Outreach & Events

IOM is an agile, entrepreneurial organisation, but with fragile foundations

30/10/2023 - Geneva – The way organisations are funded can help UN agencies focus on delivering results on the ground, but can also undermine key central functions – as appears to be the case for the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The 2023 assessment of IOM’s business model and results – released today by the Multilateral Performance Network (MOPAN) in Geneva, in conjunction with IOM’s new Director General Amy Pope and MOPAN members Belgium, Canada and the Netherlands – looks closely at what other UN organisations, funders, and other key stakeholders can learn from IOM, one of the most heavily earmarked organisations in the multilateral system.

“Our assessment shows that IOM is an agile, entrepreneurial and delivery focused organisation, highly valued by MOPAN members” said Suzanne Steensen, Head of the MOPAN Secretariat. “But it also shows the limitations of IOM’s business model – for example IOM has little capacity to back up its operations with technical advice, or wiggle room to respond to new crises or support action before crises hit”.

MOPAN’s assessment shows that IOM is strong on the ground: in crisis response, providing value for money, contributing to overall response efforts, targeting vulnerable people, supporting national governments, as a partner to other organisations, and in providing durable solutions for internally displaced people.

Unsurprisingly, the MOPAN assessment also identifies key areas for improvement that include working with funders to ease reliance on earmarked funds; finalising, operationalising and consolidating the rollout of IOM’s ambitious programme of institutional and business process reforms; further empowering IOM to deliver its cross-agency lead role on migration; scaling up work to be accountable to the people IOM serves, and working more closely with local actors – who are often the first responders in crisis settings.

The dilemma for DG Pope, as she settles into office, will be how to achieve all this without compromising IOM’s entrepreneurial DNA – indeed MOPAN recognizes that nearly all of IOM’s organisational capacity challenges are in many respects the flipsides of its core strength of agility and responsiveness.

And for other UN organisations – who are all facing an uptick in earmarked funding – IOM provides good learning about how to deliver the right results while coping with difficult funding environment, while also sounding the alarm about what can happen when there is only limited funding for central capacities and functions.

The Multilateral Performance Network (MOPAN) is an independent network of 22 member states who have a shared vision to promote an effective multilateral system trusted to deliver solutions to evolving global goals and local challenges. Together, MOPAN members and collaborators provide nearly USD 70.6 billion in annual contributions to and through the multilateral system – the majority of the system’s official development assistance (ODA) funding.

For further information on MOPAN, or about this MOPAN Assessment of IOM, please contact: Cara.YAKUSH@mopanonline.org


MOPAN calls for long term vision and a revamp of the UNAIDS business model

05/09/2023 – The UNAIDS Joint Programme, consisting of 11 UN cosponsors and a Secretariat, remains the best tool for a coordinated UN response to HIV, but if it is to lead the global AIDS response to and beyond 2030, it must adapt. Modifying its operating model will be necessary to remain fit-for-purpose as it moves towards achieving the 2030 goal of ‘ending HIV as a public health emergency’. This is what MOPAN concludes in its latest assessment of the UNAIDS Secretariat. It calls on the UNAIDS Secretariat together with its stakeholders to consider, what the HIV epidemic will look like beyond 2030, what the comparative advantage of the UN system response will be, and provide the necessary leadership to create a vision for the global AIDS response post the Sustainable Development Goals.

MOPAN presented the assessment of the UNAIDS Secretariat to UN member states, UNAIDS Cosponsors (UN Agencies), and NGO Delegations, alongside Denmark and the U.S. who served as liaisons for the assessment on behalf of the MOPAN membership. The assessment focuses on the global function of the UNAIDS Secretariat, including its fitness for purpose on core functions. It highlights that the UNAIDS Joint Programme has been successful in engaging UN agencies in global and country level responses to HIV, and points out the UN system has a comparative advantage, now and beyond 2030, in setting global norms and providing countries with technical guidance for a multisectoral response.

The MOPAN assessment finds that since its last assessment in 2016, the UNAIDS Secretariat improved performance in a number of areas. Monitoring the epidemic, generating evidence for shaping the global response to the HIV epidemic, supporting global HIV policy processes, advancing norms through policy dialogue with member states, and coordinating joint UN support to countries remain some of its strengths. UNAIDS has created and implemented a process for the development of a joint UN AIDS response workplan, budget and accountability framework, and established an independent evaluation function. Looking forward, the assessment finds that the UNAIDS Secretariat is fit for purpose to play some, albeit not all, of its functions.

