Reference Manual

Revised December2007



Revised December 2007



Purpose of Programme/Operational Reference Manual

Existing Guidelines and Instructions that compliment the Manual

UN & UNDP Rules, Guidelines, Circulars, and Forms

UNIFEM Circulars

Limitations of the Reference Manual

Intended users of the Reference Manual

Availability of the Reference Manual


1.1 History and Mandate of UNIFEM

1.1.1History and governance of UNIFEM

1.1.2Mandate of UNIFEM

1.1.3Where UNIFEM Works

1.1.4What UNIFEM Does

1.2 UNIFEM Staffing Structure

1.2.1UNIFEM Staff in New York

1.2.2UNIFEM Staff in the Field

1.3Business Environment

Annex 1-I: Evolution of UNIFEM Mandate (General Assembly and Executive Board Resolutions)

Annex 1-III Relationship between UNIFEM and other Gender mechanisms in the UN


2.1 Type of Resources

2.1.1 Voluntary Contribution to Regular Resources by Donors

2.1.2 Co-financing of programmes by donors

2.1.3 UNIFEM Execution of Projects Funded by other UN agencies

2.1.4 Interest on Bank Deposits

2.1.5 Support Costs (SCs)

2.1.6 Donations

2.2 Mobilization of Resources

2.2.1A Donor Matrix

2.3 Resources Management

2.3.1 What is ATLAS

2.3.2Financial Management Business Tracks

2.3.3Managing Resources in Atlas

2.4Receipts and Recording of Contributions

2.4.1Regular Resources

2.4.2Cost Sharing and Trust Funds – Non-core resources



2.5Support Costs

2.6 Operational Reserve

2.7 Strategic Plan

2.8 The Uses of UNIFEM Resources

2.8.1 Administration (Management projects)

2.8.2 Programme and Projects

2.8.3 Framework in a harmonized manner Projects

These are Regular Resources allocated annually to UNIFEM sub-regional programme offices to provide sustainable programming and technical support at the sub-regional level and to facilitate and backstop UNIFEM initiatives and developmental projects at the country and regional levels.

2.8.4 Facility Projects

2.8.5 Contingency Funds

2.9 Process for Allocation of Resources

2.9.1 Biennium Support Budgets (BSB) Allocation

2.9.2 Programme, Framework, Facility Allocations

2.10 Disbursement of Resources and Accounting for Expenditure


3.1 Overview of Programmes and Projects

3.1.1 UNIFEM Programme Directive (FEM/ADM/ED/05/06)

3.1.2 UNIFEM Strategic Plan, Regional Strategic Plans and Sub-regional Strategies

3.1.3 Programmes and Projects

3.1.4 Principles of Programming

3.2 Programme Cycle

3.3 Programme Formulation

Step 1: Concept Development

Step 2: Context Analysis

Step 3: Consultations with Partners

Step 4: Learning from UNIFEM expertise and relevant experience

Step 5: Developing a Results Framework

Step 6: Selecting Management Arrangements and Implementing Partners

Step 7: Monitoring and Evaluation Planning

Step 8: Communication and Knowledge Products Planning

Step 9: Budget Formulation

Step 10: Preparation of Programme Document Annexes

Step 11: Final Pre-appraisal Clearance

3.4 Programme/Project Appraisal

3.4.1 Purpose

3.4.2 Requirement

3.4.3 Project/Programme Appraisal Criteria

3.4.4 Appraisal Process

3.5 Programme/Project Approval

3.5.1 Approval Authority

3.5.2 Approval Procedures

3.6 Appraisal and Approval for UNIFEM to Manage Other UN Agency projects

3.6.1 Criteria for Choosing Implementing Partners

3.6.2 Appraisal and Approval

Annex 3-I: Programme/Project Formulation to Approval Flowchart

Annex 3-II: UNIFEM Project Document Format(revised November 2007)

