The Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme

on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA)

Full annual report
2019 Annual

Message from the Joint Programme co-chairs

UNDP and DPPA work together to support national stakeholders strengthen their own capacities, policies, mechanisms and programmes for peace. The Joint Programme and our Peace and Development Advisors have made a profound contribution to national priorities and efforts for sustaining peace and preventing conflict as illustrated throughout this report. As transformational change is a long-term endeavour, the Joint Programme stays committed to this cause, as it has done since it was established in 2004. We are grateful to all of our UN colleagues and partners that have collaborated with us so far and we continue to count on your engagement and support in the future.

Asako Okai
Assistant Secretary-General
Assistant Administrator and Director
Crisis Bureau
United Nations Development Programme

Peace and Development Advisors are one of our best analytical and cross-pillar coordination assets in countries and sub-regional settings. PDAs bring unique skillsets in political, peacebuilding and development work to the United Nations Country Teams and help Resident Coordinators to strategically guide the UN system and maximize its potential to help national stakeholders mediate, prevent and resolve conflicts. Their role in facilitating a whole-of-system approach to conflict prevention dovetails with the objectives of the Secretary-General’s reforms.

Miroslav Jenča
Assistant Secretary-General for
Europe, Central Asia and the Americas
Departments for Political & Peacebuilding
Affairs and Peace Operations
United Nations

Overview of the Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme

Addressing the underlying drivers of conflict is ever more critical today as violent conflict continues to cause widespread human suffering. Many societies are faced with rising inequalities, political and social unrest, persistent gender discrimination, and lack of social cohesion, in addition to being affected by climate change. The COVID-19 pandemic has further laid bare existing vulnerabilities, and may lead to a steep decline in human development unprecedented in the last 30 years. These multidimensional challenges, that know no border, require a collaborative approach, and integrated cross-pillar solutions. A focus on conflict prevention is critical for creating the necessary conditions conducive to sustainable peace and development.

Since its establishment in 2004, the Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention has been engaged in supporting national stakeholders and bridging the gap between political engagement and development assistance in pursuit of sustainable peace. In 2019, the Joint Programme started a new phase (programme document 2019-2023) of its engagement that seeks to further support Member States to deepen their capacities and strengthen their systems and processes for conflict prevention.

"In support of our national desire to put conflict prevention at the forefront, the Joint Programme has deployed a Peace and Development Advisor in the country. The Programme also supported representatives of the Government and civil society to jointly conduct the country's Conflict and Development Analysis for 2018 and 2019, which informed our peacebuilding priorities."

Lamin Fatti, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission to the United Nations of The Gambia (Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

"Negotiation and dialogue can resolve conflicts and build inclusive societies. Partnership with the UN and other international stakeholders play an important role. […] Our experience is also a testimony that strong political will and constitutional guarantee can be instrumental in empowering women, youth, indigenous people and other marginalized communities. […] I would like to reaffirm Nepal's support to the joint UNDP-DPPA initiative aimed at conflict prevention."

Representative of Nepal (Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

"The Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme has been particularly helpful as it demonstrated that the UN genuinely believes that national stakeholders are the most capable actors of preventing conflict in their countries."

Khemaies Jhinaoui, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia (Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

The overall change that the Joint Programme seeks to contribute to is articulated around the following theory of change: When efforts to prevent conflict and sustain peace are analysis-based, robust, inclusive, and nationally-led, and when these are supported to an appropriate extent by coherent international strategies and programmes, Member States are better equipped to mitigate the risks of conflict and fragility, and to pursue their development priorities.

The Joint Programme's engagement is guided by two mutually supportive objectives:

Outcome 1:

Targeted initiatives and national capacities are more effectively contributing to conflict prevention and sustaining peace.

Outcome 2:

UN Country Teams have strategies and programmes that are increasingly conflict sensitive and are leading partnerships on sustaining peace.

"Over the last 15 years UNDP and DPPA have worked in partnership to establish, manage, and continuously develop the Joint Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention. This collaboration draws on their complementary mandates, expertise and resources to offer the necessary support to establish sustainable and nationally owned capacities for peace. Peace and Development Advisers are at the forefront of these efforts pushing for the prioritization of the prevention agenda."

