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Bhutan UN Country Fund - Updates
Bhutan adopted the “Delivering as One” (DaO) approach for enhancing UN coherence on a voluntary basis in 2008. The key instrument for the DaO approach is the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). It is the strategic document of the UN Country Team in its efforts to contribute more effectively to national development priorities and describes the collective response of the UN system to the priorities laid out in the Five Year Plans of the Royal Government of Bhutan.
The ongoing support of the UN System to Bhutan is described in the UNDAF: Bhutan One Programme 2014-2018, a single document that combines a strategic overview, an action plan and a common budgetary framework. The aim is to ensure a continued focused, coordinated and effective support for national development goals, the MDGs and the post-2015 agenda. It is about a UN Bhutan that delivers more coherently and efficiently for the poorest and most disadvantaged.
The UN Bhutan Country Fund (One Fund) is a common fund for mobilizing and allocating resources for UN activities at the country level. It serves as a vehicle for pooling and allocating resources to support outcomes of the Bhutan One Programme (2014-2018), and it supplements the internal funding of the UN agencies. The Fund enhances the flexibility and responsiveness of the UN system through the One Programme to address existing and emerging national priorities.
The UN Bhutan Country Fund is administered by the UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office) in accordance with its financial regulations and rules.
The One Programme sets out two levels of results expected from the UN and the Royal Government of Bhutan, Outcome level and Output level. At the Outcome level, the contribution is articulated in terms of specific development results that support national priorities. The results capture institutional and behavioural changes that ensue from the collective efforts of two or more UN agencies alongside actions of the Government and other partners. This is the level where the value added of the UN system as a whole is captured.
The four outcomes outlined in the One Programme are:
To achieve these results, the UN agencies in all their activities will give priority to:
The focus is on those areas of strategic transformational potential where the UN can, with its technical, human and financial resources, work with Government and other development partners in support of the progressive realisation of human rights. The UN system addresses the critical bottlenecks and barriers that exclude the poor and most vulnerable, promotes advocacy, raises awareness of good practices and social issues, influences policies and budgets, and strengthens national capacity of both duty bearers and rights holders.
The One Programme is implemented and monitored under the overall supervision and guidance of a joint Government – United Nations Country Programme Board (CPB). The CPB is co-chaired by the Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission of the Royal Government of Bhutan and the UN Resident Coordinator. Board members comprise senior officials of key national implementing partners and UN Country Team members. Other One Programme partner agencies can be invited as and when required. The Board meets at least once a year, usually in the fourth quarter, to review overall progress against the signed annual work plans.
The Steering Committee
The Steering Committee is comprised of UN signatories to the UN Bhutan Country Fund and the Gross National Happiness (GNH) Commission, and is co-chaired by the Secretary of the GNH Commission and the UN Resident Coordinator. The Steering Committee is responsible for prioritization and allocation decisions of the un-earmarked contributions to the UN Bhutan Country Fund. The initial prioritization for allocation is guided by recommendations from the Joint Outcome Groups’ annual review process.
The Steering Committee guides the operations and management of the Fund; it annually reviews the joint resource mobilization strategy and subsequently implements it. The Steering Committee ensures that the Country Programme Board is informed of the allocations, and will take into consideration the Country Programme Board’s strategic priorities.
The overall management of the UN Bhutan Country Fund is led and coordinated by the Resident Coordinator in consensus with the Heads of the Participating UN Organizations. In line with the overall objective of “Delivering as One” in Bhutan, the Resident Coordinator is responsible for the strategic leadership of the UN Bhutan Country Fund on the basis of the One Programme.
The RC also advocates and mobilizes resources for the UN Bhutan Country Fund in collaboration with Participating UN Organizations and leads a consultative process on allocations from the UN Bhutan Country Fund, and makes final decisions if consensus cannot be reached, with documented process and rationale for these decisions.
Whereas the implementation of the programme activities funded by the resources from the UN Bhutan Country Fund is the responsibility of the Participating UN Organizations, the RC will hold the Heads of Participating UN Organizations accountable for their Organization’s components of the results of initiatives funded through the UN Bhutan Country Fund.
The Administrative Agent
The UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office) has been appointed as the Administrative Agent of the UN Bhutan Country Fund. Its responsibilities include the receipt, administration and management of contributions from Donors; disbursement of such funds to the Participating UN Organizations in accordance with the approved programmatic documents; and provision of consolidated narrative and financial reports, in accordance with the MOU, on the UN Bhutan Country Fund to donors, based on reports of the Participating UN Organizations.
Drawing on the results reports, financial report and the funding gap, the Resident Coordinator’s Unit and the GNH Commission compile the suggested prioritized for funding allocation and submit the proposal to the Steering Committee for prioritization and allocation decisions.
Upon receipt of funds, the Steering Committee makes the allocation decisions for un-earmarked funds. Decisions are based on a consultative process and documented jointly by the Resident Coordinator’s Unit and the GNH Commission. The Bhutan One Programme serves as the basis for funding requests and allocations.
The criteria for allocation of un-earmarked resources include:
- One Programme relevance
- Resource gaps
- Joint programmes implemented by two or more UN organizations
- Agency comparative advantage
- Priorities which would not otherwise be funded
- Activities which support core UN development priorities identified by the Steering Committee and the Country Programme Board at the start of the annul programme cycle
- Realistic outcome budget
Subsequent allocations will, in addition to the above, include the following:
- Implementing partners and Participating UN Organizations’ absorption capacity
- Previous track record: (a) Results; (b) Expenditure rate and financial Management; and (c) Reporting – timeliness and quality of reporting.
Participating Organizations are required to submit final year-end expenditures by April 30 in the following year; Interim expenditure figures are submitted on a voluntary basis and therefore current year figures are not final until the year-end expenditures have been submitted.
Funds with Administrative Agent
Funds with Participating Organizations
For Policy and Programme Issues
UN Resident Coordinator Office, UN House, P.O. Box 162, Thimphu, Bhutan
For Administrative Agent Issues
Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), Bureau for Management Services, United Nations Development Programme; Fax: +1 212 906 6990;