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Policy advocacy and partnerships for children's rights

Partnership Agreements

© UNICEF/NYHQ2007-2463/Noorani

As part of an ongoing effort to strengthen collaboration with civil society, UNICEF is rolling out a revised Programme Cooperation Agreement (PCA) and Small Scale Funding Agreement (SSFA) to be used by Country Offices when partnering with civil society organizations (CSOs). The new Agreements will take effect 1 January 2010.

Civil society partnerships cut across every aspect of UNICEF’s work, helping to bring about results that no organization can achieve independently. The Strategic Framework for Partnerships and Collaborative Relationships (E/ICEF/2009/10), approved by the Executive Board in June 2009, recommends streamlining relevant business processes, such as the PCA and SSFA, to enhance the quality and impact of civil society partnerships. Senior management responded by commissioning an interdivisional team at HQ to revise procedures for UNICEF’s cooperation with civil society in different country contexts.  The review process, which dates back to 2008, benefited from the constructive engagement of CSO partners, who helped to ensure that the revised Agreements responded to diverse operational contexts. 

The revised PCA and SSFA are designed to ensure that UNICEF’s civil society partnerships are strategic, results-oriented, and consistent with an agreed set of principles.

Key changes to the PCA and SSFA include:

  1. Greater emphasis on the importance of the principles of partnership to achieving results for children and women;
  2. Clearer strategic focus on capacity development for national and sub-national CSOs, wherever appropriate and agreed;
  3. The duration of PCAs is no longer limited to two years. Any time period may be agreed, within the country programme cycle or emergency funding cycle;
  4. New provisions for direct programme support costs and indirect programme costs;
  5. Responsibility for the internal review of proposed PCAs will now reside with a PCA Review Committee, to be established by each UNICEF Country Office;
  6. New templates for  the PCAs, with the flexibility to use a “lighter” or a “more complex” format, depending on the nature, duration, and complexity of the partnership and the amount of UNICEF resources being provided to the civil society partner;
  7. SSFAs may now be used for grants (cash plus value ofsupplies) of up to US$20,000;
  8. Increased emphasis on the need for effective strategies for phasing out PCAs in a manner that promotes the sustainability of the programme results.

Taken together, these changes to the PCA and SSFA represent a robust organizational effort to establish mutually beneficial relationships with CSOs, which will contribute to stronger results for children.  


Questions about the revised PCA and SSFA should be directed to New York Headquarters at pcaguidance@unicef.org.

Frequently Asked Questions about developing partnerships at the Country Office-level with civil society organizations can be found via this link: FAQ document



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