Bruce Jenks on UN Development at a crossroads

Bruce Jenks, former director of the UNDP Bureau for Resources and Strategic Partnerships.

Over the last 10 years, dramatic changes have transformed the development landscape. The United Nations should adapt, too, writes Bruce Jenks, the former director of the UNDP Bureau for Resources and Strategic Partnerships, in an exclusive guest opinion. Check out this excerpt:

The landscape has changed, and the role of ODA and U.N. Development needs to adapt. Reform of the U.N. development system is today almost exclusively focused on issues of development effectiveness. That’s good, but not sufficient: It’s great to improve the performance of the car you are driving but if you are heading for a dead end, getting there quickly isn’t a great achievement. What is required is far reaching strategic repositioning.

It is possible to envision some of the elements that will be critical. U.N. Development needs to relate to a world beyond ODA – to new state players, non-state actors, multiple sources of finance and powerful new technologies transmitting knowledge in totally new ways. U.N. Development needs to reach out and bring in major new partners, especially from the private sector and civil society. These will drive many of the solutions to the challenges outlined above.

Above all, U.N. Development needs to be an effective lever for change.

Read Bruce Jenks’s full op-ed, brought to you by Devex in partnership with the United Nations Foundation.

About the author

  • Bruce Jenks

    Bruce Jenks is a senior non-resident fellow at Harvard University, an adjunct professor at Columbia University, and a lecturer at the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies and at the University of Geneva. Bruce served as assistant secretary general at UNDP until 2010 and worked closely with the last five UNDP administrators. He holds a doctoral degree from Oxford University.