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Stories from the field” was developed under the auspices of the UNDG-Human Rights Mainstreaming Mechanism (UNDG-HRM).  The publication can be accessed on the UNDG website here and on the UN practitioners’ portal on Human Rights Based Approaches to programming here.

This case study publication offers concrete examples of how human rights have been mainstreamed in practice and the value that human rights mainstreaming brings to development.  It offers a snapshot of UN country teams (UNCTs’) efforts in integrating human rights into development that have yielded positive results in such diverse areas as prison reform, addressing discrimination, and integrating human rights in local water and sanitation development planning.  It highlights the critical role that UNCTs play in supporting efforts by national actors to integrate human rights into national development programmes and policies, drawing on the UN’s convening power, normative role and impartiality.


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The United Nations Development Group Human Rights Mainstreaming Mechanism (UNDG-HRM) is established to further institutionalize the mainstreaming of human rights into UN operational activities for development by further strengthening system-wide coherence, collaboration and support for UNRCs and the UNCTs on human rights mainstreaming, as well as to strengthen the coherence of UN responses to national priorities, thus ensuring strong national ownership and capacity to fulfil human rights obligations. The UNDG HRM will support strategic activities at global, regional and country level that ultimately contribute to the transformational change and/or impact at the country level.

Mainstreaming of human rights within the UN system has thus been central to a series of UN reform initiatives since 1997.  In the area of development, human rights mainstreaming has progressively gained momentum under the UNDG from general policy integration and coherence at global level to strengthened UN capacity for actions at country level in support of national actions through joint programming and advocacy, which was accelerated by the Global Action 2 interagency programme (2004-2008).

Political impetus for human rights mainstreaming was significantly strengthened by the 2005 World Summit, in which world leaders reaffirmed that human rights, development and peace and security are three interlinked pillars of the UN, and gave explicit support for the integration of human rights within the UN system as well as resolving to integrate human rights into their national policies. The 2007 General Assembly resolution on Triennial Comprehensive Policy Review (TCPR) further provided the context for UN operational activities for development, by ’recognizing also that development, peace and security and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing, and reaffirming that development is a central goal in itself and that it constitutes a key element of the overarching framework for the United Nations operational activities for development’.

Governing bodies of many UNDG member agencies also gave explicit support for mainstreaming and contributing to human rights within their respective mandates.  Numerous resolutions of the Human Rights Council (and the former Commission on Human Rights) have called upon UN agencies to contribute to human rights and to integrate human rights into their activities.


Assistance Strategy

The overall objective of the UNDG-HRM is to further strengthen system-wide coherence, collaboration and support for UNRCs and the UNCTs on human rights mainstreaming. In contributing to the overall objective, the UNDG-HRM will focus on four primary components:

  1. Promoting a coordinated and coherent UN system-wide approach towards the integration of human rights principles and international standards into UN operational activities for development;
  2. Providing coherent support for Resident Coordinators and UN Country Teams in mainstreaming human rights;
  3. Developing a coherent UN-system wide approach, through cooperation and collaboration among UN agencies, to providing support towards strengthening national human rights protection systems at the request of governments; and
  4. Contributing to the integration of human rights issues in the overall UNDG advocacy on development agenda and global issues.



Steering Committee

The UNDG-HRM is chaired by the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights/OHCHR and with annually rotating Vice-Chair from participating agencies. The overall membership is at senior, decision-making level, and the members constitute the Steering Committee and provide overall leadership, set the strategic direction and approve allocations. The Administrative Agent is an ex-officio member of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will task the Resource Management Committee, supported by respective members of the expert-level UNDG-HRM Focal Points Group, to meet regularly to prepare resource allocation recommendations for the approval by the Steering Committee.

Resource Management Committee (RMC)

The Resource Management Committee (RMC) is a sub-committee of the UNDG-HRM Steering Committee, established to make recommendations on all areas related to the allocation of funds from the UNDG-HRM Fund. The RMC is comprised of senior representatives from up to six Participating Organizations which have signed the MOU, one of whom serves as the Chairperson. The RMC Members are supported by their respective Focal Point Group representatives.

UN Resident Coordinator

One of the main objectives of the UNDG-HRM is to support UN Resident Coordinators in their strategic leadership of the UNCTs in mainstreaming human rights at country level and relationships with national authorities. When activities are implemented at country level at the request of UNCTs, the UN Resident Coordinators will provide ongoing oversight to the programmes at the national level, ensuring the Participating UN Organizations are meeting their obligations. The UN Resident Coordinators are entrusted with supporting the overall programme design, ongoing programmatic oversight of the UNDG-HRM activities and UN coordination.

The UN Resident Coordinator at the country level also facilitates monitoring and evaluation of UNDG-HRM activities at the country level in conformity with UN standards, joint programming documents and related MoUs. On receipt of consolidated country level reports, the Resident Coordinator will provide an overall assessment of the programme’s progress and results within the scope of its role.

