26 November 2019
Governments Pledge Over USD 500 Million to UN Development System
Photo by IISD/ENB
story highlights

Zina Mounla, DESA, said total contributions to the UN development system continue a trend amounting to a 77% increase in contributions over the past ten years.

The share of core resources is at an "all-time low," however.

Several UN Member States made pledges to UN development system entities for 2020, in support of 2030 Agenda implementation, including Qatar with a pledge of over USD63 million.

At the 2019 UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities, 16 countries pledged more than USD516 million, an increase compared 2018, which generated USD425.69 million in pledges. UN representatives also updated Member States on the status of funding for the UN development system.

The annual Pledging Conference took place on 13 November 2019, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Zina Mounla, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said total contributions to the UN development system amounted to USD33.6 billion in 2017, a 13% increase over 2016, continuing a longer-term trend that represents a 77% increase in contributions over the past ten years. Of these, she noted, core contributions increased for the second consecutive year, totaling USD6.9 billion in 2017 and representing a 3% increase over 2016. But she said the share of core resources has dropped to “an all-time low” of only 20.6% of total funding due to the rise in non-core funding, which has doubled over the past decade.

Mounla stressed that the UN development system still relies heavily on a limited number of donors. The three largest donors – the US, UK and Germany – accounted for 50% of all government funding in 2017. With regards to inter-agency pooled funds, she said that the top five donors – Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK – accounted for more than two thirds of all resources channeled through the respective funds.

The decline in resources to UNFPA has hindered support for sexual and reproductive health for women in 155 countries and territories.

Carla Haddad Mardini, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), underscored the importance of core funding for unexpected emergencies and protracted humanitarian crises. She said UNICEF has raised USD6 billion in core resources, with 69 governments contributing 40%, the private sector 48% and other income 12%. Janil Greenaway, UN Development Programme (UNDP), echoed the need for core resources, adding that they amounted to only 12% in 2018 in UNDP, which is “well below” the 30% target. 

Fernando Gutierrez-Eddy, UN-Women, said 48 Member States have expanded their financial support to UN Women, with 21 increasing their regular resource contributions by 100% or more. Beatriz de la Mora, UN Population Fund (UNFPA), noted that UNFPA is facing a reverse trend, where revenue has “substantially declined” over the years, and this drop in resources has hindered the Fund’s ability to support and promote sexual and reproductive health for women in 155 countries and territories worldwide.

After updates from UN development system officials, several UN Member States made pledges to UN development system entities for 2020, in support of 2030 Agenda implementation: Qatar (more than USD63 million); Russia (USD58 million); India (USD13.5 million); Thailand (USD3.1 million); Indonesia (USD717,000); Singapore (USD640,000); Republic of Korea (USD234,485); and Mongolia (USD50,000).

Luxembourg stressed the need for governments to redouble their efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda and implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on financing for development, and announced that Luxembourg will provide over EUR 400 million in aid in 2020. This is an increase of EUR 24 million over the previous year, and amounts to almost 1% of Luxembourg’s gross national income (GNI).

He said the government plans to maintain its level of contributions to the UN development system, and pledged USD25 million to the system, with one third allocated to core funding, one third to specific thematic priorities, and one third to programming. This allocation aims to increase UN development entities’ flexibility in using the funds they receive.

Norway called for defending the multilateral system and the rules-based multilateral order, “which we have all benefitted from.” Noting that Norway’s current level of development assistance, 1% of GNI, “continues to enjoy broad political and popular support in Norway,” he announced a pledge of USD271 million to the UN development system, adding that in 2020 Norway will also “contribute substantially” to the Special Purpose Trust Fund for the Reinvigorated Resident Coordinator System and the Joint Fund for the 2030 Agenda.

In addition, Norway will provide global and country-specific non-core funding to individual organizations, mainly in the form of softly earmarked contributions. A “substantial” part of these will go to inter-agency pooled funds and joint programmes, such as the Peacebuilding Fund, “in line with the integrated approaches called for in the 2030 Agenda.” [UN Press Release] [Government Pledges]

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