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

Crowdsourcing the campfire: how our data visualization contest opened doors

BY Abigail Taylor-Jones | November 14, 2018

“Visualizations act as a campfire around which we gather to tell stories.” - Al Shalloway, founder and CEO of Net Objectives. Telling our story well is key to ensuring we can influence policy and other key decision-making processes. In order to do so, it is important to get new insights from the evidence we generate from the data we collect. To give a sense of the scale, we collect data from 130 UN Country Teams, serving 165 countries. The types of data we collect ranges from operational data, socio-economic data, financial data, data on coordination and results. Sitting behind the walls of the UN can sometimes be lonely ploughing through all this data (other times it is quite daunting). So, we have to think of creative ways to gather new insights to tell a good and compelling story. The UN is known as an organization that brings people together globally to participate in various ways, for example working towards realizing the goals set for 2030 Agenda. For us, being open and inclusive about the UN’s work is always at the forefront of our minds, even when it comes to data. We started thinking about ways to include others from outside the UN in our analysis and data visualization process. As the Secretariat to the UN Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG) we have access to a wide range of data, so we thought, why not launch our first ever UNSDG data visualization contest and find out what others can see in our data? So, my colleague Kana Kudo and I did just that. In collaboration with Tableau, we launched the contest and invited data scientists and anyone interested in data visualization to use our data from the UNSDG portal, which pulls UN specific data, published by several agencies, using the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standards to report how the UN is contributing to the global development agenda. Data is powerful but we don’t always know how to tell a story with it After launching the contest, we realized there were blind spots that we failed to see. For example, some of the submissions did make use of the IATI data sets, while others did not. The guidelines we provided were clear, however the research questions were a little unclear. We ended up receiving several stunning visualizations, but they were not exactly what we were looking for. We learned that when it comes to data, it’s best to be specific. Another learning was that data scientists wanted the option to work with other data visualization tools and not be limited to Tableau; so we had to broaden the scope of tools for the contest. We brought a selection panel together to assess the submissions, and we selected two winners. The first winner crafted “Visualizing Malaria: The Killer Disease Killing Africa,” an impactful visualization that analyses malaria deaths in the world, how they have changed, and how funding has evolved over the years, particularly in Africa. The contestant explained that she had been inspired by the experience of a dear friend who had been infected with malaria. We also liked this visualization on malaria because it focused on both the positive and negative aspects of the fight against this diseases. Whilst lives are been saved through the use of mosquito nets, there’s also a downward trend in other aspects, which means more still needs to be done. [caption id="attachment_10399" align="alignnone" width="542"] Visualization by Rosebud Anwuri[/caption] The second data visualization titled “Leave no one Behind”, included the UN’s spending on each Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) per country, looking at the financial distribution among the SDGs. The underlying calculations were just as impressive as the visualization itself! We liked this visual and we were interested in how the participant highlighted the leaving no one behind aspect, which is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda; and an overarching programming principle. Looking at how we are doing from a financial expenditure perspective is key to assessing the UN’s contribution to the SDGs. Behind the scenes, our team in Headquarters was tinkering with developing UN Info, a tool that integrates the UN contributions to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. This is an important aspect because it keeps us accountable and helps UN Country Teams with programme management. From this contest, it was clear to us that data is obviously powerful but we don’t always know how to tell a story out of it. We were very impressed with the contestants’ interpretations and the visualizations. As a bonus, we also gained unexpected and useful insights that helped us refine our UN IATI data set.   [caption id="attachment_10400" align="alignnone" width="570"] Visualization by Pedro Fontoura[/caption] One of the things that we also discovered, is that data scientists like to get involved. Chloe Tseng, founder of Viz for Social Good contacted us to find out how she could collaborate with us. Although she didn’t participate in the contest, we were keen to work with Chloe and her team of volunteers just as she was to work with us. Goal 17 of the SDGs relates to partnerships and we know how important it is work with others to realize our goals. We gave Viz for Social Good a particular set of data related to the partnerships that the Country Teams have beyond the UN. If you haven’t read Viz for Social Good’s journey working with us, and the beautiful visualizations that came out of our partnership, check it out here. Our data was too fat! The contest was a great learning opportunity for us. From our collaboration with Chloe and the Viz For Social Good network of over 2000 data visualization experts, we learned that our data is good but we need to look at ways of improving the way data is parsed through our systems and ensure that it is formatted in a manageable and easy way for data scientists to work with it. Chloe also gave us feedback on moving from larger chunks of data to smaller chunks. We took these recommendations very seriously and have made significant changes in our data systems for optimum use by data scientists. We trimmed down our data in smaller chunks that requires little time for data cleaning which allows for quicker analysis. This experience was definitely an eye opener in terms of telling a more powerful and compelling story than we will ever be able to do if we stick to large sets of data in an excel format. The campfire is still with us Collaborating with Viz For Social Good and with the contest participants inspired our team to adapt our digital strategy work.  Seeing the way these artists take data and communicate with it opened our eyes. Our taste has changed and boy have our standards gotten higher. We are designing dashboards for future projects and seeing the artistry has upped our game for the long run.   Photo: Wenni Zhou

