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The State of Kuwait has witnessed a progressive economic boom since the 1950s positioning the country in an enviable position to progress towards human development. UNDP works to meet the development priorities in the State of Kuwait to match the rapid economic transformation through sustainable socio-economic and environmental development interventions. Concomitantly, UNDP strives to step up efforts taken to meet the Millennium Development Goals, particularly to promote gender equality and ensure environmental sustainability.
The Standard Basic Framework Agreement between the Government of Kuwait and the United Nations outlines the general conditions for the UN and UNDP cooperation. UNDP has been working closely with the Supreme Council for Planning and Development to provide technical expertise to support its efforts to launch a unified, comprehensive, national planning process in Kuwait which will receive both Government and Parliament endorsement and approval. This development planning process, which began in October 2007 with the creation of the SCPD to replace the former Ministry of Planning, has so far produced a wide-ranging and inspiring strategic vision for Kuwait as follows:"Kuwait is a financial and commercial center, attractive to investors, where the private sector is leading the economy, creating competition and promoting efficiency, under the umbrella of enabling government institutions, which accentuate values, safeguard social identity, and realize human resource development as well as balanced development, providing adequate infrastructure, modern legislation and inspiring business environment."
To reach this strategic vision, 7 strategic development targets have been identified for achievement over the next twenty-five years:
Strategic Development Target 1: Increasing GDP and Diversifying its Sources
Strategic Development Target 2: Private Sector to take the Lead in Economy
Strategic Development Target 3: Establishing Mechanisms and Systems that Support and Stimulate the Private Sector
Strategic Development Target 4: Enhanced Human Resource Development and Employment Opportunities
Strategic Development Target 5: Expanding Scientific Research and Technology
Strategic Development Target 6: Effective Executive Government Management
Strategic Development Target 7: Embedding Goodwill in the Society
Based on these 7 Development Targets, The Government of Kuwait realizes that to maintain economic growth and social stability, it should have a capable and efficient public administration and an effective system of governance. Plans for improving the management and performance of ministries and public agencies are given high priority in the Government Action Plan. The Government Action Plan was formulated in accordance with the proposed 5-year national strategic development plan for (2009-2013). Both documents are based on the Government’s Strategic Vision. The Country Programme Document (CPD) for the period (2008-2012) was approved by the Executive Board in September 2007. It focused on:
1) Governance and development planning
2) Gender and social development
3) Environmental sustainability
4) Economic and private sector development.
The formulation of the Country Programme Action Plan (CPAP) was then completed and is ensured that it is aligned to the national priorities. Eventually, the Government of Kuwait has signed the new CPAP finalized on April 1st 2009 and was achieved with success. The CPAP, that covers the years of 2009-2013, contains a total of 25 projects focusing on all four areas of the CPD with a total budget of $20 million.
The CPAP between UNDP and the Government of Kuwait is fully funded by the Government, which gives Kuwait its status as a Net Contributing Country (NCC), as all the other GCC countries that have UNDP offices (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE). UNDP agreed with the Government of Kuwait to follow the National Execution modality to implement the different projects falling within the respective national priorities. This modality aims to utilize and enhance the national capacity of the national Government counterpart (General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development), and all other implementing partners in the government and civil society.
UNDP Kuwait is one of UNDP field offices in the Arab region that are managed by the Regional Bureau for Arab States based in the UNDP headquarters in New York. The Head of the UNDP office in Kuwait, as in all other Country Offices, is the Resident Representative (UNDP RR), who also serves as the UN Resident Coordinator (UN RC) representing the Secretary General of the United Nations and co-ordinates the operational activities of the UN system at the country level. The main Government body responsible for coordinating UNDP work in Kuwait is the General Secretariat for the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (SCPD). The UN RC/UNDP RR and the Secretary General of the SCPD represent the authorised representatives and decision makers in the cooperation between the Government of Kuwait and the United Nations.
The UNDP office also supports the work of the entire UN Country Team in Kuwait by serving as the Secretariat to the United Nations Resident Coordinator's office in Kuwait. UNDP thus organizes the UNCT monthly meetings, coordinates the joint UNCT events, and facilitates the work of the non-resident agencies, including the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Department of Political Affairs of the UN Secretariat (DPA) in particular, by hosting their visiting delegations to Kuwait. This support that UNDP provides to the work of the UN Country Team in Kuwait is in line with recent progress in one of the key structural aspects of UN reform which is to bring coherence and cohesion to United Nations activities at the country level. The UN Development Group, which includes the various UN funds, programmes, agencies, departments, and offices that play a role in development, agreed in September 2008 on a new Management and Accountability System of the UN Development and Resident Coordinator System. This Agreement reconfirms the role of UNDP as the manager of the RC system.