2021 Call for Proposals

The UN Trust Fund for Human Security Guidelines (9th Revision) [English] [French]

Human Security Handbook

Outreach Guidelines


Window I Concept Note Template [Download]

Window II Concept Note Template [Download]

Budget Template for Concept Notes [Download]

Full Proposal Template [Download]

Workplan and Result Monitoring Template [Download]

Budget Template for Programme Proposals [Download]

Budget Revision Template [Download]

Annual Progress Report Template (Narrative [Download], Financial [Download])

Final Assessment Form Template [Download]

NCE and Reprogramming Form [Download]

1.What is the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS)?2018-04-06T19:23:19+00:00

Established in 1999, the UN Trust Fund for Human Security (UNTFHS) finances activities carried out by the UN system to deliver comprehensive, cross-sectoral and preventive responses to complex and multidimensional challenges. By combining a set of fundamental principles that characterize the human security approach (protection and empowerment, people-centred, comprehensive, context-specific and prevention-oriented), the Fund promotes integrated and targeted responses that cut across sectors, are grounded in local realities, address the root causes of vulnerabilities, build resilience, and adopt multi-stakeholder partnerships to fully realise the transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda.

2.Why is the UNTFHS an important funding mechanism?2018-04-06T21:23:59+00:00

In line with the ongoing reform of the Secretary-General, the UNTFHS is a vital mechanism to significantly reinforce the UN system’s support to Member States for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the transition from humanitarian response to sustainable development, and the prevention of crises wherever possible. As a catalytic Fund, UNTFHS programmes advance the pooling of resources at the country level and are replicated and brought to scale both within and across countries. Based on multi-stakeholder partnerships, these programmes contribute to more resilient and inclusive societies that leave no one behind.

Delivering as One The application of human security provides a proven and rigorous methodology to assess, develop and implement integrated responses to a broad range of issues that are complex and require the combined inputs of the UN system.

Prevention and resilience UNTFHS programmes address the root causes of insecurities to create conditions that are risk-informed, inclusive and sustainable. Accordingly, programmes are oriented towards the prevention of crises and the promotion of greater resilience.

Localisation and ‘leave no one behind’ Human security promotes participatory, context-specific and people-centred responses that are grounded in local realities, including the differing capacities of Governments, people and other relevant actors. As such, UNTFHS programmes provide a higher sense of ownership and foster a greater determination to leave no one behind.

Partnerships Human security compels us to find comprehensive solutions that combine the expertise and resources of the UN system, in partnership with Governments, non-governmental entities, the private sector, and the communities themselves. As a result, programmes supported by the UNTFHS ensure greater coherence, eliminate duplication, and advance integrated solutions that lead to more effective and tangible improvements in the day-to-day lives of people and their communities.

UNTFHS programmes are distributed globally, with priority given to countries and regions where the insecurities of people are most critical and pervasive, such as the least developed countries (LDCs), countries in conflict or vulnerable to natural hazards, and neglected communities.

3.Who can submit proposals to the UNTFHS?2018-04-06T19:20:13+00:00

UN organizations who are bound by UN Financial Regulations and Rules are eligible to apply for funding from the UNTFHS. Please see section II of the UNTFHS Guidelines for more information. Applications submitted by individuals and non-UN organizations will not be accepted. However, the UNTFHS promotes programmes that engage a broad range of relevant partners, including national and local stakeholders, civil society and the private sector.

4.How do I submit a proposal to the UNTFHS?2020-06-12T07:18:51+00:00

The UNTFHS issues an annual Call for Proposals. The deadline for the 2020 Call for Proposals is 3 September 2020 (11:59PM New York time). Submissions outside of the Call for Proposals will not be accepted.

PLEASE NOTE: the template for concept note submissions has changed, so please refer to Annex 1 of the UNTFHS Guidelines. All submissions must be emailed to humansecurity@un.org.

5.What kinds of programmes does UNTFHS support?2019-05-28T18:09:17+00:00

The UNTFHS supports two distinct types of programmes: 1) those that mainstream and advance the operational impact of the human security approach and 2) those that extend the global awareness of the human security approach and its usage. All programmes must meet the key funding criteria specified in sections IV 1-3 of the UNTFHS Guidelines. In addition, they must respect the budget limitations outlined in section VI.

The UNTFHS does not have thematic priorities; however, programmes should aim to support implementation of key global agendas at the local and national level through the application of the human security approach. Please refer to the Call for Proposals for possible thematic priorities in a given year. Applying organizations should carefully review the key funding criteria in the UNTFHS Guidelines and utilise the tools provided in the Human Security Handbook in the development of their proposals [see Resources box].

