Tags:

Within UNDAFs, the United Nations employs six mutually reinforcing programming approaches to deliver on the unifying principle of leaving no one behind and the other four integrated programming principles. These programming approaches, described on the following pages, apply to UNDAFs in all country contexts.

Results Focused Programming

The SDGs and their translation at country level constitute the frame of reference for the formulation of UNDAF strategic priorities, outcomes, the theory of change, and related indicators and targets. Using results-based management, the UN system ensures that resources are directed towards improving conditions for identified populations, particularly those left behind. Results-focused programming is an approach where the allocation of energies and resources is based on clearly articulated and measurable intended results, rather than on planned activities.

A results-focused approach also requires the identification of critical assumptions about the programming environment, and a consideration of relevant risks and management measures. Indicators to monitor progress and measure the achievement of outcomes are identified, with attention given to data, evidence generation, and support for national statistical and information systems. Accountabilities are clearly defined and backed by strong reporting mechanisms.
In line with the UNDG RBM Handbook, UNDAF outcomes represent changes in institutional and behavioural capacities for development. A results-focused programme is oriented by the CCA, which outlines changes required in a country context, and articulated based on the theory of change and the UNDAF results framework (see Part 2). The focus on results should be maintained throughout the entire UNDAF process, including during monitoring and evaluation.

Capacity Development

The UNDG defines capacity as the ability of people, organizations and society as a whole to manage their affairs successfully. Capacity development is the process of unleashing, strengthening, creating, adapting and maintaining capacity over time. It is a core function of the UNDS and is critical to implement the 2030 Agenda and sustain progress. The 2030 Agenda and the unifying principle of leaving no one behind demands an enhanced approach to capacity development of government and relevant stakeholders, including civil society and nongovernmental organizations.

Capacity development support by the United Nations seeks to maximize national ownership and leadership and address capacity at the levels of individuals, organizations and the enabling environment. Individual capacity support focuses on improving individual skills, knowledge and performance through training, experiences, motivation and incentives. Organizational capacity support aims at improving organizational performance through strategies, plans, rules and regulations, partnerships, leadership, organizational politics and power structures. Capacity support for an enabling environment seeks to strengthen policies while ensuring policy coherence to address economic, environmental and social factors such as labour markets, the policy and legislative environment, class structure and cultural aspects.

The CCA includes an assessment and analysis of the capacities of government and relevant stakeholders. It articulates the root causes of the lack of capacity, and explores broad approaches to developing capacities such as through South-South and triangular cooperation. The UNDAF strategic prioritization process enables the United Nations to identify those areas of capacity development where it can have a maximum impact in supporting the achievement of the SDGs. The paths to capacity development (that is, the explanations of why certain results and activities are believed to lead to increased capacity) are articulated in the theory of change, while the goals of capacity development actions (that is, measurable changes in capacity) are laid out in the UNDAF results framework (see Part 2). The companion guidance on capacity development provides more information on the application of this principle.

Risk-informed Programming

Investing in risk-informed programming entails effective management of risk at every step of the UNDAF process. Risk is viewed from a common UN system-wide perspective, rather than an organization-specific one. Importantly, risk-informed development takes into account “risks to” programming as well as “risks from” programming. While assessing risks to programming, the focus is on those that might impact or facilitate the achievement of the development objectives. The “do no harm” principle addresses risks from programming.

Risk-informed development programming entails a multidimensional approach to managing disaster risks and climate impacts, and to protecting development gains. While applying the principle of “do no harm,” it seeks to secure wider social, economic and environmental co-benefits. It recognizes that the achievement of the SDGs will be contingent on nations’ and communities’ abilities to build resilience to risks of multiple threats, including those related to natural hazards, climate change, conflict, food and water crises, pandemics, displacement, migration and economic shocks, among others. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the SDGs and the Paris Agreement provide an impetus for countries to reverse current risk trends and emission levels, and graduate towards low-carbon, risk-informed development.