Annex 3-III: Implementing Partner Capacity Assessment Criteria

Annex 3-IV: Pre-Appraisal Clearance Notes Examples

Annex 3-V: The Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) Guidelines

Annex 3-VI: Criteria to Guide the Selection of Programmes/Projects for UNIFEM to accept Implementing Partner Responsibilities


4.1 Authority and Accountability for Approved Projects/Programmes

4.2 Preparation for Programme Implementation

4.3 Programme Management Agreements and Requirements

4.3.1 When NGO is an Implementing Partner

4.3.2 When a National Agency is the Implementing Partner – Previously known as National Execution (NEX)

When UN Agency is Implementing Partner

When UNIFEM is Implementing Partner for another UN Agency project

4.4 Monitoring and Evaluating for Progress and Learning

4.4.1 Purpose

4.4.2 Definitions

4.4.3 Monitoring and Evaluation in UNIFEM

4.4.4 Policies

4.4.5 Learning from Monitoring and Evaluation Findings

4.5 Finalizing the Workplan

4.6 UNIFEM Direct Management of Programmes

4.6.1Disbursement of funds

4.6.2Working with NGOs

4.6.3Procurement Principles and Authority

4.6.4The Procurement Process in UNIFEM


4.7Reporting and Documentation

4.7.1Programme/Project Reports

4.7.2MYFF/SP Implementation Progress Reports

4.7.3Consultative Committee (CC) Report


5.1 Financial and Budget Management, Tools, and Prescriptions for Programme/Project Implementation

5.1.1 PeopleSoft Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

5.1.2 UNDP Financial Regulation and Rules

5.1.3 UNDP HR and HR in UNIFEM

5.2 Project Budget Approval in ATLAS

5.2.1Initial project budget approval in ATLAS

5.2.2 Project budget revisions process and approval in ATLAS

5.2.3 Financial Closure of Project in ATLAS

5.2.4Financial Reports

5.3.1 Internal Audit

5.3.2 External Audit


6.1 Types of Personnel Contracts

6.1.1 100 series appointments

6.1.2 200 series appointments

6.1.3 300 series appointments (ALD)

6.1.4 Special Service Agreement (SSA)

6.1.5 Service Contract

6.1.6 Reimbursable Loan Agreement (RLA)

6.1.7 Procurement Contract for Services

6.2 Budgeting for Personnel

6.3 Preliminary Steps in the Recruitment of Personnel

6.3.1 Classifying the Post

6.3.2 Management Approval

6.3.3 Position Number

6.4Recruitment and Appointment Process

6.4.1 100/200 series posts (international and local NY)

6.4.2 100/200 series – (local: sub-regional offices)

6.4.4 ALD recruitments

6.4.5 SSA recruitments

6.5 UNIFEM Acquisition Management Review Committee (AMRC)

6.6 Management of Personnel

6.7 Global Staff Survey

6.8 Career and Staff Counseling Issues

6.9 Learning Plans

6.10 Work-Life Policy

6.11 Programme for Staff Assistance

6.12 Security

6.13 Junior Professional Officer Programme

6.14 Internship Programme

6.15Harassment at the Workplace Policy


7.1 The UNIFEM Computing Network

7.2 UNIFEM Electronic Data Processing (EDP) Environment

7.2.1 Hardware

7.2.2 Software

7.3 UNIFEM Public Web Site

7.4 UNIFEM Intranet

7.5 UNDP Intranet and Portal

7.6UNIFEM Enterprise Resource Planning (ATLAS)

