UNHCR-NGO Toolkit for Practical Cooperation on Resettlement. Operational activities - Staff and cost-sharing and funding arrangements: Definitions and FAQs

Resettlement, June 2011

a) Why should UNHCR and NGOs share human and other resources in the area of resettlement?

Pooling resources makes some activities possible that would not be otherwise, whether for financial reasons or for lack of sufficient professional staffing or particular expertise. Sharing human and other resources between UNHCR and NGOs allows each partner to bring its unique assets and competencies to bear on a refugee situation in a complementary fashion. Such partnerships can also mobilize new constituencies and open new opportunities for funding, broadening the circle of concern for refugee protection. NGOs are sometimes able to mobilize staff and other resources expeditiously.

b) What are the different ways NGOs and UNHCR can share human and other resources in the area of resettlement?

NGO staff may be "loaned" to UNHCR to assist with a variety of resettlement-related activities. Such arrangements might include short or long-term staff loans, as a one-off event or as part of an ongoing arrangement. NGO staff on loan to UNHCR may be assigned to carry out any aspect of the spectrum of activities relating to resettlement, including all of those listed in this toolkit and possibly more. This may include inter alia interviewing and preparing resettlement assessments and submissions, assisting with Best Interest Determinations, carrying out assessments or verification exercises, group profiling, and clerical and logistical support.

Aside from staff on secondment or loan, other ways to share resources might include office or interview facilities, vehicles, computers, telecommunications facilities, staff accommodation, flights, training and resource materials, etc.

c) What are the key elements / considerations of a staff and cost-sharing arrangement?

It is important to establish written Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) detailing the framework for cooperation, outlining the expectations and obligations and role of each party (e.g. explaining what the status of the staff-on-loan will be), reporting and supervisory channels, and the financial arrangements. Experience has shown that it is important to carefully discuss and agree upon and document the financial arrangements for loan of staff or other resources. With staff secondments or loans, the arrangements may vary in terms of which entity covers which associated costs, such as salary, benefits, per diem, hazardous duty station supplement, accommodation, flights, ground transportation, visas, agency overhead costs, etc. In some situations, NGOs are prepared to cover the associated costs, but this should be clearly explained in the MOU.

Also, it will be necessary that seconded staff adhere to the ethical standards and principles of the United Nations and comply with UNHCR's Code of Conduct.