People for 2030 Award Winners: Onwards and Upwards

UNDP People for 2030
6 min readDec 21, 2021


People for 2030 is a People Strategy that will transform UNDP’s culture and capacity to deliver better results for the Sustainable Development Goals. Each UNDP Country Office has a representative, a People Champion, who is responsible for communicating People for 2030 in their office, monitoring the changes being made, and assisting the implementation of the strategy in the office. Today, there are over 150 People Champions worldwide.

This autumn, our Champions participated in the second People for 2030 Awards, and it was great to see how they and their colleagues continue to double down on delivering People for 2030. From Fiji all the way to Mexico, there were 30 excellent proposals that highlighted innovative and valuable initiatives. People for 2030 can only be delivered through shared accountability for implementation across the organization, and these initiatives demonstrate that colleagues across UNDP echo this sentiment.

In this blog we spotlight the 5 winning proposals.

There are many challenges affecting the working environment in offices today, including: elevated levels of stress; the need to mitigate some of the most common health risks, as well as providing support to personnel serving in difficult times. Therefore, a critical priority for UNDP is to provide a holistic response to existing challenges and ensure that all our personnel work in a healthy environment that contributes to their self-fulfillment.

Syria Country Office: Staff Solar Installations

The work from home modality faces unique challenges in Syria. In addition to difficulties associated with working in a crisis context, the lack of continuous electricity and Internet in many residential areas leads to a major drop in staff energy. These issues increased the risk of personnel having to work from the office more often in the midst of the pandemic.

With the support of RBAS HQ and UNDP Security, the Office’s Staff Solar Installations initiative provided a one-off funding facility for over 140 personnel to enable them to install backup solar power systems in their homes. The two main objectives of this initiative were to improve personnel’s work from home experience and to support them by ensuring uninterrupted power supply in case of crisis or pandemic-related emergencies.

Kudos to Syria Country Office for this thoughtful initiative, which installed residential solar panels with a capacity of 125Kw. In addition to helping UNDP personnel, this initiative also reduces CO2 emissions by 100 tons per year, also benefiting the wider community.

Backup solar power system installations across colleagues’ residences

Malawi Country Office: Beautify Office Initiative

Workplace environments are an essential factor in productivity and for improving overall well-being. In order to foster a healthy and vibrant atmosphere, the UNDP Malawi Office embarked on a journey to beautify and improve the organization’s workspaces. The Office developed a task force with representatives of all key units to lead the implementation of an Action Plan called “Beautify UNDP Malawi Office,” which included challenges in clutter and waste management, the procurement of ergonomic chairs, greening strategies, and the creation of a multipurpose outdoor space.

The outdoor space is now the most popular spot for informal meetings, a quick tea or coffee break, a chance to work standing up, and for some, an eating place during the lunch breaks. With the purchase of ergonomic chairs, personnel actively shared that they feel more comfortable at their workstations. The office now also has more plants placed in locally made plant-holders, which bring out the African theme and showcases colleagues’ support to buying local Malawian products.

We congratulate Malawi Country Office for their efforts — this is a clear example of how even small things that may not seem significant to others can have a big impact on the well-being of employees and their productivity.

Malawi Country Office’s newly designed multipurpose outdoor space

Another focus area of People for 2030 is to enhance learning and development in UNDP. Through this, the people strategy underscores the importance of developing individual capabilities driven by what people need to succeed in the moment, thrive in their current role, and grow in their career.

Ukraine Country Office: Extra Curriculum Pathway

The UNDP Ukraine Country Office is the largest in Europe and Central Asia, with a total of nearly 400 personnel. Together they bring a wide range of skills to this unified team, and the Country Office has activated the “Extra Curriculum Pathway” to foster a nurturing environment that encourages the exchange of knowledge for the benefit of the organization as a whole.

The pathway consisted of informal virtual meetings for colleagues to learn more about each other, knowledge sharing sessions, presentations from experts, and one-on-one meetings focused exclusively on empowering female colleagues. Overall, the initiative helped bring to life a “One UNDP” culture within the organization, characterized by employee engagement, creativity, collaboration and continuous improvement. The UNDP Ukraine office has also introduced in-house detail assignments and temporary rotations exchanging team members between programmes, operations and projects to transfer knowledge and gain experience in various fields.

Many congratulations to the Ukraine Country Office — we are optimistic that the combined impact of these initiatives will foster conditions that create a resilient, long-serving workforce.

Ukraine Country Office colleagues during a knowledge sharing session

Bhutan Country Office: Purpose Lab Initiative

To ensure that personnel are motivated and disciplined to become the best version of themselves, the Bhutan Country Office introduced the ‘Purpose Lab’, a series of sessions to create energy for people to grow together, discuss, debate, decide and deliver results that go the extra mile with the ultimate goal “to lead with purpose.”

The sessions, facilitated by a renowned Malaysian leadership coach, were designed to focus on leading self, leading teams and leading for the greater good. Based on reflections during these sessions, throughout the year the Purpose Lab group will (1) develop a Partnership Toolbox for use by colleagues and (2) construct a partners’ journey map (together with partners) using systems thinking to better understand partners’ voices, expectations and touch-points throughout the partnership process.

It is great to see the Bhutan Country Office continue the momentum for the successful implementation of People for 2030. They were also one of the five winners for their novel Recognition Program last year and we look forward to seeing more such innovative approaches come from them.

Participants during the ‘Purpose Lab’ sessions

Inclusion is integral to ‘leaving no one behind’, a key principle of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and also a core focus area of the people strategy. As a values-driven organization, UNDP strives to ‘walk the talk’ and ensure that UN values, including respect for diversity, are consistently lived by all our personnel.

Costa Rica Country Office: Gender Responsive Transformation

In 2021, the UNDP Costa Rica Office achieved gold certification, the highest level of recognition of the Global Gender Equality Seal. This recognition strengthened the commitment of colleagues and motivated them to move from responsive gender management to a transformative gender management approach.

For this reason, they have activated a proposal to generate new paradigms in the way effective gender equality and the empowerment of women in their diversity are addressed. Their various efforts, including but not limited to (1) institutionalizing a group of male allies who promote the awareness of positive masculinities (2) boosting the recruitment of female candidates and (3) committing to prevent workplace harassment, have successfully integrated a transformational perspective into their operational and programmatic work.

Best wishes to the Costa Rica Country Office — for championing this focus area and for exploring new ways of thinking.

Colleagues in the Costa Rica Country Office post achieving the Global Gender Equality Seal



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