Amina Mohammed, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General

(Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

At the centre of the Programme’s efforts to achieve these goals is a cadre of international and national experts known as Peace and Development Advisors (PDAs). PDAs are at the forefront of UN efforts to empower national stakeholders and strengthen mechanisms and capacities for inclusive dialogue, social cohesion, reconciliation and national peace architectures. PDAs support the UN system to effectively identify entry points for the prevention of conflicts, and to respond to complex political situations appropriately.

Since the start of the Joint Programme in 2004, the cadre of PDAs has grown significantly, reaching 54 positions in 2019, reflecting the value of embedding capacities for conflict analysis, conflict-sensitive programming, and strategic leadership on prevention within UN Country Teams. A growing cadre of national Peace and Development Officers are being recruited to work alongside international PDAs, bringing in crucial local knowledge and expertise. Twenty such PDA teams have been established so far, which also benefit from specialized capacities from partners such as UN Volunteers and the Folke Bernadotte Academy.

"National ownership is key to building sustainable peace and hence supporting and investing in national capacities is a priority. In close partnership with national stakeholders the Joint Programme has contributed to innovative approaches to conflict prevention. […] Peace and Development Advisors work closely with national counterparts and some of our best joint assets to encourage collaboration and coherence of action."

Rosemary DiCarlo, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs

(Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

Cadre of Advisors in 2019

54 PDA positions globally and 20 PDA teams, 49 Advisors already deployed

The depiction and use of boundaries, geographic names and related data shown on maps and included in lists, tables, documents, and databases on this web site are not warranted to be error free nor do they necessarily imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

Expansion of PDA positions globally

Empowering national stakeholders to lead conflict prevention efforts

The guiding principle of the Joint Programme is that strengthening national capacities for conflict prevention is essential to sustaining peace. As such, the Programme emphasizes national ownership and inclusivity, to ensure that peace is sustained over time. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the major impact of violence and instability on development and vice-versa, stating, “there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development.” In working to prevent conflict, the Joint Programme is geared not only at making a direct contribution to the realization of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 on the promotion of peaceful, just, and inclusive societies, but also at advancing cross-cutting issues to create an enabling and supportive environment for the fulfillment of a host of national and international development objectives. Deployed in complex political situations, PDAs work with national stakeholders, at all levels and parts of society, to strengthen architectures, policies and strategies for peace, engage in mediation and dialogue efforts ensuring they are inclusive and sustainable, and accompany, connect, and empower national actors to lead peace efforts.

"Through our presence in 170 countries, as members of UN Country teams, integrated missions and alongside national stakeholders, we are committed to accompanying the global community to achieve Goal 16 through enabler and accelerator programmes for prevention and peacebuilding. Simply put, and in support of national aspirations toward the 2030 Agenda, UNDP is committed to this Joint Programme and its essential role in this process. In a world of interconnected challenges that are not limited by borders, we need to constantly innovate and think of integrated solutions to problems facing us."

Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator

(Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

In 2019, PDAs have engaged in support of:

The PDAs engaged at the national level with


of PDAs supported Governments at the national level


of PDAs supported local Civil society

  • Example of PDA Engagement


    The PDA in Cambodia worked with UNDP to set up an initiative promoting new and alternative media experiences to improve the relationship between the media and national authorities, as well as enhancing civil engagement in this process. This project aims to strengthen resilience of media and expand freedom of expression. Five media start-ups working on issues of public interest, all led by women, were selected through a competitive process. They received seed funding and have undergone a six-month acceleration and mentoring programme implemented by a Cambodian incubator and a regional media firm. The PDA and UNDP also mobilized the start-ups to work with social media influencers to address mis/disinformation. By early 2020, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, a series of social media campaigns, targeting young Cambodians, were rapidly implemented to promote social cohesion and solidarity. With UNDP, the PDA also supported the organization of a series of public events called “Cambodia Media Lab” that have so far gathered more than 200 media entrepreneurs, experts and press freedom champions from the region. With the aim to motivate and empower new voices in media, these events provided a space for open dialogue on media entrepreneurship, digital security, civic engagement and institutional resilience within the media. As a result of these engagements, the project has managed to contribute to an active media community of young Cambodian women and men. "I gained additional knowledge on how to do business and build innovative products that will help my media company run effectively and productively" noted a representative of one of the winning start-ups.

