Memorandum of Understanding between UNDP and UNHCR in Rwanda


The United Nations Development Programme (hereinafter referred to as UNDP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (hereinafter referred to as UNHCR), taking into consideration the changing operational requirements of humanitarian assistance and development co-operation in Rwanda, reaffirm the commitment of their two agencies to work jointly in the phase out from humanitarian assistance to development.

In working to give effect to the present agreement, UNDP and UNHCR are mindful of the attributions of other agencies of the United Nations system as well as NGOs, and will, to the best of their ability, support and cooperate with other agencies in the discharge of their mandates.


The complexity of the Rwandan situation within the Great Lakes region necessitates that current response mechanisms are enhanced to ensure a positive impact. Co-ordination of the interventions of the international community must be reinforced so that they can play a greater role in the solutions to the complex problems encountered by the region particularly in giving an integral response to the urgent needs of the returnee population within the framework of the communities in which they are settled as a whole.

Traditional boundaries and divisions between emergency and development approaches and assistance between the humanitarian and the political; between the refugee and the host community; and between the returning refugee and their society have to be narrowed and eventually eliminated to avoid a fragmentation in policy and assistance, which can lead to deep frustration. The recent massive return of refugees offers the opportunity, and the imperative for comprehensive reintegration and reconstruction of the country. As was illustrated in the jointly prepared thematic consultation on the Reintegration of Refugees and IDPs held in 1995, this requires a truly integrated approach from the United Nations family and other co-operation and humanitarian partners, which enables the comparative advantage of different actors to be utilised to the full, with positive externalities.

Reintegration requires an integrated approach to create an enabling environment in which the returnees can be absorbed by their communities. This must be holistic in two senses; firstly it needs to encompass the whole community Secondly it must be integrated from the very star into the overall development process, concentrating on enabling the social and economic participation of all Rwandans in their communities and on supporting sustainable livelihoods.

Reintegration as part of a durable solution and conflict prevention must bridge the traditional gap between emergency and development assistance and within the overall macroeconomic and social context focus on treating those areas which have hindered equitable development and contributed to poverty and conflict including issues of access to land and resources, food security, inadequate diversification, limited carrying capacity of land, inadequate access to basic services, chronically low human capital levels and low administrative capacity; as well as establishing a fully functional judiciary and legal framework. Such an approach can be a powerful catalyst to the reconciliation process and stability. The results of this integrated approach depend not only on the outcomes but also the process which must focus on participatory community development and capacity building.

Such an integrated approach requires a consolidated programme which brings together the UN agencies, NGOs and the bilateral donors who all have important contributions to make co-ordination to address the immense and complex needs in a sustainable way requires a unified approach and commitment from all the agencies and NGOs involved. The office of the Resident Co-ordinator will facilitate the co-ordination of all agencies and the NGOs within the framework of the round Table process.


The principal objective of the collaboration between UNDP and UNHCR shall be to work jointly to:

*          Assist the reintegration of returnees into the receiving areas by addressing the issues of shelter, land, rehabilitation, vulnerable groups, abject poverty and promotion of income generating activities.

*          To ensure integration and complementarily of the reintegration and rehabilitation programmes of the collaborating agencies.

*          Promote an early and smooth phase-out of humanitarian assistance in favour of sustainable, local development in areas that are receiving large numbers of returnees and/or have been designated for resettlement through the progressive hand-over of activities from UNHCR to UNDP.

*          Reinforce the linkage between the initial reintegration of returnees, survivors of the genocide, vulnerable groups and war/genocide affected population in their areas of reinsertion and the longer-term development of such areas;

*          Attract donor support and mobilise resources for measures designed to attain the above objectives.

*          Strengthen the capacities of the central and local authorities in order to ensure the sustainability of the activities to be undertaken.

*          Ensure linkages between the reintegration programmes and the development needs of the different areas of intervention of the collaborating agencies.


The target beneficiary will be the country of Rwanda and its entire population through the implementation of the reintegration programme of assistance of UNDP and UNHCR.


