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Strong partnerships are the cornerstone of UNDP’s work to strengthen systems for health. In its support to countries, UNDP works closely with other UN agencies, development organizations, civil society, 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 how joint approaches, drawing on the comparative advantages of each, 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.

The Global Fund Go to website

The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (Global Fund) is an innovative, multi-billion-dollar international financing institution and partnership between governments, civil society, the private sector and people affected by the diseases. The Global Fund facilitates technical cooperation in countries by working through its technical and development partners. UNDP and the Global Fund have been engaged in partnership since late 2002.

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UNDP’s partnership with the Global Fund focuses on three interlinked objectives: 1) supporting implementation of disease programmes on an interim basis in countries facing challenging operating environments; 2) developing the capacity of national entities to take over the management of Global Fund programmes; and 3) strengthening policy and programme quality of Global Fund-related work.

Within this role, UNDP’s partnership encompasses:

  • offering technical expertise in developing new programmes or finding bottlenecks and challenges preventing successful grant implementation
  • supporting country coordination
  • assisting with stakeholder engagement
  • monitoring and evaluating Global Fund-supported programmes

The partnership initiatives below work to provide technical support to implementers (known as Principal Recipients and sub-recipients) and country-level multi-stakeholder oversight bodies (known as Country Coordinating Mechanisms) for Global Fund grants in a variety of areas. More information on how to source the support can be found on their websites.


BACKUP Health, formerly called the German BACKUP Initiative, is a global health programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Since 2002, BACKUP Health has been supporting countries receiving Global Fund assistance in three intervention areas: Country Coordinating Mechanisms; Health Systems Strengthening; and Management Capacities of Global Fund Grant Recipients.

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5% Initiative for HIV, TB and malaria

The 5% Initiative focuses on Francophone countries which require technical expertise in designing, implementing, monitoring, evaluating and measuring the impact of grants allocated by the Global Fund, in order to enhance their effectiveness and their impact on health.

It provides capacity development and supports the strengthening of systems for programmatic and financial management of grants, as well as enhancing monitoring and evaluation and the management of procurement and supply of medical commodities. Additionally, it aims to strengthen grant governance and oversight by supporting Country Coordinating Mechanisms and enabling countries to access Global Fund resources by assisting funding requests and drafting national strategic documents.

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UNAIDS Go to website

UNAIDS leads the global effort to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Since it started operations in 1996, UNAIDS has led and inspired global, regional, national and local leadership, innovation and partnerships to consign HIV to history.

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UNAIDS provides the strategic direction, advocacy, coordination and technical support needed to catalyse and connect leadership from governments, the private sector and communities to deliver life-saving HIV services. It places people living with HIV and people affected by the virus at the decision-making table and at the centre of designing, delivering and monitoring the AIDS response, and is a bold advocate for addressing the law, rights and policy barriers to the AIDS response. UNAIDS generates strategic information and analysis that increases understanding of the state of the AIDS epidemic and progress made at the local, national, regional and global levels. It leads the world’s most extensive data collection on HIV epidemiology, programme coverage and finance on the HIV epidemic—vital for an effective response.

UNAIDS helps to:

  • encourage dialogue and bring in communities that have been left out of decision-making
  • build health and community systems
  • establish legal frameworks
  • shape public opinion towards creating healthy and resilient societies

UNAIDS Division of Labour

The Division of Labour outlines the roles and responsibilities among Cosponsors and the UNAIDS Secretariat so as to enable the Joint Programme to deliver integrated and impactful contributions at country, regional and global levels. It is in line with the Secretary-General’s vision for a repositioned UN development system and the 2030 Agenda, leveraging comparative advantage to bring added value, capacity and skill sets required to address country needs.

World Health Organization (WHO) Go to website

On 4 May 2018, WHO and UNDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to help support countries to achieve the health-related targets across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the agenda’s commitment to leave no one behind.

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“By working with partners like UNDP, we can better address the social, economic and environmental determinants of health and make progress towards a fairer, safer and more prosperous future for everyone” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO.

WHO and UNDP have developed a joint commitment to strengthening country capacity to achieve universal health coverage, acting decisively on multisectoral responses to health emergencies, as well as ensuring 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 systems for health, including addressing the social, economic and environmental determinants of health.

The collaboration focuses on three key areas:

  1. Universal health coverage
  2. Health emergencies
  3. Health and environment

The partnership between WHO and UNDP illustrates how the core competencies of the UN health and development agencies can come together to support multisectoral responses for health and deliver shared gains across the 2030 Agenda.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Go to website

Created in 2000, Gavi is a global vaccine alliance bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

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It also focuses on strengthening health systems, looking in particular at countries with inadequate infrastructure, lack of trained healthcare workers and interruption in the supplies of essential commodities, along with a lack of data to track progress. It works to enhance civil society organizations’ engagement in national health sector planning and policy processes.

