The UNDP has operated projects in Kazakhstan for years now, but with the country reaching upper middle-income status, the nature of the partnership is ready for a change. “Traditionally, the UNDP had developed country partners which funded it, and it had developing country partners that it was funded to work in,” Clark explained. “Now, the world is no longer that simple. Once a country gets up to middle-income status, high middle-income status in the case of Kazakhstan, it doesn’t need your money. It needs your ideas and innovation. And so the relationship moves quite a lot. And such countries also start to look at how they’re positioning globally and their own development cooperation.”
The UNDP has developed formal agreements with eight of the G20 emerging economies, Clark noted. China, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, South Africa and Mexico, among others, are all doing development cooperation, she said, and in these cases, the UNDP changes its approach. The primary concern is to remain relevant to the country’s development and continue to operate projects as needed within the country, but also to help support more south-south cooperation and triangular programmes involving third countries through the developing nations’ own aid agencies. “So it’s about a partnership that sees us working not only in the country but with the country in its global and bilateral relationships for development.” The UNDP has concluded these types of relationships with other upper middle-income counties, like Chile, and Kazakhstan seems quite interested, Clark reported.