The United Nations Foundation is a partner of the United Nations, though it is not directly involved in achieving the UN’s goals on the ground. It was started after multimillionaire philanthropist Ted Turner donated $1 billion as a show of his support for the UN’s objectives. Primarily a funding body, the foundation was established in 1998 –- long after the UN’s 1945 inauguration –- to ensure governments adhere to the commitments they have made to the UN and to secure funding for UN projects worldwide. Additionally, the UN foundation works to connect other organizations, individuals, and businesses in partnership with the UN.

The UN Foundation recognizes the role enterprise has to play in development. Accordingly, it has formed 300 partnerships and garnered over $2 billion in direct aid for UN projects. Examples of the Foundation’s work include partnerships with Vodafone to assist in capitalizing on the spread of technology as an aid to development efforts, with Expedia to protect and increase education about World Heritage Sites, and with multiple US corporations, such as Orkin, Hewlett-Packard and United Airlines, to support the Nothing but Nets campaign which provides mosquito nets in malaria prone regions.

The UN Foundation’s work is particularly important as one of the notorious pitfalls of development projects is the disconnect among organizations working on the same issue. The approach of disparate entities working separately on the same issue breeds inefficiency. Without coordinating past and current efforts, institutions often use the same flawed approaches, compete for resources, and waste energy on unnecessary projects. The Foundation’s work streamlines efforts, capabilities and resources to create a single, coordinated powerhouse initiative on a given project, which has the potential to produce far better results.

Though the UN Foundation is not itself an intervening body, its services have proven invaluable to the continuing efforts of the United Nations in alleviating poverty and instituting programs for sustainable development worldwide.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Sources: UN Business, UN Foundation
Photo: UN Women Flickr