United Nations: India has given over USD four million to the UN Democracy Fund (UNDEF), bringing to nearly USD 30 million its total contribution to the entity launched in 2005 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the then US President George Bush for promotion of democratic values.

India's Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri handed over a cheque for USD 4.17 million on Friday to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon here.

Ban thanked India for its consistent support to the UNDEF, saying he was pleased to receive the contribution from the "greatest democracy".

The fund, which was initiated as a result of a partnership between India and the US, was launched jointly by Singh, Bush and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in New York in September 2005.

India is the second largest contributor to the UNDEF, having contributed USD 29.71 million to it so far.

At the inception of the fund, India had contributed USD 10 million followed by contributions of USD five million each in 2008, 2009 and 2011.

India considers the fund to be an effective instrument for the promotion of democratic values and processes and has played a prominent role in the UNDEF as a member of the Advisory Board, its apex governing body.

UNDEF supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights and encourage participation of all groups in democratic processes.

Since its inception, UNDEF has funded about 400 projects in over 100 countries, bringing total disbursement to about USD 110 million. The large majority of funds go to local civil society groups -- both in the transition and consolidation phases of democratisation.

UNDEF's two-year projects  projects exist in developing countries and nations in transition, focussing on areas of community development, rule of law and human rights, tools for democratisation, women, youth and media.

The fund is supported by voluntary contributions from governments.

In 2010, it surpassed USD 110 million in contributions and now counts 39 countries as donors, including many middle and low-income States in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The seven largest contributors to UNDEF are the US, India, Australia, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

UNDEF grants range from USD 50,000 to USD 500,000.

The current Advisory Board of UNDEF comprises 19 nations, including its seven largest contributors and six other countries reflecting geographical diversity and commitment to democratic principles. These are Jamaica, Lithuania, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Uruguay.