ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations

270th Session
Geneva, November 1997

Committee on Technical Cooperation and Related Issues TC


The ILO's resource mobilization strategy


I. Introduction

II. The external environment

III. The ILO's position and performance to date

IV. The resource mobilization strategy

V. A marketing campaign

VI. Organizing for resource mobilization

VII. Conclusions

VIII. Key points of the ILO resource mobilization strategy



1 ILO technical cooperation expenditure, 1990-96

2 ILO technical cooperation expenditure by source of funds, 1990-96

3 Technical cooperation approvals, 1990-96, by source of funds

I. Introduction

1.  In November 1996 the Committee on Technical Cooperation requested the Office to prepare proposals for an innovative strategy to enhance the resources available to the technical cooperation programme so as to meet the needs of constituents and reverse the downward trend in technical cooperation expenditure of recent years.

2.  The Office is currently implementing the resource mobilization strategy endorsed by the Governing Body in November 1994 as part of the ILO technical cooperation strategy.(1) Since then changes in the technical cooperation environment and within the ILO have occurred that prompt a review of the resource mobilization strategy. It should be emphasized that many elements remain valid and the strategy continues to be implemented. In this paper, the Office has taken the opportunity to update the resource mobilization strategy taking into account the most recent changes in the development environment. In so doing, it also responds to the Committee's request referred to in Paragraph 1 above.

3.  Externally, the contraction of official development assistance (ODA) has led to increased competition for the available funds and the application of more demanding criteria for establishing development partnerships. Policy frameworks are also evolving, and the ILO must be fully prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities offered by this environment.

4.  In the UN system, new developments and experience gained from the recent reforms call for a reappraisal of the situation and reflection on the ILO's position. Moreover, the ILO needs to adjust its resource mobilization strategy in response to the follow-up initiatives to the series of UN summit conferences. Finally, The Secretary General's proposals concerning country-level coordination, involving centralized funding and integrated programming for all UN agencies, will also have implications for the ILO's technical cooperation programme. The ILO must be ready to participate in and benefit from these developments.

5.  There are other reasons for such a review: the resource mobilization strategy needs to be revised to accommodate the feedback received from various technical cooperation partners; and certain factors within the ILO prompt a review of the strategy -- a pressing concern is the need to follow up on the first stages of implementation of the Active Partnership Policy (APP). The country objective exercises have also revealed priority areas where a concerted resource mobilization effort will be required in order to satisfy the needs of constituents.

6.  The strategy also needs to take account of, and build on, a number of initiatives taken with various partners: in the case of the World Bank, for example, the policy dialogue, which intensified after the resource mobilization strategy was first drafted, must now be deepened and collaboration reinforced through cooperation on concrete operational activities in areas where the two organizations have complementary objectives. Similarly, policy dialogue and other initiatives with the European Union must now be taken further.

7.  In reviewing the strategy, the Office has drawn on a number of internal consultations, meetings and workshops to revise its approaches and improve its organization so as to meet its objectives in the field of technical cooperation.

II. The external environment

8.  The changes in financial flows to developing countries have been both quantitative and qualitative. Development assistance in 1996 was at its lowest level in 45 years as a proportion of the gross national product of Western donors, and the ODA component of net long-term resource flows continued to fall while private flows increased: most donor countries are still far from attaining the UN target of 1 per cent of GNP for official development assistance and there has been an increase in ODA allocations for activities such as peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.

9.  The reduction in the volume of ODA resources has resulted in an increasingly competitive global market, and donors are insisting on good performance and efficiency as key criteria governing the allocation of resources.

10.  In parallel with the highly competitive environment in the donor community, some UN reforms may also result in greater competition within the UN system itself. UNDP has experienced successive years of decline in core funding, whereas for decades it was the principal operational donor partner of the UN specialized agencies: in 1990 almost 50 per cent of its programme expenses passed through the "big five" technical agencies (ILO, FAO, UN-DDSMS, UNIDO and UNESCO). By 1995 this had shrunk to 12 per cent. Between 1990 and 1996, the UNDP's role shifted from being the central funding agency of the UN system to one based on advocacy and coordination of the development work carried out by the UN system and its specialized agencies. This was linked to its adoption of a more substantive function in the system based on the concept of sustainable human development.

11.  A key element of the UNDP reform process has been the switch to national execution with the aim of building national capacity to plan, manage and implement development programmes. In implementing this policy, the UNDP and other UN funding organizations (UNICEF, UNFPA, WFP, UNOPS) tended to assume the operational and substantive aspects of the work, which the specialized agencies might otherwise have performed as intermediaries. The result was a sharp reduction in the level of funding available.