Conflict analysis is particularly significant for risk-informed programming in countries prone to natural disasters, experiencing complex emergencies or in conflict or post-conflict situations. This analysis supports responses that address development, humanitarian and peacebuilding challenges. It provides a platform to engage with donors and other development, humanitarian and peacebuilding actors, and can help promote the United Nations as a valued collaborator.
The sustainability of public and private investment depends on sound risk management. UNDAFs should aim to fully embed risk management into development, and systematically encourage public and private investments to be underpinned by an adequate understanding of risks and the connections among them. The application of risk indices (for example, INFORM) can help identify risks and vulnerabilities in humanitarian and disaster settings, and promote resilience building (see: www.inform-index.org).

CCAs reflect the multiple risks that countries face, such as market shocks, natural hazards, social unrest, climate change, epidemics and pandemics, and the risk of conflict or serious human rights violations. Such risks are challenges in themselves, but can also trigger further risks, such as economic loss and political tensions, undermining and reversing progress towards the SDGs. Risk-informed programming also feeds into the consideration of long-term risks in the UN Vision 2030 exercise. It facilitates the determination of an UNDAF’s strategic priorities, the development of the theory of change, the definition of outcomes and the creation of joint work plans. UNDAFs should seek to manage risks by avoiding harm, building resilience, and improving national and local preparedness, and position the United Nations to respond when risks materialize.

Development, Humanitarian and Peacebuilding Linkages*

The 2030 Agenda, the pursuit of the SDGs, the commitment to leave no one behind, and the need to support recovery and durable solutions in situations of conflict or fragility require that UNDAFs demonstrate coherence across development, humanitarian and peacebuilding agendas, underpinned by human rights as the common purpose of the United Nations Charter. CCAs, UNDAFs and related processes should be more connected to humanitarian action and when appropriate to UN peacekeeping operations or special political missions, collectively contributing to longer term development gains.[9]

The United Nations General Assembly and Security Council resolutions in 2016 on sustaining peace [10] emphasized the importance of joint analysis and effective strategic planning across the UN system. These resolutions seek to increase the focus of the UN system on preventing conflicts, so that not only the symptoms, but also the root causes of conflicts are addressed. They call on the United Nations to do more context specific joint multidimensional conflict and risk analysis. In line with this, the CCA considers multi hazard risks, human rights, and humanitarian and peacebuilding dimensions in a holistic way. It should examine existing coping and response capacities, and resilience systems. The UNDG-endorsed Conflict and Development Analysis tool should assist with analyses in conflict-affected countries. The Humanitarian Needs Overview should also be considered a source of information on people’s vulnerability for the CCA in crisis contexts.

A coherent response across the development, humanitarian and peacebuilding efforts in crisis and post-crisis settings requires a shared vision and articulation of collective outcomes by a wide range of partners, including UN and non-UN actors, based on their comparative advantages and over multiple years. Coherent planning and programming is context specific. UN entities strategically plan together activities, interventions and programmes, and who does what, where, how and when, within their mandates and with their comparatives advantages, with the process directly aimed at contributing to reduced needs, vulnerability and risk, thus contributing to achieving sustainable development, including sustainable peace.

At the country level, the United Nations should explore different coherence arrangements based on a range of options depending on the country context, with joint analysis and planning reflected in a common planning framework on one end of the spectrum, and separate planning instruments when operationally necessary on the other end of the spectrum. While humanitarian action may contribute to sustainable development and sustainable peace, the main purpose of humanitarian action will remain to address life-saving needs and alleviate suffering in accordance with humanitarian principles. Analysis and planning should include humanitarian inputs to ensure coherence and complementarity.

In some protracted crises, while respecting the continued need for the neutrality, impartiality and independence of humanitarian action, the United Nations may bring together development and humanitarian support in the UNDAF through the articulation of collective outcomes based on joint analysis and multiyear planning. This approach should also be applied in situations where a humanitarian response is drawing down, and the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and other humanitarian programmes are being or have been phased out, with residual humanitarian needs addressed in the UNDAF. In situations of protracted displacement, the needs of displaced people will usually be a core element of the planning process in order to support durable solutions.

