Frequently asked questions

Who can submit project proposals to UNPDF?

All relevant Departments and Offices of the UN Secretariat receive requests to submit project proposals in accordance with the Guidelines of UNPDF.

The requests for project proposals are aligned with the annual priority areas of each of the two Sub-Funds endorsed by the Steering Committee.

Can entities outside the UN Secretariat submit project proposals to UNPDF?

Only UN Secretariat entities can submit project proposals to the Trust Fund.

On an exceptional basis and following consultation between the Donor and the Secretariat, an invitation for call of proposals may be sent out to a non-Secretariat entity.

When is the next call for project proposals?

The call for project proposals is initiated by the Programme Managers of the two Sub-Funds once the Steering Committee endorses the priorities. The call for proposals is also subject to availability of funding. Normally, calls for proposals are initiated at the beginning of the year.

The deadline for submission is specified in the call for proposal.

If I have an urgent request for funding and the deadline has passed, can I still submit the project proposal?

The project proposals received after the deadline will generally be retained for the next round of project proposal calling.

Depending on the urgency to implement, such submissions will be reviewed by the Sub-Funds’ respective Management Teams on a case-by-case basis under the provisions for off-cycle projects.

Can an entity submit multiple proposals during the same round of project proposal calling?

In principle, there is no limit to the number of proposals. However, given the limited number of projects that can be financed by the Sub-Funds, entities are strongly encouraged to submit up to three proposals only with a ranking of importance indicated. All proposals will be assessed based on overall quality, results-orientation, feasibility, and sustainability as well as on their alignment with the guiding principles and priority areas of the Sub-Fund.

Is there a funding limit for a single project?

Project funding is assessed based on the overall quality of the proposal. UNPDF accepts proposals for both single and multi-year implementation periods. While there is no funding limit per project, there is a rigorous review of the budget to ensure that the requested funding is consistent with the deliverables for the project. The budget must be logical, reasonable and in line with UN standard budgeting costs. Funding may be released in phases based on the implementation schedule.

Can an entity submit a multi-year proposal or a proposal lasting less than one year?

Yes, an entity can submit a multi-year proposal or a proposal lasting less than one year. The duration of the project intervention will depend on the logical framework. In this regard, project goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.

Does UNPDF accept project proposals with multiple implementing entities?

For the sake of implementing efficiency and ownership of the project, funding for a project proposal will be provided to only one entity. However, entities applying for funding are encouraged to coordinate and build partnership with relevant partners, including other UN Departments/Offices, agencies, government entities and civil society organizations, especially in South-South and triangular cooperation in the programmatic priority areas of the Sub-Funds.

When submitting project proposals, do I have to use the templates of UNPDF or I could use the templates of my own department/office?

The applying entities are required to use the templates for the concept note and associated budget as provided by the Management Teams.

In which language can I submit my proposal?

Currently, UNPDF is only accepting proposals in English.

How much is the Programme Support Cost of the Peace and Development Trust Fund?

As per the agreement between the People’s Republic of China and the United Nations, the Trust Fund provides for Programme Support Costs at the rate of 7 per cent to cover indirect costs based on actual expenditure incurred by the implementing entities within UN Secretariat overseeing the project. In an exceptional case when a project is approved for a non-UN Secretariat entity, the implementing entity will receive Programme Support Costs of 4 per cent.

Can the submitted project be co-financed?

Since implementation is expected to start as soon as the funds from the UNPDF are released to the implementing entity, co-financed projects will be considered only when other sources of funding have been secured.

Applying entities must disclose such information in their project proposals.

Can UNPDF transfer funding to another Trust Fund?

In principle, UNPDF does not allow transfer of funds to another Trust Fund. To ensure proper monitoring of expenditures associated with the project implementation, when fund transfer to another UN Secretariat entity is needed, the Management Teams will require specific arrangements to the recipient entity. The decision to make fund transfer to a no-UN Secretariat entity for the implementation of a specific project is made only upon review and consideration by the Steering Committee.

What type of projects does UNPDF support?

In the case of the projects and activities funded from the Secretary-General’s Peace and Security sub-fund of the Trust Fund, the proposal should foster United Nations leadership for the promotion of international cooperation for to support peace activities, including inter alia mediation, preventive diplomacy, peace-keeping, reduction of armed conflicts, counter-terrorism, information and cyber-security.