12.  Despite the disquieting financial trends, there are nevertheless positive developments in the external environment: first, diminishing ODA levels have focused greater attention on methods of optimizing the use of resources to promote sustainable development, improving coordination between donors, and more accurate targeting of development assistance. Donor policies are tending to converge, shown most clearly in the emphasis on national ownership and responsibility in donor countries, national execution in the UN system, and the widely shared understanding that the framework for development assistance must be based on genuine partnerships.

13.  It is also a positive development for an organization like the ILO, that donors are focusing on social issues, improving governance, building structures and institutions, and promoting political and economic stability, as the best means of helping recipient governments and individuals make real progress in alleviating poverty and ensuring sustainable development. Even the heightened need for the allocation of aid resources to humanitarian and emergency operations has had positive repercussions by encouraging development policies to give new significance to conflict prevention, social justice and peace building.

14.  Last but not least, there remains a general consensus in the donor community on the importance of providing effective development assistance, and developing countries see benefit in receiving assistance that is provided on acceptable terms and which serves to stimulate sustainable development. Many financial partners are critical and advocate reform of the UN system, but they often do so with a view to strengthening the system on the understanding that there is a positive role for it and the specialized agencies to play in development activities, based on their capacity to deal with issues on a global scale, act in sensitive areas and provide impartial advice in areas within their mandate.

15.  The resource mobilization strategy aims to ensure that the ILO can compete effectively in the external environment and that it is well-placed to benefit from the positive trends so that it can be a significant player in the partnership for development.

III. The ILO position and performance to date

16 .  The ILO is strongly committed to the new framework for development cooperation. The introduction of the Active Partnership Policy (APP) was a major response to the emerging trends, and in some respects anticipated them. The APP brought greater emphasis on the values underlying the ILO's technical cooperation programme that derive from its core mandate, and on programmes developed on the basis of a consensus with constituents, a multidisciplinary approach to provide comprehensive responses, and decentralization to ensure better and swifter responses.

17.  In quantitative terms, the ILO's technical cooperation programme peaked in 1991 when annual technical cooperation expenditure was close to $170 million. This was followed by five consecutive years of decline. As reflected in Figure 1, by 1996 expenditure had dropped to $98.2 million, but it is projected that expenditure in 1997 will stabilize.


Figure 1: ILO technical cooperation expenditure, 1990-1996(2)

18.   In 1990, the UNDP and UNFPA shares of total ILO technical cooperation expenditure stood at 45.9 per cent and 7.6 per cent respectively. By 1996 the combined expenditure on these two programmes represented 30.7 per cent of total expenditure. On the other hand, the share of trust fund programmes rose from 37.8 per cent in 1990 to 62.2 per cent in 1996. These trends are reflected in Figure 2. Within the trust fund programmes, multibilateral technical cooperation expenditure (excluding expenditure on the Associate Expert Programme) rose from about $40 million in 1990 to about $52 million in 1996. A decade ago, approximately a dozen countries participated in the ILO's multibilateral programme; today the ILO has over 20 multibilateral contributors as well as a wider range of UN and non-UN partner organizations. Within the multibilateral programme four countries (Germany, Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands) regularly account for some 70 per cent of annual expenditure.


Figure 2: ILO technical cooperation expenditure by source of funds, 1990-1996

19.  The level of annual approvals fluctuates. However, after reaching a level of $165.6 million in 1990, there was a sustained decline over the next four years, reaching a low of $69.7 million in 1994 before the approval level rose once more to about $114 million in both 1995 and 1996. Approvals for the ILO's technical cooperation programme for the period 1990-1996 are reflected in Figure 3. A significant part of the new approvals in 1995 and 1996 was for IPEC.


Figure 3: Extrabudgetary technical cooperation approvals, 1990-1996, by source of funds


20.  The number of recipient countries in the ILO's technical cooperation programme rose from 134 in 1990 to 151 in 1995, largely as a result of the inclusion of Central and Eastern European countries. This is reflected in the annual technical cooperation expenditure for Europe, which increased from $2.2 million in 1990 to $8.8 million in 1995. Africa had the largest share of expenditure in 1996, with 37 per cent, followed by Asia, with 25.2 per cent.


IV. The resource mobilization strategy

Basic requirements

21.  The resource mobilization strategy must be placed in the broader context of the Office's work and the higher objectives that it serves. It is useful, therefore, to summarize some of the underlying considerations which inform and orient the strategy.