  • Example of PDA Engagement


    In the context of the 2019 general elections in Guatemala, an increase in the polarization and the politization of national development priorities was expected, entailing risks of political and social tensions in the country. In preparation for the elections, the PDA, in collaboration with UNDP, worked with the Electoral Violence Prevention and Mitigation Working Group of the Guatemalan Supreme Electoral Tribunal to elaborate prospective electoral scenarios, identify mitigation measures and develop a system for monitoring the evolution of the scenarios. These efforts were informed by cross-cutting sources which included members of the Working Group itself, senior electoral experts of Mirador Electoral (a civil society electoral observation platform), public opinion polls and youth electoral observers deployed in different parts of the country by Mirador Electoral. The monitoring system established a basis for a possible future early warning system for the prevention of electoral violence. The work of the Working Group contributed to a significant reduction in local electoral conflict. At the national level, several popular candidates were disqualified from running, which affected voter turnout, while a narrative around electoral fraud also fed into a tense political climate during the second electoral round. In this context, the PDA was part of a team that provided strategic advice to the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, which helped strengthen the credibility of the results of the second-round of the presidential election.

  • Example of PDA Engagement


    In Uganda, the PDA has played an advisory and accompaniment role in efforts to strengthen the national peace architecture and facilitate the establishment of a related legal and policy environment for sustaining peace. The PDA supported the drafting and advocacy for the adoption of the Transitional Justice Policy, which was signed in July 2019. In addition, the PDA engaged with national counterparts in the revision the draft National Peace Policy. In an effort to promote south-south learning, and to catalyze support for the adoption of the draft National Peace Policy, visits to other countries with functioning national peace architecture were organized, with the support of UNDP. Representatives of the Ugandan national peace architecture visited Ghana, and a delegation of the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs met with Angolan counterparts. This helped model benchmarks for the role of veterans in the promotion of peaceful coexistence within their respective communities. As an effort to support peace and dialogue, the PDA in partnership with UNDP, helped strengthen the capacities of the constitutionally mandated forum for political dialogue, the National Consultative Forum, through tailored training on collaborative leadership. Deliberate efforts were also made by the PDA to promote the inclusion of youth and women in the nationally led peace efforts. This year, two women from the Women Situation Room and three youths benefitted from international training courses on dialogue and mediation, who alongside former trainees, replicated these trainings in the different parts of the country. To strengthen inclusion in the national peace architecture, the PDA, in collaboration with UNDP, helped design a project, now funded by the Peacebuilding Fund, specifically focused on harnessing the capacities of youth and women for sustaining peace. As a result, young people and women actively participated in regional level dialogues on electoral reforms and are more represented in the national peace architecture. The Interreligious Council of Uganda established a ‘Women of Faith’ network, while the Nabbagereka Development Foundation is organizing youth bootcamps that promote the positive cultural values of Obuntubulamu: one’s humanity is inextricably linked with the other’s.

Serving the UN system to leverage entry points for conflict prevention

Peace and Development Advisors support UN Country Teams and Resident Coordinators to collectively identify entry points for conflict prevention and offer strategic guidance to the implementation of peacebuilding initiatives with national counterparts. Working with a broad range of UN entities at the country level, this engagement often takes different forms depending on the context of deployment, ranging from developing early warning and early response mechanisms; to mainstreaming conflict sensitivity into programming; and promoting the Sustainable Development Goals. The Advisors also facilitate joint conflict analysis and provide trainings in these key areas to UN Country Team staff and national partners.

