More than 3000 organizations compete for UNDEF support

UNDEF held its eleventh call for proposals in November-December 2016, announcing that it particularly welcomed projects promoting pluralism, diversity, and inclusion -- a theme agreed at the UNDEF Advisory Board meeting of 10 November 2016 (pictured below). UNDEF received 3002 project proposals for this Eleventh Round, the highest number in six years and the second highest in the history of the Fund. because of the large volume of proposals, UNDEF is able to contact only those applicants who advance to the short list. This is expected to be in mid-2017.  

The proposals originated from organizations in 154 countries, the vast majority local NGOs in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. The share of proposals per region is illustrated in the pie chart.  

This response to the call will add further to the considerable growth the Fund has experienced since its creation in 2005, and bring the total number of projects supported by the Fund to over 750, all of them two years long. These UNDEF-supported initiatives all reflect a focus on strengthening the voice of civil society and encouraging the participation of all groups in democratic processes -- thus concentrating on the demand side of democracy, rather than the supply side.  

Now follows a thorough and rigorous process of assessment, quality vetting, due diligence and lessons learned from previous Rounds. A team of nine international assessors, combining more than 100 years of programme and project experience,  score each proposal against 10 set criteria and produced a long-short-list of some 300 project proposals. To narrow down the list further, UN Resident Coordinators and Experts of the UNDEF Advisory Board are invited to provide comments, quality vetting, and views on how proposed activities would fit in the overall context of existing UN work in the countries and fields proposed. The same comments are sought from the UNDEF Programme Consultative Group, making use of the specific expertise of each of its entities: the Department of Political Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Peacebuilding Support Office, the UN Development Programme, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UN Women.   

Once the short list is approved by the Secretary-General, the proposal moves into the final stage in the selection process: the invitation to short-listed applicants to submit a project document, which is in effect a contract to be negotiated between UNDEF and the grantee.  This negotiation requires the applicant to provide a more elaborated project design, and involves detailed input from both UNDEF and the applicant, as well as scrutiny and due diligence enquiries by UNDEF.  Only upon successful conclusion of the project document will the project proposal formally be approved for funds disbursement.