7.6.1 What is ATLAS

7.6.2 Access ATLAS

7.6.3 ATLAS Security

7.7Telecommunication Facilities

7.8 UNIFEM ICT Documents


ACABQAdvisory Committee on Accounting and Budgetary Questions

ACPAdvisory Committee on Procurement, UNDP

ALDActivities of Limited Duration

AMRCAcquisition Management and Review Committee

APCAppointment and Promotion Committee

ARAccounts Receivable

ATLASUNIFEM Enterprise Resource Planning System

BOMBureau of Management, UNDP

BPfABeijing Platform for Action

BRMSBudget Resources Management Section

BSBBiennial Support Budget

CARDSComprehensive Audit Recommendation Database System

CCConsultative Committee

CCACommon Country Assessment

CEDAWConvention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

CPMCountry Programme Manager, UNIFEM

CPOCountry Programme Office

CRGCareer Review Group

CSCost Sharing

CSWCommission on the Status of Women

EBExecutive Board

EDExecutive Director, UNIFEM

ERPEnterprise Resource Planning

EXBExtra-budgetary Resources

FRMSFinancial Reporting and Management Section

GAGeneral Assembly

HQHeadquarters, UNIFEM

HRCHuman Resources Centre, UNIFEM

IANWGEInter-agency Network on Women and Gender Equality

IAPSPInter-agency Procurement Service Office

ICCInternal Control Framework

ICSCInternational Civil Service Commission

IMISIntegrated Management Information System

ITBInvitation to Bid

JDJob Description

JPOJunior Professional Officer

KKCommitment Control

KSKnowledge Sharing

M&EMonitoring and Evaluation

MDGsMillennium Development Goals

MOUMemorandum of Understanding

MYFFMulti-year Funding Framework

NGONon-governmental Organization

OAAOffice of Associate Administrator

OAPROffice of Audit and Performance Review

OASOffice of Administration Security, UNDP

OBDTOutreach and Business Development Team, UNIFEM

OBROffice of Budget Resource, UNDP

OISTOffice of Information Systems and Technology

OLPSOffice of Legal and Procurement Support

OSAGIOffice of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women

PACProgramme Appraisal Committee

PRSsPoverty Reduction Strategies

RBBResults-based Budgeting

RBMResults-based Management

RCAResults Competency Assessment

RFPRequest for Proposal

RLAReimbursable Loan Agreement

RPDRegional Programme Director, UNIFEM

RRResident Representatives, UNDP

SPStrategic Plan

SROSub-regional Programme Office, UNIFEM

SSASpecial Service Agreement

TFTrust Fund

TORTerms of Reference

TSSTravel Services Section, UNDP

UNBOAUnited Nations Board of Audit

UNDAFUnited Nations Development Assistance Framework

UNDGUnited Nations Development Group

UNDPUnited Nations Development Programme

UNFPAUnited Nations Population Fund

UNICEFUnited Nations International Children’s Fund

UNIFEMUnited Nations Development Fund for Women

WFPWorld Food Programme

Also see UNIFEM Intrafor:

Glossary ofCommon UNIFEM Terminology

JPO Service Center Acronym (English, French, Spanish)

Atlas Glossary

UN Multilingual Terminology Database

UN Spelling (in English)

Guidance Note on Joint Programming - UNDG

UNDP User Guide Glossary

UNDP Intranet Site Index

Welcome to the United Nations

UN Staff Regulations and Rules

UNDP Human Resources Management User Guide

UNDP HR Site Map



Revised December 2007


Purpose of Programme/Operational Reference Manual

This Reference Manual intends to provide UNIFEM staff with an overview and description of the business processes, rules and regulations that underpin UNIFEM programming and operations. It is designed as a guide rather than a ‘how to’ manual; it provides general guidance and points the reader to more in-depth sources of information. It covers both programming processes and administrative, financial and human resources practices.

In many cases, the Manual builds on processes already in use in UNDP. As stated in the UNIFEM founding resolution (GA 39/125, see Section 1.1 below), the Administrator of UNDP has oversight responsibility for UNIFEM. Unless specifically stipulated, UNIFEM follows UNDP rules, guidelines and administrative and operational procedures in sub-regional programme offices (SROs) and country programme offices CROs) and in New York. Within UNDP itself there are varying interpretations and applications of these rules and standards, and there are some practices in UNDP that do not apply to UNIFEM. Thus, this Manual describes for staff the way in which UNIFEM applies and augments UNDP rules and standards to facilitate UNIFEM programming.