To realise the implementation of this agreement the aim of which is to ensure a smooth transition from humanitarian assistance to development assistance, there is the need to achieve co-ordination through mutual consultation, and thus a Joint Reintegration Programming Unit (JRPU) of UNDP and UNHCR will be formed. The JRPU will be headed by UNDP to ensure continuity and sustainability as UNHCR scales down its operations.

The JRPU will, inter-alia, build on the recommendations of the joint evaluation already carried out by the Joint Mission UNDP/UNHCR which has identified priority areas for action in programme co-ordination. This unit will also interact with GoR, and ensure coherence of assistance in line with the national priorities of reintegration and reconstruction.

In light of the nature of the functions of the JRPU, the unit will consist of relevant Programme Managers from the two agencies. When it becomes necessary the JRPU can draw from technical experts of both agencies, who with GoR technical experts will then form an Ad-Hoc Technical Team (ATT) that can operate countrywide in a roving manner as required and address particular technical issues.

At the national level the JRPU will work in close collaboration with the newly created National Development Programme Co-ordination Commission and the Permanent Committee (PC) of the Emergency Reintegration and Reconstruction Programme (ERRP), in particular through its technical secretariat and implementation support office, which was established as a result of the joint GoR/UNDP/World Bank assessment mission. This linkage is also to be extended to (a) the National Commission for Policy Guidance, (b) the PMU as well as other concerned Technical Ministries and Sectoral Committees for programme implementation, and (c) Prefectoral Co-ordination Committees for the monitoring and guiding implementation at the community level.

In the field, at the Prefecture level, the JRPU will support and collaborate with the local governmental mechanisms of co-ordination and planning.

The Programme Support Units (PSU), created to collaborate in the implementation of the reintegration programmes, will also be fully integrated.


The assistance will be provided through three complementary phases:

1.         First phase to commence immediately. This preliminary phase will consist of an appraisal by the JRPU, conducted jointly with concerned GoR authorities, of current reintegration programmes, with the aim to review on how the adopted approach feeds in the overall targets set forth by the GoR Emergency Reintegration and Reconstruction Programme (ERRP).

2.         Second Phase: During this phase the JRPU, in consultation, the concerned GoR authorities, will develop further details of the QIP and the Area Development Programmes (ADPs). The QIP will consist of short-term projects to be implemented under the supervision and monitoring by the co-ordination structure in place in all the Prefectures. The JRPU will also develop further details of the outline and operating modalities of the Prefectoral ADPs, based on participatory assessments at the communal level including needed management and coordination structures with priority attention to the Prefectures which are most impacted by all categories of beneficiaries (returnees, survivors of the genocide, internally displaced people, demobilised soldiers, affected villages, vulnerable groups etc…)

3.         Third phase: QIPS will be phased out and the activities will be concentrated in the implementation of the above mentioned ADPs. During this phase a strategy for investment in support of recurrent cost of services provided through the humanitarian programme will be developed in order to ensure that the National Public Investment Programme is supported to be able to absorb the cost of the above mentioned services i.e. health, water, sanitation etc.

The sustainability of the humanitarian programmes will also be carefully taken into consideration.

The JRPU shall produce a portfolio of interventions composed of:

1.         Quick-Impact Projects: to continue the existing ones and to implement new ones in the short term to ensure the livelihood and economic viability of the returnees in the settlement areas following the immediate assistance provided to them upon their settlement. It is recognised that these activities may best be implemented by NGOs with technical assistance, where necessary, from the international organisations, and by UN agencies possessing comparative advantages in specific programme areas. Given the urgent need to strengthen existing social support structures and services as well as to provide housing, these projects should, when not already started, be initiated as soon as possible in order to ensure the reintegration in the areas of their final destination. They should focus, inter-alia, on:

-           Provision of agricultural implements and other inputs;

-           Food production and food security;

-           Housing

-           Potable water supply,

-           Water-resource development for human and agricultural need;

-           Basic preventive and curative health services;

-           Livestock development;

-           Facilitation of Village-level transport and communication;

-           Income generating and secondary food production projects;

-           Social community services and education.

