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The Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office is a UN center of expertise on pooled financing mechanisms.

It supports development effectiveness and UN coordination through the efficient, accountable and transparent design and administration of innovative pooled financing mechanisms. For more information, consult the MPTF Office Gateway and publications.

14 Jun 2021

In line with the implementation of UN reform agenda, UN Joint Programmes supported by the Fund will demonstrate a new generation of collaboration for results, embedded in the UN Cooperation Frameworks and committed to enhanced national ownership, leadership, and capacities. The strength in partnerships builds resilience and reduces vulnerabilities of Small Island Developing States to leave no one behind.

Sustainable growth will require economic diversification and higher participation from a skillful workforce. To prevent disasters, advance the economy and enable the public sector to deliver services to people and enterprises, access to modern innovative technologies, led by digitalization are critical.

Governments face challenges in accessing financing for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation and funding modern and resilient social protection systems. Vulnerable groups have been proportionally hit harder by the recent economic crisis. Furthermore, the skills-gap and the impacts of COVID-19 has resulted in higher levels of youth unemployment.
This Call for Proposals will support a new generation of transformative, Government-led, integrated initiatives that leverage the best expertise and resources possible to address complex problems and accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

The Joint SDG Fund announces a call for proposals focusing on strengthening resilience and ending the vulnerabilities of SIDS to accelerate the SDGs. The overall funding envelope for this Call is US$30 million. All SIDS countries are eligible to receive funding, including countries previously funded in the Joint SDG Fund’s existing portfolios. Intended to be catalytic, funding will support targeting programmatic solutions of 2 years or less, with a budget of US$1 million per country.  Multi-Country Offices will be eligiblefor funding envelopes corresponding to the countries and populations they serve and be reviewed on case by case basis.

Small Island Developing States (SIDS) face a shared set of geographical, environmental, economic, and social challenges, and suffer from unique development needs and extreme vulnerability. Frequent exposures to natural hazards and disasters intensified by climate change and external economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are detrimental to these island nations.

18 May 2021

Cash transfer programme to reach 1, 587 vulnerable households across the country 

Azevedo Gomes belongs to a village community inhabited by close to 500 people, some thirty kilometres south of the town of Cacheu. At 98 years of age, he remains firm and grows fruits and tubers in his farm and even recalls having been a seasonal migrant to The Gambia, where he worked as a stevedore. But with the onset of COVID-19 in Guinea-Bissau, Gomes, as many other agricultural workers in the country, has been negatively affected by mitigation measures put in place to prevent further transmission of the disease. 

The state of emergency declared on March 27th, 2020, meant that borders and schools were closed, markets, where crops grown by farmers like Gomes would have been sold, faced drastic restrictions and movement across the different regions was limited. The introduction of COVID-19 in the country also coincided with the cashew campaign, which proved to be unsuccessful as global demand fell.

Gomes, and other vulnerable Bissau-Guineans, who depended on the revenue from cashews and the sale of other produce both nationally and internationally, were faced with increasing threats to their livelihoods and food insecurity.

In a bid to alleviate some of the pandemic’s worst consequences on Guinea-Bissau’s most vulnerable populations, UNICEF, supported by the Multi-Partner Trust Fund for COVID-19 and in coordination with WFP and UNDP, intervened to ensure that these households would have access to social and economic protection mechanisms, food security, and even support for cashew crop growers. One of the villages identified for the programme was Bianga, where Azevedo Gomes resides.

Azevedo Gomes with his son and great-grandchildren

Recently awakened from his nap, he welcomed the programme implementation team smiling, and inquiring about where they travelled from. Overjoyed at receiving the cash transfer, equivalent to two thirds of the national minimum wage, Gomes expressed that it has helped to improve his diet, “I buy fish every day. I like fish, it’s my favourite”. He added that the fund also helped him to pay bills, including the school fees for his great-grandchildren.