6.How does the UNTFHS select programmes to fund?2018-04-06T19:16:27+00:00

Programmes must meet all criteria as outlined in the UNTFHS Guidelines. Submissions are reviewed for their salience in applying the human security approach to address multidimensional and interconnected challenges with a range of relevant stakeholders in an integrated and preventive manner, and to deliver concrete and sustainable benefits to people and communities threatened in their survival, livelihoods and dignity (see key funding criteria in section IV of the UNTFHS Guidelines). Efforts to utilise the human security approach to advance innovative ways of addressing multifaceted challenges are encouraged. Programmes with clear and feasible strategies for replication and expansion beyond the proposal will be given priority attention.

Selected programmes provide a strong rationale for the value of the human security approach in addressing the identified challenges, and justify support from the UNTFHS as opposed to other sources of funding. Moreover, the selection process considers geographical and thematic distribution. See question 5 above and refer to the UNTFHS Guidelines for more information.

Lastly, in addition to clearly demonstrating the relevance of the programme to the key funding criteria, applying organizations should receive the consent of the recipient Government to implement the programme and should ensure that programme activities are in line with national strategies and priorities so as to advance national ownership, sustainability and replication.

7.Where does the UNTFHS get its resources?2018-04-06T19:15:23+00:00

Resources of the UNTFHS consist of voluntary cash contributions from donors and interest accruing therefrom. To date, contributions have been received from Greece, Japan, Malta, Mexico, Slovenia, and Thailand. While the UNTFHS is not open to earmarked contributions, donors may express their geographical and/or sectoral interests with regards to the funding of programmes.

The UNTFHS is administered in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and managed by the Human Security Unit (HSU) at the United Nations in New York.

8.What is the application process?2019-05-28T20:34:47+00:00

The UNTFHS issues an annual Call for Proposals. UN organizations that seek support from the UNTFHS should submit a concept note to the HSU for an initial assessment before the Call for Proposals deadline. In the development of the programme, applying organizations should refer closely to the UNTFHS Guidelines and should utilise the tools in the Human Security Handbook (see Resources). In addition, Annex 1 of the UNTFHS Guidelines provides the concept note template and detailed instructions for each section of the concept note. Concept notes that fail to include the required information outlined in Annex 1 will not be considered.

The HSU will send an acknowledgement email confirming receipt of concept notes received after the deadline for the Call for Proposals. The HSU concept note review process takes 4 weeks, depending on the number of proposals received. Short-listed applications may be contacted to further discuss the concept note and the added value of the human security approach prior to the final selection decision. Concept notes by applying organizations that have been positively considered will be invited to submit a full programme proposal. See the UNTFHS Guidelines and other resources in the Resources box to the left.

Programme proposals will be reviewed by the HSU and the Programme Review Committee. Proposals that satisfy the review process will be submitted to the Executive Office of the Secretary-General for their further review and approval.

9.What is the normal duration of a UNTFHS programme?2018-04-06T19:00:54+00:00

Human security challenges are complex in nature and require a mix of short and medium-term measures that are coherent and are developed in support of longer-term objectives. Therefore, the UNTFHS programmes are all multi-year, with an average duration of three (3) years.

10.How much pooled funding (co-funding) do applying organizations need to secure?2018-04-06T18:59:34+00:00

For operational programmes, the UNTFHS provides seed funding of up to US$ 2 million and applying organizations must pool additional resources of at least US$ 3 million for a programme period of two to three years. At the concept note stage, the applying organizations must provide indications of pooled resources (co-funding) and evidence of prospective funding as part of the full programme proposal. Resources can be from the UN system, Governments, foundations, the private sector and local partners, and can include in-kind contributions.

For programmes that aim to extend awareness and usage of the human security approach, the seed funding from the UNTFHS should not exceed US$300,000. There is no lower limit for the pooling of resources (co-funding) for these programmes, however, additional resources should be included in the total budget.

11.A programme from my organisation has already been funded. Can I submit a programme proposal for another funding round?2018-04-06T18:58:04+00:00

Organizations with programmes already funded in an earlier round are eligible to apply in a subsequent funding round. However, the funding cannot be used to extend an earlier programme supported by the UNTFHS. In addition, the HSU encourages interested organizations to consult with the Office of the Resident Coordinator and other members of the country team to avoid duplication or fragmented initiatives as the UNTFHS will not support programmes where the reason for application is a funding gap in support of an existing initiative.

