The role of the United Nations in the global development architecture: Internal and external exigencies

Global change poses new challenges for the United Nations (UN) and development cooperation. Against this backdrop, this project examines how the UN will tackle this issue. The focus lies on internal as well as external requirements.

Project Lead:
Silke Weinlich

Project Team:
Timo Casjen Mahn Jones
Max Baumann

Federal Ministry of Germany for Economic Cooperation and Development (Bundes-ministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung, BMZ)

Time frame:
2013 - 2016 / completed

Project description

Project focus:
Development cooperation is one of the principal areas of activity for the United Nations (UN). For this purpose, a differentiated institutional system consisting of 37 organizations which are operationally active at country-level has been set-up by member states. The complex institutional arrangement of the UN development system, whose combined mandate covers the whole range of relevant themes and sectors, has been created to “
achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character” (UN Charter, Article 1).

The UN development system is part of a global development architecture whose parameters are in a state of constant flux which leaves no actor unaffected. Against this background, there are a number of exigencies for the UN development system in terms of both the internal functioning as well as the external positioning, which poses both risks and opportunities.

The question of how the UN development system responds to these exigencies takes center stage within the research project. The internal (institutional, organizational, thematic and others) as well as the external (regarding the relationship towards other development actors) exigencies are subject of this work.


Project Coordination

Benjamin Heil