22.  First, the resource mobilization strategy derives its significance from the importance which the ILO attaches to technical cooperation as a means of action and is not an end in itself. The ILO's basic values enshrined in international labour standards provide the normative framework and a unique perspective for its technical cooperation programme. In turn, the technical cooperation programme allows the Organization to advance its values while providing practical support for development efforts. Technical cooperation activities are hence regarded as central and not subsidiary aspects of its work.

23.   Since the demand for technical assistance cannot be satisfied from the regular budget alone, complementary funding must be sought. The Office accords equal importance to activities financed from extrabudgetary and regular budget sources.

24.  It is evident that a resource mobilization strategy is intrinsically linked with the quality of the Office's output as a whole. Its success will hence depend to a large extent on the combined efforts of all parts of the ILO's structure. It will therefore be implemented in tandem with the other parts of the technical cooperation strategy adopted in November 1994.

25.  Reflecting the ILO's values, its technical cooperation programme focuses on democratization, poverty alleviation through employment creation and the protection of workers in areas where the Organization can have maximum impact consistent with its normative function. Given the primacy of its normative function, technical cooperation and resource mobilization cannot be assessed in merely quantitative terms: account must also be taken of strategic and qualitative aspects.

Basic components of the resource mobilization strategy

26.  The resource mobilization strategy will operate at different levels and from different perspectives to meet the challenges and opportunities of the prevailing environment.

27.  Internally, the strategy will be concerned, first, with ensuring that external partners can rely on products that are relevant, of high quality and delivered efficiently; a primary concern will be to improve all aspects of programme development, since this is crucial to the promotion of the ILO's values, meeting constituents' demands and realising opportunities for financing.

28.  A second element of its internal strategy will be to develop, strengthen and better highlight the links between regular budget activities and those financed from complementary sources so as to demonstrate clearly the Office's commitment to, and investment in technical cooperation. The Office will organize more effectively for resource mobilization so as to ensure a consistent approach to technical cooperation and resource mobilization throughout the ILO to avoid contradictory signals being given to partners.

29.  The partnership approach will be strengthened and applied more systematically to resource mobilization: the Office will strengthen relationships with existing partners and endeavour to widen its network. A qualitative change in external relations will be sought, focusing more closely on substantive issues, in which resource mobilization will be a key dimension.

Programming for resource mobilization

30.  The ability to offer services of consistently good quality is a basic prerequisite for successful resource mobilization. To achieve this will require --

31.  A special effort is required to improve programming at the country, regional and global levels, based on consultation with external partners, multidisciplinarity, complementary inputs from various parts of the ILO structure, and a unity of vision about the objectives of technical cooperation activities. Greater transparency in the programming process and clearer articulation of the three levels of programming will facilitate resource mobilization.

Country-level programming

32.  The country is the key unit on which the programming of ILO technical cooperation activities is based. It is a first priority to provide the necessary training and support to the MDTs for country programme development so as to ensure that a sound pipeline with good financing prospects is developed on the basis of the country objectives. All parts of the ILO structure will cooperate to provide inputs for the development and implementation of these programmes.

33.  As a logical outcome of the APP, proposals should also be developed with the collaboration of the social partners, thereby advancing the demand-driven approach, which is a positive factor when seeking external funding. Potential financing partners, especially those present in the field, will be associated with programme development at the country level to the extent feasible.

34.  Country-level programming will encompass activities originating in regional and global initiatives where these are consistent with country priorities. The responsible Area Office will play a pivotal role in ensuring that the Office has a coherent and relevant country programme that offers an effective platform for developing and strengthening alliances with partners. A major concern in the programming process will be to achieve a reasonable sectoral and geographical balance in the technical cooperation programme. A current constraint is that the ILO often has to rely on its own modest resources to provide services to countries which do not fall under donors' priorities. The careful articulation of country- and regional-level programming will be one way of helping to ensure that such countries receive a certain level of coverage.

Regional level programming

35.  The Regional Offices can play a lead role in analysing regional technical cooperation trends, including those reflected in the country exercises and follow-up programmes. The results, as well as the evaluation outputs of the regional programming units, should be used to develop programmes that address problems which are best addressed by a regional or subregional approach. Using the technical expertise in the regions and headquarters, the programmes developed at the regional level will, as elsewhere, be the outcome of a cooperative effort.

The development of global programmes

36.  The Office invests in, promotes and will further develop, a number of global programmes focusing on priority themes that have emerged from the determination of country-level priorities and follow-up on recent UN summit conferences. It must be emphasized that there is no reason to believe that the development of these global programmes will be to the disadvantage of activities falling outside their scope, including programmes of direct support for workers' and employers' organizations. The resource mobilization strategy also provides for an expansion of donors and for effective targeting which will help to ensure that there is funding for the full range of activities in the ILO's technical cooperation programme.