Silo Fighters Blog

Mining alternative data: What national health insurance data reveals about diabetes in the Maldives

BY Yuko Oaku | November 7, 2018

An island nation consisting of 1,190 small islands, the Maldives is clustered around 26 ring-like atolls spread across 90,000 square kilometers. For many centuries, the Maldivian economy was entirely based on fishing. Tuna is one of the essential ingredients in the traditional dishes of the archipelago. But between 1980 and 2013, the GDP per capita increased from $275 to $6,666 due to the success of the high-end tourism sector. With the rapid economic growth and a wave of globalization, there have also been changes in the dietary preferences and lifestyles of Maldivians. A staggering 30 percent of the Maldivians are overweight due to unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity, according to data from the Global Health Observatory.   Consuming sugary beverages is also a big problem among Maldivian youth and young adults. According to a study by the World Health Organization, in 2015, 4.7 million litres of energy drinks were imported to the Maldives, which is a very high volume for such a small population (around 410,000 people live in the Maldives). These unhealthy habits are drivers for the increase in non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and hypertensive disease.  These diseases are the main causes of death among Maldivians. According to the National Health Statistics from 2014, diabetes is ranked as the ninth overall cause of death in the Maldives. [caption id="attachment_10393" align="alignnone" width="450"] "Drinking energy drinks is not cool" Health Protection Agency Maldives[/caption] Analyzing the prevalence of Type II diabetes with Insurance Data All Maldivian nationals are covered under the Government’s universal health insurance plan called “Aasandha”. Since it began its services in 2012, the plan gives full coverage to all health services from most health care providers and up to a certain amount for some of the private health care providers. The plan also covers care in affiliated hospitals in neighboring India and Sri Lanka in case the treatment is not available in the Maldives. Aasandha data provides personal data records and insurance data for all Maldivians. Since the usual data source for non-communicable diseases is the Demographic and Health Surveys, which is carried out every 6 years (most recently in 2015 and before that in 2009), we thought we could get more up-to-date data on diabetes if we looked directly at the health insurance data. Our team assumed that analyzing this data would serve as proxy indicators for the SDG indicators 3.8.1: Coverage of essential health services. Initially, this indicator was labeled as Tier 3 indicator, meaning that no internationally established methodology or standards were yet available for the indicator. As of 11 May 2018, however, 3.8.1 has been upgraded to Tier 2 indicator, which means that the indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries. Our idea was to have an anonymized look at the data from the universal health insurance plan to see what else we could learn about non-communicable diseases. We at the UN Country Team in the Maldives, UNDP and WHO, partnered with the Maldives National University (MNU) research team and with the National Social Protection Agency (NSPA), the custodian of Aasandha service in the Maldives. What we found out about Type II diabetes in the Maldives: We dug into the anonymized health care records for 2016, including information about: 1) what diseases the Aasandha coverage is used for 2) the cost 3) where the medical procedures take place Together with the research team, we decided to focus on Type II diabetes for the scope of this study. We found some interesting facts about the prevalence of Type II diabetes in the Maldives: More than 3 out of every 5 people who have diabetes are women. The mean age of patients with Type II diabetes is 57, while the youngest age is 13. Females get diagnosed with Type II diabetes at a younger age compared to men and there is a relationship with gestational diabetes. Of those seeking care, 79 percent of the people go to private health care providers, whereas only 21 percent seek services from public health care providers. We also discovered that the Aasandha data was also incomplete. For instance, there were missing records from some of the largest regional hospitals in most populated atolls in the country. This may suggest that data from government hospitals are not entered into the system because patients don’t need to make a claim for the payment, whereas in private hospitals, the data is needed to allow patients to make a claim for their payment. It could be that more people are using public health care providers, but since the data is not entered into the Aasandha system,this information is unavailable to us. [caption id="attachment_10395" align="alignnone" width="393"] WHO Maldives[/caption] Next frontiers in proof of concept for alternative data With this pilot study we found some interesting facts about the prevalence of Type II diabetes in the Maldives as well as some possible data gaps in the Aasandha insurance data. We will be sharing our findings and challenges of using Aasandha data with the members of the UN Country Team as well as relevant ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Health and the National Social Protection Agency. Reflecting on this pilot study, we will continue to support the country to explore alternative sources of data that will enable us to track more SDG indicators in the Maldives. According to an internal assessment done on data availability for all SDG indicators by the National Bureau of Statistics, there’s currently no mechanism for data generation for 56 indicators and for another 51 indicators, additional efforts will be required to make the data available. With all this data missing, we’ll need to tap into additional resources to make the data available because if we don’t know where the Maldives stands on Sustainable Development indicators, it’ll be hard to plan to achieve them. There is definitely a need for new data sources and having this data gap in mind, we have another pilot project in the works that’s going to use call detail records data to track population mobility to the urban centers of Male. Stay tuned for more in our work mining alternative data sources for the Maldives!