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UNDP Working Definitions
November 2015

​1.       Strategies:

a.      Programmatic Strategies:

UNDP's corporate programmatic strategies articulate the Organization's position on, and approach to an area of work outlined in the Strategic Plan or in a related UN-wide policy or mandate, and serve to position UNDP vis-à-vis its partners, alternative service providers and stakeholders. A programmatic strategy also defines priorities and principles to guide UNDP's work as part of a framework for implementation through policy and programme support. Examples of programmatic strategies in UNDP include (draft) strategies on UNDP's support on implementing the post-2015 development agenda, the sustainable and inclusive urbanization strategy, the South-South and triangular cooperation strategy and several others.

The articulation of a programmatic strategy should include a synthesis of current and emerging development issues, a theory of change, a mapping of UNDP's work in the area where such work is already ongoing and the key national, regional and/or global stakeholders. It should address gender equality, capacity development, partnerships, resource availability and other cross-cutting issues relevant to development effectiveness in the area of work and articulate the necessary linkages and/ or synergies. Once formulated and adopted, a strategy can be revised or adjusted to reflect emerging issues, new opportunities or lessons learned from implementation and to continually ensure that UNDP maintains a relevant signature approach to the issues involved.

If necessary, programmatic strategies may also be broken down on a regional or even country level in order to provide a more detailed perspective. Such segment strategies need to be aligned with the overall, corporate strategies.  Each strategy should be accompanied by a roll-out, socialization, implementation and monitoring plan, including guidance and tools for practitioners.   

Strategies should also be accompanied by an indication of technical and financial resource availability, and an outline of a plan to build and sustain partnerships as well as mobilize additional resources for implementation. 

The development of corporate programmatic strategies is led and/or coordinated by BPPS in a manner that is sufficiently consultative to harness the very best of relevant knowledge and experience in the work area from within and outside of UNDP, and to ensure relevance, Organization-wide buy-in, feasibility and effective implementation.

b.      Operational Strategies

In addition to programmatic strategies, UNDP also has a large number of operational strategies. Examples include the integrated resource mobilization strategy, the strategy for engagement with international financial institutions, the procurement strategy, the audit strategy and many others.

Operational strategies need to be aligned with UNDP's priorities, as outlined in the Strategic Plan. They serve to map out the broader approach towards the implementation of corporately identified institutional effectiveness priorities and may be revised or adjusted to reflect new opportunities and lessons learned.

2.       Position papers

Position papers are developed as a response to new developments in UNDP's environment that have not yet been considered in the programmatic or operational strategies. In addition, position papers can also be written in order to clarify UNDP's programmatic or operational position on issues that are not exhaustively dealt with in UNDP's strategies, but should be consistent with existing strategies. This may include issues that are of a smaller scale and thus are not or not broadly mentioned in the strategies or issues that are mainly relevant for a certain segment (e.g. region) of UNDP's activities. Examples include recent UNDP position papers on the organization's response to developmental challenges in Syria and Libya.

3.       Policies

In comparison to strategies and position papers, policies provide the operational, long-term framework for the organization and describe "what" the organization intends to do. Policies should be clear and simple statements and should not be overly prescriptive.

UNDP's main policy (and procedures) repository is the POPP (Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures). POPP contains policies related to project implementation, operations and others.

Compliance with policies is one of the main audit criteria in UNDP.

It should be noted that the term policies is usually not used in order to explain programmatic standpoints of UNDP as these are established in strategies or position papers.

4.       Rules and Regulations

Rules and regulations are similar to policies, yet compliance with them is mandatory in all instances and non-compliance is usually sanctioned. In this way, rules and regulations can be considered as a "stricter" version of policies. In UNDP, the Financial Rules and Regulations are the main example in this regard. It should be noted that Financial Regulations are made by the Executive Board whereas Financial Rules are made by the Administrator.

Oftentimes, mandatory rules and regulations are also defined outside the organization, e.g. laws. UNDP's Standard Basic Assistance Agreements may also be seen as rules and regulations regarding the organization's relations to the respective host countries.

5.       Procedures

Procedures are the concretization of policies. They serve as a blueprint for policy implementation and serve as a step-by-step instruction on "how" to implement a policy and who will implement it. In UNDP, procedures are established in POPP. It can be acceptable to adapt procedures, where the implementing unit has found an easier or more efficient way than described in the procedures, provided that policy is still adhered to.

​6.       Frameworks

Frameworks are usually collections of policies and procedures related to one or several topics. They are published as a summary and may also contain guidelines and other elements intended to help the recipients to perform their tasks in accordance with the strategies of the organization.
Examples in UNDP include the Recruitment and Selection Framework, the UNDP Accountability Framework, the Harmonized Approach to Cash Transfer-Framework and others.

7.       Guidelines and guidance notes

Guidelines and guidance notes may be issued in addition to policies or procedures. Guidelines and guidance notes usually include non-binding recommendations for policy implementation and/ or for following procedures. These may be based on best practices or on an ideal course of action. Examples in UNDP include Donor Reporting Guidelines, Guidance on Micro-capital grants, Tips and Guidelines for Risk Management and others.

​8.       Roadmaps and action plans

The terms roadmaps and action plans are often used interchangeably for a detailed plan to guide progress towards an objective. Roadmaps and action plans enable an organization to visualize options to reach objectives. They list actionable steps, interdependencies among them, alternative routes to reach the objectives as well as critical assets and potential roadblocks. Roadmaps and action plans are dynamic and can be adjusted when needed. They are often costed and timed and progress regarding their implementation is frequently tracked and assessed. In UNDP, examples for roadmaps and action plans include(d) the Procurement Roadmap, the ICT Roadmap, the Resource Mobilization Action Plan and others.​