37.  The Office sees a number of advantages for recipient countries and for financing partners in these programmes. By operating globally, they achieve economies of scale, national activities can benefit from experience elsewhere, and the ILO's institutional capacity can be strengthened by a concerted attack on major problems. At the same time, features specific to individual countries are not lost, since activities at the national level are adapted to local conditions. These programmes allow the ILO to capitalize and enlarge on past experience in these fields.

38.  From the donors' perspective, the programmes give a clear indication of priority setting by the ILO and represent easily recognizable activities on a given theme with which donors can associate themselves. This can be particularly attractive to donors who are unable to enter into a broad-based partnership with the ILO but who would be willing to contribute to programmes enjoying high visibility and achieving significant impact which advance their own development assistance objectives.

39.  The ILO's International Programme for the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) is well recognized and supported and the role of this major programme in maintaining and increasing the level of extrabudgetary resources has been clearly demonstrated over the last few years. IPEC's strengths and weaknesses are being used to inform new programme development. The Governing Body has also been informed of three other global programmes that are in preparation on the following themes --

In each case, the Office intends to make a specific contribution from its own resources to finance pilot activities to help demonstrate the validity of the approaches to potential financing partners thereby encouraging contributions, and to enhance the quality of services provided to the social partners.

40.  A global programme on social exclusion and poverty is being developed. Other global programmes could cover industrial relations and social dialogue and assistance to countries emerging from conflict.

41.  Ideally, the programme approach should also promote administrative efficiency by streamlining technical and financial reporting and this will be one objective. However, because of the requirements of contributors, largely concerning financial reporting, it has not yet been feasible to obtain the full benefits in this regard.

Programmes for the direct support of employers' and workers' organizations

42.  The organization's ability to provide assistance to, and to work directly with the social partners without interference is a special comparative advantage. Strengthening the social partners is a major contribution to the democratization process. It also enables them to participate in and collaborate more effectively with other ILO activities. A major effort will therefore be made to increase the resources for these programmes.

Partnerships for resource mobilization

43.  The partnership principle which underpins the APP is an integral element of the resource mobilization strategy. The new, heightened focus in the global development community on issues such as poverty alleviation, social justice, social dialogue and the promotion of social development, including gender equality, democratization and participatory development, provide the ILO with a good basis for such partnerships and alliances.

44.  The APP already sets the scene for a programme developed in collaboration with constituents at the country level. An important part of this effort will be to work together with the social partners to secure broad-based support for, and involvement in, the programmes of government agencies and non-governmental and self-help organizations working on issues relevant to the ILO's mandate which can make a valuable contribution, benefit from capacity-building initiatives, and subsequently help to enhance the impact and relevance of the ILO's work by virtue of their own national coverage. In building such partnerships, there will also be opportunities for the ILO to work with and provide services to partners who can finance them from their own resources, including funds channelled to national organizations by donors. The ILO already has experience of working in this way: in the field of social security the ILO's services are often sought and financed directly by national partners. With good quality services to offer, this could be replicated in other fields. In Latin America, where national institutions have obtained their own funding from regional development banks, there is good potential for effective collaboration with the ILO.

45.  Partnerships at the national level will also be encouraged through the establishment of national tripartite committees, which will be involved in developing programmes, overseeing implementation and assisting in resource mobilization efforts where feasible. If such committees function effectively, they could help to strengthen the ILO's presence in a given country and play a lobbying role to ensure that its potential contribution to the national development effort is realised. Tripartite initiatives will also be promoted in donor countries, where they can lead to innovative financing possibilities. One precedent is in Italy where the national tripartite committee, in cooperation with the Italian Committee for UNICEF, established a fund for a joint UNICEF/ILO project on child labour in Asia which will be implemented with the involvement of local trade unions and employers' organizations. The partnerships which the ILO's Bureaux for Workers' and Employers' Activities have with the relevant constituents in donor countries will also be important in resource mobilization. The development of partnerships with international workers' and employers' organizations for resource mobilization will also be a target for action. Some of the initiatives to be taken with specific partners are described below.

The UN system

46.  The UNDP remains an important partner for the ILO: it is present in all developing countries and will in many cases be the only external financial partner for ILO activities. The UNDP is also important in view of its central role in the UN system. As the Resident Representative and Resident Coordinator functions are linked, the UNDP is able to assist governments in coordinating aid and formulating the broad framework for national development through multisectoral programmes.

