Multi-Donor Trust Funds


UN Photo by Julie Pudlowski

Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTFs) are an example of a pooled funding mechanism. They are large in scale and designed to support a clearly defined programmatic purpose and results framework based on a shared theory of change. The MDTF purpose is achieved through a number of high level outcomes and a larger set of outputs (or projects). Being global, regional or national in scope, they are often thematic in nature, targeting specific development, transition, environmental and humanitarian needs.

MDTFs contributions are usually from more than one contributor and are co-mingled, meaning they are not earmarked to a specific entity. These Funds have fairly similar governance arrangements in that implementation is the responsibility of UN organisations. Fund operation is directed by a Steering Committee, chaired or co-chaired by the UN and supported by a Secretariat. Most funds use pass through modalities where an Administrative Agent (AA) serves as an interface between the contributors and the Participating UN Organizations (PUNOs). Many UNDG MDTFs have the Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTFO) serving as AA. Examples of MDTFs can be found on the MPTF Office Gateway (

UNDG Guidance on MDTFs