To function effectively, UN entities working at country, regional and global levels need to coordinate. Led by Resident Coordinators (RCs) and made up of all UN entities working on development in a country, UN Country Teams (UNCTs) are an important driver of coherence. Strengthening their capacity is critical for ensuring system-wide accountability and for coordinating UN support to national counterparts.
In January 2000, the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) identified the need to develop the capacities of UN Country Teams (UNCTs) to support the delivery of the Common Country Assessment (CCA) and the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF). These two instruments were considered essential mechanisms for driving UN reform at country level.
Against this backdrop, the UNDG entrusted the UNSSC (then operating as a project with institutional support from the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization), with the development of the new Resident Coordinator System (RCS) Learning Support Programme. Launched in February 2000, the programme was designed to strengthen RCs and UNCTs in their common programming processes.
To ensure the success of the programme, UNSSC and UNDG followed a two-pronged approach in their collaboration. The first element consisted of a Training of Trainers (TOT), conducted in Turin, Italy. A select group of participants were nominated by UN agencies, together with UNDG’s Working Group on Training and UNSSC. The TOT was made up of a five-day workshop where UN staff gained in-depth exposure to CCA/UNDAF processes, as well as the context and techniques that would enable them to deliver learning to those UNCTs requesting assistance. Participants who successfully completed the TOT were later fielded to UNCTs.
The second element involved the deployment of highly skilled UNSSC trainers who travelled to various locations to provide in-country training support. An important element of both approaches was teambuilding, which was later introduced as a means to foster teamwork between UNCT staff members.
The programme supported UNCTs in their common programming processes and contributed to the production of good-quality CCAs and UNDAFs which were developed using participatory approaches involving both the UN entities and other development partners.
Today, UNSSC continues to provide support to Resident Coordinators and UNCTs through a range of new learning programmes.