28 January 2013

Africa: UNDP to Continue Programmes Despite Funding Challenges

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is taking every step to maintain top-tier programming despite smaller contributions in an era of rising volatility and shrinking budgets, Administrator Helen Clark said Monday.

Many traditional donors have gone to great lengths to maintain voluntary contributions while some have increased funding, she told the UNDP Executive Board here. "We sincerely thank all our funders for their commitment to our work, especially in the current challenging circumstances. We appreciate that many face ongoing economic volatility and fiscal constraints."

In 2011, total contributions to UNDP's regular resources amounted to US $975 million, 2.5 percent below the 2011 revised UNDP strategic plan 2008-2013 funding target of US $1 billion. In 2012, total contributions to UNDP's regular resources fell by US $129 million, bringing total core contributions to their lowest level since 2004. Core funding could fall further in 2013, Ms. Clark said, adding, "This trend is a serious concern."

"Wishing that the outlook was better, however, does not deposit funds in our bank account. Therefore UNDP is taking all necessary measures to keep spending within the new resource planning envelope," she said. "We estimate that a US$50 million dollar cut from previously planned spending will be needed this year to keep UNDP's core liquidity balance at a minimum of three months at the end of the year."

"If necessary, at the mid-year point, we will make further adjustments, either up or down. Just as member states have to make critical decisions about spending priorities, so must UNDP," she said. "At UNDP, we are fully cognizant of the need to make every development dollar count."

The ongoing first regular 2013 Executive Board meeting is set to consider a range of proposals aimed at helping UNDP "find a better balance in how we fund our organizational costs, harmonized with sister agencies, through a mix of core and non-core pools of resources, with the non-core pool carrying its appropriate share of costs in future."

"I must emphasize, however, that a stable and adequate level of core funding is required for UNDP to operate as a forward-looking organization, able to respond to countries' strategic priorities and needs, and support the achievement of transformational development results," she said. "A secure funding base enables UNDP to develop its expertise to respond to emerging issues; preserve its multilateral, impartial, and universal character; and finance its corporate management and oversight systems."

"The support of member states for strong core funding for UNDP is also critical for the effectiveness and coherence of the UN development system as a whole, given the critical leadership role we play in coordinating the system. The backbone of the system needs strong member state support."

"The new normal of the 21st century is volatility," Ms. Clark said. "That is challenging for development, but UNDP must be able to rise to every challenge thrown at it."

She also noted that UNDP has fulfilled its commitment to full transparency and is now publishing internal audit reports issued by the UNDP Office of Audit and Investigations as well as detailed information on programming worldwide. In 2012, UNDP published an expanded data set with information on over 6,000 development projects and outputs, surpassing international transparency standards.

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