About UNDP in DPR Korea

 Solar heated water improves hygiene in kindergarten in Mopung Farm

The UNDP country office was re-opened in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in October 2009, after activities had been suspended in March 2007.

In January 2007, UNDP’s programme in DPRK was audited by the UN’s external Board of Auditors. At the same time, UNDP’s Executive Board mandated several changes to its programmes and operations in the DPRK. By the beginning of March 2007, UNDP had adjusted its practices in several areas in order to align them with its system-wide standards. These involved changes in the recruitment of local staff, the use of local currency and the oversight of projects. However, because an agreement could not be reached with DPRK authorities on the implementation of the mandated changes, operations were suspended and international personnel were withdrawn.

In 2008, an independent review panel led by the former Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Nemeth made a number of recommendations for improvements in the management and oversight of the programme, including proper procurement and the use, inspection and disposal of equipment, which UNDP endorsed and implemented.

With the approval of Executive Board members, UNDP then initiated new negotiations with the government of the DPRK, which agreed to changes in the areas of finance and banking, human resources and project management. At its January 2009 session, the Board subsequently approved the return of UNDP to the DPRK.

During 2009, the UNDP office in Pyongyang was renovated, local staff were hired according to new agreed-to practices and, from October to November 2009, international staff were engaged, headed by the UN Resident Coordinator/UNDP Resident Representative.

Six projects, which had been suspended during closure of the office, in agriculture, rural energy and statistics on the Millennium Development Goals were updated and resumed in 2010.

How We Work

UNDP operates in the DPRK with limited resources in an environment constrained by the unique situation on the Korean peninsula. With due consideration for the complexity and constraints of the external political environment, such as relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, we follow a people-centred approach that directly addresses the needs of the most vulnerable: young children, new mothers, adolescents, the elderly and households in remote and under-served areas.

Project approvals
On an exceptional basis, all projects are to be approved by UNDP Headquarters. All projects are executed by a UN agency or UNDP itself. We will only implement projects that operate in areas where UNDP personnel have physical access to verify the results.

Monitoring and evaluation
UNDP DPRK follows special monitoring and evaluation (M&E) arrangements.
The Internal Control Framework for DPRK requires a dedicated M&E Specialist and international staff to conduct all monitoring. The Country Office undertakes regular visits to projects and adequate reporting on a regular basis on projects/programme, including tripartite review meeting, mid-and end-of-term evaluations. In addition, items procured and installed are verified and monitored during the reporting period to ensure that all equipment are being used for their intended purposes.

Human resources
UNDP is following the recommendations by the Nemeth Panel. Human resources practices are being followed as national staff are recruited on the basis of the best qualifications available, following interviewing of multiple candidates for each position. ,National staff are employed and paid directly by UNDP in keeping with international practice.

Financial controls and procurement
A new and more stringent Financial Internal Control Framework has been developed specifically for UNDP operations in the DPRK, and an International Finance Specialist has been posted to the Country Office.

Special attention given to equipment to ensure that procurement is in compliance with UN rules and regulations and export licences, and that no dual-use equipment. Procurement reviewed by the Procurement Support Office and the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific at Headquarters, which also conduct regular, in-depth country scans.

Current Staff Count for Democr People's Repub of Korea

Contract TypeSub Total
Service Contract 7
UNDP Staff 14
Total 21