UNDP's Social and Environmental Standards

UNDP’s Social and Environmental Standards (SES) underpin our commitment to mainstream social and environmental sustainability in our Programmes and Projects to support sustainable development. The objectives of the standards are to:

  • Strengthen the social and environmental outcomes of Programmes and Projects
  • Avoid adverse impacts to people and the environment
  • Minimize, mitigate, and manage adverse impacts where avoidance is not possible
  • Strengthen UNDP and partner capacities for managing social and environmental risks
  • Ensure full and effective stakeholder engagement, including through a mechanism to respond to complaints from project-affected people 

The SES are an integral component of UNDP’s quality assurance and risk management approach to programming.  This includes our Social and Environmental Screening Procedure which is required for proposed projects of $500,000 or more.

The standards are underpinned by an Accountability Mechanism with two key functions: 1) A Stakeholder Response Mechanism (SRM) that ensures individuals, peoples, and communities affected by UNDP projects have access to appropriate procedures for hearing and addressing project-related grievances; and 2) A Compliance Review process to respond to claims that UNDP is not in compliance with UNDP’s social and environmental policies.

Through application of the SES and Accountability Mechanism, UNDP enhances the consistency, transparency and accountability of its decision-making and actions, improves performance, and strengthens achievement of positive development outcomes.

The SES came into effect 1 January 2015 and are included in UNDP’s Programming and Operations Policies and Procedures for Programme and Project Management.

Please contact info.ses@undp.org for further information.

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