Top 12 UN field entities with which PDAs engaged in

* outside of UNDP & DPPA-DPO
  • Example of PDA Engagement


    Working in a challenging humanitarian, peacebuilding and development context, the PDA team in Myanmar took a leading role in strengthening UN cross-pillar collaboration and cross-border engagement with the neighbouring UN Country Team in Bangladesh. The strategic advice and analysis provided by the PDA team were fundamental in successfully positioning the UN in Myanmar as a partner in an emerging initiative between the Government, the armed groups and civil society to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) living in areas affected by the ongoing armed conflict. The PDA team also assisted the Resident Coordinator’s office to be the leading source of information in relation to the most intense conflict situation in the country – the Rakhine State – including by connecting the various data management systems to produce detailed maps of conflict trends. The resulting analysis was critical in informing discussions and strategic engagement with cooperation partners which meet at the ambassadorial and heads of cooperation level on a monthly basis. Liaising closely with the Office of the Special Envoy and DPPA, the team also helped further calibrate system-wide coherence based upon this shared analysis, especially on early warning and prevention issues, in line with key recommendations of the report of the independent inquiry into the involvement of the UN in Myanmar (2010-2018). The PDA helped set up two regional UN Sub-offices in Kachin and Shan States promoting a humanitarian-development-peace approach in these conflict areas where the majority of IDP camps exist. In addition, the PDA teams in Myanmar and Bangladesh led efforts to maintain a dynamic and constructive collaboration on the Rohingya crisis – with frequent information exchanges and joint UN Country Team meetings. This cross-border collaboration also contributes to a mutually informed and coordinated UN response.

  • Example of PDA Engagement


    Sudan experienced a profound transformation in 2019, including the downfall of President Omar al-Bashir following a revolution that commenced in December 2018. During that critical time, the Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) were negotiating a political compromise for power sharing during a 39-month transitional period and the formation of a new Transitional Government. In this context, the support provided by the PDA team was instrumental in informing the engagement of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, and the wider UN system with the key national stakeholders, as well as in keeping the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Sudan and the Office of the Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, informed of the rapidly changing developments. Their engagement took the form of political updates, advice on conflict-sensitive approaches, as well as development of policy options for programming in collaboration with the UN Country Team. The PDA also supported the Resident Coordinator in outreach efforts with both the Transitional Military Council and Forces for Freedom and Change, other political actors, as well as with the diplomatic and international community in Khartoum. In early 2019, the PDA team initiated the review of the country context analysis. This entailed meetings with national counterparts, including political activists, many of whom were thrust into the international limelight after the start of the revolution. This initial exercise was important to better understand the context of rapidly evolving developments during the early part of the revolution. The team led the formulation of a comprehensive peacebuilding programme, also aimed at supporting the newly formed Peace Commission, in response to a request of the Prime Minister, that resulted in the country’s eligibility to the Peacebuilding Fund. Finally, the PDA team played a pivotal role in working with the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Sudan in the design and planning of a strategic visioning exercise aimed at articulating a UN system-wide vision and roadmap of engagement in support of the transition in Sudan and adjust existing programmes to the new political realities.

  • Example of PDA Engagement


    In Moldova, the PDA has continued efforts to strengthen the capacity of the UNCT on conflict-sensitivity, conflict prevention and social cohesion. This is particularly critical, since Moldova, as a multi-ethnic country, similar to other countries in the region, continues to face challenges related to social cohesion and national unity. The PDA supported three trainings throughout the year, including during the UNCT retreat, where management and staff learned how to apply conflict-sensitive approaches across their engagements and adapt UN programming to address the underlying causes of fragile social cohesion. To ensure that the Country Team has access to solid gender-sensitive conflict and political analysis, and an evidence base for programme design, the PDA continued to expand the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Index (SCORE) that was initially launched in 2018. The index is an innovative tool designed to measure sustainable peace in societies by defining and measuring the underlying factors of social cohesion. In 2018, a SCORE Advisory Board (SAB) was formed with key leaders from civil society, Government, academia, and business with the purpose of strengthening integration of the SCORE results into key policies at the national level. The analysis of the Adult SCORE, undertaken in partnership with UNDP, UN Women and UNFPA, offers a critical understanding of relationships within, between, and among groups, including on gender aspects of social cohesion. The PDA also worked with UNICEF to develop a specific youth and adolescent focused index, with findings published in a 2019 report. To date, the SCORE results have been used by various entities and partners. It informed the impact indicators of a major UNFPA and Council of Europe Youth Programme, helped define programmatic efforts led by UN Women to address the role of minorities in civic and political processes as well as OHCHR’s work on social tolerance. The results were also used in the integrated poverty analysis of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

"The government of Liberia is grateful to the Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme for its timely deployment of essential capacities in country, critical to sustaining our hard-won peace and advancing our development priorities including the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and sustainable development goals."