47.  The UNDP's new substantive orientations on sustainable human development themes that are shared with the ILO will be treated as an opportunity for complementary efforts. The ILO will aim --

48.  With respect to the UN system as a whole, note should be taken of efforts, linked to the overall UN reform process, to ensure greater integration and unity of action between UNDP and the other UN funds and programmes through the formulation of a UN Development Assistance Framework for the funding agencies at the country level. Within this framework, a primary aim will be to define clearly the ILO's concerns on themes of shared interest and to coordinate activities and establish boundaries for action as far as is feasible. This is being encouraged both by the rationalization which will result from the ongoing reform efforts, and by the activities of the UN Staff College for field and headquarters units currently taking place and being developed at the Turin Centre. This will help to avoid confusion over spheres of competence and responsibility among partners who work with a number of UN agencies.

Multibilateral partners

49.  The multibilateral programme will continue to play a key role in the ILO's overall technical cooperation programme: it is projected that, in the medium term, some 60 per cent of external financing will be from multibilateral sources. The Office is also seeking to strengthen multibilateral partnerships based on its investment in programme development and delivery, and the orientation of donor countries to pursue what DANIDA has termed a policy of "active multilateralism". This policy foresees a more active role for Denmark in influencing and strengthening the international system, based on more analytical work, in accordance with the objectives of Danish foreign aid policy and the different mandates of the agencies. It will also involve a closer relationship between Denmark's development assistance priorities and the allocations to multilateral partners, and between the level of allocations to them and their performance. Other donors such as Norway and the Netherlands have echoed some of these policy orientations. The Netherlands, like some other donors, has also been pursuing a policy of decentralization. It calls for a great deal of interaction at the local level and the ILO will ensure that its own decentralized structure is able to respond effectively to these new donor arrangements.

50.  In the short to medium term, the Office will pursue different approaches with existing and potential multibilateral contributors based on different possibilities for cooperation. One technique will be to encourage multi-donor approaches so as to reduce dependence on a single source of support for particular programmes. This will also facilitate interaction and coordination between all partners on a particular theme, for example through participation in programme review meetings.

51.  A sound foundation already exists for improved partnerships with a number of multibilateral contributors who provide regular support for the ILO's technical cooperation programme according to established conditions and procedures. With these partners, the Office will work to consolidate and streamline the programmes and ultimately to establish a variant of the programme approach to ensure maximum efficiency in the use of resources.

52.  To maintain the ILO's competitiveness with this group of donors, it will also keep them more systematically informed of the steps taken to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Another thrust will be to increase technical dialogue with them, using a variety of formats (for example, technical meetings on specific subjects in donor countries, technical meetings in the field with the participation of financing partners and other relevant organizations, and technical working sessions at headquarters); and working with them to include other relevant organizations in such dialogue to deepen and expand knowledge of the ILO's work as a basis for expansion of the programme. Consideration will also be given to making use of the Internet for this purpose.

53.  Another group of donors, for various reasons, including domestic development assistance policies, may not be able to enter into a broad-based partnership with the ILO. With these, the ILO will pursue a carefully targeted approach, focusing on selected themes such as those covered in the global programmes which will be ideal vehicles for visible, targeted contributions, the efficacy of which is maximized by the global reach of the ILO.

54.  In the multibilateral programme as a whole, the ILO will be working to expand the support base beyond traditional counterpart agencies. The ILO will identify and seek to develop partnerships with other relevant ministries and government agencies dealing with ILO concerns.

Other multilateral institutions

55.  The ILO aims to strengthen its partnership with other multilateral development institutions, particularly the World Bank and regional development banks, in the service of its constituents. This will be a high priority for the ILO, since the international financial institutions are intervening to a greater extent in areas within the ILO's mandate. Another key multilateral institution, the European Union, is an extremely important player in the field of development assistance, and it shares many of the ILO's key concerns.

56.  The growing recognition by international financial institutions of the importance of social issues, peace and stability for sustained economic growth and safe investment encourages the convergence of their interests with the objectives of the ILO. The President of the World Bank, in his speech to the 85th International Labour Conference on 12 June 1997, spoke of the need for a solid base with the people, a concern for the rights of the individual, social responsibility and social justice.

57.  There have been advances at the policy and institutional level in relations with the World Bank, and this phase of the strategy will also focus on developing partnerships at an operational level in areas of shared interest, such as employment creation, labour-based infrastructural development, and social funds, linking quality employment creation to poverty alleviation and including elements such as training, small and micro-enterprise development, credit and gender, social insurance and social security reform. Rural credit and cooperatives and programmes for countries emerging from conflict are also areas worth pursuing. The scope of the Bank's activities can allow the ILO to have a very significant impact where such cooperation is established.

