unct retreat by lindash


									    UNCT Retreat


13-14 February 2008


                                   Draft Minutes
The 2008 UNCT Retreat was held on 13 and 14 February at the Qutab Hotel in New Delhi. A list
of participants is attached at Annex 1.


The UNRC made a brief presentation on the objectives of the Retreat. The objectives included
taking note of the accomplishments in 2007, on what worked and what did not, and on the
opportunities and bottlenecks in joint programmes. She said that the UNCT should explore how to
sustain team spirit to “Deliver as one” by building on the thematic clusters, state level UNDAF
presentations and by utilizing successes in joint advocacy. A copy of the presentation is attached
at Annex 2.

In the discussions that followed the UNFPA Representative stated that tighter collaboration in
operations and joint programmes are required. The UNIFEM Officer-in-Charge suggested that
more programmes for mass communication, like Mission Ustaad, could be taken up in 2008. The
UNIC Director mentioned that 2008 is the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and therefore it was an opportunity to focus on MDGs through the rights
perspective. The Director, UNESCO said that they would be interested in working together with
other UN Agencies on Community Radio. The UNFPA Representative stated that the Ministry of
Human Resources was planning a pan regional workshop on the Right to Information where we
could negotiate a one-day event with all interested UN Agencies.

Presentation by ILO: The ILO Representative made a presentation on Diversity and Inclusion
in UN human resources in India. She mentioned that this was directly linked to the UNDAF
objective on inclusion, but in the UN work place.

The presentation was based on the UN Nepal Experience, where a confidential survey was

In order to replicate the same in India, its was agreed that ILO would prepare a two page note for
a half day brain storming session which will look at the legal issues as well.

The power point presentation is at Annex 3.

Follow UP: ILO to share a 2 page note with UNCT along with the questionnaire for the half day
brainstorming session. ILO and UNRC to initiate talks with Staff Associations for such an
initiative. Further it was also agreed to look at the commitment of UN staff to the issue of Child
Labour in their personal lives.

Modalities for Delivery as One:

As the co-Chairs of the were OMT out of station, the ACD, UNDP made a presentation on the
OMT (at Annex 4)

The highlights of the work of the OMT in 2007 were as follows:

       DSA – Completed, approved and implemented
       Procurement- common facility management – housekeeping completed, UNICEF
        process of finalizing LTAs with agencies.
       Consultancy rates – Work in progress

       Joint State UN offices – work in progress, likely to move into common premises in April in
       HACT Implementation : Macro assessment completed, HACT/FACE workshops held,
        HACT taskforce crated, List of partners for micro assessment identified by 3 agencies,
        webpage created and hosted on UN intranet, email based network created, training of
        core team for FACE trainers completed.
       Tax exemption- Joint letters sent to State Finance Secretaries for Luxury tax exemption,
        correspondence on VAT exemption sent to MEA
       UN Joint Orientation –OMT common services Workshop held, lead agencies agreed, task
        force group formed, More UN agencies joining Common Travel Contract, UNCIEF being
        the latest , issue on cost in Joint UN Cards being resolved
       Stress counselling
       Spouse Employment
       HIV/AIDS in workplace Phase 2
       Avian Flu – Trainer to be on board by March 2008

Members of the UNCT raised the following concerns:

       Travel Agency costs are sometimes more under the Common Travel Contract
       Consultancy rates continue to vary amongst UN organizations.
       There was a need for reclassification of Delhi in the Duty Station category
       Need for Corporate membership at the IHC
       Clarity on travel by other (non-IATA approved) airlines – issue of insurance
       Different procedures by agencies on DSA applications

    The WFP Representative stated that Common Services and Common Offices (where
    feasible) are the way forward provided these can produce the advantages of economies of

Follow UP: Ms Arundhati, ACD, UNDP to brief Mr. Gakhar and Jerome on their return and to
revert to UNCT in the next meeting on actions taken in relation to the issues raised in this retreat.


In the absence of the DMT Chair, a presentation was made by Shachi Grover from RCO on
behalf of the UNDMT (at Annex 5) The major results achieved in 2007 included the support to
UNDAF Outcome 4, formulation of a joint framework, the recruitment of an Associate and her
training, mapping of UN agencies, revision of Disaster Preparedness Plan, creation of the
webpage and contact database. Further regular situation reports and status reports were sent to
all UN agencies and partners.

The work plan of 2008 was presented. Some of the recommendations received from the UNCT
were as follows: to check with DSS on the contact data to avoid duplication of efforts; to include
DSS in all DMT meetings; as it is mandatory for UNICEF to prepare sitreps, and keeping in view
that they have the offices in most states, henceforth UNICEF would share these with all agencies.
It was also recommended that the group review on how prepared the agencies were for the future
in terms of pool and parallel funding modalities.

