The UN System in Kuwait

The Kuwait United Nations Country Team (UNCT) is composed of 18 UN and affiliated entities. Among entities with a country presence, UNDP and the World Bank have significant operational country programmes, while ILO and UN-Habitat have project-based country activities.  IOM, OCHA, UNHCR and WFP offices primarily support humanitarian coordination and resource mobilization for the sub-regional crisis response. UNDSS provides safety and security support to the UN Agencies. The IMF Middle East Centre for Economics and Finance provides training for government personnel from across the GCC. The Kuwait Joint Support Office (KJSO) provides administrative services to UN missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Non-resident agencies that participate in the UN Country Team include:

  1. OHCHR (Middle East Regional Office)
  2. UN Environment (West Asia Office)
  3. UNFPA (GCC Sub-Regional Office)
  4. UN Women (Arab States Regional Office)
  5. UNESCO (Regional Office for the Gulf States and Yemen)
  6. UNICEF (Gulf Area Office)
  7. UNIC (Beirut Regional Office)

All UN agencies with operational activities in Kuwait base their programming on annual or multi-year planning documents, responding to the national priorities as outlined in the National Development Plan and other national priorities and support SDG implementation.

UNDP supports the implementation of the Kuwait National Development Plan, through its main national counterpart, the General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development (GSSCPD), along with line ministries, civil society, private sector and academia. The UNDP Country Programme Document 2015 - 2018 encompasses support to four areas of work: (a) policy and regulatory economic, social and environmental frameworks for sustainable development; (b) social development; (c) governance; and (d) strategic partnerships.

The World Bank engages in strategic advisory services supporting key development areas for Kuwait: improving public sector performance; increasing private sector development to support economic diversification; and human development.

The IMF Middle East Center for Economics and Finance (CEF) conducts courses for officials from Arab League countries aimed at building capacity in economic analysis and diagnosis; and formulation and implementation of effective economic and financial policies.

ILO provides technical advisory services to its tripartite constituents: Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour, Kuwait Trade Union Federation and the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

UN-Habitat supports knowledge development of Arab cities, regional and national capacity building and advocacy for sustainable urban development. UN Habitat’s key counterparts are the Arab Towns Organization, Kuwait Housing Authority, Kuwait Municipality and the Governorates.

In support of Kuwait’s expanding humanitarian role, UNHCR advocates for increased protection space for refugees, asylum seekers and stateless persons, and processes asylum claims and works on resource mobilisation and regional advocacy. UNHCR’s key counterpart is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

IOM focuses on labour migration, counter-trafficking, and human rights, emphasising advocacy and capacity-building. The main counterpart for IOM in Kuwait is the Ministry of the Interior.

The OCHA liaison office in Kuwait has three areas of activity: capacity-building, partnership and information- sharing.

OHCHR core priorities in Human Rights include developing a national human rights institution, and further cooperation in human rights and SDGs.  

WFP focuses largely on advocacy and resource mobilization for humanitarian partnership.

The Kuwait Joint Support Office (KJSO) is an integral component of both the United Nations Mission of Assistance in Iraq (UNAMI) and the United Nations Mission of Assistance in Afghanistan (UNAMA). Funded by these missions, it provides human resources and finance services to both missions.

Currently, most technical assistance by NRAs is provided on a project or stand-alone activity basis; in some cases, through partnerships with UNDP. In this context, UN Women partners with UNDP on gender equality issues, UN Environment on Environment protection and UNESCO on culture and heritage.

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