Created by the General Assembly in 1966, UNCDF was established to provide grants and concessional loans throughout the developing world. In 1973, UN Member States agreed UNCDF would have focused “first and foremost” on those countries in greatest need – the world’s least developed countries.
During the 1990s and 2000s - working with governments - UNCDF designed the systems for local government planning, financing and maintenance of capital investments. Prior to that UNCDF financed innovative local infrastructure projects designed to demonstrate new ways of promoting economic growth.
Today, UNCDF offers “last mile” financing models to show how localized public and private investment - through fiscal decentralization, innovations in municipal finance, and project finance - can unlock domestic capital for the catalytic infrastructure and services which drive local economic development.
UNCDF’s innovative work at the local level continues to help impact national development, including by being taken to scale by governments and larger development partners such as the World Bank.