Intellectual Property Rights and Disclosure of Information
Under UNDP’s Standard Basic Assistance Agreements (SBAAs) with governments, as well as Special Fund Agreements and Technical Assistance Agreements, all intellectual property rights deriving from activities under UNDP’s programmes vest in UNDP. Confidential information cannot be used without UNDP’s consent, except as specified in the UNDP Information Disclosure Policy.
Access to records and record retention
Pursuant to Art. 7(a) of the Grant Regulations, UNDP is required to maintain adequate programme accounts, books, records and other documents relating to the programme, to show without limitation all costs incurred under the Grant Agreement and the overall progress towards completion of the programme. UNDP must maintain the books and records in accordance with its regulations, rules, policies and procedures consistent with the International Public Accounting Standards.
The UNDP retention period for accounting records is at least seven years after the date of the transaction (payment, recording date etc.). Hence, accounting records related to the programme should be retained for at least seven years.
However, the Global Fund has a right to request in writing to the UNDP Headquarters that a document is retained for a longer period in order to resolve any claims. In such a case, the UNDP Global Fund/Health Implementation Support Team will provide guidance to the Country Office (CO) on record retention.
A similar obligation is conferred on Sub-recipients (SRs). Each SR must keep accurate and current books and records, in addition to other documents regarding all expenditures incurred with UNDP funds, reflecting that all such expenditures are in accordance with the agreed work plan. The SR must maintain supporting documentation for each disbursement, including original invoices, bills and receipts.
Like UNDP, the SR must maintain all records and supporting documents for a period of at least seven years from the document date.
It is hard to overstate the importance of keeping and managing records pertaining to the use of grant funds. These records may be required for Local Fund Agent (LFA) verification, audits and investigations, grant closure, and other purposes. Failure to maintain good records may result in a substantial financial and legal exposure for UNDP. Proper care must be given to maintaining records for at least seven years from the document date, both at the CO and at the SR levels.
The Global Fund, either directly or through its LFA, may request certain supporting documents from the CO for the purpose of review and verification. Article 4.1 of the Framework Agreement provides that “…the Global Fund has the right to access non-UN Sub-recipient documents, including any supporting documents provided by non-UN Sub-recipients to UNDP, in line with UNDP guidance notes.” This primarily refers to the Global Fund/LFA Access to Information during the Grant Life Cycle Guidance Note, advising on UNDP Principal Recipient (PR) interactions with the LFA.
The CO should cooperate with the LFA as much as possible. However, it is important to keep in mind that, under its regulations and in line with its guidance notes, UNDP cannot share the following documents and information:
- Contracts for goods and services, long-term agreements or procurement documentation, including internal procurement review committee decisions, delivery notes signed with a UN agency, clearing documents or bills of lading;
- Documentation that includes support documents for UNDP financial information, including:
- invoices paid by UNDP or any other UN agency
- cost estimates
- payment vouchers or supplier invoices for UN
- Contracts of employment and résumés/CVs, recruitment reports, results and competency assessments.
- Attendance lists where workshop/training participants have signed for attendance allowance or per diems (paid by the UN).
- Access to the Atlas system, including ‘view only’ access.
- Other documents and information falling under the exceptions set forth in the UNDP Information Disclosure Policy.
Any matters regarding the LFA are managed at the corporate level of the UNDP Global Fund/Health Implementation Support Team. The CO is advised to contact the Team if any issue arises.
UNDP may provide certain documents to the Global Fund upon request. However, each request must be reviewed to make sure that none of the exceptions to document access apply and UNDP regulations and guidance notes are fully observed.