I am delivering this statement on behalf of Australia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America and my own country, Norway. Let me start by thanking UNICEF for the presentation of the report on the midterm review of the integrated budget.
This is our first opportunity to discuss UNICEF’s experiences with results-based budgeting and the integrated approach. We welcome UNICEF’s progress on the results-based management and the improved alignment between resources and the Strategic Plan, and we acknowledge UNICEFs results-based budgeting, which in many ways leads to more organizational effectiveness and efficiency. We also acknowledge that regular resources do not subsidize earmarked projects.
We commend UNICEF for keeping the institutional budget at the originally approved level. However, with the increased total integrated budget, the institutional budget decreases with 1.4 percent. This means that UNICEF is now handling a bigger portfolio with fewer resources than before, and that more of the resources go to programme activities.
Although this is mainly positive, we should keep in mind that it does costs money to handle a program portfolio and that efficiency should not come at the expense of sound management, communication, human resources, adequate coverage of internal audits and evaluations, innovation and similar.
Further, we note that the proposed budget for the revised integrated resource plan contains an increase of 15,4 percent. On the programmatic aspect, the document contains little information and explanation on this increase except from the increased numbers of humanitarian crises. We would have liked UNICEF to more fully share its experiences from all aspects of the integrated approach.
We thank UNICEF for the information provided on cost recovery and especially on how UNICEF calculates the effective cost recovery rate. In this regard, we would like to request UNICEF to provide donors with additional information about disclosure of any impediments to collecting the full cost recovery rate as authorized. We also request UNICEF to provide a list showing exemptions given to donors in relation to the formally decided cost recovery rates.
The planned joint report from UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA and UN-Women that will be presented at UNICEF’s second session this year, will be of great importance as we will then have more details on the consistency and alignment of the new cost recovery methodology.
We look forward to discussing this more in detail in September, and encourage you to continue your efforts to fully implement all aspects of the cost recovery policy.
From the midterm review of the integrated budget it is very clear that we have a situation with an increased income from other resources, and that regular resources are constantly decreasing. We have to be aware of that in the long-term, this trend could lead to less flexibility and less predictability for UNICEF.
In light of this, we welcome the ongoing efforts of UNICEF to diversify its funding base and to look at more effective ways to structure its financing. We further encourage financial contributors to prioritize regular and thematic funding, which will give UNICEF the flexibility needed to achieve the best results for children.