Terms of Reference for the High-Level Committee on Programmes

The below terms of reference and operating modalities have been updated in light of the HLCP discussion and its conclusions (CEB/2021/4). They can be reviewed by the Committee or CEB at any time, as required, and adjusted as determined by HLCP itself or by CEB.

  1. HLCP is responsible to CEB for fostering coherence, cooperation and coordination on policy and programme dimensions of strategic issues for the United Nations system.
  2. The HLCP Chair will be appointed by the Chair of CEB to serve a two-year term, which can be renewed. If deemed necessary by the HLCP Chair, the Chair of CEB can also appoint an HLCP Vice-Chair to support the execution of his or her responsibilities.
  3. HLCP is composed of senior staff of CEB member organizations, responsible for policy, programme planning and development authorized by their executive heads to take decisions on their behalf. HLCP will meet twice a year in regular session and will hold other meetings, including through virtual means, on an as-needed basis.
  4. HLCP will serve two key functions, namely:
    1. (a) Fostering system-wide policy coherence and coordination in response to intergovernmental mandates, with a view to:
      1. i. Supporting coherent and coordinated programme development and implementation, and maximizing the impact of the United Nations system in support of the implementation of and follow-up to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the outcomes of other United Nations conferences and summits, as well as other intergovernmental mandates; 
      2. ii. Supporting the integrated and coordinated preparation of major United Nations conferences and summits.
    2. (b) Scanning for and identifying emerging programme issues requiring a system-wide response,  with a view to:
      1. i. Developing common strategies, policy approaches, methodologies, and tools to respond to demands for strengthened system-wide policy coherence and coordination, in line with intergovernmental mandates;
      2. ii. Advising CEB on matters that require its priority attention in the timely elaboration of strategies and policies in response to emerging issues and challenges facing the United Nations system; 
      3. iii. Serving as a forum for collective strategic thinking, inter-agency dialogue, consultations, coordination and knowledge-sharing on policy development and programming on matters of system-wide concern to enhance transparency, develop consensus and learn and apply proven practices and policies.
  5. In pursuing the above and as elaborated in the appended operating modalities, HLCP will:
    1. (a) Seek to achieve a balance between directed think tank discussions in support of CEB and creating tangible products that respond to demands for strengthened system-wide policy coherence and coordination;
    2. (b) Address cross-cutting, cross-pillar and multisectoral issues, giving special attention to policy areas not already addressed in other contexts or forums;
    3. (c) Utilize efficient and effective working arrangements to address policy themes under a lead entity approach;
    4. (d) Collaborate with and leverage the expertise that resides in thematic, operational, and other inter-agency bodies while maintaining due regard for the respective roles and mandates of each mechanism; and
    5. (e) Engage with external stakeholders, as appropriate.
  6. In the exercise of these functions, HLCP will operate within the framework of the constituent instruments of member organizations and the relationship agreements between the United Nations and the specialized agencies and Bretton Woods institutions.

Please see the full updated HLCP terms of reference and appendix on HLCP operating modalities.

  • High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP)


  • HLCP TOR 2021 (from CEB_2021_6).pdf

    PDF | 154.64 KB

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