Permanent Representative of Liberia

(Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

Seed Funding

The Joint Programme provides PDAs with seed funding up to $50,000 per year to support catalytic conflict prevention programming efforts.

Initiatives led by PDA in 2019 benefitting from seed funding



Strengthening capacities for resilience & conflict-sensitive practice in Cox’s Bazar


Bosnia & Herzegovina

Promoting constructive dialogue & positive narratives



Creating a common understanding & coherence of peacebuilding efforts



Context analysis & advice on strategic UN engagement



Facilitating inclusive community mediation in Trinidad & Tobago


Cote d'Ivoire

Strengthening inclusivity in the political dialogue & national peace architecture



Training for young Eritrean diplomats



Dialogue & advocacy around the SDGs



Supporting Peacebuilding Fund eligibility & the spotlight initiative on WPS



Strengthen UN analysis for prevention & early warming



Understanding dynamics & enabling informal consensus building



Facilitating a regional approach to climate-related security risks



Building insider mediation capacities for Government and Civil Society



Strengthening local dialogue capacities for future co-existence

Strengthening partnerships, fostering collaboration and learning

The Joint Programme assists the UN system in making conflict prevention efforts more effective, coherent and complementary. At the country level, PDAs engage with a diverse range of partners, strengthening collaboration with national partners, regional organizations, International Financial institutions (IFIs) and the diplomatic community. Their support to diverse UN entities places them at the forefront of UN interagency collaboration and coordination. At the global level, the Joint Programme encourages and facilitates information sharing and collaboration among its partners and promotes peer-to-peer learning and exchanges. Recognizing the importance of leveraging the capacities and comparative advantage across and outside the UN system, the Joint Programme continues to develop and pursue strategic partnerships.

Breadth of PDA Engagement in 2019

The PDAs engaged with

  • Example of PDA Engagement


    In Tunisia, the PDA team played a key role supporting the UNCT to develop a risk informed and prevention-oriented Common Country Analysis (CCA). As part of this effort, the PDA supported the design of a series of discussion with 250 Tunisian experts and UN agencies. A local think-tank was recruited to lead these discussions based on twelve thematic notes prepared by UN agencies according to the SDG-based Risk Framework. Using the lens of Leave No One Behind, and the thematic notes sought to identify what are risks and resilience capacities, key stakeholders, peoples left behind and factors that may aggravate their exclusion, trends and forecasts. The CCA was a collaborative process by the UNCT and benefitted from engagements with the UN Regional Economic Commission for Africa and UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, two local Think Tanks and the Institute of Security Studies. This last partnership contributed to developing a model of Tunisia’s development trajectory until 2040 using the International Futures assessment methodology developed by the Pardee Centre. The CCA process identified five main multidimensional risks, which guided the elaboration of the country’s UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework as an integrated response to prevent or mitigate those risks. With inputs from the PDA team and the UNCT, the CCA was revised to include the impacts of the pandemic. The PDA team contributed within the framework of the PBF-funded joint project “Sustaining peace in Tunisia through youth inclusion at the local level” to promote the implementation of the 2016 UN-World Bank Pathways for Peace report recommendations.