Azevedo Gomes showing the SMS of payment

His is one of 1,587 households that was supported across the country through the distribution of cash transfers. The programme was implemented by providing identified households with phones and SIM cards to allow families to access funds through mobile money. Mobile phones were also critical as they were used to conduct surveys to inform the baseline and end line data. Access to phones has also facilitated the feedback mechanism between UNICEF and the beneficiaries to enable them to provide feedback on the program and present claims. The program has also assessed its impact through measurements like the dietary diversity of women and children, demographics that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Of the households identified for the cash transfer programme, 66 percent of them were headed by women and the vast majority had 5 or more dependents. With schools being closed under lockdown measures, additional stressors were placed on children’s principal caregivers.

Azevedo Gomes

But Gomes remains hopeful, “I had the happiness of living a long and productive life filled with experience”, he says.

He hopes to pass it down to the younger generations just as he hopes to learn with them. Gomes is renewed with each new day, despite the precarities of the village that is isolated by treacherous roads and the hardship in the times of the pandemic. He is grateful to find a bit of support for his subsistence, so that he can continue surviving the worst consequences of COVID-19 and pass on his wisdom wherever he can.

12 Apr 2021

New York - The UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office, the UN center of expertise in pooled funding, is pleased to announce Ilaria Carnevali as its new Deputy Executive Coordinator.

Ilaria brings over 20 years of experience in the UN System in addition to an extensive prior private sector career, mostly in international banking with focus on emerging economies and loan syndications. Her programme management experience and work in key thematic areas (including governance, children’s rights, gender equality, and crisis prevention and recovery) will be a key asset for the management for the MPTF Office’s broad portfolio of inter-agency pooled funds.

Ilaria also has a varied geographic and leadership experience. Most recently she served as UNICEF Representative a.i. and Deputy Representative in Niger. Previously she had worked in Cabo Verde (UNDP, UNFPA and UNICEF Joint Office), Mozambique (as UNDP Deputy Country Director), Mauritania (UNDP Deputy Resident Representative) and in Ukraine (UNDP’s Head of Governance Programmes). She has also worked in UNIFEM Africa and UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

She holds an Advanced Degree (Laurea) in Business Administration from Bocconi University (Italy) and a Master of Arts in international Relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs from Syracuse University (USA), with concentration in International Economic Policy and Latin America. Ms. Carnevali is fluent in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, is married and has three children. 


30 Mar 2021

With informal employment accounting for more than half of all jobs in Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu, it became clear that the hitherto ‘invisible sector,’ was going to be the biggest key to driving economic recovery across the Pacific region.

In March 2020, long-time flight attendant Sophie experienced the devastating loss of her job, along with hundreds of other Fijians in the tourism industry. The painful trauma of suddenly losing her livelihood collided with the additional stressors of uncertainty over her family’s future, plus the fear of a fast-spreading and fatal disease. Life had changed overnight, and as the weeks went by it was becoming clear that things were not going back to normal soon…if ever. There was only one constant, and that was the bills, recalls Sophie.

“I had to begin thinking of a way to pay the bills, and to keep food on the table,” she explains. Electricity, water, gas, fuel, groceries, rent – the essentials of life now seemed like luxuries to thousands of families across Fiji and the Pacific.
Under pressure to survive, Sophie had to quickly find within herself a level of strength and determination that she had never had to call on before. Having never worked outside the flight industry, she was now required to develop an entrepreneurial mindset if she was going to begin generating an income. Thinking back on a time before the pandemic, when her family would praise her delicious home-made wantons, the first glimmers of an idea – and hope - began to appear.

An Entrepreneur is Born

In December of 2020, Sophie was part of the UN75 open day weekend  at Prince Charles park in Nadi, Fiji. In the midst of hundreds of vendors, the ‘1ton Fiji’ stall – boasting homemade dumplings, wantons and fresh juices – stood out for its quality products and for the beaming face behind the counter. Sophie had done it! She now operated a fully-fledged small business and had been receiving catering orders from around the island for months.
Thanks to a financial and business literacy project led by the Women Entrepreneurs Business Council and supported by the International Labour Organisation [ILO], the budding businesswoman was armed with the foundational knowledge she needed to grow and promote her business in a COVID-affected world.