There are various scenarios where UNDAFs and HRPs will exist side-by-side. For example, in high-intensity conflict situations, where there is a need to guarantee a separate humanitarian space, humanitarian support should not be part of the UNDAF, and the HRP and/or Refugee Response Plan (RRP) should remain separate, albeit well aligned. In these contexts, direct links between the UNDAF and HRP/RRP should be made to ensure complementarity, sequencing of development and humanitarian activities, and compatibility of results frameworks. This can enable, when appropriate, the targeting of the same geographical areas and people affected by crisis and fragility, with a vision and plan for integration over the longer term. It builds on the strength of the UNDAF to achieve long-term results with a view to reducing and mitigating risks; addressing the structural and underlying drivers of inequality, deprivation and fragility, including in areas affected by humanitarian crises; and helping vulnerable and crisis-affected people become self-reliant and resilient.

In settings where there is an integrated UN presence, whether it is a peacekeeping operation or a special political mission, the mission and the UNCT are required to develop an Integrated Strategic Framework (ISF). This promotes collaboration by reflecting shared objectives and means through which the United Nations will promote peace consolidation. UNDAFs can be designed to serve as the ISF or vice versa. Having both an ISF and UNDAF is not required if one framework can meet the minimum requirements of both. As per the United Nations Policy on Integrated Assessment and Planning, this decision is made by senior UN leadership at the country level. Implementation is facilitated through joint work plans that detail the division of labour between the mission and UN agencies.

Coherent Policy Support

The 2030 Agenda demands policy coherence and more integrated approaches, where different actors work together across sectors to deliver sustainable development.[14]

The United Nations combines its diverse and complimentary mandates, expertise and technical contributions so that the policy support it provides to national partners is comprehensible, comprehensive and coherent.[15] As identified in the principles of the United Nations Chief Executives Board for Coordination(CEB), it is the UN system’s ambition to “work in unity while preserving diversity.” The system’s diversity and vast range of specialized expertise is a source of great strength and an invaluable asset when leveraged in a coordinated, coherent manner.

Policy coherence ensures consistency across national policy and programmatic frameworks, the legal obligations of States under international law, and their alignment in support of development efforts. It is about making sure that what is done in one area makes sense alongside what is done in other areas. Policy coherence is crucial for achievement of the SDGs, given their interlinked nature and the constituent elements involved: social, economic and environmental, together with peace, security, human rights and equality. In order to achieve policy coherence across the work of the United Nations at country level, UNDAFs:

● Align to national priorities and plans, national SDG strategies and targets, and internationally agreed policy frameworks defining integrated approaches to sustainable development as well as norms and standards. This provides “vertical policy coherence” between frameworks at different levels, including at national and subnational levels. It requires constant assessment of the national development and policy landscape, and regular engagement with stakeholders and development partners, including the World Bank and other international financial institutions.

● Enhance synergies between intervention areas (horizontal coherence) and their alignment with national development goals. “Horizontal coherence” is promoted through approaches that include Results Groups, joint work plans and pooled funding instruments. These approaches enhance collaboration towards collective outcomes. UNDAFs leverage both specialized sectoral technical assistance and cross sectoral work.

● Strengthen coherence among development, humanitarian and peacebuilding efforts and human rights mechanisms for the realization and sustainability of peace and development gains.

Partnerships

The 2030 Agenda underlines the importance of partnerships for results. Inclusive, strategic and mutually beneficial partnerships at global, regional, national and local levels are a prerequisite to achieving the SDGs. The transformative ambitions of the 2030 Agenda imply a shift in roles and responsibilities, and a corresponding shift in the way partnership is understood, facilitated and developed.