2.         Area Development programmes: The ADPs are medium term programmes based on communal and prefectural assessments and development plans in order to bridge from the initial reintegration phase to longer term regional integrated development through the creation of the necessary infrastructure, capacity building and social support systems for facilitating the rapid economic and social integration of all categories of beneficiaries in the host districts or village communities. The programme will be implemented through line ministries and institutions Government Departments, UN agencies possessing comparative advantage in specific programme areas and NGOs as appropriate. Such programmes would cover, inter-alia

-           Health service development;

-           Educational programs at relevant levels;

-           Road and infrastructures development;

-           Basic shills training;

-           Education services and teacher training;

-           Transport service and communication development;

-           Agriculture and irrigation;

-           Water resources development and management;

-           Small enterprise development;

-           Vocational training;

-           Credit schemes

The JRPU will ensure that the IPS addresses the specific needs of women, youth and the handicapped.


Programmes aiming at projects targeting host country communities, reintegration action and area development schemes require substantial resources additional to those available under UNHCR's programmes or to resources eligible under UNDP's country programmes and different TRAC allocations.

To the extent feasible, when seeking extra-budgetary resources for the purpose of such programmes, the two agencies shall jointly approach donors on the basis of agreed arrangements for implementation and programme delivery. Both headquarters divisions and country offices will need to engage in this effort.


*          actively use for such as round table and consultative group meetings, as well as regional or local donor meetings, to attract and mobilise resources for jointly identified programmes in the area of displacement prevention, impact on refugee host communities and reintegration.

*          jointly approach donors in order to mobilise resources.


This agreement shall remain valid from the date of its signature and shall remain in force for 1 year unless the two agencies agree on an ulterior extension of the terms of the agreement. After 1 year this Memorandum of Understanding will be subject to a general review and evaluation.

Signed by UNDP (signed)

Date: 13 July 1997

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


Assistant Administrator


Director, Regional Bureau for Africa





Signed by UNHCR (signed)

Date: 17 March 1997

Sergio Vieira de Mello


Assistant High Commissioner





The Memorandum of Understanding between UNDP and UNHCR in Rwanda is situated within the context of the broader Memorandum of Understanding between UNDP and UNHCR which is being finalized after a series of consultations between the two Organizations.

In view of the extensive consultations at the field level that has led to the finalization of the Rwanda Memorandum of Understanding and in order to ensure its smooth implementation, it is deemed essential that monitoring of the implementation of the Memorandum is effected from the headquarters levels of both UNDP and UNHCR.

As such, following signature of the Memorandum, an appropriate mechanism is to be put in place consisting of representation of the Director of Regional Bureau for Africa (RBA) and that of the Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees – UNHCR, for monitoring the implementation of the memorandum. The joint unit, which it is understood will be located at UNDP Country Office in Kigali, will serve as secretariat of this monitoring mechanism.

To facilitate the monitoring work, it is agreed that a detailed "phase-out" plan by UNHCR will be presented, showing the progressive scaling-down of its operations in Rwanda with "bench marks". This plan is to be prepared with participation of and in consultations with Headquarters of both UNDP and UNHCR. Such a plan should be available by mid April 1997 to be reviewed and endorsed by all parties concerned in order that it may become operational by end April 1997.

It is agreed that the monitoring of the implementation of the memorandum of understanding will require meetings on a quarterly basis, as of end of April, i.e. end of July, October, and December 1997.

This addendum is considered an integral part of the memorandum of understanding signed on 17 March 1997.

Signed by UNDP


Ellen Johnson Sirleaf


Assistant Administrator,


Director, Regional Bureau for Africa





Signed by UNHCR


Sergio Vieira de Mello


Assistant High Commissioner 





The memorandum was signed on 17 March and 13 July 1997.