The UN in India

The United Nations system includes 26 organisations that have the privilege to serve in India. The Resident Coordinator, the designated representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Government leads the UN Country Team to advocate the mandate of the United Nations, while drawing on the support and guidance of the entire UN family.


The United Nations provides strategic support to India to help the country achieve its aspirations to end poverty and inequality and to promote sustainable development in line with the globally agreed SDGs.  The UN also supports India, as the world’s largest democracy, in the country’s ambitious commitments to rapid change and development priorities.

Supporting India’s Development Priorities

In India, as in other countries in the world, our work is guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Framework (UNSDF)a framework of cooperation, results and strategies between the Government of India and the United Nations system in India to contribute to the achievement of national priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UNSDF was framed following a highly participative process, in consultation with government entities, civil society representatives, academia, and the private sector. The seven focus areas include:

  • Poverty and Urbanisation
  • Health, Water, and Sanitation
  • Education and Employability
  • Nutrition and Food Security
  • Climate Change, Clean Energy and Disaster Resilience
  • Skilling, Entrepreneurship, and Job Creation
  • Gender Equality and Youth Development

Across outcome areas, the UN also supports the Government of India on south-south cooperation, in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs.

The UNSDF serves as a partnership framework between the Government of India and the UN System and is being nationally executed under the overall coordination of NITI Aayog. 



It underscores the core programming principle to leave no one behind. It is aligned with global and national aspirations, and normative frameworks to achieve equity and inclusion. It is an instrument for the Government of India and the UN to work together in a coordinated and coherent manner to address the development needs of the poor, vulnerable and marginalised communities in India, and to bring to scale innovative development solutions. The UNSDF recognises the risks that individuals and groups face due to vulnerabilities, including the lack of visibility of their specific needs. Consequently, the UNSDF will focus on efforts to reduce social and spatial disparities in income and human development.


The Sustainable Development Goals in India

India is critical in determining the success of the SDGs, globally. At the UN Sustainable Development Summit in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted, “Sustainable development of one-sixth of humanity will be of great consequence to the world and our beautiful planet. It will be a world of fewer challenges and greater hope; and, more confident of its success”. NITI Aayog, the Government of India’s premier think tank, has been entrusted with the task of coordinating the SDGs, mapping schemes related to the SDGs and their targets, and identifying lead and supporting ministries for each target. In addition, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) has been leading discussions for developing national indicators for the SDGs. State governments are key to India’s progress on the SDGs as they are best placed to ‘put people first’ and to ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’. The UN Country Team in India supports NITI Aayog, Union ministries and state governments in their efforts to address the interconnectedness of the goals, to ensure that no one is left behind and to advocate for adequate financing to achieve the SDGs.