The achievement of the SDGs requires the broad engagement of all development and humanitarian actors, including people at large in a given country and other stakeholders. The UNDAF process and its implementation provide a platform for the UN system to leverage its global comparative strengths to convene a wide range of stakeholders. UNDAFs can also lay out ways in which the United Nations can develop innovative approaches to multistakeholder partnerships, and foster new collaborations in line with UN principles, norms and standards. In brokering South-South and triangular cooperation and public-private partnerships, the focus should be on promoting the leadership and full participation of these actors in attaining national goals informed by the SDGs.

Multistakeholder partnerships bring diverse views, rich experiences, and a broad range of capacities and resources to bear, including in conflict-affected states and states in protracted crisis, as well as among displaced populations. Through convening and leveraging different partners throughout the UNDAF process, the United Nations can promote leadership of initiatives by the best-placed partner(s). Advocacy and normative work can advance new and innovative partnerships to leverage resources from a wide range of partners.

Partnerships with non-governmental actors are essential to an efficient and effective UN response, based on the principles of equality, transparency, a results-oriented approach, responsibility and complementarity. This approach to partnership offers tailored solutions that address actual needs rather than “one-size-fits-all” approaches. The United Nations is committed to making and encouraging greater efforts to support and enable national and local actors to provide expertise and good practices, and add capacity and capability. This includes emergency preparedness and response, as referenced, inter alia, by the World Humanitarian Summit.

At the same time, the United Nations approaches partnerships with due care and diligence to uphold and protect its values. A new and expanded approach to partnerships requires a risk informed approach. Working with partners who do not uphold the values of the United Nations presents reputational, fiduciary and other risks. UN partnership strategies should include risk management measures, including safeguards and due diligence processes.[16]


[*] The term nexus and linkage are used interchangeably.
[9] See: General Assembly resolution 71/243, paragraph 24(a)
[10] See: General Assembly resolution 70/262 and Security Council resolution 2282 (2016)
[11] See: General Assembly resolution 46/182.
[12] See: the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s “Introduction to Humanitarian Action: A brief guide for Resident Coordinators,” 2015, available at: http://reliefweb.int/report/world/introduction-humanitarian-action-brief-guide-resident-coordinators; and UNHCR’s “Note on the Mandate of the High Commissioner for Refugees and His Office,” 2013, available at: www.unhcr.org/526a22cb6.html.
[13] An UN Integrated Presence means that there is a multidimensional peacekeeping operation or field-based special political mission deployed alongside an UNCT.
[14] See: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda and the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review.
[15] See: the UNDG repository of tools for upstream policy support by the SDGs and their targets.
[16] For risk analysis involving the United Nations working with security forces, see the Human Rights Due Diligence Policy on United Nations Support to non United Nations Security Forces (A/67/775-S/2013/110).

