COMPASS makes it easier for our operations’ plans to align with those of national and UN partners, building a common long-term vision that encourages the inclusion of refugees, internally displaced and stateless people in national systems, local development plans and initiatives related to jobs and social safety nets. Strategies operate at three levels, output, outcome and impact.
By integrating refugees, internally displaced and stateless people into national and local plans and making them an integral part of the peacebuilding process, they have greater opportunities to thrive, alongside the communities that host them.
With the COMPASS approach, UNHCR shifts towards more impactful strategies that address key issues faced by refugees, internally displaced and stateless people, including a clear vision of change. Operation strategies articulate desired changes over time, linking up with national plans and the UN-wide effort to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This includes a multi-year programming cycle spanning three to five years that shifts the focus from “what we do” to “how we contribute to change”.
The COMPASS approach puts an emphasis on the use of data and evidence to define desired results, monitor progress and dynamically learn and adjust. It tracks results through a simplified results chain aligned with the UN system of “impacts”, “outcomes” and “outputs”. At the country level, operations have the flexibility to define their results, while at the global level, a global results framework with impact and outcome areas helps aggregate results and financial information. To monitor and track progress in the impact and outcome areas of the global results framework, COMPASS includes 52 core indicators. They measure progress against global standards at impact level and regional and operational targets at outcome level.
In UNHCR, every strategy has three programming phases – PLAN for, GET and SHOW Results. The PLAN phase includes situation analysis, vision, theory of change, a costed results framework and a resource management and monitoring and evaluation plan. The GET phase covers the entire period of implementation, including delivery through partnerships. During the SHOW phase, our operations reflect on the progress they have made and collate the results of the work of the previous year, and in the case of a final year of a multi-year strategy, the results across multiple years.
A dedicated online system linked to COMPASS allows UNHCR personnel around the world to perform all tasks related to planning, budgeting, implementing, monitoring and reporting.
COMPASS was first introduced in 2020. By the end of 2023, the majority of UNHCR offices will have transitioned to multi-year planning.