What is United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)?

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What is United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF)? Blog Image


Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) recently launched a whitepaper aimed at making India a global leader in agritech innovation.

About United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF):

  • What is it?
    • It is the United Nations' flagship catalytic financing entity for the world's 46 Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
    • It is an autonomous, voluntarily funded UN organization, affiliated with the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Mandate: The original UNCDF mandate from the UN General Assembly (UNGA) 1966 Resolution is to “assist developing countries in the development of their economies by supplementing existing sources of capital assistance by means of grants and loans”. The mandate was modified in 1973 to serve first and foremost but not exclusively the LDCs.
  • It is the only UN agency mandated to focus primarily on the least developed countries (LDCs).
  • It works to invest and catalyse capital to support to LDCs in achieving ​the sustainable growth and inclusiveness envisioned by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Doha Programme of Action for the least developed countries, 2022–2031.
  • It provides investment capital and technical support to both the public and the private sectors.

Key facts about Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):

  • AIM is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country and was set up in 2016.
  • Objective: To create and promote an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship across the country at school, university, research institutions, MSME and industry levels.
  • All the initiatives of AIM are currently monitored and managed systematically using real-time MIS systems and dynamic dashboards.
  • Implementing Agency: NITI Aayog
  • AIM has multiple programs to encourage and support innovation in the country.
    • Atal Tinkering Labs: At the school level, AIM is setting up state-of-the-art Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) across all districts across the country to promote creative, innovative mindset in schools.
    • Atal Incubators: At the university, NGO, SME and Corporate industry levels, AIM is setting up world-class Atal Incubators (AICs) that would trigger and enable the successful growth of sustainable startups in every sector /state of the country thereby promoting entrepreneurs and job creators in the country.
    • Atal New India Challenges and Atal Grand Challenges:
      • They are being launched in specific areas and sectors of national importance - such as Renewable Energies, Energy Storage, Climate-smart precision agriculture, Universal drinking water, Swaach Bharat, etc.
      • The successful applicants will get a grant of upto Rs 1 crore for Atal New India Challenges and larger grants of upto Rs 30 crore for Atal Grand Challenges.


Q1) What is NITI Aayog?

NITI Aayog or the National Institution for Transforming India is a policy think tank of the Indian government which provides inputs regarding the different programmes and policies of the government. NITI Aayog gives relevant advice to the centre and state governments as well as to the Union territories.

Source: Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, UNCDF team up to make India global agri-tech leader