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Common Country Assessment (CCA) and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF)

The introduction of the UN common country-programming concept goes back to 1997. In response to the Secretary-General’s call for the United Nations to articulate a coherent vision and strategy for a unified approach towards common development goals at the country level contained in his 1997 reform agenda, the United Nations system adopted the Common Country Assessment (CCA) and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) as strategic planning tools for the UN system.

The 2005 World Summit gave further impetus to the drive for UN reform, which has been ongoing for several years. Heads of State both reaffirmed the importance of the UN’s multilateralism mission, and pledged their commitment to strengthening the system so that it could respond more effectively to present-day needs, especially those of developing countries. They further stressed the need to secure results at the country level, including effective United Nations Country Teams cooperation, harmonisation and joint action, and the fundamental role of UN “in the promotion of international cooperation for development and the coherence, coordination and implementation of development goals and actions agreed upon by the international community”. On the basis of these considerations, the CCA/UNDAF guidelines have been reviewed, according to the following general principles: a greater emphasis on national ownership, focus on the value added that the UNCT can bring to the national development framework, greater flexibility to tailor analysis to country needs, making the CCA one of several options for strengthening country analytic work, mainstreaming of a human rights-based approach, gender equality, and capacity development, implementation of the results-based management approach, and a more inclusive approach to ensure the full engagement of specialized and non-resident agencies.

These guidelines and processes have been revised in early 2006. The recommendations of the High Level Panel on UN systemised coherence contained in the report “Delivering as One”, call for further improvements in the coordination of the UN system presence and performance at the country level, based on a simple principle: the UN should deliver as one at country level, with one leader, one programme, one budget and where appropriate, one office, through a stronger commitment to working together on the implementation of one strategy, in the pursuit of one set of goals. The delivering as one principle was accompanied with a number of concrete recommendations, which - if implemented - would directly impact the programming process at the country level.

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