UNDEF Board green-lights new call for project proposals

UNDEF’s annual call for project proposals is open from 20 November to 20 December 2017, after receiving the green light from the UNDEF Advisory Board on 16 November. Project proposals may be submitted on-line in English or French, the two working languages of the UN. Applicants can find guidelines, and lessons learned here. This is the Twelfth Round to be launched by UNDEF, which provides grants of up to US$300,000 per project.

UNDEF has supported over 700 projects in over 100 countries at a total amount of almost US$180 million. All projects are two years long.

UNDEF invites project proposals covering one or more of eight main areas:

Gender equality

Community activism

Rule of law and human rights>

Youth engagement

Strengthening civil society interaction with Government

Media and freedom of information

Tools for knowledge

Electoral processes

In this Round, UNDEF particularly welcomes proposals in the areas of gender; rule of law; media; or electoral processes focusing on elections scheduled for 2020 at then earliest.

In 2016, UNDEF received over 3000 project proposals. Project proposals are subject to a highly rigorous and competitive selection process, quality vetting, due diligence and lessons learned from previous rounds, with fewer than two per cent of proposals chosen for funding. A team of international assessors score each proposal against 10 set criteria and produce a long list. 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, and the UN Development Programme, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and UN Women. Based on this collective input, the UNDEF Secretariat produces a first short-list, expected to be confirmed mid-2018, after which the process moves into the next stage. Each short-listed applicant will be contacted with a request for a draft project document, which is in effect the contract between UNDEF and the grantee. The project document 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 negotiation will the project proposal formally be approved for funds disbursement – usually after September every year.