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UNICEF Executive Board

Executive Board explores strategic framework for partnerships and collaborative work

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0682/Markisz
Private Fundraising and Partnerships Director Philip O’Brien presents UNICEF’s strategic framework for partnerships and collaborative relationships, at the Annual Session of the 2009 UNICEF Executive Board.

By Vivian Siu

NEW YORK, USA, 10 June 2009 – In an ever-changing world community now faced with a global financial crisis, UNICEF’s partnerships and collaborative relationships are becoming increasingly crucial.

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Yesterday, on the second day of its Annual Session, the 2009 UNICEF Executive Board focused on a new strategy for the future of these relationships – one that will maximize rights and results for children worldwide.

“Partnerships are so important for our work. Indeed, it is increasingly the way we do business in UNICEF,” said Deputy Executive Director Hilde F. Johnson. 

Existing and future partnerships
Following a comprehensive review of its past collaborative efforts – including consultations with many partner organizations – UNICEF is focusing on a framework for more effective and efficient implementation of four types of relationships:

• Global programme partnerships
• Partnerships with non-governmental organizations, community-based and faith-based groups, youth networks and others
• Corporate alliances
• Academic and media partnerships.

“The framework will have direct consequences on how UNICEF relates to its partners and how we take that relationship forward,” said Ms. Johnson.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0683/Markisz
India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development Additional Secretary Vijayalakshmy Gupta speaks at the Annual Session of the 2009 UNICEF Executive Board, held at UN headquarters in New York.

“One of the outcomes of the extensive consultations with civil society partners and NGOs has been frustrations with our project cooperation agreements,” she added. “They have not captured the spirit of the partnership framework: to work with organizations not as contractors or sub-contractors but as partners, based on mutual responsibilities and accountabilities.”

Monitoring and evaluation

The international landscape of development partnerships continues to evolve, and there is a consensus that the new strategic framework is vital to achieving global initiatives, including the Millennium Development Goals.

UNICEF has learned that collaboration with other organizations does not always need to be formalized. However, specialized monitoring and evaluation tools are required to better assess UNICEF’s engagement in partnerships and collaborative relationships. 

“We need a more solid knowledge base to allow for evidence-based decision making on whether we should engage or stay engaged in a partnership,” said UNICEF Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships Philip O’Brien. “We will also develop tools for a stronger capacity assessment of potential partners and of the risks that may evolve when working with them.”

A global health partnership in action
In comments to the Executive Board’s special focus session on global health, Dr. Robert Scott of Rotary International and UNICEF Chief of Health Dr. Peter Salama noted that polio eradication efforts provide one example of a successful partnership among governments, donors and international organizations.

For more than 20 years, UNICEF, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and Rotary International have worked jointly through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. It is one of the largest public-private partnerships for an internationally coordinated public health goal.

This partnership has brought about a decrease of more than 99 per cent in the annual number of reported polio cases – from an estimated 350,000 in 125 countries in 1988 to 1,652 in 2008. Polio is now endemic in only four countries: India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. So far this year, just over 500 confirmed cases have been reported worldwide. 

UNICEF’s key contribution
UNICEF has also partnered successfully with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency in Nigeria. The agency is providing technical expertise and supplies in high-risk areas to push toward polio eradication.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2009-0695/Markisz
Rotary International’s Dr. Robert Scott (second from left) speaks about polio eradication. With him are (from left) UNICEF Health Chief Dr. Peter Salama, Executive Director Ann M. Veneman, Executive Board President Oumar Daou and Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate.

“UNICEF could assist in this final push by establishing strong social mobilization capacity at the local level – to enable it to share lessons and best practices from around the world – so that we can actually continue with this momentum that we’ve gained,” said the Nigerian agency’s Executive Director, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate.

He went on to note that many organizations partner with UNICEF because of its strong brand, global presence and technical expertise. They further value UNICEF’s reputation, its close partnership with governments and its financial and operational strengths. 

“The UNICEF brand is a key contribution in terms of advocacy globally for the child’s right of protection against this awful disease,” said Dr. Pate.




9 June 2009: UNICEF Director of Private Fundraising and Partnerships Philip O'Brien, presents the strategic framework for partnerships at the Executive Board.
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Executive Director Ann M. Veneman updates the Executive Board on UNICEF’s work on health-related Millennium Development Goals.
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Executive Director and CEO of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Dr. Muhammad Ali Pate, discusses partnering with UNICEF and polio eradication work in Nigeria.
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Watch a video on ‘The Power of Partnerships and Collaboration’.
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