The assessment finds three fundamental, interrelated challenges that seriously hamper the UN system’s response to HIV globally. First, the UNAIDS Secretariat has been unable to mobilize adequate resources to fully fund the Joint UNAIDS workplan. Second, years of financial constraints and unmet expectations of the UNAIDS Cosponsors has resulted in strained relationships at the global level. Third, stakeholders are waiting for the UNAIDS Secretariat to lead the development of a vision, sharply focused on HIV, for the global AIDS response towards and beyond 2030 with the role UNAIDS Joint Programme well defined. Although these issues have been highlighted in several earlier reviews, Secretariat and Cosponsors representatives have failed to address them.

“We have made great progress in the global HIV/AIDS response”, says Dr. John Nkengasong, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Senior Bureau Official for Health Security and Diplomacy of the U.S. Department of State, “but those gains are fragile and HIV/AIDS is still a threat to health, development and security. UNAIDS continues to be our best tool to lead a global response. The MOPAN review provides highlights of the progress made since 2016, but it also clearly demonstrates that a sharp focus on HIV/AIDS and stronger partnerships within UNAIDS must be the priority going forward. The U.S. is confident the Secretariat will successfully take up this challenge.”

MOPAN recognizes that a coordinated UN system response to HIV remains relevant, now and in the future. Funding for UNAIDS in its current ‘version’ is however drying up. MOPAN challenges the UNAIDS Board and Cosponsors to go back to the drawing board and work seriously to create a renewed vision with an appropriate way of working leading up to and post 2030. The MOPAN assessment suggests they consider a joint programme with fewer Cosponsors and a leaner secretariat function, with improved funding by and accountability to participating Cosponsors. Whatever the solution, it will require not only the Secretariat’s commitment, but also that of its Cosponsors, Member States and civil society partners. “MOPAN’s assessments are always food for thought for both sides”, concluded Erik Brøgger Rasmussen, the Danish Ambassador and Permanent Representative, at the launch on Friday.

For further information on MOPAN’s Assessment of the UNAIDS Secretariat, please contact secretariat@mopanonline.org.


Aotearoa New Zealand joins MOPAN as an observer

29/08/2023 – Wellington – Aotearoa New Zealand has formally become a MOPAN observer, joining the Network for a period of twelve months, effective 1 July 2023.

MOPAN’s Chair, Laura Aghilarre, welcomed Aotearoa New Zealand to the Network, noting the excellent alignment between MOPAN’s activities and Aotearoa New Zealand’s efforts to promote a more effective multilateral system which delivers on development outcomes and the sustainable development goals.

Following a visit in Wellington this week with the MOPAN Secretariat, New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Deputy Secretary of Pacific and Development Group, Bernadette Cavanagh, confirmed that Aotearoa New Zealand is looking forward to engaging with the Network over the coming year under this new partnership.

Aotearoa New Zealand achieves global reach through engagement and support for the multilateral system, humanitarian assistance, and regional programmes, aligning to MOPAN’s commitment to improving the multilateral system.

In 2021, Aotearoa New Zealand provided USD 223.4 million of gross official development assistance (ODA) to the multilateral system, of which 15.5 percent of total ODA was allocated as core contributions to multilateral organisations.

With the addition of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the MOPAN Network expands to include 22 members and observers, representing 90.4 percent of total contributions to the multilateral system by official providers.

For further information on MOPAN’s engagement with Aotearoa New Zealand, please contact secretariat@mopanonline.org.


Information briefing to launch the MOPAN performance assessment of FAO & WFP

28/08/2023 - MOPAN will host a briefing session to launch the 2023 MOPAN assessments of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP). The session will provide an overview of plans for both assessments including discussions about the methodological approach, the timelines and ways of working. Members of FAO and WFP’s Executive Boards will participate in the session. The event will be hosted at WFP headquarters and take place on Friday, 15 September 2023 from 14:00 to 15:30.

Interpretation in Arabic, English, French and Spanish will be provided.


