A New Way of Programming: The UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF)
About the Trust Fund
The UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund (UN MPTF) is a pooled mechanism designed to channel funds in support of the implementation of the Somali Compact. It constitutes the centrepiece of the United Nations’ contribution to the Compact. The UN MPTF is an integral part of the Somali Development and Reconstruction Facility (SDRF), established by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and its international partners. The UN MPTF is one of the funding windows established under the SDRF governance structure. The UN MPTF has two funding streams — the UN funding stream and the national funding stream. Under the UN Funding Stream, UN organisations are eligible to receive funding and subsequent financing may be channelled to national and sub-national institutions and international NGOs through UN agencies, which assume programmatic and financial accountability.
Under the National Funding Stream, financing can be provided directly to national entities that are included as Government Implementing Partners in the programme documents approved by the SDRF Executive Steering Committee. The FGS assumes programmatic and financial accountability for funds passed through the National Stream. The use of the UN MPTF serves two objectives:
- To increase the coherence and focus of UN programming on the Somali Compact priorities; and
- To allow for greater national participation in resource allocation in Somalia.
As such, donor contributions to the UN MPTF directly support, in both spirit and letter, the implementation of the Somali Compact through the following benefits.
A Genuine Partnership
In particular, decisions on how to allocate donor contributions to the UN MPTF are made jointly between the UN, national authorities and donors, on the basis of the Compact’s priorities. In line with the New Deal’s partnership principles, national authorities are no longer left out of these funding discussions. Instead, they are equal partners.
Even if donor contributions are earmarked (to a Joint Programme or a Peacebuilding and State-building Goal/PSG), the process for programme development, consultation and approval empowers the Compact structures (such as the PSG Working Groups), offers relevant national and international actors the opportunity to input into the programmes, and ensures that contributions support nationally agreed priorities and goals.
At the same time, the UN MPTF is designed to ensure rapid resource allocation so that funding is promptly programmed. From pipeline development to programme approval and fund disbursement from the Trust Fund administrator, the UN MPTF combines depth of consultations with speed of process. Donor funding thus supports rapid delivery on the ground.
Similar UN mechanisms have proved to be speedy, such as the UN Trust Fund on Ebola, which was established at the end of September 2014 and raised and programmed all its funding (USD 130 million) by 31 December 2014.
Increased Use of National Systems
The establishment of the national stream represents a very concrete application of the New Deal commitment to increasing the use of national systems. With fiduciary safeguards developed on the basis of international best practice and tailored to the Somali context, the UN MPTF’s national stream offers donors the opportunity to provide funding directly to national entities, build their capacity and enhance their legitimacy in the eyes of Somali citizens.
Greater UN Coherence
The use of the UN MPTF greatly promotes UN coherence and discipline in support of nationally agreed goals. All programmes funded by the UN MPTF need to achieve at least one of the outputs and outcomes of the UN Integrated Strategic Framework (ISF), which articulates the UN’s programmatic contributions to the Somalia Compact, with a focus on flagship joint programmes bringing together UN agencies around shared objectives.
Donor funding through the UN MPTF, where decisions are made jointly, therefore minimises the risk of a scattered UN with disparate projects chasing donor support bilaterally, missed opportunities for greater efficiencies through joint programming and inconsistent alignment with Compact priorities.
The UN MPTF offers a platform for joint risk-taking and risk-pooling. In such a complex environment, the UN MPTF allows donors to pool and mitigate any risk associated with their investment, through diversification (of funding allocations across all PSGs, across different implementation modalities, etc.), sharing (with government, the UN and other donors), and by benefiting from a fund risk management strategy (jointly developed and supported by the UN, the World Bank and the African Development Bank).
The UN MPTF provides a coherent overview of activities it funds. Consolidated reporting enables the Federal Government of Somalia, donors, beneficiaries and UN agencies to succinctly communicate the achievements of the Fund against Somali Compact benchmarks.
A Flexible and Holistic Approach
Finally, the logic of the New Deal lies in the recognition that political, security, justice and socio-economic goals are mutually reinforcing, and therefore require simultaneous progress. Especially in the case of unearmarked contributions, donor funding through the UN MPTF supports this logic by providing the flexibility needed to cover gaps across all five PSGs, and to ensure that priorities are met concurrently.