Related Blogs and Country stories

Silo Fighters Blog

Powering up data collection systems in Palestine

BY Subhra Bhattacharjee | July 11, 2018

In 2016 we prepared a Common Country Analysis (CCA) for Palestine. A CCA is UN speak for a detailed analysis of a country in preparation for a multi-year action plan of the UN. It identifies key development challenges and where the UN needs to focus its development investments. For our analysis this time, we decided to look at people. In hindsight it appears to be the obvious thing to do, but we were not the first to think of this. The Nepal UN Country Team did it before us. For our CCA we asked ourselves two questions: Who are the most vulnerable groups in Palestine? What are the structural drivers of their vulnerability? We thought if we could identify the most vulnerable groups and analyze the structural drivers of their chronic vulnerability, we will have a good sense of what it will take to ensure that our sustainable development investments leave no one behind. The first call for ideas brought out 61 proposed groups, each backed by passionate arguments as to why they are the most vulnerable. We merged some groups, reduced duplications, clarified categories, tinkered with definitions, and after extensive discussions, honed our focus to 20 vulnerable groups. This gave us a window to the factors that keep some groups in Palestine systematically at a disadvantage. Next, we did a deep-dive to understand why development was leaving some groups behind. For some groups, including out-of-school children and children in the labour market, the lack of adequate data makes it difficult for government to formulate specific policies and programmes for these groups. Alternative data collection methods for groups that are small compared to the population After a comprehensive exercise to account for the data, especially looking at Sustainable Development Goals indicators, we noted that relevant data on smaller groups couldn’t be collected only through existing surveys. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) uses representative samples for each geographical area of the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), and even though it produces high quality data consistent with international standards, there is a lack of up-to-date and periodic disaggregated data on several smaller groups. Take for example, the fishermen of Gaza. There are some 4,000 registered fishermen in Gaza, accounting for 0.2 percent of Gaza’s population of two million. If PCBS samples 1,000 people from Gaza for one of its quarterly labour force surveys, it will have at most two fishermen in its sample. We cannot draw any reliable conclusions about the socio-economic conditions of fishermen in Gaza from a sample of two people. And if PCBS included more fishermen in their sample, the percentage of fishermen in the sample will be larger than the percentage of fishermen in Gaza’s population. To create a large enough sub-sample for fisherfolk, PCBS will need to do a new level of sub-sampling by profession or sector on top of the two layers it is already subsampling. This would significantly increase its cost of surveys. Are you still tracking with us? Keep reading.   Flash surveys to the rescue So, for the smaller groups, we at the UN looked for an approach to gather data that would not cost too much, would not create too much additional work and most importantly, that is able to produce good quality data. The first thing we tried is a series of flash surveys – with small samples, and short questionnaires. These flash surveys had several benefits over the more traditional surveys with bigger samples and longer questionnaires: They allowed us to test our systems for collecting primary data and iterate quickly and cheaply if necessary to work out the flaws in the system. They enabled our enumerators to get hands-on training at a relatively low cost to us. They are also particularly suitable for understanding the smaller groups that don’t get adequately represented in the bigger surveys. We chose four vulnerable groups: adolescent girls, children in labour, the elderly and persons with disabilities as pilot cases. UNFPA took the lead in this. They engaged the Sharek Youth Forum, a non-profit, and one of UNFPA’s implementing partners to conduct the surveys. OHCHR, FAO, UNRWA, helped with the quality control. 37 university students (28 from the West Bank and 9 from Gaza) were recruited from Sharek’s network and trained as enumerators by an expert. The survey questionnaires in Arabic were uploaded on KoBoToolbox, a free and open source suite of tools for collecting data. Many of the young enumerators owned smartphones so they downloaded the app on their phones and entered the data for each person they surveyed into their smartphones. Sharek provided the others with tablets. A village, a town and a refugee camp were selected in each governorate. Sharek’s enumerators visited schools to survey adolescent girls, reached out to the elderly in their local communities, and found persons with disabilities through support groups. ILO provided information on the areas with high concentration of child labour. The enumerators collected the data over a period of two weeks, and, in some cases, they used paper forms to