MOPAN Performance Assessments of FAO and WFP
Information Briefing, WFP HQ

15 September 2023, 14:00-15:30

1. WFP and FAO: Welcome

  • Ms. Beth Bechdol, Deputy Director-General, FAO
  • Mr. Carl Skau, Deputy Executive Director, WFP

2. MOPAN Members

  • Ms. Laura Aghilarre, DDG/Principal Director for general affairs and development cooperation policy orientation, DG Development Cooperation, Italy
  • Ms. Ellen Luger, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counselor for Agriculture, United States of America

3. MOPAN Secretariat: Overview of the two assessments, their methodologies and process

  • Suzanne Steensen, Head of MOPAN Secretariat
  • Jolanda Profos, Assessment Manager, MOPAN Secretariat

4. Questions from Member States, Discussion (Moderated by MOPAN)

5. Closing Remarks - Institutional Leads

  • Ms. Barbara Curran, Director-General, Global Affairs Canada
  • Ms. Krisztina Bende, H. E. Res. Rep. and Ambassador, Switzerland


MOPAN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

11/07/23, New York - MOPAN co-hosts High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development with Permanent Mission of Italy, Indonesia and Costa Rica in New York.

Sustainable Financing at a time of poly-crisis: Creating ties that bind

The protracted effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the consequences of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, food insecurity and soaring inflation are impacting global stability and economy and exacerbating ongoing crises.

The discussion on sustainable financing of multilateral organisations – and in particular of the UN – is a long-lasting discussion. It is a central discussion: if the multilateral system is to deliver results, it must be financed in the “right” manner.

And yet, while multilateral financing has increased nearly 40% in the past decade, nearly all this growth has been in inflexible, project-based earmarked funding. The Secretary-General’s Funding Compact highlighted transformative shifts proposed to the membership to ensure a more sustainable financing model for the UN Development System.

To overcome the longstanding dichotomy between “core” and “non-core” resources, a third way was proposed to encourage quality non-core resources: the management of development-related inter-agency “pooled funds” and single-agency “thematic funds”.


MOPAN in UNDS Roundtable at Multilateral Finance Development week

29/11/22, Geneva - Ms Suzanne Steensen, MOPAN's Head of Secretariat, participated in the Roundtable, "Financing the UN Development System: Embracing Change", at the Multilateral Development Finance Week [virtual] event. The event addressed pressing quesstions affecting multilateral effectiveness--What does the current UN funding situation look like? What kind of consequences does it carry for the UN’s work and for multilateralism? Why are bilateral contributions so heavily earmarked to the UNDS and what are the incentives to support more flexible funding? 

Ms. Steensen discussed the constraints and funding challenges within the multilateral system, its implications for the UN's work and rebuilding trust between the UN system and MOPAN members. Watch the Roundtable.


MOPAN 20th Anniversary Event: Multilateralism at a Crossroads

Since 2002, MOPAN has been at the forefront of pushing effectiveness in the multilateral system, yet today, the multilateral system is at a crossroads, facing unprecedented demand and a growing number of crises. How can organisations be agile and fit-for-purpose to meet evolving demands? How can multilateral stakeholders work together to deliver on shared goals and values?

Today, recent progress by the multilateral system in delivering in these areas is threatened by a dramatic increase in the scale and complexity of global challenges. These challenges, which include cascading crises with global impact, growing political fault lines, a stretched Official Development Assistance (ODA) environment, as well as ongoing pressures to deliver on the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals and the climate agenda, threaten to undermine the future of multilateralism.

The effectiveness of the multilateral system is at the heart of this endeavour.

MOPAN 20th Anniversary Event:

MULTILATERALISM AT A CROSSROADS: Rising to the challenges of today and tomorrow

12 December; 10:00 - 11:30 

Hilton Geneva Hotel and Conference Centre

High-Level Event Recording

MOPAN’s 20th Anniversary High-Level Event will convene executive-level officials from MOPAN members and development partners, along with multilateral organisation leaders to reflect on the future of the multilateral system. Participants will consider the key emerging challenges and their implications with the aim of building a common understanding on potential responses to maximise multilateral effectiveness to deliver the 2030 Agenda, including MOPAN’s role in supporting these efforts.


Since our founding over 20 years ago, MOPAN has used its unique position to strengthen the multilateral system’s contributions to achieving greater development and humanitarian results – primarily through promoting accountability; learning and shaping multilateral performance standards.

- Suzanne Steensen,

Head of MOPAN Secretariat 


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