In the case of projects and activities funded from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sub-fund of the Trust Fund, the proposal should support international cooperation for the implementation of the 2030 sustainable development agenda, including, inter alia, the promotion of sustainable development, agriculture, environmental protection as well as development of women, children and people with disabilities.

How are the proposals assessed and selected?

Project proposals submitted are subject to a reviewing and screening process, which will prioritize proposals that fit the following criteria:

  1. The objective of the project proposal is consistent with the overall purpose of the Trust Fund.
  2. The project proposal draws on the United Nations’ comparative advantages.
  3. The project proposal has a significant impact and tangible outcome.
  4. The project proposal enhances the partnership between the United Nations and regional and sub-regional organizations, facilitate south-south cooperation and encourage best practice sharing among Member States.
  5. The project proposal is technically sound in conception and presentation.
  6. The budget of the project proposal is financially solid and reasonable.
  7. The project proposal has strong and valid indicators that could be used for monitoring and reporting purpose.
  8. The project proposal has strong prospects of sustainability beyond the project duration.

The management teams of the two Sub-Funds will conduct the initial review of the project proposals submitted to the respective Sub-Funds according to the requirement set out in the Guidelines of UNPDF. EOSG and DESA respectively will provide comments, quality vetting and views on how the proposed project would fit in the overall context of existing UN work in the countries and fields proposed. Designated representative of the donor Government will also be consulted on prioritizing the project proposals submitted. Based on the collective input, the management teams of the Trust Fund will produce separate short-lists for the two Sub-Funds, which require review and endorsement by the Steering Committee of UNPDF and ultimately the approval of the Secretary-General.

Who decides what projects will be funded?

Final decisions on funding are taken by the Secretary-General based on recommendations from the Steering Committee. The Committee has five members, composed of the Chef de Cabinet, the Under-Secretary-General of the DESA, the Permanent Representative of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations, and two other officials from the Chinese Government.

How can I find out about the status of my proposal?

While a notification will be sent by email to all the focal points who submitted proposals in due course, UNPDF does not have the capacity to respond to individual queries considering the volume of application. The applicants whose proposal is shortlisted will be invited to develop a full-fledged project document and budget. This is the final stage of the selection process, as only those who successfully submit a project document and pass the final review process will be granted funding.

What needs to be done when a concept note is approved to be funded by UNPDF?

Once the final shortlisted concept notes of the two Sub-Funds are approved by the Secretary-General, the applicant entities are required to submit a full-fledged project document, which is in effect the contract between UNPDF and the implementing entity. The project document requires the applying entities to provide a more elaborated project design and budget. Only upon successfully conclusion of the project document, the project proposals will be formally approved for the release of funding under a contribution agreement.

What are the monitoring, reporting and evaluation requirements for a project funded by PDF?

The following sections from the Guidelines of the Trust Fund provide the key requirements for reporting, monitoring and evaluation of projects funded by UNPDF.

Reporting and Publication

The implementing entity shall submit progress reports annually as well as a final narrative report on the project including a financial statement on the utilization of funds. The reports must be signed by the project manager and certified by the Head of Office/Department.

The implementing entity shall make reasonable efforts to publicize the progress and results of the projects through suitable channels.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The implementing entity assumes primary responsibility for the monitoring and evaluation of the project in accordance with United Nations established policies and good practices and the stated objectives, activities, outputs, outcomes and results indicators. The management teams of the Trust Fund reserve the right to conduct their own evaluation of the project to ensure that expected objectives are met and activities are conducted as set forward in the project document.

What is the responsibility of the implementing entities in terms of compliance with UN Rules and Regulations?

The implementing entity shall comply with United Nations Financial Regulations and Rules as well as applicable directives and policies. Compliance with internal and external audit procedures as set out in the UN financial regulations and rules is also required. If an external or internal audit report contains observations specific to the project, the implementing entity shall communicate the recommendations and its response to the respective management teams of the Sub-Funds. Furthermore, any cases of suspected fraud shall promptly be reported to the Management Teams of the Fund.