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Policy coherence at the United Nations

UN-administered multi-donor trust funds (MDTFs) aim to support a clearly defined broad programmatic scope and results framework, through contributions that are co-mingled and not earmarked for a specific United Nations entity. Contributions to these MDTFs, including “One UN” funds, totalled $2.3 billion in 2014 or 10.6 per cent of all non-core funding channelled through the UN development system.


According to the UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, for funds to be effective in bringing enhanced coherence among UN entities and their activities at country level, a portion of UN funds spent in a country need to be channelled through inter-agency pooled funds. While this target share varies across different countries, the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office believes that the target should be around 15 to 20 per cent of total funding. In 2014, in only 17 programme countries did over 15 per cent of UN-OAD expenditures at country-level get channelled through inter-agency pooled funds.  The share was below 5 per cent in nearly two-thirds of UN programme countries.

The number of United Nations country teams (UNCTs) implementing the voluntary Delivering as One (DaO) approach has increased from 43 in 2014 to 55 in 2016, which represents over one third of the total number of UNCTs. Countries considered to have adopted DaO are those countries where the government has requested, in writing, that the UN development system adopt the ‘Delivering as One’ approach.

The below chart depicts programme country government responses to the UN DESA survey question: “Overall, the activities of the UN and your country’s development needs and priorities are: very closely aligned, closely aligned, somewhat aligned, not aligned at all”. The data show that close to 9 out of every 10 programme country governments responded that the UN is either “very closely aligned” or “closely aligned”. The results also show that the response was more positive in those countries that have adopted DaO, indicating that the DaO approach may help in improving alignment of the UN system’s operational activities for development to the country’s development needs and priorities.

Development Cooperation Forum – promoting dialogue, coordination and coherence among actors and efforts

The ECOSOC Development Cooperation Forum continues to provide a distinctive global platform for Governments and other stakeholders to have open exchanges about challenges and opportunities in development cooperation, including in improving cooperation, coordination and policy coherence. The DCF Accountability Survey on mutual accountability and transparency in development cooperation, conducted by UN DESA, seeks to promote coherence in development cooperation policies and interventions at different levels of government and between developing countries and their development partners. Find the DCF Policy Briefs here and DCF Survey here.

Preparations are underway for the 6th biennial high-level meeting of the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum, to be held in July 2018 as part of the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council. In July 2016, the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum held its fifth biennial high-level meeting in New York. Bringing together all relevant stakeholders -- developing and developed countries, Southern partners, civil society and philanthropic organizations, the private sector, parliamentarians, local governments and international organizations and development banks -- the Forum considered “Development cooperation: lever for effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda”. The Report of the Secretary-General on “Trends and progress in international development cooperation provided the basis for discussions, building on a two-year preparatory process. More information on the Meeting is available here.