collect the data and documented problems as they arose. The enumerators collected data on a small number of key demographic variables for each group. For the data on the four groups produced by Viz for Social Good, click here, here, here, and here. Before even looking at the data, we noted a few things. First, we now have 37 trained enumerators who can be deployed again at short notice to conduct other flash surveys. The investment in training and the hands-on experience they got has started the process of creating systems to collect data on vulnerable groups. Second, we need to finesse our sample selection if we want to use the surveys to provide baseline indicators and monitor progress. Third, we need to think through how to combine the data from smartphones and paper surveys. Fourth, we need to figure out how to identify our target groups based on more rigorous definitions. For instance, not all work done by children should be classified as child labour. According to ILO, child labour refers to work that “deprives children of their childhood, their potential and their dignity, and that is harmful to physical and mental development”. Fifth, flash surveys need more quality control if they are to serve the same purpose as traditional surveys. This is because with smaller samples of flash surveys, the choice of location will need extra attention to ensure that the sample is indeed representative. This year, we will work through these wrinkles. Engaging people in their own data analysis In data circles, we often hear the idea of engaging communities to collect and use their own data. But the instances of it being done in a meaningful, low cost, sustainable way to generate usable data are few and far between. Could we pull it off? We decided to experiment with combining data collection and empowerment for one of the most vulnerable groups in the oPt, namely, Area C communities. Area C accounts for 60 percent of the West Bank. It has some of the most fertile agricultural land and almost the entirety of Palestine’s natural resources. An estimated 300,000 Palestinians live in Area C and a greater number depend on its resources for their livelihoods. Area C is controlled by the Israeli military,  which has exclusive control over land, planning and construction. Significant portions of Area C land are allocated for Israeli settlements and declared as Israeli state land. Only about 30 percent of Area C is available for Palestinian construction, but so far Palestinians have been issued permits to build on less than one percent of the land. Since construction permits in Area C are closely tied to Israeli spatial plans, spatial plans driven by Palestinian communities have been used in recent times to empower communities, and to rally the Israeli Civil Administration to issue permits to Palestinians for construction. In addition to Israeli military orders, land ownership in Area C is governed by a complex legal framework resulting in insecurity of land tenure and confusion about ownership and user rights of private land. Consequently, land registration has been a long-time priority of local and international development actors in the oPt. As the next activity of our project, we integrated a community-driven process to map land ownership and user rights. UN-Habitat took the lead in developing a system called the Social Tenure Domain Model. This participatory tool is a pro-poor, gender responsive system based on free and open source software, which means that all the data collected and stored is available to the communities and owned by the users. The system is based on information and evidence shared by local communities making them a part of the decision-making process. The system records and analyzes the social tenure relationship of people and land, and the social services/amenities that available to the inhabitants of a location. It fits the oPt’s highly complex tenure system, because it supports a continuum of land rights ranging from formal to informal. An Arabic interface was created for the system so it can easily be deployed in other Arabic-speaking countries. UN-Habitat also provided training for the Palestinian Land and Water Settlement Commission staff. This system for community mapping of land rights with a special focus on women and youth will help us empower the community, build social cohesion, and generate data on land rights. The resulting database will serve as a shadow land register, support land valuation, raise awareness about land governance in Area C, and inform advocacy efforts to defend land rights of Palestinian communities. These efforts are supported by the ‘Road Map for Reforming Palestinian Land Sector’ of 2017. Right now, the background work is still ongoing. The model will be piloted in 2019. Will this actually work? We don’t know. For now, we know that we now have the systems in place to replicate or update the data collection of smaller groups through flash surveys, we can engage communities participate in collecting and analysing their own data and integrate a community-driven process to identify land ownership and user rights, at a lower cost than in the first run. And we will use whatever we learn from these initiatives to finesse our methods in our next set of data collection initiatives in 2018.

