2008, Lesotho has supported the entire United Nations reform process, known as “Delivering as One” (DaO). Lesotho was not one of the few pilot countries, yet the then-Government endorsed the process and embraced it nationally as a “self-starter” partner that has helped the UN in Lesotho to speak with one voice and operate more effectively. Recent years have seen the UN in Lesotho work with the Government to develop new ways of cooperation, enabling partners to achieve greater impact on the ground by being more results-oriented, efficient, and by harmonizing business practices across agencies. What follows is an overview of that reform process and the achievements the Lesotho UN Development Assistance Action Framework (UNDAF, 2013-2017) reached so far.
What is Delivering as One?
The Delivering as One reform involves streamlining programmes, focusing on areas where the UN can have a greater impact, reducing duplication of efforts, and more effective use of human and financial resources. Delivering as One involves a bottom-up approach to reform: evidence from change in the field influences the agenda and the political process at UN Headquarters level. The support of UN Member States including Lesotho is crucial to ensure that the best practices from DaO countries are effectively applied as an operational standard across the world to maximize the impact on the ground.
What prompted the reform?
The Delivering as One reform comes in response to the changing aid environment – an attempt to translate the Paris and Accra principles of aid-effectiveness into practice. It also aims to reaffirm the UN’s position as a key actor in the field of international development with its unique global reach and potential for coordinated responses to development challenges.
How is the reform structured?
The Delivering as One reform has five pillars: (1) One Programme; (2) One Leader; (3) One Fund; (4) One Office; and (5) Communicating as One. Here’s what each pillar means.
- The One UN Programme approach calls for effective collaboration between UN agencies and its various partners, requiring joint work-plans, joint budgets and the definition of common results. The UN Country Team works “as one” to support Lesotho in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Lesotho’s National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP) and the new Post-2015 Development Agenda through a people-centered, rights-based approach to development as outlined in the Lesotho United Nations Development Assistance Framework, the combined planning framework for all the UN organizations – whether they be resident and operating in Lesotho, or non-resident. The DaO reform has put in place programming and operational principles that today promote the harmonized delivery of UN agencies programmes in Lesotho.
- The One Office agenda focuses on both harmonizing business processes and developing common services, in order for all UN agencies to increase operational efficiency and financial savings. The UN House brings together all seven UN resident agencies operating in Lesotho: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), World Health Organization, (WHO) and World Food Programme (WFP) including the World Bank. The common operations strategy strengthens joint procurement, information and communication technologies, human resources and financial management – all with the aim to more effectively deliver UN development programmes.
- The One Leader refers to the empowerment of the UN Resident Coordinator and the UN agency heads. An effective and committed UN Country Team under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator, facilitates the coordinated implementation of all UN interventions.
- The Communicating as One approach enhances UN coordination, capacity and impact in the area of communications. The Delivering as One communication strategy enhances programme delivery through harmonized messaging and advocacy to the partners and Basotho people.
What are the major achievements of the DaO reform to date?
The UN’s strategic framework for Lesotho, UNDAF, articulates in detail the UN system’s contribution to national-development priorities and international commitments – enhancing transparency and accountability to the Government of Lesotho and Development Partners. It pushes the reform further by deepening the harmonization of business practices and improving cost effectiveness. UNDAF implementation is supported by interagency thematic working groups, UN Theme Group on Gender, Human Rights and Youth, UN Theme Group on Monitoring and Evaluation, Joint UN team on AIDS, Operations Management Team, Disaster Management and Response Team, UN communications Group, UN Nutrition Team corresponding to the key priority areas of the National Strategic Development Plan. The UNDAF incorporates a Results Matrix and a complementary Monitoring and Evaluation Matrix, which include specific indicators, baselines, targets and means of verification.
What is the Lesotho Government’s role in the reform?
The Government of Lesotho has shown leadership and ownership in the Delivering as One reforms, as far back as 2008, when it supported the launch of the process. Traditionally, all UN agencies in Lesotho have enjoyed close cooperation with government partners at all levels: national, regional and district. To facilitate cooperation under the UNDAF, the UN’s planning cycle has been aligned with the National Strategic Development Plan, enabling compliance with requirements for the national processes in addressing the development agenda.
Partnering with Civil Society Organizations
The United Nations is both a participant in and witness to an increasingly global civil society and cooperation among Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). CSOs play a key role at major UN conferences and are indispensable partners for UN efforts at the country level and at the grass-roots. Lesotho CSOs are routinely consulted about the latest UN policy and programme matters. The UN organizes and hosts on a regular basis, briefings, meetings and conferences for CSO representatives accredited to UN offices, programmes and agencies.