12.May a country team submit two different concept notes during the same Call for Proposals?2018-04-06T18:55:20+00:00

Yes. A country team may submit more than one concept note. The HSU encourages interested organizations to consult with the Office of the Resident Coordinator and other members of the country team to submit the strongest proposal with regards to the criteria outlined in the UNTFHS Guidelines and to avoid duplication or fragmented initiatives.

13.Does the UNTFHS support regional programmes?2021-07-06T00:51:49+00:00

Yes, the UNTFHS accepts concept notes for regional programmes and has supported regional programmes in the past. It is important to note, however, that the seed funding limit of US$2 million from the UNTFHS applies to regional programmes as well. Therefore, significant additional resources will need to be identified to ensure that the total programme budget is sufficient to meet all key funding criteria and deliver concrete improvements in people’s daily lives across the multiple countries. In addition, regional programmes should clearly show how the challenges are interconnected and therefore require a regional response.

14.What is the role of the lead agency?2021-07-06T00:52:19+00:00

As all UNTFHS programmes are multidimensional, multiagency, and multi-partner, the role of the lead agency is crucial, particularly with regard to the genuine integration of activities and the required coordination among implementing partners, as well as communication with implementing and non-implementing partners, among others. The lead agency is therefore not necessarily the entity with the most significant substantive role or largest amount of funding from the UNTFHS, but the agency best suited in the particular context to oversee and drive integration and coordination towards the shared objectives of the human security programme.


Key responsibilities of the lead agency

Coordinating overall programme implementation in line with the human security approach. The lead agency will be responsible for the organizing meetings and consultations with all programme partners, including but not limited to steering committee and technical working group meetings, to ensure integrated implementation of the programme.

Establishing the appropriate governance structures and coordinating mechanisms for a successful human security programme at the nation and community levels (or global and regional levels, as relevant for the programme).

Managing timely communication and consolidation of the inputs required from the implementing partners for the development of annual work plans, M&E plans, communications strategies, mainstreaming efforts as well as narrative and financial reports submitted to the HSU.

Designating a programme coordinator who will serve as the primary focal point for the programme. The coordinator will play a key role in managing and monitoring programme implementation.

Ensuring that all programme activities are in line with the approved programme proposal and budget, and apply the human security approach.

15.What are best practices with regards to programme governance and management?2021-07-06T00:52:45+00:00

Human security programmes require strong integration and coordination in order to achieve impactful and sustainable outcomes through the combined efforts of the UN system and participating partners. In this regard, establishing the following governance structure has been found to be useful:

  • Programme Steering Committee (PSC) comprised of heads/senior staff of participating UN entities, Government representatives, private sector and civil society partners to provide strategic direction and oversight, and to ensure replication and mainstreaming of the human security approach beyond the proposed programme. The PSC should meet regularly, and at least once per quarter.
  • Programme working group (PWG) comprised of staff from each agency leading on the joint programme. The PWG should meet regularly to guarantee integration of activities in response to the identified interconnected challenges. Ideally the PWG would have a shared space close to the location where the programme is being implemented for holding regular meetings. An additional technical working group could also be useful for certain programmes.
  • Consultative platforms: In addition to the above, consultative platform(s) that engage partners and local communities in decision-making are critical for effective programme implementation, ownership, replication and sustainability. Inclusive and representative participation by local leaders and community members has been found to be instrumental for successful human security programmes.
16.How important are communication and outreach activities?2021-07-06T00:53:09+00:00

Compelling outreach and communication efforts can contribute significantly to stronger engagement by partners and stakeholders, as well as more impactful programme outcomes. Outreach and communication materials disseminated to partners and the broader community on a regular basis can help inform them of the programme, the value of the human security approach, lessons learned and successes (up to 3% of the programme budget should be allocated to outreach and dissemination activities).

In addition, the HSU undertakes a variety of outreach and advocacy initiatives that showcase UNTFHS programmes and lessons learned from their implementation. Strong outreach and communication materials from implementing organizations helps the HSU best showcase programmes through its large network of stakeholders and human security supporters around the world.

Please refer to the Outreach Guidelines in the box to the left for more information.

17.What are the reporting requirements of the UNTFHS?2021-07-06T00:54:30+00:00

As of 2020, all UNTFHS programmes will use the pass-through fund management modality.

The lead agency should coordinate all inputs related to the programme and submit consolidated narrative reports with interim financial statements annually (and certified financial statements), as well as a final report after the close of the programme. These reports should indicate how the funds were spent as well as the results and strategic impact of the programme during the reporting period. Please refer to Annex 3 of the UNTFHS Guidelines (Reporting Requirements) for the report templates and detailed instructions. In addition, please see the Resources box to the left for relevant templates.

