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Strategic Planning and Results-Based Management and Results-Based Budgeting approaches

One of the specific responsibilities of the Bureau of Strategic Planning is the design and implementation across the Organization of Results-Based Management (RBM) in particular in programming, budgeting, monitoring and reporting.

“RBM is a management strategy which reflects the way an organization applies processes and resources to undertake development interventions to achieve desired results (outputs, outcomes, impacts) integrating evidence and lessons learned on past performance and actual results into management decision-making.

It is a participatory and team-based management approach that focuses on performance and achieving results, that is applied at all stages of the programme cycle. It is designed to improve programme delivery and strengthen management effectiveness, efficiency and accountability.”

Source: “ResultsBased Programming, Budgeting, Management, Monitoring and Reporting (RBM) approach as applied at UNESCO: Guiding Principles”

A central feature of the UN reform, as defined in 1997 by the UN Secretary General in his Programme for Reform, has been to “[…] place greater emphasis on results in planning, budgeting and reporting and shifting the focus of planning, budgeting, management, monitoring, reporting and oversight from how things are done to what is accomplished”. The United Nations Organizations have since been undertaking wide-ranging efforts to integrate RBM in their work culture. It is today one of the five core programming principles applied by the UN country teams in the preparation of common country programming documents such as the UNDAF (United Nations Development Assistance Framework).

UNESCO introduced RBM in programming at the end of the 1990’s s with the aim of improving programme and management effectiveness. Over time RBM principles have been applied to all programmes and projects, regardless of the funding source (regular programme and extrabudgetary resources). It is used by all of UNESCO’s organizational units at all stages of the programme cycle, from programming throughout implementation including monitoring, evaluation and reporting. This enables a process through which results are formulated, programme achievements are monitored, decision-making is better informed, reporting is facilitated and transparency and accountability are ensured. To that effect, and in accordance with 38 C/Resolution 99 the Director-General is to present to the Executive Board every six months:

·         A Programme Implementation Report (PIR) for each spring session of the Executive Board (e.g. 201st session) which contains a concise analytical assessment of programme performance in terms of progress towards the delivery of activities and outputs.

·         An Analytical Programme Implementation Report (APIR) to the spring session of the Executive Board of the first year of each quadrennium (e.g. 204th session) which presents in comparison with the PIR the status of programme implementation in a more analytical format and for the entire quadrennium. It includes trends, aggregated information per Sector and per region, challenges and way forward.

·         A Strategic Results Report (SRR) to the third spring session of the Executive Board of each quadrennium (e.g. 199th session) which pertains to achievement of results in terms of outcome and – where possible — impact.

·         An online summary report at each fall session of the Executive Board (e.g. 205th session) which contains an overview of the progress made towards the delivery of outputs and the achievement of outcomes.

In addition, UNESCO has introduced in 2014 during the preparation of its 38th Programme and Budget a results-based budgeting approach as the budgeting component of the RBM approach. This budget process aims at better connecting resource allocation to specific, measurable C/5 expected results based on needs assessment and on a bottom-up approach. A key evolution of RBM at UNESCO has been the introduction with the 39 C/5 (2018-2019) of an Integrated Budget Framework (including both regular budget and extrabudgetary resources) which provides a holistic picture of the level of resources needed to implement UNESCO’s programme and achieve the C/5 expected results endorsed by Member States.

UNESCO’s RBM Results Chain

The Results Chain flows from the Strategic Objectives of the Medium-Term Strategy (C/4), down to the C/5 expected results defined in the quadrennial Programme and biennial Budget (C/5) to the results of the programmes, projects), ensuring a seamless passage between the programme levels. It is built on the principles of alignment and aggregation of results, which implies that the combination of results achieved at one level should contribute to the achievement of the higher-level result.


BSP facilitates RBM events for UNESCO staff, stationed both in Headquarters and in the field, including in category 1 institutes and centres, and for Permanent Delegations and National Commissions at their request. BSP has developed training material and tools to strengthen capacities in the application of RBM principles throughout the whole UNESCO programme cycle, where emphasis is placed on the formulation of “SMART” results and related performance indicators, baselines and targets and the use of results information in decision-making. 

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