On the flu vaccination for staff, the WHO Representative informed that this was not available for
all staff.

Of the total US $ 39,500 required for the activities in 2008, UNDP was providing US $ 19500.
The WHO representative committed to provide funding of US $ 2750 for health initiatives which
included the workshop on pandemic preparedness and the workshop on IDRL

Follow UP: UNDSS to remove the Health clearance requirement for West Bengal; UNDMT to
work with UNDSS on contact data base; UNDMT to work out modalities for SITREPS to be
issued by UNICEF; UNDMT to review modalities of funding for the future; HOAs to nominate staff
from their agency for the UNDMT training and to provide financial support for the same. HOAs to
revert to the RC office with regard to their contribution for UNDMT activities


Lessons learnt from the joint programmes were presented by the Country Coordinator, UNAIDS,
DCD (Programs), UNDP on UNTRS, Coordinator, CHARCHA and Coordinator, Sol-Ex.
Discussions revolved around the structures that helped and processes that facilitated team
building. The detailed presentations are at Annex 6 (HIV/AIDS) and 7 (Solution Exchange).

Some of the drawbacks of joint programmes were: the slow rate of implementation, partners did
not think of the programme as a One UN one, but as that of the lead agency,
reallocation/reassignment of funds amongst agencies, modalities for transfer of funds which result
in delays, management without authority, absence of support from HQs in working as one, and
difference in agency support costs that range from 7-13%.

The major recommendations were the need to plan well in advance not only for results but also
for M&E; the need for simple modalities for transfer of funds between and amongst the UN
agencies; for joint work plans, joint log frames and reporting on agreed formats; appropriate
management structures to enforce accountability; to have clear operational modalities before the
start of any programme and finally the importance of defining clear roles, results, indicators and
geographic coverage. In the case of the Theme Group on HIV/AIDS and JUNTA, it was
suggested that if the Theme Group were to devolve powers to the JUNTA we could achieve
better effectiveness.

Suggestions for Sol-Ex included more focus on UNDAF states and discussions and consolidated
summaries being in the vernacular.

Follow UP: DCD (Programs), UNDP to share document on funding modalities – pooled, parallel,
and direct. DCD (Operations), UNDP to review best ways for simpler modalities for interagency
funding. Officer-in-Charge, UNIFEM to share check list for joint programmes. Country
Coordinator, UNAIDS to provide a note on how the Theme Group on HIV/AIDS could devolve
powers to the JUNTA.


The UN Advocacy Officer made a presentation on achievements in 2007 and draft plans for 2008
(at Annex 8). The mechanisms for joint advocacy in 2007 included partnership with the
Parliament – fora on Children, Youth, Water Conservation and Management, and Population and
Public heath. Partnerships with State Legislative Assemblies were active in Bihar, Madhya
Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. Public advocacy through mass and popular
media and community radio was also initiated in 2007. Advocacy tools like briefs, parliament
session summaries, MDG facts sheets had also been prepared.

The UNRC informed the UNCT that her office only supplemented individual agency work. The
importance was on political mobilization – as One UN - and it was about issues and not about

One of the recommendations to the RC was to try and work with the Administrative Colleges – Lal
Bahadur Shastry National Academy and Administrative Staff College of India.

The UNCT was also informed that the prize money of Mission Ustaad (an MDG music reality
show) will be pledged to the UN. The UNCT agreed to such initiatives being continued in 2008.
However it was clarified by the RCO that the agencies would need to be more involved and
committed in such initiatives in the future.

Some of the other issues recommended for focus in 2008 were Water, Human Rights, Climate
Change, Women and Children.

Follow UP: UNESCO to be the lead agency on Community Radio; UNRCO to share Fact sheets
prepared with all Programme Staff and also find ways of wider distribution; the issue of Water and
Sanitation and Climate change to be discussed in the clusters for further action.


The UNRC informed that as there were very few donors and it was important to act collectively.
She further informed that after the UNCT meeting in May 2007 with the donor community in India,
the DfID was the only agency that showed interest in funding the “One UN” initiative. The NIPI
has provided support in the health sector.

The UNICEF Representative informed that H8 gives fund for technical assistance in the health
sector. The WHO Representative mentioned that a number of private foundations were
interested in funding in India and that he would share the data base with the UNCT. It was also
suggested that many donors would provide funds for specific themes. Discussions revolved
around the possibility of thematic clusters looking into their framework and formulating concept
notes for resource mobilisation. The possibility of tapping the corporate sector was also
discussed in the group with reference to UNICEF’s effort and the Governments view on not
exempting taxes if funds are given to the UN. It was also mentioned that since NGOs depend on
the corporate sector largely for their funding, it may mean a competition for the same kitty.

