The United Nations Development Group (UNDG) is a consortium of many United Nations agencies, created by the Secretary-General of the United Nations in 1997 to improve the effectiveness of UN development activities at the country level.
Its strategic priorities are to respond to the Triennial comprehensive policy review (TCPR) – which became in 2008 the Quadrennial comprehensive policy review (QCPR) – and global development priorities, as well as to ensure the UN development system becomes more internally focused and coherent. The UNDG strategic priorities give direction to UNDG members' efforts at the global, regional and country level to facilitate a step change in the quality and impact of UN support at the country level. Currently, the UNDG is one of the main UN actors involved in the development of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
UNDG brings together 32 UN agencies and groups, plus five observers working on various development issues.
By 1997, there were calls within the United Nations to draw all UN agencies working on development issues together; for the many UN Development Programmes, Funds, and Specialised Agencies were encroaching upon each other's activities. This was especially so with the Delivering as One initiative. An initial proposal was to merge UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the UNFPA into the UNDP. Finally, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan worked to form the UNDG and won praise from then UNDP Administrator James Speth.
The UNDG is one of the three pillars of the UN system Chief Executives Board (CEB), which furthers coordination and cooperation on a wide range of substantive and management issues facing UN system organizations. The CEB brings the executive heads of UN organizations together on a regular basis under the chairmanship of the Secretary-General. Within the CEB structure, the High-Level Committee on Management works on system-wide administrative and management issues, the High-Level Committee on Programmes considers global policy issues, while the United Nations Development Group deals with operational activities for development with a focus on country-level work.
The Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) chairs the UNDG. The UNDG Chair reports to the Secretary-General and the CEB on progress in implementing the group’s work plan, and on the management of the Resident Coordinator System. 
The United Nations Economic and Social Council and the United Nations General Assembly provide oversight and mandates for the UNDG. The UNDG is overseen by the Economic and Financial Committee (Second Committee) of the General Assembly. The UNDG has provided reports such as the Comprehensive statistical analysis of the financing of operational activities for development of the UN system for 2006 and the Comprehensive statistical analysis of the financing of operational activities for development of the UN system for 2007 to the General Assembly.
The UNDG's chairperson is the UNDP's Administrator. Since its inception, the following have been the Chair of the UNDG:
Under Kemal Derviş' leadership, an "Advisory Group", which provides the UNDG Chair with advice and guidance on managing the operational dimensions of the UNDG and the Resident Coordinator System, was established. In 2009, the non-rotational members of the advisory group were: the FAO, ILO, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, WHO and UNIDO. The rotational members (for a period of one year, as of 2016) are: the UNCTAD (representing UNEP, UN Habitat and UNODC) and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Africa (representing all five Regional Commissions).
The UN Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO) is a key component within the UNDG, promoting social and economic progress by providing support. It was key part of UNDG's formation in 1997, uniting the UN system and improve the quality of its development assistance. Coordination leads to more strategic UN support for national plans and priorities, makes operations more efficient, reduces transaction costs for governments, and ultimately helps people attain the Millennium Development Goals and other internationally agreed development objectives. At present is the Secretariat and technical and advisory support unit of the UNDG. It brings together the UN development system to promote change and innovation to deliver together on sustainable development. DOCO works under the leadership of the UNDG Chair and guidance of the UNDG. The team provides field evidence to inform policy, facilitates the achievement of shared results, and promotes excellence in UN leadership and coordination. The core objective is a relevant and impactful UN contribution to development.