The Manual is complimented by a range of existing guidelines and instructions available in other UNDP and UNIFEM Manuals, Guidelines, Circulars, Administrative Memoranda, and mandatory standard forms. The Manual will be regularly updated as procedures change, with the most recent update as of December 2007.

Existing Guidelines and Instructions that compliment the Manual

UN & UNDP Rules, Guidelines, Circulars, and Forms

UNDP has been posting its guidelines and instructions (prescriptive documents) on its intranet Posting is an ongoing process as many of these documents are beingmodified and updated. In all instances – and particularly where specific UNIFEM guidelines do not exist – it is useful to consult UNDP documents for insight into the relevant standards and practices. These UNDP circularsand guidelines are referenced in the Manual. Access and guidance may also be sought from local UNDP offices.

Many important documents and/or information can be accessed on the UN web sites and

UNIFEM Circulars

The UNIFEM Executive Director (ED) has issued a number of programme and administrative circulars that set internal UNIFEM rules and procedures for a variety of UNIFEM business processes. These circulars are available on the UNIFEM intranet at:

  • For programme and administrative circulars and memos go to: Legislation, Policy& Strategy > Circulars, Management Memos
  • For information on Delegations of Authority go to: Legislation, Policy & Strategy > Delegations of Authority

Limitations of the Reference Manual

The Manual offers UNIFEM staff information on UNIFEM and its programming and operational business practices. It is intended to serve primarily as a procedural map with electronic links to necessary supporting documents including prescriptive, descriptive, and substantive documentsfrom the UN, UNDP, and UNIFEM.
The Manual, while providing brief definitions where appropriate, does not attempt to serve as a definitive text and the user should, as necessary, review the relevant hyperlinked source document(s).

Moreover the UNDP rules, regulations and procedures under which UNIFEM operates are currently under revision as UNDP regularly works to simplify and adapt them to modern management practices. In particular, financial management processes have been changing as a result of the introduction by UNDP and UNIFEM of the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system (ATLAS) on 1 January 2004. The ERP software replaced the systems that were previously in use. This updated version of the Manual reflects the content of the latest formal documentation drafted by both UNDP and UNIFEM reflecting business processes changes mandated by ERP. AMemorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the relations between UNDP and UNIFEM was signed in 2004 and followed up on in June 2005 by the UNDP Administrator with the issuance of theInstrument of Delegations of Authoritywhich accorded the UNIFEM ED significantly higher authority. The ED followed through and issued a number of Directives re-defining the authorities, responsibilities, and new procedures for UNIFEM staff for the management of UNIFEM business processes in the new regime. UNIFEM, along with several other UN Agencies, is committed to Harmonization and Simplification procedures currently underway, which may create a need to further update this Reference Manual.

Intended users of the Reference Manual

The intended users are all UNIFEM staff including those that are charged with programme development and management, and those who manage the administrative and operations services (financial, human resources, budget control etc.). The manual isa primary source of information on procedures and administrative arrangements for all matters concerning management of UNIFEM human resources, programmes and projects, as well as financial administration including management of its resources and assets. See the ED circular FEM/ADM/ED/03/06.

Availability of the Reference Manual

The Manual is available on-line at the UNIFEM intranet: which UNIFEM staff can access by using their username and password;obtained from UNIFEM Webmaster:.

Some links to documents referred to in the Manual are on the UNDP intranet When the login box appears, enter your username (firstname.lastname) and password (your own e-mail password).


