In 2019, the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN) assessed the performance of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The assessment looked at UNIDO’s organisational effectiveness (strategic, operational, relationship and performance aspects) and the results it achieved against its objectives. This is the first MOPAN assessment of UNIDO.
UNIDO was established over 50 years ago as the lead United Nations (UN) agency for industrialisation. The Lima Declaration 2013 mandated UNIDO to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development. This strategic direction was further strengthened when UNIDO became the custodian agency for Sustainable Development Goal 9 targets for the 2030 Agenda. Over the past two decades, UNIDO experienced a significant loss of members and of their associated assessed contributions, critically affecting its funding situation. In response to these changes, UNIDO focused on raising voluntary contributions for its activities, with some success. While assessed contributions had decreased, extra-budgetary support for project activities had increased. This led UNIDO to gradually depend on extra-budgetary earmarked project funding and thus focus more on projects that required technical co-operation. Increased dependency on earmarked funding had also weakened UNIDO’s capacity to undertake activities that would achieve strategic impact. By giving greater priority to working in partnerships, UNIDO could play a more strategic role in industrialisation at country level. However, the organisation’s highly centralised structure and relatively low field presence limited its country level engagement.