  • Example of PDA Engagement


    Based in Trinidad and Tobago, the PDA for the Caribbean has focused on addressing the complex nature of insecurity in the region. While most Caribbean nations have stable democracies and fall in the category of middle-income countries, global phenomena such as climate change, organized crime risk of violent extremism and citizen insecurity are among the biggest challenges to sustainable development in the region and threaten to erode development gains. These challenges require concerted and coordinated regional efforts. For the past three years, the PDA has been providing continued expert advice to regional institutions such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to help strengthen regional strategies and initiatives. In 2019, the PDA worked closely with the CARICOM Implementing Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) to finalize the review of the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy (CCSS). The CCSS outlines changing dynamics and manifestations of security threats in the Caribbean, and thus serves as early-warning tool for security institutions in the region. The CCSS also serves to highlight the importance of preventive approaches for sustaining peace, underscores the gender dimension of conflict-prevention efforts and identifies opportunities to fast-track implementation. The PDA also facilitated UN Office of Counter-Terrorism support to the CARICOM Advance Passenger Information System and Passenger Name Record, to enhance detection of movements by persons of interest within the region. The presence of the PDA in Port of Spain, where IMPACS is based, has allowed to joint exploration of new opportunities to lift the UN-CARICOM partnership to a new level, particularly in areas of violence prevention among youth and women. The PDA also provided a regional conflict analysis for the mid-term review of the Multi Country Sustainable Development Framework (MSDF), which enriched the understanding of the Resident Coordinators and UN Agencies of the evolving conflict dynamics in the Caribbean region. The PDA provided conflict analysis and made technical inputs to the series of formulation workshops of the Trinidad and Tobago Spotlight Project.

  • Example of PDA Engagement


    At the country level, PDAs play a key role in ensuring linkages between the UN’s political and development work, and better coordination amongst the diplomatic community in support of the national efforts. In Nigeria, the Resident Coordinator with the support of the PDA, established a coordination platform consisting of partners and national stakeholders working to minimize conflicts between farmers and herders in the Middle Belt and North-Central regions of Nigeria. At the UN House, the platform brings together bilateral partners, various Government agencies at the federal and state levels, national and international NGOs, civil society groups and UN agencies to support the implementation of the Humanitarian, Development and Peace Nexus. A dashboard maps out stakeholders and their initiatives to avoid duplication, enhance coordination and synergy building when implementing the ten-year National Livestock Transformation Plan, championed by the Office of the Vice President in partnership with State Governors in the conflict affected states. The UN’s convening role, the close engagement with the international partners, and the funds provided by the Trust Fund on Human Security and the Peacebuilding Fund, has contributed to reduce the number of attacks in the protracted and politically sensitive farmers and herders conflict regions.

Milestone events contributing to cross-pillar collaboration and partnerships

Operationalizing Pathways for Peace and UN-World Bank collaboration: the first UN-World Bank Senior Country Leadership Dialogue (Dakar)

As part of efforts to strengthen UN-World Bank (WB) collaboration at the country level, UN Resident Coordinators and WB Country Directors/Managers for Guinea, Nepal, Niger, Tajikistan, and Tunisia, met in Dakar in February 2019. The purpose of this country leadership dialogue was to discuss and advance partnership on prevention and sustaining peace, and more specifically to identify avenues to operationalize the recommendations of the Pathways for Peace joint report {link}. The dialogue allowed participants to share risk analyses of key prevention challenges in their respective countries; youth employment, social protection, investment in extractive industries and governance emerged as common threads. In each of the five cases, priority areas of joint UN-WB collaboration were identified.

Accelerating global collaboration and experience-sharing amongst PDAs: the PDA global workshop (Istanbul)

Held biennially, PDA global retreats are a unique forum aimed at strengthening the peace and development community by promoting peer-to-peer exchange, sharing of ideas, and collaboration at the global level. The sixth iteration of the retreat, the largest so far, brought together over 50 PDAs and PDA-types, as well as UN colleagues and partners. Focused on experience-sharing, the retreat was an opportunity for PDAs to highlight some of the innovative approaches used in their context, such as the use of social media tools in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, but also seek feedback on some of the challenges they face. Notably, discussions highlighted the diversity of approaches used in building national and UN capacities for prevention, but also identifying common entry points based on the ‘context of engagement’, ranging from situations of shrinking political and civic space, to sudden opportunities for engagement, and escalating crisis. The importance of further engagement with regional organizations and IFIs, particularly the World Bank, was clear. The PDAs were also keen to enhance their ability to demonstrate results and the impact of their work. The retreat also reinforced connections within the PDA cadre and partners gained a better understanding of the PDA function and support needs.