Follow UP: The WHO to send a list of donors to the UNCT, Thematic clusters to decide and
prepare concept notes for resource mobilisation.


A presentation was made by the National Programme Officer, UNDP (UNRC Focal Point on
Convergence) on the proposed joint programme on UNDAF Outcome 3: Convergence. (Annex 9)
The presentation highlighted the allocation of large quantity of resources for the districts in the
national programmes, the absorption of only a fraction of these amounts by the districts, and how
the UN can leverage its technical assistance to help better utilization for the delivery of public
services to achieve MDGs.

The Focal Point in the UNRCO narrated the process through which this UNDAF Outcome had
been discussed at different levels and fora, and stressed the results of the UN Thematic Cluster
retreat in 2007. He explained what was meant by convergence (of government resources), the
thrust of UNICEF under its Plus One programme, and how the tentative plan was to input other
UN Agencies work for Outcome 3 based on the plans of UNICEF.

Some of the feedback received from the HOAs included the need for the UN to strengthen public
systems by providing facilitative technical support and supervision, to build into the role of the
district leverager the ability to identify issues and opportunities and pass them on the to relevant
thematic clusters, a good understanding of government systems and flagship programmes, need
to look at how the UN will work together in the training module of the district leverager. Issues of
capacity building at the state and district levels were also discussed.

Follow Up: Project document to be completed by UNRCO in 3 weeks along with the draft
implementation plan; UNDP and UNICEF to discuss how they will take this forward with the
Planning Commission. The RC to speak to the leveragers during the opening session of their
training, and in end September 2008 to have a week long session on Convergence methodology
and planning


A presentation was made on the work undertaken in 2007 and the work plan for 2008 (Annex 10).
Some of the highlights of 2007 included the acceptance of the UNDAF document by the Planning
Commission, the first all UN staff meeting and the formation of 10 UNDAF thematic clusters, and
the UNDAF meeting with the State Government in select states.

The work plan for 2008 included completion of M and E framework, UNDAF state level meetings
and, discussions, UNDAF Annual Work Plan for 2008, UNDAF Bi annual M and E Review and
the Annual review.

 The group also tabled the need to send two identified staff members to cluster meetings in order
to maintain consistency in understanding. It was also recommended that the UNDAF work be a
part of the performance plan of the staff members and that the head of clusters be requested to
give feedback on the staff members inputs.

Follow UP: Heads of Clusters to send minutes to all other members in the Group. The UN
website will have links for reports of thematic clusters. A meeting of Cluster heads to be held.
Cluster Heads to ensure completion of the ME Calendar and Management Plan at the earliest.
HOAs to ensure UNDAF work is in the performance plan of the focal staff member and Heads of
Clusters to give feedback on the inputs of the focal points at the time of year end appraisals.


The RC requested feedback from on the UNCT on how the RCO could be of real value to the
agencies, how it could build ownership for our joint work with the colleagues in our agencies, how
it could build appreciation of joint work among the agencies and avoid duplication. She further
stated that the RCO requests should not be seen as a top down approach and that which adds to
the work of the agencies.

Some of the suggestions received:

      The RCO could take a lead to work with a pool of Civil Services officers in India
      There should be mechanism for showcasing publications of UN agencies in one place
      Issue bulletins, one page newsletter
      The Resident Coordinator could have more interactions with state level UN staff
      To facilitate thematic discussions
      More frequent UNCT meetings to obtain feedback on the programmatic aspects of
    Some operational issues that were discussed included:
     Clarification on safety of UN buildings and action that needs to be taken

       Lack of space in UN Offices. RC also informed the possibility of extension in UNCIEF
        and UNDP buildings by adding a floor. The matter is under consideration. She also
        informed that the Government may make an offer of land in Dwarka for the UN.
       Fixed Dates for UNCT meetings: First Thursday of alternate months from 2-3.30 pm. In
        the months of March, May, July, September and November 2007.

Follow up: RC and HOAs to meet with UN agency staff at the state offices while visiting states.
UNRC to visit agencies to meet with staff. UNRCO to send the calendar of UNCT meetings.
Operational issues to be taken up separately in appropriate fora.

The Retreat ended with the RCO eliciting a brief feedback and the RC thanking all the members
of the UNCT for their active participation, comments, suggestions and recommendations.

Annexures at:   http://intra.un.org.in/UNCTMoM/Retreat08/


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