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Overview About Multi-Partner Trust Funds
Overview & Strategies Factsheet: What is an MPTF?
More than ever, the UN system is stepping up its efforts to enhance coherence and efficiency at the country and global levels and to increase joint UN activities. Against this background and in the context of humanitarian, transition, reconstruction and development programmes, the UN system, national authorities and Contributors/Partners are establishing Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTFs) and Joint Programmes (JPs) that use the pass-through fund management model. The increasing use of MDTFs is an application of the Aid Effectiveness Agenda, the UN Reform initiative "Delivering as One" and the need to provide flexible, coordinated and predictable funding to support the achievement of national and global priorities such as the MDGs.
MDTFs and JPs are not one-size-fits-all instruments; they are designed to fit the realities of a specific country or global situations. Nevertheless, they are established on common core principles and strategies such as:
MDTFs are generally established to support specific country and/or global strategic priorities that are defined in national or global strategic plans such as UN Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs), Delivering-as-One (DaO) and similar Strategic Documents/Frameworks. The objective is to ensure that MDTFs and JPs reflect and respond to the needs on the ground as defined by the National Government in consultation with UN Country Teams, Contributors/Partners and other stakeholders. The objectives and scope of an MDTF are defined to ensure government ownership and alignment with established national priorities and plans. Monitoring and evaluation and effective programme delivery modalities are included so that planned results are achieved. The strategic objectives, governance arrangements, allocation criteria, and other parameters are elaborated in the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the particular MDTF/JP using a generic UNDG ToR.
Governance & Oversight
Governance Fact Sheet about MPTFs [Establishment / Management / Closure]
Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTFs) are generally established with a multi-tier governance structure that promotes strong National and UN inter-agency coordination, including peer and technical reviews, and collaboration with national governments and contributors/partners. The UNDG organizations have developed a generic MDTF architecture that permits quick MDTF set-up and operation. The mechanism allows appropriate flexibility in the structure, composition and operations of the MDTF-constituting bodies in response to country or situation-specific contexts. This enables the UN system to quickly deploy available systems for the rapid mobilization of the technical, operational and administrative capacities of the UN and the expeditious approval and implementation of projects and programmes.
While Participating UN Organizations operate under the governance and accountability framework of their own organization, MDTFs have the following common governance elements:
In order to harmonize and strengthen the fiduciary management oversight of Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTFs), an Oversight Framework has been developed by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG). In the context of MDTFs, oversight is defined as ”the supervision of inter-agency MDTF activities of entities participating in MDTFs, with joint authority and responsibility to control, or exercise significant influence over, the inter-agency fiduciary decisions emanating from the operations of the MDTFs”.
The UNDG MDTF Fiduciary Management Oversight Framework consists of:
Funding Modalities for MPTFs
Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTFs) usually use the pass-through fund-management modality. Under this arrangement, Participating UN Organizations appoint an Administrative Agent (AA) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as their administrative interface with donors. The AA subsequently signs a Standard Administrative Arrangement (SAA) with contributors/partners, and receives, administers and transfers the funds to Participating UN Organizations in accordance with the MOU and SAA. Participating UN Organizations assume full programmatic and financial accountability for the funds received from the AA, operating under their own individual financial regulations and rules.
Funding Modalities for Joint Programmes
There are three fund-management options for Joint Programmes: (a) pass-through; (b) pooled; (c) or parallel (d) combination of options. The MPTF Office, as Administrative Agent (AA), is called on to provide services only under the pass-through modality.
The decision to select one or a combination of fund-management options for a joint programme should be based on how to achieve the most effective, efficient and timely implementation and how to reduce transaction costs for national partners, contributors, and the UN.
A. Pass-through fund management. Under this option, two or more organizations develop a JP, identify funding gaps, submit a JP document to donor(s) and agree to channel the funds through one UN Organization that is referred to as the Administrative Agent (AA). The AA will be selected jointly by all PUNOs in consultation with the Government. The common work plan clearly indicates the activities to be supported by each of the PUNOs.
B. Pooled fund management. This option is likely to be the most effective when PUNOs work for common results with a common national or subnational partner. PUNOs pool funds and, in consultation with the national partner, select one UN Organization to be the Managing Agent (MA). The MA is accountable for supporting the national/subnational partner in managing the JP, specifically for the timely disbursement of funds and for the coordination of technical inputs by the PUNOs.
C. Parallel fund management. This option is likely to be the most effective when the interventions of Participating UN Organizations (PUNOs) are aimed at common results but when there are different national and subnational partners. Under this option, each organization manages its own activities within the common work plan and the related budget.
D. Combination of options. Joint Programmes may require a combination of fund-management options.
For a fuller descripton of each fund management option, please refer to the UNDG Guidance Note on Joint Programmes.
UN Framework for auditing Multi-Partner Trust Funds (MPTFs)
UN Framework for Auditing Multi-Donor Trust Funds (MDTFs)
UN Framework for Auditing Delivering as One (DaO) Programmes