Silo Fighters Blog

Making money move: New financing to achieve the SDGs

BY Richard Bailey | July 3, 2018

“Money doesn’t grow on trees.” Regardless of where you grew up, we all learn about the importance of securing every penny, rand, real, euro, yen, ruble, or rupee. And the saying is particularly relevant today since development organizations like the United Nations (UN) must mobilize more than US$3.0 trillion every year if we hope to achieve the ambitious goals laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Official development assistance (ODA) is still an important finance mechanism but only $140 billion are secured each year. If we, the UN, intend to accelerate progress so no one is left behind, ODA needs to be used more strategically, and other sources of finance must be secured. There also needs to be an organizational shift from strictly funding programmes and initiatives to an approach that involves “funding and financing” to tap into international, national, private and public financial flows. Perspective shift: from funding to financing A growing number of blended finance sources have helped advance development aims in recent years.[1] Private sector guarantees, syndicated loans, and shares in collective investment vehicles mobilized $36.4 billion,[2] while socially responsible investing exceeded $6 trillion between 2012 and 2014. Impact investors and development finance institutions created a new investing asset class that is projected to grow to $400 billion by 2025. When it comes to financing, the rules are changing, and the UN is looking at new ways of aligning financial flows and attracting new investors. UN Country Teams (UNCTs) in Kenya, Indonesia and Armenia explored ways of helping national governments and local partners secure broad, non-traditional funds for development purposes. They mapped out challenges, unlocked new types of financing and used resources in a timely and innovative manner. The three most successful tools adopted were impact investing, Islamic financing, and sector-specific fund modalities. Impact investing in Armenia In the last few years, Armenia has turned into a thriving tech start-up hub and financing initiatives have followed two major trends: venture philanthropy and impact investing. To capitalize on these new forms of funding, the UNCT set up a country platform for SDG implementation that is aligned with national reform and SDG efforts. The collaborative space allows the UN, development partners and civil society to strengthen relationships and develop new ones with international financial institutions, donors and philanthropists. Other innovations: SDG Innovation Lab, the Kolba Social Innovation Lab, ImpactAim Venture Accelerator. Islamic financing in Indonesia Home to the world’s largest Muslim population and the tenth largest economy, the Government of Indonesia recently turned to inclusive and ‘green’ financing to accelerate the SDGs. The UNCT saw the potential and embraced new forms of finance to support sustainable development initiatives. Good practices include employing blended finance instruments and Islamic financing (Baznas).[3] In 2017, UNDP channelled zakat (charitable funds) for a micro-hydro energy project to improve access to water, renewable energy and livelihoods in some of the most remote parts of Indonesia. Other innovations: Financing Lab, “Bring Water for Life” and #TimeforTigers crowdfunding campaigns. Primary health care financing in Kenya One million people in Kenya fall into poverty every year because of a fractured health care system,[4] which is why the national government prioritized rolling out Universal Health Care in the “Big 4 Action Plan.” The UNCT supports the government by working with private sector partners on the Private Sector Health Partnership Kenya initiative and SDG Philanthropy Platform. Bringing together the private and public sectors together has opened doors to new cross-sectoral opportunities in the health, tech, early childhood development, nutrition, and technical and vocational training sectors. Make it rain: harnessing the potential of innovative financing The cost of solving the world’s most critical problems currently runs into the trillions, forcing development financing into a new era. There are no other options if traditional development aid no longer makes the grade. The UN has to pivot and embrace the changes taking place or risk becoming redundant and irrelevant. Luckily there are many opportunities to seize, and the UN has plenty of comparative advantages to bring to the table. The organization has a long, successful history of bringing together partners, training and recruiting experts, scaling up projects, and imparting technical knowledge. UN staff are skilled in advising, brokering knowledge, innovating, analysing data, and measuring impact. As we have seen in Kenya, Armenia and Indonesia, capital can be mobilized through impact investing, attracting early investors, or securing funds for larger investments in sectors identified by the central government. Embracing the latest tech innovations (e.g. e-health or mobile diagnostics) can turn unattractive investment areas into “bankable propositions.” Perhaps the most important takeaway is to not “let perfection be the enemy of the good.” Change may take time but UNCTs can’t wait for everything to be in place before embarking on new initiatives or adopting innovative types of financing. Steps to secure the right kind of capital have to be taken because time is running and “business as usual” no longer works—the numbers tell the whole story. Societal progress involves taking calculated risks, and achieving the SDGs is no exception. Unlocking new sources of funding is one way the UN can make sustainable gains and help governments make returns on the 2030 Agenda. ---- [1] Discussed in detail in “Financing the UN Development System. Pathways to Reposition for Agenda 2030” (September 2017), Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation in collaboration with the MPTF Office, http://www.daghammarskjold.se/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Financing-Report-2017_Interactive.pdf. [2] Amounts Mobilised from the Private Sector by Official Development Finance Interventions: Guarantees, syndicated loans and shares in collective investment vehicles’, OECD working paper, 2016. [3] Baznas was established by the government based on Presidential Decree 8/2011. The agency is responsible for collecting and distributing zakat at the national level. [4] Thomson Reuters Foundation, February 2018, http://news.trust.org/item/20180209112650-s1njv/.