In 2015, UNDP joined forces with Gavi and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India to pilot the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN), a digital logistics management information system leveraging mobile phone technology to improve the efficiency of vaccine cold chain systems in India. The initial roll out of eVIN led to impressive results in a short time, including an 80% reduction in vaccine stock-out incidents across eVIN-enabled health centres. The success of the project, which is now scaling to the rest of India, has since inspired plans to scale the initiative to other countries, including Indonesia, Sudan, and Malawi.

The UNDP-Gavi partnership has continued to expand to new geographic as well as policy and programmatic focus areas. In addition to India, UNDP enjoys partnership agreements with Gavi in Tajikistan and Zambia, facilitating joint support to national health institutions for infrastructure improvement and financial management, respectively.

UNDP and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi), share a common vision to ensure equitable access to vital health services for all people across the globe.

The World Food Programme Go to website

The World Food Programme (WFP) helps 80 million people in around 80 countries each year, delivering food assistance in emergencies and supporting countries to achieve zero hunger and malnutrition by building resilience for food security and nutrition and addressing the growing challenges posed by climate change and rising inequality

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One in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat. WFP’s efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations, predominantly in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict. On any given day, WFP has 5,000 trucks, 20 ships and 92 planes on the move, delivering food and other assistance to those in most need. It also makes this global capacity and expertise in humanitarian logistics available to UN agencies, NGOs and governments. UNDP benefits from the logistical support of WFP in the context of health programme service delivery in challenging operating environments.

WFP works with countries to draft and implement policies that promote food security and nutrition objectives, rooted in strong governance, responsive institutions and an enabling environment. It offers nationally-tailored technical assistance and capacity development to strengthen individual government capacities to achieve national food security and nutrition objectives. Among its objectives are:

  • policies and legislation
  • institutional accountability
  • strategic planning and financing
  • national programme design and delivery
  • engagement and participation of non-state actors

It also focuses on embedding resilience in interventions, to lessen the effects of shocks and stressors and ensure that people rebuild better after disasters.

United Nations Volunteers Go to website

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) has a dual mission to mobilize volunteers and promote volunteerism. In addition to mobilizing volunteers to serve in UN agencies, UNV supports countries to create enabling environments for volunteerism. As underlined by the UNV State of the World’s Volunteerism Report 2018, this includes engagement at the policy level to promote integration of volunteerism and civic engagement into national development policies.

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UNV makes significant contributions to UNDP’s health implementation support in a growing number of countries where UNDP serves as interim Principal Recipient (PR) of Global Fund grants for HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria programmes. Through assignments to UNDP Country Teams supporting health programme implementation, UN Volunteers contribute their expertise across a range of functional areas, including finance, monitoring and evaluation, engineering, IT, procurement, and specialized knowledge of health service delivery.

Besides offering expertise to enhance UNDP’s health implementation activities, UN Volunteers bring 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.

Partnership frameworks and initiatives

Stop TB Go to website

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 is available to all who need it.

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It operates through its 1,500 partner organizations, which include international, non-governmental and governmental organizations and patient groups, along with a secretariat and seven working groups, whose role is to accelerate progress on access to TB diagnosis and treatment; on research and development for new TB diagnostics, drugs and vaccines; and to tackle drug resistant- and HIV-associated TB. The secretariat is governed by a Coordinating Board that sets the strategic direction for the global fight against TB:

  • to ensure that every TB patient has access to effective diagnosis, treatment and cure
  • to stop transmission of TB
  • to reduce the inequitable social and economic toll of TB
  • to develop and implement new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic tools and strategies to stop TB

The partnership focuses on a human-rights-based approach to TB, grounded in international, regional and domestic law, which establishes rights to health, non-discrimination, privacy, freedom of movement, and enjoyment of the benefits of scientific progress, among others.

Roll Back Malaria Go to website

The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership is the global platform for coordinated action against malaria. It mobilizes for action and resources and aims to form effective partnerships both globally and nationally so that partners work together to scale up malaria-control efforts at country level and coordinate their activities to avoid duplication and fragmentation, and to ensure the optimal use of resources.

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There are more than 500 members of the partnership, including malaria-endemic countries, their bilateral and multilateral development partners, the private sector, non-governmental and community-based organizations, foundations, and research and academic institutions.

The Global Malaria Action Plan Action and Investment to defeat Malaria 2016–2030 (AIM) is a guide for collective action for all those engaged in the fight against malaria.

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