Focal Point Group

The role of the Focal Point Group is to review proposals submitted by Participating UN Organizations and recommend the allocation of UNDG-HRM’s funds. A separate Terms of Reference, covering key responsibilities and working methods, will be developed shortly. 

Technical Secretariat

The UN Development Operations Coordination Office (DOCO), in its capacity as the UNDG secretariat, host the UNDG-HRM, with substantive support provided by OHCHR as its lead (Chair) agency, with other agencies leading on specific components/tasks. In addition, DOCO provides advice on UNDG policies and guidelines, and ensure institutional linkages with other UNDG Working Groups. DOCO is responsible for coordination of support to and communication with Resident Coordinators/UN country teams and Regional UNDG Teams on behalf of the UNDG-HRM. For this purpose, appropriate technical capacities will be established in DOCO.

Administrative Agent

The role of the MPTF Office, as the Administrative Agent for the UNDG-HRM Fund, includes the receipt, administration and management of contributions from donors, disbursement of funds to Participating UN Organizations in accordance with decisions of the Steering Committee, and consolidation and dissemination of progress reports to the donors. The consolidated report produced by the MPTF Office presents the UNDG-HRM Fund-funded projects, narrative and financial progress. Through the MPTF Office GATEWAY, a public website on all MPTFs administered by the MPTF Office, it ensures full transparency of the operations of the UNDG-HRM Fund.

Participating UN Organizations

UN Organizations that participate in the UNDG-HRM Fund sign a standard MOU with the Administrative Agent, and operate under its own financial regulations, rules and policies and assumes full financial and programmatic accountability for the funds disbursed to it by the Administrative Agent and for the implementation of the project, and provides financial and narrative progress reports to the Administrative Agent on its activities, as described in the MOU. Participating UN Organizations shall assume full programmatic and financial accountability for funds transferred to them by the Administrative Agent. The Participating Organizations are responsible for the following activities:

  • Submit proposals to the UNDG-HRM RMC, through the Technical Secretariat, for review and subsequent consideration by the Steering Committee;
  • Design, implement and oversee projects;
  • Establish a separate ledger account for the receipt and administration of the funds disbursed to it by the Administrative Agent; and,
  • Narrative and financial progress reports as outlined in the MOU.


Decision Making

Participating UN Organization(s) may receive funding from the UNDG-HRM MPTF to implement programmes and activities that embody the objectives of the “Delivering as One on Human Rights: UNDG Human Rights Mainstreaming Mechanism” in accordance with the relevant interagency workplan. There are four components of activities in the workplan and the proposal(s) should contribute to one or more of the four pillars the following four broad categories:                                     

         Country level: Promoting coherent policy support and guidance to Resident Coordinators and UNCT agency leadership on human rights; enhancing learning opportunities for RCs and UNCT agency leadership on human rights; strengthening the RC Office capacity on human rights; supporting the integration of human rights into national development policies and strategies; and supporting the strengthening of national capacity on human rights.    

          Regional level: Strengthening capacity and collaboration at regional level, including support to Regional UNDG Teams.

         UN system level: Strengthening system-wide coherence in policies and practices across UNDG, based on human rights standards and principles; and enhancing HRBA support to UN country teams, with particular focus on UNDAF roll-outs and Delivering as One pilots.

         Advocacy and Knowledge Building: Strategic positioning of human rights in the context of UN operational activities for development; and enhancing UN system-wide knowledge codification and sharing.


Recent Documents

This tab shows only recent documents relevant at the Fund level. To see more documents at both the fund and project level go to the Document Center.

Key Figures
Funding Status
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.
Total as of
Values in US$
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Funds with Administrative Agent
Contributions from Donors 36,974,132  
Interest and Investment Income (from Fund) 275,226  
Interest (from Participating Organizations) 1,094  
Total source of funds   37,250,452
Transferred to Participating Organizations 30,266,169  
Refunds from Participating Organizations -614,572  
Administrative Agent Fee 369,741  
Direct Cost 5,579,806  
Bank Charges 1,102  
Total use of funds   35,602,247
Balance with Administrative Agent   1,648,205
As a percentage of deposits   4.5%
Funds with Participating Organizations
Transfers to Participation Organizations 36,013,983  
Total resources   36,013,983
Participating Organizations' Expenditure 27,504,560  
Refunds from Participating Organizations -782,580  
Total expenses     28,287,140
Balance with Participating Organizations   7,726,843
As a percentage of transfers   21.5%
Total Balance of Funds   9,375,048
As a percentage of deposits   25.4%
Delivery Analysis
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For Human Rights Mainstreaming Fd

Ms. Brianna Harrison, Policy Specialist, Human Rights, UN Development Coordination  Office

Tel: +1 212 906 5017; Email:


For Fund Administrative Agent Issues

Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), Bureau for Management Services, United Nations Development Programme; Fax: +1 212 906 6990;  

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