The annual narrative report should cover all activities implemented during the reporting period and a cumulative presentation of results since the beginning of the programme. This must include those activities supported by the UNTFHS and by other funding sources. Initiatives aimed to replicate and bring to scale the programme and/or mainstream the human security approach among local communities, the UN system, and Government stakeholders should also be included in the report.

The annual report must be accompanied by interim cumulative financial statements from each implementing organization. The interim cumulative financial statements are for the UNTFHS contribution only and report the expenses and commitments under each object class category for the reporting period (i.e. 12-month reporting period, which is not necessarily a calendar year).  Each country office should liaise with their respective HQ to ensure that the expense and commitment amounts reported under each object class category are aligned. Please refer to the reporting schedule provided upon approval of the programme for the due dates. In addition, please refer to the UNTFHS Guidelines for the financial statement template and a description of each object class category.

Please note that instalments cannot be released until all narrative and financial reports have been received and approved. In addition, please note that funds may have to be reimbursed to the UNTFHS if financial reallocations were made without prior HSU approval.

In addition, as per the financial agreement for the UNTFHS contribution each implementing organization is required to submit annual certified financial statements issued by the respective implementing organization’s HQ through the lead agency. These statements report the expenses and commitments incurred as of 31 December (end of the calendar year). For financial reconciliation purposes and for monitoring of fund utilization as per the approved budget, the UNTFHS will use the annual certified financial statements issued by each implementing organization’s HQ.

The final report should cover all activities implemented during the programme period, including those supported by the UNTFHS and those supported by other funding sources. It should focus on the progress made from baseline to the completion of the programme, present the outcomes, and compile the lessons learned and best practices. Initiatives to replicate and bring to scale the programme and/or mainstream the human security approach among local communities, the UN system, and Government stakeholders should also be included in the final report.

The final report consists of 1) final narrative report in the annual report format, 2) the Final Assessment Form using the template below, and 3) certified financial statements. The timeline for submission of each of the Final Report elements is as follows:

  • Interim financial statement: On the end date of the programme (as indicated in the financial agreement), the lead agency must submit to the HSU the cumulative interim financial statements for the entire life of the programme from all implementing organizations. These cumulative financial statements must indicate the total obligation of funds required for payment to be made between the end date of the financial agreement and three (3) months for financial closure. Additional obligations should not be made after the end date of the financial agreement.
  • Final narrative report and final evaluation: No later than three (3) months after the end date of the programme, the lead agency must submit a consolidated final narrative report (using the annual report template). It should report on progress from the beginning of the programme and clearly describe the activities and achievements of the final year of the programme, if a final year narrative progress report was not submitted. As with all reports, the final narrative report should present a cohesive narrative of the achievements of the overall programme. The report of the external final evaluation should be attached.
  • Final assessment form and certified financial statement: No later than six (6) months after the end date of the programme, the lead agency should submit the final assessment form using the template below and the final certified financial statements.



18.Can a programme be extended?2020-06-12T07:24:58+00:00

Yes, a programme period can be extended once. A “no cost” extension implies that there will be no re-allocation of funds and no change to the overall programme budget. In such cases, the lead agency is required to contact the HSU Programme Officer no later than three months before the end date of the Financial Agreements. The lead agency is required to submit a formal request for a no-cost extension, which must be accompanied by an updated workplan indicating activities to be completed during the extension period. Please refer to Annex 5 of the UNTFHS Guidelines.

19.When should a programme and/or budget revision be submitted?2021-01-04T17:55:08+00:00

A programme revision should be submitted when change to the programme period is required (i.e. extension of the programme period) and/or a substantive change to the programme details (i.e. workplan, results framework, and beneficiaries).

If a programme requires revisions, the lead agency is required to contact the HSU Programme Officer before any change is implemented.  The lead agency is required to submit a formal request for a reprogramming/budget revision with relevant changes included in the original programme document in track changes or highlighted, an updated Workplan and Results Monitoring Template and the completed Budget Revision Template. Please refer to Annex 5 of the UNTFHS Guidelines.

A budget revision should be submitted when there is a variance equal to or more than 20% of the approved UNTFHS budget by reporting object class. Please refer to Annex 5 of the UNTFHS Guidelines.

20.How often should I send outreach material to the HSU?2018-04-06T18:37:18+00:00

The HSU encourages and welcomes the frequent submission of outreach materials (photographs, human interest stories, videos, pamphlets, etc.). In addition, please connect to the HSU and UNTFHS social media accounts and share information through those platforms as well.

Twitter: @UNhumansecurity

Facebook: @UNTFHS

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