UNDP's Resumption of Operations in the DPRK
The UNDP CO was reopened in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in October 2009, after activities were suspended in March 2007.
Background: 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 UNDP’s programmes and operations in the DPRK. By the beginning of March 2007, UNDP moved to adjust its practices in several areas 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, as an agreement could not be reached with the DPRK authorities on the implementation of the mandated changes, operations were suspended and international personnel withdrawn.
In 2008, an independent review panel led by former Hungarian Prime Minister Miklós Nemeth cleared UNDP of the most serious allegations made about irregularities in its DPRK operations. The panel also 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, in agriculture, rural energy, and MDG statistics, were updated and resumed in 2010.