How does aid coordination work within the United Nations, and how can it be improved? This study examines the role of resident coordinators – normally the UN’s highest ranking official on the ground – in forging coherence among the three dozen organisations that together form the UN development system. A functioning system of resident coordinators has been deemed key for the functioning of the UN development system overall.
The proliferation of actors and the fragmentation of aid are important determinants for the organization of development cooperation, including for the UN development system. Against this background, the study considers the case for aid coordination within the United Nations, examines its institutional setup, historical evolution and differentiation over time. A particular focus concerns the United Nations Development Programme as manager of the resident coordinator system. The study offers relevant lessons on how to mandate, organize and manage aid coordination at the country-level.