1.1 History and Mandate of UNIFEM

1.1.1History and governance of UNIFEM

UNIFEM was established in response to calls from governmental and non-governmental organizations to create a women’s fund in the United Nations. In 1974, the United Nations Economic and Social Council established, by its resolution 1850 (LVI), the Voluntary Fund for the International Women’s Year. The following year, after the First World Conference of Women held in Mexico City, the General Assembly (GA) declared that 1976-1985 would be the Decade for Women and subsequently decided that the Voluntary Fund should be extended to cover the decade and become the Voluntary Fund for the UN Decade for Women (Official Records of the General Assembly, Thirtieth Session, Supplement 34, A/10034, Item 76). In keeping with this, the GA by its resolution A/RES/31/133 of 6 December 1976 set the arrangement for the Fund’s use and management.
In 1984, as the Decade for Women was coming to an end, the GA decided by its resolution A/RES/39/125 of 14 December 1984 that the Fund’s activities “shall be continued through establishment of a separate and identifiable entity in autonomous association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which will play an innovative and catalytic role in relation to the United Nations overall system of development co-operation.”
In response to the resolution, a year later on 1 July 1985 UNIFEM was established.
This resolution agreed on the following management arrangements between the Fund and UNDP.
  • The UNDP Administrator will be accountable for all aspects of the management and operations of the Fund
  • The Administrator appoints a Director for the Fund and delegates “the management of the Fund and its administration, including responsibility for the mobilization of resources, to the Director, who shall have the authority to conduct all matters related to its mandate and who shall be accountable directly to the Administrator”
  • The regulations, rules and directives of the United Nations Development Programme will be applied to the operations of the Fund
Two recent documents prescribe the current relations between UNDP and UNIFEM:
Guidelines on the Operational Relationship between UNIFEM and UNDP of 7 June 2004 and;
Instrument of Delegation of Authority for UNIFEM of 15 June 2005
The first requires that “the policies and procedures applicable to all phases and aspects of UNIFEM activities shall be set out….” in this Manual.
The second sets out the formal authority of the ED of UNIFEM in matters relating to human resources, program and project management, financial administration as well as acquisition and management of property (assets) and services.
There are three inter-governmental bodies that are particularly relevant to the governance of UNIFEM.
a.UNIFEM Consultative Committee
Originally formed through resolution 31/133 as the Consultative Committee on the Voluntary Fund for the Decade for Women to advise the Secretary-General, UNIFEM has a Consultative Committee (CC) that advises the Administrator on “all matters of policy affecting the activities of the Fund, including the application of criteria set forth by the General Assembly in respect of the use of the Fund” (A/RES/39/125).
The CC is composed of representatives of five Member States representing each of the UN five regional groupings. The President of the GA appoints CC members for a period of three years. The five are selected with due regard for the financing of the Fund from voluntary contribution and to equitable geographical distribution. In 2007, at its 62nd session, the GA adopted a decision to stagger the terms of office of the members of the CC in order to preserve institutional memory from one set of CC members to the next. The rotation pattern was altered so that the three-year terms of all five members would neither commence nor end at the same time.Two of the five new CC members serving from 2007-2009 resigned after serving only one year to allow replacements to commence new full three-year terms from 2008-2010.
The CC has one formal meeting annually, usually held in late February immediately prior to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March. At this meeting, UNIFEM presents an annual progress report on its activities and the implementation ofthe Committee recommendations from previous years and discusses key policy issues that require guidance from the Committee. The Committee then issues a new set of recommendations to UNIFEM. The Committee convenes inter-session meetings as needed.
b.UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board
Although Resolution 39/125 does not explicitly place the Fund under the jurisdiction of the UNDP Governing Council, now known as the UNDP/UNFPA Executive Board (EB), in keeping with the UNDP Administrator’s responsibility to report to the EB, it requires that the Administrator include a report on the operations, management and budget of UNIFEM in his/her Annual Report to the EB. UNIFEM is bound by the decisions of the EB. The Board approves the UNIFEMStrategic Plan (SP) – formerly the Multi-year Funding Framework (MYFF) – and also approves the UNIFEM biennium budget which specifies the amount of regular resources that UNIFEM will use to support its infrastructure and core staff. According to EB decision 2004/20, the ED is required to report to the EB on MYFF/SP results in a comprehensive manner every two years and on selected development and/or organizational effectiveness results in the intervening years.