Sophie’s professional Facebook page  proudly advertises ‘Delicious home-made frozen chicken OR pork wontons. Sold in packs of 20, perfect for family meals to share!’ And with more than two thousand followers, it is safe to say that this little business is fast becoming a big name.

However, as Fiji marked the grim anniversary of one year of COVID this March, significant challenges remain in the world of work. More than one hundred thousand people are unemployed; a dormant tourism industry continues to keep the country’s economy on its knees; and the inequality gap widens every day, pushing women, girls, youth and those working in the informal sector further behind.

In the Driver’s Seat – Navigating Economic Recovery through the Informal Economy

In mid-2020, the UN in the Pacific undertook a series of in-depth assessments  analysing actual and potential losses for Fiji’s economy and vulnerable groups as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also analysed the magnitude and nature of impact on selected sectors and population groups which are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and recommended the most effective policy interventions to address the impact of COVID-19.

With informal employment accounting for more than half of all jobs in Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu, it became clear that the hitherto ‘invisible sector,’ was going to be the biggest key to driving economic recovery across the Pacific region.

Backed by the UN Secretary General’s COVID-19 Recovery Fund , the ILO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), joined forces to shape an innovative project targeted exclusively at informal workers within the agriculture and creative sectors. The goal?
Inclusive Economic Recovery through Sustainable Enterprises in the Informal Economies of Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu.

In February this year, the project convened a series of meetings that brought together Key Business Development Service Providers including the Fiji National Provident Fund, Vodafone, the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport, as well as informal sector farmers and creative artist associations like the Fiji Arts Council and Pacific Islands Farmers Network.

The aim was to begin working on making business development services as accessible as possible to micro enterprises. This is an important step in creating financial stability, amongst this fast-growing segment of society, if we want to fuel a swifter economic recovery.

Once again, Sophie was present. “My first Job was at Air Pacific [now Fiji Airways],” she reiterated. “For sixteen years, like most Fijians, a percentage of my salary went towards my pension fund through the Fiji National Provident Fund. When I suddenly lost my Job in 2020], I had to start over. I set-up my small food business but had no idea that I could still voluntarily contribute to FNPF, and carry on building my retirement fund. I would have never found out if not for this new enterprise sustainability project.”

“The lack of social protection is a significant source of vulnerability for informal workers. The lack of access to health care and at least a basic level of income security keeps many of them in a vicious cycle of vulnerability, poverty and social exclusion. This constitutes an enormous challenge not only to their individual welfare and enjoyment of human rights (in particular the right to social security) but also to their countries’ economic and social development (ILO 2017; OECD and ILO 2019; RNSF 2017).”

Reflecting on the week’s discussions, Sophie echoed the sentiments of many of the participants, “I am excited about FNPF’s plans to create more awareness across various platforms about their options for voluntary contributions for informal sector workers, and also that they are looking to work closely with Vodafone through Mpaisa for accessibility. This is so important for people living in rural communities so as to avoid the inconveniences of traveling and time whenever they want to transfer money to their FNPF accounts.”

Through the second quarter of 2021, three specific types of services will be tailored and delivered to COVID-19-affected micro enterprises across Fiji - including business training, business advisory services and business mentoring.

Sophie’s final words? “I have gained such great knowledge from these meetings, and from being able to network with other small business owners. I will definitely share my experience and encourage my friends who have small businesses to contribute to FNPF. I will definitely be sharing with them everything I learn!”

This initiative is implemented in the context of a joint project entitled “Inclusive Economic Recovery through Sustainable Enterprises in the Informal Economies of Fiji, Palau, Tonga and Vanuatu”, and funded by the UN Secretary General’s Multi Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) for COVID-19 recovery.

 Originally published by ILO (link).

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