Terms of Reference


Background, Objectives, Purpose and Scope

1. Following the proposal for the establishment of a Democracy Fund and consultations conducted with Member States, the Secretary-General has established a United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) in July 2005 as a United Nations General Trust Fund.

2. In 2005 the World Summit Outcome (paragraphs 135-137, pg. 30), the Heads of State and Government reaffirmed that democracy is a universal value based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of their lives. They also reaffirmed that there is no single model of democracy, that it does not belong to any country or region, and reaffirmed the necessity of due respect for sovereignty and the right of self-determination. The Summit Outcome stresses that democracy, development and respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. 

3. The Heads of State and Government renewed their commitment to support democracy by strengthening countries' capacity to implement the principles and practices of democracy, and resolved to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations to assist Member States upon their request. They also welcomed the establishment of UNDEF.

4. The Heads of State and Government invited the Secretary-General to ensure that practical arrangements for UNDEF complement the existing United Nations activity in this field carried out by the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), as well as other entities in the United Nations system. 

5. The overall purpose of UNDEF is to support democratization around the world by supporting projects that strengthen the voice of civil societies, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all in democratic processes. Projects could be in the field of, inter alia, strengthening democratic dialogue, civil society empowerment, civic education, freedom of information, and strengthening the rule of law. 

6. UNDEF will preferentially support projects implemented by civil society organizations (CSOs) selected through a competitive process that includes quality control and due diligence. Projects may also be implemented, as appropriate, by government bodies, national constitutional bodies, regional entities, intergovernmental bodies and United Nations entities.


Structure and Administration

7. UNDEF will be administered in accordance with United Nations Financial Regulations and Rules. Every project implemented by a UN entity supported by UNDEF will be subject to the standard programme support cost reimbursement utilized by the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP). 

8. An Advisory Board will be established by the Secretary-General to provide policy guidance for the development of programme frameworks and funding guidelines, and to consider proposals for funding. The Advisory Board will recommend funding proposals for approval by the Secretary-General. 

9. The Advisory Board, constituted by the Secretary General, will include the seven largest Member State contributors as well as the Executive Director of UNOP, who will serve in an ex officio capacity. The Secretary General will also appoint six other Member States to reflect diverse geographical representation, including one Small Island Developing States; three individual members; and two CSOs. In this regard, the Secretary General will take into account their capacity and willingness to participate in UNDEF activities.  

10. From 2010 onwards, the Advisory Board will serve for a period of two calendar years. The Secretary-General may replace a member of the Advisory Board who resigns or cannot otherwise participate in its meetings.

11. For the Advisory Board to be constituted for 2010-11, the Secretary-General will appoint members based upon the criteria applicable in the original Terms of Reference. From 2012 onwards, the determination of the seven largest Member State contributors will be based on their actual contributions to UNDEF during the previous three calendar years. Contributions will be measured on the second Friday of December in the year preceding the commencement of the term. 

12. The Advisory Board will recommend to the Secretary General one of its individual members to be appointed as the Chair of the Advisory Board. The thirteen Member States and two CSOs will be responsible for designating their representatives on the Advisory Board. Members will not receive remuneration for their services. 

13. The Advisory Board will be supported by an Office of UNDEF that will consist of an Executive Head and other staff appointed by the Secretary-General. The appointment of the Executive Head will be made in consultation with the Advisory Board. 

14. The Office of UNDEF will be located within UNOP. For administrative purposes, the Executive Head of UNDEF will report to the Executive Director of UNOP, who reports to the Secretary-General through the Deputy Secretary-General. For substantive support to the Advisory Board, the Executive Head will deal directly with the Advisory Board.

15. The Advisory Board will meet quarterly or as appropriate, as decided by the Secretary General on the recommendation of the Advisory Board.

16. The core functions of the Office of the UNDEF will be as follows:

(i) develop programme funding criteria, in consultation with the Programme Consultative Group 
(ii) solicit and receive proposals on the basis of guidelines approved by the Advisory Board
(iii) review project proposals for submission to the Advisory Board: help design and support projects for implementation
(iv) conduct outreach activities
(v) facilitate in-kind donations of technical assistance from States and NGOs
(vi) arrange monitoring and evaluation, as well as audit exercises
(vii) handle all aspects of the allocation, disbursement and accounting of funds
(viii) submit reports to the ACABQ and Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, as and when required

17. All staff costs, as well as all central support services, will be borne by UNDEF. All financial management and administrative services will be provided by UNOP on a reimbursable basis. 

18. The Secretary-General will establish a Programme Consultative Group (PCG) which will provide advice to the Advisory Board on programme funding criteria and on project proposals, through the Executive Head of UNDEF.  

19. The PCG may comprise up to a total of seven senior representatives from DPA, DPKO, UNDP, OHCHR and other relevant UN system organizations who will be appointed by the Secretary-General. One of the members will serve as Chair. 

20. The Executive Head of UNDEF will be an ex officio member of the PCG and will be responsible for convening the meetings of the PCG. The Advisory Board may request the Chair of the PCG to attend its meetings as appropriate. 

21. In order to keep all donors to UNDEF apprised of developments, a meeting of representatives from donors that have contributed to UNDEF will be convened at least once a year by the Secretary-General or a designated Senior Official; this will also provide an opportunity for consultations between the Advisory Board and all donors.

22. These Terms of Reference of UNDEF should be reviewed by the Secretary-General in consultation with the Advisory Board at least once every 6 years.