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The UNDG Joint Office Initiative August 2006

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The UNDG Joint Office Initiative August 2006. UN and the need for change. ODA is increasing – but the UN’s share is <10% Our government partners currently manage development agencies rather than manage their development Unless we change the UN risks irrelevance and obsolescence.

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UN and the need for change

  • ODA is increasing – but the UN’s share is <10%
  • Our government partners currently manage development agencies rather than manage their development
  • Unless we change the UN risks irrelevance and obsolescence.
  • Seizing that change can create new opportunities

“How can we overcome our own fragmentation and competition for funding so that we can continue to ensure that increased ODA flows …can have their maximum impact ?”Kofi Annan


Why develop a Joint Office ?

  • Funding realities demand a tighter UN field presence
  • Efficiency gains from economies of scale
  • One programme based on national priorities may deliver increased development effectiveness
  • Government partners benefit from reduced costs and lighter administration
  • General Assembly in the TCPR requested UN to develop joint offices – deadline 2007

What does a Joint Office look like ?

…..Some guiding principles…

  • One programme
  • One leader
  • One team
  • Some degree of shared services

Each Joint Office initiative will be designed by the country office to fit with national circumstance and nature of UN support


The 1st Joint Office – Cape Verde

Formally launched on 1 January 2006

The Cape Verde Joint Office has ONE:

  • Common country programme for the ExCom
  • Representative for all the ExCom agencies – also the RC
  • Budget
  • Support agency for ExCom operational activities
  • UN House

Change Management Process Approach

Teams developing the Cape Verde Joint Office adopted a change management process approach

An industry standard on successfully making change happen

Change Management Process Approach

A series of several distinct phases

A methodology to manage shifts in agency business systems

Currently under discussion: an inter-agency team to craft a change management toolkit for developing joint offices


Getting Ready


Improving Processes

Aligning Structures

Optimizing Resources

Making it Happen

Change Management Methodology


  • Schemata of change management model used in Cape Verde joint office development
  • The four key generic principles underlying a successful change management process are:
      • Preparation
      • Vision
      • Roadmap
      • Communications

Lessons learned to date

  • There is no one model for a joint office - the design has to be based on country needs and guiding principles
  • Government should be supportive of the joint office concept
  • Full commitment of UN country team is crucial, complemented by strong leadership from the RC
  • Regional Directors’ teams need to be fully involved and play a more active role in guiding UN country teams in designing future joint offices
  • Country Office staff should be part of the process from the beginning and their concerns addressed

Lessons learned to date - continued

  • Joint office development requires continuous support, intensive follow-up, and timely trouble-shooting
  • Differences in business processes can be overcome– but more harmonization at policy level would speed joint office development
  • Critical message to governments: a joint office does not imply a reduction in UN programme
  • A harmonized programme cycle helps to build a strong team and a strong team is necessary to build a joint office
  • A strong common services programme is a good foundation for a joint office as are common premises

Issues to be addressed

  • What happens to savings from the support budget: to go to country programme or to return to core ?
  • Clarity needed over the accountability of RC as leader of the team
  • Greater harmonization of business processes at country, regional and HQ levels
  • Hard data needed on results of joint office pilot - but too early to measure concrete gains from Cape Verde
  • How to balance ‘One UN’ with retention of agency brands, identities, and fundraising capacities

Viet Nam: 2nd Joint Office Initiative

  • UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF design the structure - other UN agencies free to join at any stage
  • One programme consisting of UNDAF 2006 – 2010 and a single CPAP results matrix
  • RC as leader of the country team
  • Design of one financial framework under discussion
  • Degree of jointness of business practices still to be worked out
  • Team work towards one physical location over time

Why identifyViet Nam as a Joint Office ?

  • Strong Government leadership for reform and the joint office initiative
    • Govt’s Hanoi Core Statement on Aid Effectiveness
    • Task Forces (chaired by V.P. and ministers) set up on reform and enhanced UN support to national priorities and development vision
  • Bottom-up UN country team support
    • UN country team and Regional Directors’ steering the process in partnership with HQs and DGO
  • Donor enthusiasm


How to draw together the different visions of stakeholders ?


Next steps….

  • Cape Verde review (NOT evaluation) to assess the joint office initiative in Cape Verde
  • Agreement on RC role and accountabilities
  • Policy discussion at HQ over key principles of Joint Office reform
  • Tools and guidance developed for managing country office transition to joint office
  • Consultative joint office feasibility discussion at country level supported by Regional Bureaux with government input
  • Fundraising to support joint office transition processes


20 Joint Offices in process by 2007