58.  The prime factor in developing partnerships with the international financial institutions is the ability to demonstrate the relevance of the ILO's work in the contemporary environment, the quality of its outputs, the competence of ILO staff and consultants, and its capacity to respond rapidly. Experience in Latin America with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), for example, shows that it is ready to cooperate with the ILO on such a basis. Good products have a demonstration effect which promotes their integration into Bank-financed programmes. This is illustrated by the example of the World Bank's use of ACOPAM and its grass-roots organizational methodology in its irrigation schemes in Mauritania and Senegal after observing its results. On that basis, good collaboration emerged between the ILO -- including project staff -- and local and headquarters- based Bank representatives who are interested in continuing such collaboration with the ILO. Similar contacts have been established in relation to social financing and labour intensive employment programmes.

59.  In parallel with the initiatives at the field and headquarters levels with the institutions themselves will be those with the national agencies and other actors, including the ILO's social partners. These relationships will encourage the adoption of ILO perspectives in national development efforts, sectoral analyses, and project identification and preparation. They will also facilitate resource mobilization, since effective mechanisms for cooperating directly with the national partners in the context of Bank-funded programmes can often be worked out. Again, experience with the IDB and national partners in Latin America has demonstrated the feasibility of this approach.

60.  The ILO will assess carefully when it is worth while pursuing direct collaboration with international financial institutions at the project execution level, including through the bidding process, since considerable investment of time and resources is required in both the preparatory and implementation phases. A standard agreement has already been negotiated with the World Bank, and there are also good contractual arrangements with the Asian Development Bank to facilitate such cooperation. The Office will continue to negotiate acceptable contractual terms with the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank to facilitate direct operational-level cooperation where this is appropriate.

61.  As regards the other regional development banks, such as the Caribbean Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the ILO has not yet enjoyed any significant collaboration with them. The first step will be to explore the possibilities for collaborating by systematically monitoring their activities and the establishment of working contacts. The relevant ILO field offices can play a key role in monitoring activities and strengthening relationships where opportunities emerge with these institutions.

European Union

62.  The European Union is potentially one of the most important partners for the ILO. It is a major international force for economic and social development, and is a key partner for many of the countries covered by the Lomé Convention; it is active in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Moreover, it will be increasingly able to coordinate the development assistance policies of its members and to channel their development assistance funds.

63.  Although the two organizations have different roles and vastly different means at their disposal, the ILO seeks a complementary partnership with the European Union based on areas of mutual commitment, including issues related to core labour standards and tripartism, programmes with a particular social value, such as employment policies and job creation, the promotion of self-employment, micro-enterprises and cooperative or associative methods of organizing for development, the promotion of women workers and assistance to trade unions.

64.  The ILO will continue to maintain the policy dialogue initiated with the EU. At the operational level, the modalities for such cooperation will vary and may include ILO support to national executing agencies in areas of ILO competence. National authorizing officers are central to EU programming, and field contacts with these officials will be actively encouraged. Direct EU/ILO operational cooperation will be greatly facilitated by the use of a standard financing agreement outlining mutually agreed terms for cooperation, due to be signed shortly by the EU and the ILO. Within the ILO, a special training effort to orient field and headquarters staff to the specific requirements of EU cooperation will be initiated in the near future to ensure that the requirements for successful collaboration are clearly understood. Field contacts with national authorizing officers and EU delegates will be promoted in areas with good potential for collaboration.

New partnerships

65.  Traditionally, the ILO has worked primarily with government-related financing institutions. It will be a challenge for the Office to explore the use of grants from the private sector, foundations and large non-governmental organizations. The acceptance of contributions and gifts from such sources is already possible, subject to a number of conditions. This initiative will require a very systematic and targeted search for potential partners and areas of collaboration, including new services that the ILO could offer and an effective promotional effort by the ILO and its programmes with the relevant organizations. Naturally, the ILO's fundamental value system will drive the search for such new partners.

V. A marketing campaign

66.  The ILO will ensure that it is visible, respected and responsive to its constituents in order to secure the resources required to make technical cooperation an effective means of action and to respond satisfactorily to their needs. It will seek to present an image of an organization with clear purposes and programmes, capable of resolving problems of development in its fields of competence. The strategy will be founded on the concept of enhanced communication and transparency. The initiative will promote awareness of and support for the ILO's technical cooperation activities and mobilize resources for specific activities through the use of marketing techniques applicable to non-profit organizations.

67.  International labour standards set the ILO apart from other development agencies. The unifying theme of the promotional campaign will be based on the ILO's normative function and on the demonstrated relevance of international labour standards to problems of development. Given the increasing involvement of major development actors in fields close to those covered by the ILO, the Organization has to establish a clear identity to improve understanding of how its unique set of values, mandate and structure allows it to provide a distinctive response to global development concerns. Some of the measures that will be pursued are presented below under five major lines of action.

