UNFPA is actively involved in global reform of the United Nations and the related “One UN Initiative”. Launched in Viet Nam in early 2006, this aims to make the UN more effective by harmonising programming, management and operational practices of different UN agencies to ensure sustainable development and benefits for the people of Viet Nam under the “five ones”. These are “One Plan, One Budget, One Set of Management Practices, One Leader, and a One UN House”. In this new environment, where UN funds and agencies work in one location under a single leader and to implement the One Plan for 2012 to 2015, UNFPA will continue to tackle emerging reproductive health and population issues, guided by its principles of gender sensitivity and an approach based on human rights.
The One Plan seeks to combine and synthesize the work of the 14 resident UN organizations in Viet Nam – namely FAO, IFAD, ILO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UN-HABITAT, UNIDO, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIFEM, UNODC, UNV and WHO – within a single planning framework to better support the Socio-Economic Development Plan (2006-2010) of Viet Nam and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The One Plan brings greater programmatic coherence, greater synergies and helps the UN respond better to key national priorities. It presents the development challenges, the programme outcomes, outputs and expected results, implementing strategies, management responsibilities, and commitments of the Government and the participating UN Organizations.(Click here to download the One Plan for 2006-2010)
Since the signing of the (revised) One Plan in June 2008, the UNCT has moved forward on implementation, monitoring and resourcing. To put the One Plan into action, a One Plan Management Plan (OPMP) has been finalized and agreed upon by all participating agencies. The OPMP has been established to outline how the UN Organizations participating in the One UN Initiative in Viet Nam will organize themselves in the most effective way so as to successfully implement the One Plan and other key elements of the "One UN Initiative".
Under the OPMP, Programme Coordination Groups (PCGs) have been established as an effective and inclusive mechanism for UN Agencies to work together with each other and with partners on key shared issues such as HIV and AIDS, social and development policies, education and governance. The PCGs, will, among other things, coordinate the implementation of a specific set of outputs from the One Plan. The OPMP also stresses the use of common services as another way of doing things better, and more cheaply. Common services are joint operational arrangements, in areas like travel and accommodation services, banking, security, administrative and financial procedures, procurement, recruitment, joint training and IT support.
Also, in order to better align and harmonize the UN’s planning with Viet Nam’s national development plan for 2011-2015, the UN requested an extension of the current One Plan by one year – through 2011. On 25 August 2009, the extension year was approved in principle by MPI Vice Minister Sinh and on 28 September, the UNDG Asia-Pacific team also approved the request.
One budget and One Plan Fund
As part of the One Plan, a single budget provides a clear sense of total resources required to implement the One Plan, while the One Plan Fund provides a streamlined way of providing un-earmarked support for the UN’s programmatic work and reduces the problem of different UN agencies competing for the same donor funds. The total budget of One Plan is USD 286 million for the 2008-2010 period. In addition to funds mobilised by One Plan agencies from core and noncore resources, the One Plan Fund has mobilized USD 71.5 million in contributions, pledges and future commitments, leaving a funding gap of approximately USD 7.2 million in relation to the implementation of the One Plan. However, with the extension of the One Plan through 2011, significant additional resources will be needed.
The significant financial contributions to the One Plan Fund are a true reflection of the strong commitment by donors in Viet Nam to support the One UN Initiative. The commitment was further emphasized in December 2008, when the One UN Donor group in Viet Nam agreed to a unique “principles of engagement”, including to provide un-earmarked funding and generally avoid making bilateral contributions to individual agencies.
Also in the past year the One Plan Fund Mobilisation and Allocation Committee (OPFMAC) was enlarged to include all 14 participating UN organisations, and a set of One Plan Fund allocation criteria were used for 2009 allocations.
One Set of Management Practices
In order to simplify the complex and sometimes burdensome procedures of in-country UN agencies, the business practices of the UN’s system are being re-organized in the most effective way so that they are better aligned with those of the Government, and reduce the burden and cost of doing business with the UN. To this end, the OPMP has incorporated one set of Harmonized Programme Project Management Practices (HPPMG) that organizes the UN’s systems in a more consistent and streamlined framework. The HPPMG have been agreed upon between ExCom Agencies and Government. The HPPMG has been submitted to UN headquarters for endorsement, and formal endorsement by all parties is expected soon, with implementation starting later this year. In the same spirit, the Harmonised Approach to Cash Transfers (HACT) has been applied to all new ExCom (UNDP,UNICEF, UNFPA) projects since the end of 2008. By using the same modalities to handle payments to all implementing partners, the process has become much simpler and less burdensome for all involved. The ambition is to expand the HACT to all UN organizations in Viet Nam. The adoption in June 2009 of the UN-EU Cost Norms represents another tangible contribution toward harmonization of UN agencies’ business practices.
Other efforts to harmonize the business practices of the participating UN Organizations are underway.
To find out more, visit the UN Viet Nam website, www.un.org.vn