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Fostering collaboration and enhancing local impact through framework contracts

Framework agreements are an increasingly common feature of international development.


Suppliers are encouraged to build diverse and often global partnerships as part of a consortium, enabling them to foster meaningful and long-lasting local impact. Framework agreements clearly contribute to the sustainable development goal that advocates partnership.

Revitalising global partnership

One of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) calls for the international development community to strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development. A successful development agenda requires inclusive partnerships built upon shared values and goals that place people and the planet at their core.

Speaking in 2015, Martin Sajdik, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said that partnerships, not just between international actors but between international and local partners, are essential if we are to fully implement the post-2015 aid agenda: ‘You cannot only rely on state actors. Our economic life, our social life is not only determined by state actors, so if we want to have a development agenda that is for all countries of the world both developed and developing, we cannot ignore the fact that there are many more actors.’ 

Partnership in practice

We have seen how framework agreements are a viable means of achieving greater impact and more innovative partnerships. If managed correctly, consortiums can provide an innovative approach to development with their combined expertise, resources, and varied perspectives.

We have long recognised the benefits of partnerships. Through our expanding network of international offices, we work in partnership with national and sub-national governments, international aid agencies, civil society, and non-governmental organisations. We also collaborate with the private sector and local communities to combat social and economic disadvantage. In countries and regions where we do not have an office, we strive to partner with local organisations or specialised staff, who bring country-specific knowledge, expertise, and networks.

Greater focus on international and local partnerships fosters opportunities to combine expertise, resources, and skills that more effectively deliver aid, empowering and building local NGOs’ capacity to respond to humanitarian crises.

There is growing recognition that community foundations are essential partners in achieving the SDGs. These cannot be reached without the involvement of community foundations.

Working with donors

With the UK Government committed to the post-2015 development agenda and the SDGs, we are seeing donors such as DFID and the FCO placing greater emphasis on international-local partnerships. ‘Development really is a team game now, more than it has ever been before /…/. The Agenda 2030 Outcome Document underpins the importance of a revitalised global partnership comprising all development actors including donors, multilateral organisations, and civil society organisations,’ said Amber Rudd, MP.

OPM Frameworks

The following are some examples of our frameworks, working in different sectors and across the globe.

UNICEF Data Investments Long Term Agreement (LTA)

UNICEF has been a key force encouraging demand, and driving better generation and use of data and evidence on children for the past decades. Placing particular emphasis on working with and through national partners to strengthen government data systems, the organisation’s work is very much anchored in the national contexts of countries in which it operates.

Our network of international offices is of particular importance in the context of this LTA, providing local and regional expertise. In addition to contextual knowledge, staff based in international offices contribute expertise in the areas of data needs, use, and supply, as well as the development of data strategies. We have partnered with Global Pulse labs in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Kampala, Uganda, who will act as a resource partner for this LTA, providing specialist expertise of what works in the context of new data sources and technologies.

Framework Agreement for Expert Advisory Call-Down Service (EACDS)

For this framework, DFID and other UK government departments required a fast, high-quality, and adaptive technical assistance facility to help them achieve their strategic aid objective of leaving no one behind in a challenging and changing world. Through building a consortium of over 20 national and regional partners and utilising our core partners’ first-hand experience in-country, combined with our offices in nine target countries, we have a local presence and expertise in all the countries specified for this framework.

Child Measurement LTA

A core element of our approach is generating different forms of evidence (including statistics, research, and evaluations), as well as supporting the generation and use of evidence by national and local government institutions, civil society organisations, and parliamentarians. For this framework agreement, we have partnered with Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP), an international non-profit organisation that links researchers globally to enhance local capacity for policy analysis in low- and middle-income countries.

Together, we have applied both monetary and nonmonetary approaches to child poverty measurement, including multi-dimensional poverty measurement techniques and sociological approaches to poverty. The various approaches to measuring and analysing child poverty should be seen as complementary, rather than choosing only one or the other. The appropriate approach (or approaches) to measuring child poverty is determined in consultation with the national statistical office, based on the experience of the department and appetite for application of the various methods.