Concept Note format


Applications to Thematic Windows of the MDG-F should be in Concept Note format. Applicants should read the MDG-F ‘Framework Document’ as well as the ‘Terms of Reference’ of the relevant Thematic Window before submitting applications.

In preparing a Concept Note please follow the outline below, limiting your narrative to 6 pages (this limit excludes the Budget or Appendices.

Applications should be submitted to the Online Programme Application System which can be accessed at before the closing date of the Request for Proposals round.

I. Programme Summary

  • Please provide a brief description of what the joint programme aims to achieve and how it will do this.

II. Background and Rationale

  • Clearly articulate the problem you are addressing, including the scope, history and causes of the problem. Describe the intended beneficiaries and geographic area of intervention (if applicable). This analysis should provide a sense of the ‘base-line’, which will be further developed with specific data during the formulation process. The base-line will be the reference against which the programme’s impact will be evaluated in future.
  • Describe the importance the Government attaches to this problem and the key public policies in place. Describe how the proposed joint programme relates to existing national planning and policy instruments (ie. PRSP, Development Plans etc.) Provide a summary of ongoing or recently completed efforts in this thematic area and the principal local and international actors involved in the issue.
  • Describe how the proposed joint programme relates to ongoing activities in the field and how your effort to solve the problem would be innovative or complementary to the existing efforts.
  • Explain how the project will contribute concretely to achieving the relevant MDG(s) at the country level.
  • Please explain how the programme is aligned with the vision contained in the UNDAF. How does the UNCT add value to efforts to address this issue?.

III. Joint Programme Results (Please also use the attached table format in Appendix A).

  • Please define the intended outcomes of the proposed Joint Programme, with reference to any outcome(s) articulated in the relevant Thematic Window Terms of Reference.
  • Please specify the measurable outputs to be delivered by this joint programme as well as outcomes to which they will contribute, showing how these relate to each other.
  • Clearly articulate what enhanced local/national capacities will remain at the conclusion of the joint programme.

IV. Joint programme Design and Implementation Plan

  • Please describe the joint programme design and major activities to be undertaken, linking these with the outcomes identified in Section III. This should be limited to broad, strategic categories of activities.
  • Please describe how the joint programme will use the capacity of local/national actors throughout the joint programme cycle.
  • Please explain how the programme will coordinate at the implementation level with national partners and other related donor initiatives.
  • Please highlight potential parallel or co-financing opportunities if applicable.   
  • Please describe what measures will be put in place to ensure sustainability of results.
  • Please identify any potential risks to achieving the programme’s objectives.

V. Monitoring and Evaluation

  • Please specify quantitative and qualitative indicators for all outcomes and describe the proposed methodology for their measurement. Please note that funds should be set aside in the budget for M&E costs.
  • Please ensure that indicators also capture capacity building goals.

VI. Institutional Arrangements and Management Plan (this section can also be placed in an Appendix)

  • Please provide a brief description of the UN Country Team and previous experience in programmatic and/or analytical collaboration in this field.  Please also include financial information on expenditures on the part of each Participating UN Organization involved in this proposal over the past two years.
  • Identify the key partners (local and international) of the joint programme, their respective roles and which UN agencies will assume the lead responsibility to achieve joint programme outputs.
  • Please describe the proposed coordination and governance arrangements to provide oversight of the joint programme at the country level including how they relate to existing theme groups or other mechanisms.