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Civil society partnerships

Guiding principles

Key guiding principles for UNICEF partnerships with civil society and other actors include:

1.  Mutual focus on delivering results for children and women, especially the most disadvantaged. Partnerships must contribute clear value to the achievement of UNICEF strategic priorities and internationally agreed conventions and development goals, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the SDGs.

2.  Mutual commitment to the core values of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the principles of good governance, notably transparency, accountability and sound financial management. UNICEF will not partner with organizations found to be in breach of core UN norms or with any other entities that pose a reputational risk to UNICEF.

3.  Equity among all partners. The objectives and activities pursued throughout the life of a partnership should be fully transparent and involve mutual accountabilities and contributions, as well as shared risks and benefits among all partners. [GB1] 

4.  Integrity and independence. Partnerships need to maintain the integrity and independence of both UNICEF and collaborating organizations.

5.  Cost-effectiveness. Partnerships should seek to minimize administrative and financial costs, without compromising accountability or effectiveness.

6.  Forms of cooperation appropriate to the context and the goals to be pursued. These arrangements should be formalized through a written, legally enforceable programme cooperation agreement or small-scale funding agreement when funds, supplies or other resources are transferred from UNICEF to the partner. [GB2] 

7.  Equality among all partners. Equality [GB3] requires mutual respect among all partners, regardless of the size or power of any one partner. The participants must respect each other's mandates, obligations, principles and independence.

8.  Transparency in all decision-making processes. Transparency is achieved through open and participatory dialogue, with an emphasis on consultation and sharing of information from the earliest stages of the partnership. Communication and transparency, including financial transparency, increase the level of trust among partners.

9.  Responsibility to fulfil partnership obligations and commitments. Partner organizations have an ethical obligation to fulfil their responsibilities to the partnership in a responsible and context-appropriate manner. They may agree to undertake activities only when they have the means, competencies and skills needed to deliver on those commitments.

10.  Complementarity among partners. The diversity of the development and humanitarian community is an asset when organizations build on their comparative strengths and advantages and complement each other’s contributions.




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