To implement the UNDAF, the UN system establishes and clarifies roles, responsibilities and necessary processes for oversight, coordination, management, partnership arrangements, planning, monitoring and evaluation. In line with the UN commitment to national ownership through strengthening national capacities, these arrangements maximize the use of national systems and available UN competencies and resources, and are grounded in the international norms and standards that the UN system upholds.

Effective implementation requires that all UN members operate in a manner that promotes coherence, ensuring that core programming principles and approaches are fully considered and applied under the unifying principle of leaving no one behind. To this end, the UN system commits adequate resources to UNDAF management arrangements. Organizations need to establish incentives for their staff to consistently contribute to inter-agency mechanisms for delivering on the UNDAF, such as by integrating this expectation in their performance plans.

Roles and Responsibilities

The UNDG Management and Accountability System (MAS), including the functional Resident Coordinator firewall, provides an overview of the responsibilities and accountabilities of key actors, including in the context of developing and implementing an UNDAF. Key roles are identified for the Resident Coordinator and members of the UNCT (UN Management and Accountability System).

The Resident Coordinator facilitates and oversees the CCA, and the design and implementation of the UNDAF. Where required, the Resident Coordinator may also propose amendments to the UNDAF and the joint work plans if some activities are no longer aligned with the broader strategy of the UNDS to respond to national needs and priorities.

Further details on specific roles, responsibilities and accountabilities are found in the integrated guidance for the SOPs. When feasible, UNDAF design and implementation arrangements align with existing broader national coordination mechanisms to avoid duplicating these mechanisms and to keep transaction costs to a minimum while ensuring national ownership and leadership. Figure 3 represents a typical implementation arrangement, although this may differ in countries with UN missions.

The Joint National/UN Steering Committee, co-chaired by the government coordinating entity and the Resident Coordinator, reviews and guides the strategic direction of the UNDAF and the joint work plans, providing high-level oversight and support. Its generic terms of reference (One-Programme Tools & Materials) reflect the spirit of national ownership, although final details are decided by the Resident Coordinator and UNCT depending on local context and in consultation with the government. The steering committee meets at least once per year during the UNDAF annual review to discuss data and evidence collected during monitoring for assessing progress against the indicators, horizon-scanning, updating risk analysis, and assessing performance in forming partnerships, resource mobilization and delivery.

UNDAF Results Groups[22] are an arrangement for the implementation of one or more UNDAF strategic priorities. They are typically internal UN working mechanisms that ensure a coherent UN approach. Results Groups should be aligned to existing nationally led coordination mechanisms whenever possible. Where such mechanisms do not exist, the UN system can promote their creation. Depending on country context, national and international stakeholders may be included in Results Groups (One-Programme Tools & Materials)

Joint work plans

Joint work plans are managed by Results Groups and define output-level results, activities and an annual CBF. They enable the UN system to advance coherence, coordinate work around the delivery of the UNDAF outcomes, and support transparency and accountability. Organization-specific work plans complement UNDAF joint work plans, where relevant. In formulating and carrying out joint work plans, Results Group do the following:

  • Identify outputs where two or more agencies can complete each other’s efforts, including through joint programming, and outline the roles of different members in achieving common results.
  • Coordinate and manage the implementation of interventions in a coherent manner, to achieve common results;
  • Identify joint communications and advocacy opportunities to achieve common results;
  • Ensure that outputs are costed, available resources identified, and the funding gap calculated and reported on;
  • Develop and sign joint work plans with relevant UN organizations and whenever possible with the government;
  • Periodically review and revise the joint work plans as necessary;
  • Prepare inputs for the annual One UN Country Results Report.

In countries with UN missions, implementation can be facilitated through joint work plans overseen by Results Groups with both UN mission and UN agency members. The work plans provide a transparent overview of the activities of UN actors working in the country and create a better division of labour. Activities can either be implemented by the mission alone or jointly with one or more UN entities. In countries with humanitarian operations, humanitarian actors can contribute to joint work plans, and efforts can be made to ensure coherence and complementarity between humanitarian and development actions. For more information, see the SOPs for countries adopting the “Delivering as One” approach, and the companion document One Programme Tools and Materials: Tips and Template for Joint Work Plans (One-Programme Tools & Materials).

Joint programming and joint programmes: Mutual reinforcement

Joint programming is the collective effort through which UN organizations and national partners work together to prepare, implement, monitor and evaluate activities aimed at effectively and efficiently achieving the SDGs and other international commitments, within the framework of the UNDAF and the joint work plans.

Within joint work plans, the United Nations may identify the need for increased joint delivery through the development of one or more joint programme(s). A joint programme is a set of activities contained in a joint work plan and related budgetary framework, involving two or more UN organizations, and intended to achieve results aligned with national priorities as reflected in the UNDAF. Joint programmes can be funded through pooled funds. While the joint programme arrangement is only between UN organizations, other stakeholders can be engaged as implementing partners. UN missions and humanitarian actors are also invited to engage in joint programmes, where appropriate, depending on the country context. Joint programmes can be attractive to funding partners, since the modality provides greater assurance of UN coherence in delivering results.


[22] The Results Groups contribute to specific UNDAF outcomes through coordinated and collaborative planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

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