Partnerships and coordination
Partnerships are a powerful tool which can lead to many benefits, because each partner brings their comparative advantage to the partnership. Partnerships can increase the impact and effectiveness of development/technical cooperation work.
Partnerships can be constructed with a variety of partners, including other UN agencies and bodies, governments, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. These partnerships are sometimes formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU is a tool to develop a medium- to long-term overall coordination framework between partners, in order to avoid piece-meal dealings. MOUs concluded between ESCAP and its partners are actively managed by ESCAP together with its partners.
ESCAP has entered into MOUs with UN agencies such as UNDP, ILO, ISDR, subregional intergovernmental organizations, such as ASEAN, ECO, SCO, and regional development banks such as ADB, the Islamic Development Bank. Since 2004 ESCAP has concluded MOUs with 20 organizations including: the Infrastructure Development Institute, International Organization for Migration, Microsoft, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and United Nations Human Settlements Programme.
ESCAP has entered into partnerships with several key agencies and organizations.
The Millennium Declaration provided a fresh impetus for joint action to support the countries of the region in achieving the MDGs. ESCAP and UNDP share the common position that the UN should play a distinctive and value-added role in supporting national efforts for achieving the MDGs. In light of this shared position, ESCAP and UNDP are working very closely in supporting the MDG campaign in the Asia-Pacific region.
Activities taken under the ESCAP/UNDP joint initiative to support the achievement of MDGs include:
- Advocating key regional messages with an emphasis on institutional change to support the MDGs, particularly in those countries that are at high risk of not achieving the majority of MDG targets; and
- Strengthening the statistical capacity of countries in the region to generate reliable and comparable data on the MDGs.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and ESCAP signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2004 on cooperation by the two regional organizations.
The MOU reflects the commitment of each organization to support achievement in Asia and the Pacific of the Millennium Development Goals. The Agreement ends in 2015, which is also the target date for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The MOU outlines the purpose and general principles for ADB-ESCAP cooperation. It outlines proposed areas for ADB-ESCAP cooperation in order to:
- Support poverty reduction at the regional and sub-regional levels in the Asia-Pacific region;
- Support other development goals, including achievements of the MDGs.
ESCAP and the World Trade Organization (WTO) signed an Agreement in 2004 (amended most recently in 2008) on cooperation between the agencies for on-going joint training programmes for developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Agreement reflects the commitment of each organization to provide trade-related technical assistance to developing countries for their economic and social development.
The Agreement outlines areas for joint cooperation in managing the training programme, through a cost-sharing basis. Both agencies jointly select participants, provide staff services at their own cost, prepare training materials and conduct sessions.
ESCAP and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) concluded an MOU in January 2009 reaffirming a commitment to work together to support members States to achieve the internationally agreed development goals, taking into account the decent work approach. Cooperation under this Agreement is guided by the themes of ‘social protection and public policy,’ ‘the promotion of social justice for a fair globalization’ and ‘inclusive development,’ and six key areas of cooperation are outlined.
ESCAP and the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) signed an MOU in 2007 through which they plan to work together to further promote awareness of the importance of disaster risk reduction as an integral component of sustainable development, with the goal of reducing human, social, economic and environmental losses resulting from natural disasters. The cooperation also aims to strengthen and support implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005-2015: Building Resilience of Communities and Nations to Disasters adopted at the World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe in January 2005.
Partnerships at the country level
As an integral part of the 2005 World Summit Outcome, UN entities are called upon to find ways and means to "work better together" towards common developmental objectives, including the MDGs. Much of the UN-wide reform efforts have focused on the need for different UN agencies to work better together.
At the country level tools have been established to facilitate coordination, and to bring UN assistance more closely in line with the strategies and priorities of countries. These include: 1) a Common Country Assessment (CCA), used in order to clarify national needs; and 2) a UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), used to set out the division of labour among UN entities in assisting governments to promote development and to implement goals from the UN global conferences.
All regional commissions have been requested by the United Nations Development Group (UNDG), as well as by the Deputy Secretary-General, to become more closely involved in the country-based Common Country Assessments (CCAs) and United Nations Development Assistance Frameworks (UNDAFs). PPD and ESCAP may be involved in these processes through:
- Participation in the Regional Peer Review Group (RPRG), which provides quality assurance and support to ongoing efforts of the UN Country Teams in developing the CCAs and UNDAFs, as well as providing regional-level comments to the country teams;
- Participation in selected CCA and UNDAF country team workshops;
- Participation as resource persons or facilitators in CCA and UNDAF workshops;
- Involvement in the ESCAP CCA/UNDAF task force which:
- Contributes towards the work of the Regional Peer Review Group (RPRG) by providing comments, and coordinating divisional inputs, on draft CCA and UNDAF documents in respective substantive areas in a timely manner.
- Contributes to the UNDAF prioritization processes in selected priority countries of ESCAP, by providing comments, and coordinating divisional inputs, in respective substantive areas.
- Promotes greater awareness among professional staff of CCAs and UNDAFs in general.