Strengthening cross-border collaboration and regional approaches: the PDA regional meeting for Europe and Central Asia (Istanbul)

The Regional Retreat for Europe and Central Asia allowed substantive discussions between the six PDA teams in the region, UNDP and DPPA regional colleagues, as well as other PDA-type experts. The meeting was centred on identifying common challenges and discussing issues which have impacts across borders. The sub-regional updates focused on ongoing and planned activities for the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe, South Caucasus, and Central Asia. The identification of common trends and opportunities allowed PDAs to adopt an effective way of working together and to identify programmatic gaps and opportunities. This exercise increased collaboration between PDAs at the regional level, and it contributed to strengthening information-sharing and cooperation between UNDP and DPPA.

Engaging Member States in a discussion on building national capacities for conflict prevention: the Joint Programme high-level partner event (New York)

The second iteration of the Joint Programme High-Level Partner Event brought together more than 100 participants, including 40 Member States, to discuss the importance of building national capacities for conflict prevention. The dialogue, held in the ECOSOC Chamber, was moderated by the DPPA Under-Secretary-General, Rosemary DiCarlo, and featured remarks by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, Khemaies Jhinaoui, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, and the UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. Interventions stressed the ways the Programme, and work of PDAs, is advancing the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda, as well as the importance of empowering local and national actors as agents for peace.

From left to right: Asako Okai ASG and Director of UNDP's Crisis Bureau, Achim Steiner UNDP Administrator and Amina Mohammed Deputy Secretary-General. ©UNDP /Carolina Gasiorowski
From left to right: Khemaies Jhinaoui Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, Rosemary DiCarlo, USG for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Miroslav Jenča, ASG for Europe, Central Asia and the Americas. DPPA © BJ Rubin

Creating a better understanding of the PDA role and conflict prevention work: the annual PDA induction (New York)

Every year, the Joint Programme, in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy, organizes an induction programme for recently deployed Peace and Development Advisors, Peace and Development Specialists and National PDAs. In August 2019, twelve advisors and specialists were invited to New York. The week-long programme is designed as a capacity-building and peer-exchange exercise aimed at creating a better understanding of the PDA role and key aspects of conflict prevention and peacebuilding work supported by the UN. For each induction, an existing PDA is invited to co-facilitate the programme as a way to bring in the practical experience and know-how from peers working in this capacity. For this iteration, the PDA deployed in Uganda, brought in hands-on expertise on supporting national peace architectures.

Supporting regional approaches and collaboration in Africa: the PDA regional workshop for Africa (Dakar)

For the first time, PDA teams deployed across 25 countries in Africa had the opportunity to come together in Dakar for the first regional Africa retreat organized by the Joint Programme. The retreat was organized in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy and provided space for peer-to-peer exchange around regional approaches and collaboration in Africa as well as reflecting on peace and security dynamics at the sub-regional level. Notable interest was around the topics of hate speech, links between climate change, peace, security and development, local and national infrastructures for peace, and the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus. In response to the existing and emerging challenges impacting the region, PDAs agreed to more systematically explore opportunities for cross-border projects and initiatives; broaden the engagement with civil society actors and with regional and sub-regional organizations and economic communities. Earlier and stronger partnership and involvement of IFIs for conflict prevention was also recommended. Participants advised systematizing spaces for information-sharing and coordination amongst PDAs, DPPA and UNDP, as well as country-leadership. During the week, PDAs based in Western Africa also attended the UNOWAS Regional Forum organized back-to-back with the Retreat, from 11 to 13 November.