A. Establishing good internal communications (horizontally and vertically; field/headquarters/technical departments/service departments) as the basis for creating a positive enabling in-house environment for understanding and promoting technical cooperation

B. Capacity building for ILO staff, both in understanding the complex mechanisms of development policies and donor relations, and external communications

C. Develop better communication links with the actual beneficiaries of the ILO's technical cooperation programme, donors and other development partners (actual and potential) to establish and maintain confidence in the ILO's work, with the aim of ensuring that they perceive or continue to perceive collaboration with the ILO as a good investment

D. A fundamental rethinking of external relations and communications, examining how and with whom to communicate in order to project the ILO's image and activities more effectively, with a view to securing greater support for the programme, financial and otherwise

E. Developing promotional strategies for specific programmes, including workers' and employers' programmes, IPEC, More and Better Jobs for Women etc.

68.   In elaborating and implementing this campaign, the Office will need to attract staff with sound experience in communications and collaborate with outside professionals in this field. It will also be important to involve workers and employers from the outset. In order to ensure maximum impact and efficiency, the Office should opt for a professional approach, and seek close collaboration with specialized experts and academic institutions. Sufficient resources should therefore be earmarked to guarantee results, and each programme should have a provision for its promotion. The Committee on Technical Cooperation may also wish to recommend to the Governing Body that there should be allocations for promotional efforts on technical cooperation in future programme and budget proposals.

VI. Organizing for resource mobilization


69.  Resource mobilization will be an Office-wide responsibility. However, in an increasingly decentralized setting, it will be essential to ensure coherence and that services are delivered with a recognizable ILO stamp and quality.

70.  A first step will be to ensure that there is a good understanding of Office policy on technical cooperation and resource mobilization throughout the Office. This means both in the field and at headquarters, in technical departments, units concerned with the ILO's normative function and which have hitherto not been highly involved in technical cooperation activities, support services or activities concerning technical cooperation personnel. This will allow the ILO to present a unified message to external partners to ensure that its programmes are attuned to its basic values and that the Office is ready to respond appropriately, effectively and in a timely manner. Organizationally, the Bureau for the Promotion of Active Partnership and Technical Cooperation ( PROPAR/TEC) and the Regional Offices will be key agents in this process.

71.  Secondly, to ensure that ILO staff can function effectively as ambassadors of the Organization, information activities will be organized for ILO field and headquarters staff so that those who come into contact with existing and potential external partners can convey with sufficient clarity the ILO's perspectives and the range of its capabilities. In this context, a multidisciplinary perspective will also be promoted. Multidisciplinary approaches, including the close involvement of workers' and employers' specialists in country objective exercises, have already yielded positive results on resource mobilization.


Programme development and service delivery

72.  From the resource mobilization perspective, the ILO needs to ensure that its programmes and their delivery enjoy credibility among external partners. This means that they have to be seen to be within the ILO's mandate, driven by demand, responsive to global development policy orientations, effective, and efficiently managed. Office policy addresses these issues directly; what is now required is a major effort to ensure that, in practice, the different parts of the structure work together in a more coherent and integrated way, with appropriate inputs supplied at each level.

73.  More systematic use of the country objectives as a programming tool, in the preparation of the Programme and Budget proposals by the field and headquarters and as a focus for coordinated ILO action, will enhance the quality of the programme at the national level. Collaboration and coordination between technical specialists in the field and at headquarters to secure appropriate input from each will be institutionalized. Complementing this will be the coordinating role of the Area Office in ensuring an integrated and credible ILO programme at the national level.

74.  The regional offices should generally monitor ILO activities in their regions, actively promote the application of successful methodologies to other countries in the region, identify areas in which the ILO should operate at the regional level, and encourage interaction between technical units and MDTs to develop proposals to meet regional demands.

75.  Headquarters will play a key role in establishing the ILO's reputation as a centre of excellence. To do so it will take the lead in undertaking research, evaluating, serving as a repository of experience, disseminating lessons learned, promoting exchanges of experience, and developing global programmes based on research activities and concrete experiences.

Coordination of external relations

76.  Good coordination with external partners is essential, since without it the ILO's long-term interests will be damaged. Even though many partners are decentralizing their activities, their decentralized structures remain linked to their headquarters' units, with which the ILO needs to develop and maintain good relations and coordination. The Office will accordingly ensure that there is a simple but systematic interaction between the field and headquarters on resource mobilization information and initiatives.

