.
The RBM Partnership to End Malaria is the global platform for coordinated action against malaria and convenes more than 500 partners. It mobilizes action and resources and aims to form effective partnerships both globally and nationally so that partners can work together to scale up malaria control efforts at the country level, coordinate their activities to avoid duplication and fragmentation, and ensure the optimal use of resources. The RBM Partnership has an effective partnership with UNDP and other partners, to work together to scale up multisectoral malaria control efforts at the country level and coordinate activities. The Global Malaria Action Plan Action and Investment to Defeat Malaria 2016–2030 is a guide for collective action for all those engaged in the fight against malaria.
The Stop TB Partnership was established in 2000 to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) as a public health problem, with the aim of serving every person who is vulnerable to TB and ensuring that high-quality diagnosis, treatment and care are available to all who need them. As part of the 1,500-member partnership, UNDP works with the Stop TB Partnership on several disease-specific initiatives to contribute to the elimination of TB as a public health problem. The Stop TB Partnership focuses on a human rights-based approach to TB, offering tools to help countries implement TB responses that are equitable, gender transformative, and people centered.
The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history, enabled by strong bipartisan support across ten U.S. congresses and four presidential administrations, and through the American people’s generosity. PEPFAR shows the power of what is possible through compassionate, cost-effective, accountable, and transparent American foreign assistance. Fulfilling America’s Promise to End the HIV/AIDS Pandemic by 2030 is the PEPFAR five-year strategy to guide the United States’ contribution to reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of ending the global AIDS pandemic as a public health threat by 2030. In November 2022, UNDP and PEPFAR announced a new partnership to scale key population-led approaches to counter discriminatory laws and HIV-related criminalisation. Together with local key population groups, governments and multilateral partners, UNDP and PEPFAR will help scale successful strategies and tactics on the ground, strengthen key population leadership and engagement to drive progress on the historic 10-10-10 HIV targets, which countries committed to as part of the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS.
Launched in 2018, the Global Action Plan for Health Lives and Well-being for All brings together 13 multilateral health, development and humanitarian agencies to better support countries to accelerate progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. The 13 agencies are Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF); the International Labour Organization (ILO); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund); the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS); UNDP; the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); Unitaid; the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women); the World Bank Group; the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP); and the World Health Organization (WHO). The action plan proposes specific actions at country and global or regional levels under seven linked and mutually reinforcing accelerator themes: 1) primary health care; 2) sustainable financing for health; 3) community and civil society engagement; 4) determinants of health; 5) innovative programming in fragile and vulnerable settings and for disease outbreak responses; 6) research and development, innovation and access; and 7) data and digital health. These themes represent catalytic opportunities for the signatory agencies to collectively improve the use of existing resources, expertise, reach and capacities in areas that pose common challenges in many countries. UNDP has led the Action Plan “accelerator” on determinants of health and contributed to accelerators on civil society and community engagement, sustainable financing, digital health and data, and innovation and access.