Creating a better understanding of the links between climate and conflict: the PDA fellowship on climate related security risks and sustaining peace (Stockholm)

The fourth fellowship programme for PDAs was organized in Stockholm and brought together eleven Fellows, including nine PDAs, to engage in facilitated reflections with their peers on climate change, peace and security. The Fellowship allowed a better understanding of the links between climate risks and conflict and the related implications for improved analysis and programming on the ground for peacebuilding. The output from the Fellowship included thematic papers aimed at building up the evidence base on the linkages between climate change, prevention and sustaining peace from the practitioner’s perspective. This cohort was organized by the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre (OGC) and the Joint Programme, in partnership with the Folke Bernadotte Academy, and also engaging the UN Climate Security Mechanism team, the Joint Programme on Women, Natural Resources, and Peace, a partnership between UNEP, UN Women, UNDP, and Peace Building Support Office, and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Financial Overview 2019

In 2019, the Joint Programme organized PDA and management visits to capitals of the Programme’s partners, as an opportunity for national constituencies supporting this initiative to gain a better understanding of the important contribution of PDAs in conflict prevention efforts at the country level. Roundtable discussions with foreign and development ministries were held in Brussels with the PDAs for Côte d’Ivoire and Myanmar, in Oslo and Stockholm with the PDAs for Liberia and Myanmar, and in Berlin, London and The Hague with the PDAs for Burkina Faso, The Gambia and Venezuela.

Words from partners of the Joint programme

"As one of the initial supporters of this Joint Programme, it actually started in 2004, and the way we see it is that ever since its start it had a very unique character and therefore we’re also happy to see how it has grown over the years. Now it is a very important vehicle for the sustaining peace agenda at country level, but also it is key to the UN reform and system wide approach. From our perspective it will be very interesting, not only to continue to support you, but also to continue following this important Programme, which has been very successful when it comes to working in the nexus of peace and development."

Representative of Sweden (Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

"I wanted to start by saying how pleased we are to be one of the top contributors to this Joint Programme. It is incredibly important work and […] indeed the reviews of the Programme repeatedly show that Peace and Development Advisors are one of the most important assets for conflict prevention in UN Country Teams and they play a key role in providing critical technical expertise to UN leadership, and as we heard today, beyond into the deeper UN system."

Representative of the United Kingdom (Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

"We are grateful for the important work that UNDP and DPPA do under the Joint Programme. We are very proud to be one of the five top donors. We have met Peace and Development Advisors worldwide and we are very much impressed with their expertise and commitment. Their role is absolutely crucial in different ways. Firstly, the PDAs and the Joint Programme generally are a connecting force within the UN. The PDAs have an important role in bringing together UN agencies to work on a jointly drafted common conflict analysis, which should lead to collective planning exercise in the context of the cooperation framework. The central position of PDAs in this respect could be even stronger and the cooperation should go beyond the UN."

Representative of the Netherlands (Joint Programme High-level Partner Event, July 2019)

"On behalf of Germany, I would like to thank UNDP and DPPA for bringing us together today to celebrate the many success stories that have proven beyond doubt that the Joint Programme has found the right tools to build and consolidate national capacities for conflict prevention, stabilization and sustaining peace. It also shows the synergies that can be achieved when the peace and security and development pillars of the UN successfully work together."

Thank You

The Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme would like to thank its partners for their continued support and generous financial contributions, in particular the Governments of Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, as well as the European Union. The Programme is really appreciative for the continued collaboration and in-kind contributions for the Governments of Australia, Finland, the Republic of Korea, and the Folke Bernadotte Academy. The Joint Programme team would also like to express appreciation to all Peace and Development Advisors and teams for their inspiring and innovative work in the field, and their contributions to supporting countries prevent conflict and sustain peace.

For more information on the work of the Joint UNDP-DPPA Programme please visit

Photos credits: ©UNDP Bangladesh/Momena Begum - ©UNDP/Sumaya Agha - ©UNDP Tajikistan/Beyond Borders Media - ©UNDP Peru/Maria Paz Gonzales - ©UNDP Bolivia/Miguel Samper - ©UNDP Nigeria/Lesley Wright - ©UNDP Moldova/Ion Buga - ©UNDP PNG/Kim Allen - ©UNDP Benin - ©UNHCR F Noy - ©UNDP Tajikistan/Beyond Borders Media- ©UNDP Azerbaijan/Andrea Egan