77.  As in the case of programme development and delivery, each level of the ILO's structure will contribute in some way to resource mobilization initiatives. Area and Regional Offices will be the key players in monitoring, developing and coordinating donor relations in the field at their respective levels. The Regional Offices will develop guidelines on the priorities, possibilities for collaboration with, and procedures of regional development partners, such as regional development banks, other regional development institutions and regional structures of UNDP. The Regional Offices could play a significant role in training the field structure in resource mobilisation for technical cooperation, with input from headquarters as required. The ILO Area Offices will play an important part in stimulating collaboration in their respective countries. The Branch Offices will play an important role in maintaining and developing relations with financing partners.

78. Headquarters will develop and coordinate relations with the centralized units of development partners and establish the legal frameworks for cooperation with major development partners. It will be responsible for exploring new sources of financing; for providing support to resource mobilization initiatives by the field; for coordinating the inputs required for such initiatives from other headquarters support services; for maintaining centralized information on technical cooperation and resource mobilization; and for providing relevant information to the field structure.

Investment in resource mobilization

79.  The establishment of successful partnerships will require different forms of investment by the ILO. Initially, potential partners look for evidence that the ILO itself is committed to technical cooperation in the form of its investment of human and financial resources. The ILO is already taking steps to make more visible the degree to which technical cooperation is supported by the regular budget as a whole. However, it will also review the use of the portion of the budget specifically assigned to technical cooperation -- the regular budget for technical cooperation (RBTC) -- to determine whether it could be used in a more catalytic and effective way. The successful experiences already recorded by certain field offices in leveraging external resources using RBTC will be valuable in this exercise.

80.  The Office will also need to consider the allocation of special funds for resource mobilization, which could be used, for example, to facilitate rapid and innovative programme development by bringing together specialized teams; to finance specific promotional efforts vis-à-vis external partners; other resource mobilization initiatives, such as securing specialized assistance in accessing resources from private foundations; and systematic in-house training. In addition, to ensure that the marketing exercises are conducted professionally, the Office proposes to recruit a short-term marketing/fund-raising expert to help establish the in-house orientations and capacity to sustain this kind of effort. The longer-term in-house capacity required to pursue the resource mobilization initiatives described in the strategy also needs to be examined, and action taken to provide the necessary human resources.

Administrative and financial reforms

81.  In an increasingly demanding environment, financial partnerships with existing and new partners may entail financial and administrative requirements that depart from standard ILO practice. The Office will review its administrative, financial and management arrangements to ensure that they do not discourage technical cooperation and resource mobilization initiatives, and to determine which arrangements are most supportive of technical cooperation activities. As far as possible, the Office will be aiming to simplify procedures and to promote measures that will make for administrative efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

82.  A major concern is to improve the recording of technical cooperation data and reporting on technical cooperation, setting in place common standards for use by area and regional offices and technical departments. The aim is to be able to show more clearly the results of resource mobilization initiatives through the impact of the ILO's technical cooperation activities, including at the country level and in relation to the priority objectives of the Organization.

VII. Conclusions

83.  The resource mobilization strategy outlines a framework for cooperation with development partners for the next few years. The strategy requires the ILO to overcome the constraints of the present environment and to seize the opportunities offered. It has taken on board the lessons of experience, building on successes, and prescribes remedial action where weaknesses have been evident. It is intended to ensure that the ILO has the necessary resources to execute successfully a programme of work driven by its value system and defined together with its constituents and, as far as possible, with others interested in supporting the programme. Each part of the ILO's structure is implicated in the process, and the challenge is now to ensure systematically the synergy required to guarantee the impact and effectiveness of technical cooperation and resource mobilization initiatives. The ILO must also assess and sell its strengths in a sustained marketing campaign. If the strategy succeeds, the ILO will be, if not the largest player on the development scene, a major, visible and respected partner in the development effort.

84.  The Office will now need to complement this framework with more specific plans to make the strategy operational. This will be accomplished by having each part of the structure define its expected contributions and integrating the associated activities into their work plans. The Office will keep the Governing Body informed of measures taken to implement the strategy and of the results obtained.

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VIII. Key points of the ILO resource mobilization strategy

85.  The following elements constitute the key points on which the strategy is based:

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86.  The Committee on Technical Cooperation may wish to provide the Office with its views on the above strategy, which it is invited to endorse. It may also wish to recommend to the Governing Body that there should be the necessary financial provisions for the promotion of technical cooperation in future programme and budget proposals.

Geneva, 3 October 1997.

Point for decision: Paragraph 86.

1. GB.261/TC/2/5, paras. 63-82, and GB.261/7/20.

2. These figures do not include regular budget resources spent on technical advisory services, research etc. in support of technical cooperation.

Updated by VC. Approved by NdW. Last update: 26 January 2000.