I give this statement on behalf of Iceland, Sweden, Finland and my own country Norway. A transparent and comprehensive budget, suitable as an instrument for results based management, is of great importance to our countries. We welcome the inclusion of private resource mobilisation into the now fully integrated budget for 2018-2021.
We also commend UNICEF, as an important humanitarian actor, for a planned strengthening of coordination through the Office of Emergency Programmes. The draft integrated budget, with a resource plan and an integrated results and resources framework, contains a great deal of information. However, we would have liked to see that information being more extensive and also more easily accessible: A greater level of detail in the resource plan, in particular a breakdown of the Management- category, and more systematic information on savings – for instance as a result of cooperation with other UN- agencies, as asked for in the QCPR.
We recall Board decision 2017/10.14, and ask UNICEF to include a separate budget line for The Office of Internal Audit and Investigations, and thereby also for the Evaluation Office, in its first update of the integrated budget. It is our view that these budget lines should appear in the resource plan.
We welcome the budgeted increase in funds to corporate oversight and assurance, but request more information on how this increase will be distributed between personnel and operating costs. We also ask for further information on the distribution between internal auditing and investigations, as we believe it is paramount for our confidence in the organization to know that there is sufficient capacity in both of these important functions.
We strongly support UNICEF’s focus on research and evidence generation as vital key elements for sound programming, advocacy and leveraging partnerships for children. Research needs to be independent and, therefore, the financing aspects are important. It is not clear in the integrated budget document what the funding for research and evidence generation looks like and we would suggest that UNICEF include information in this regard in the resource plan.
UNICEF is proposing increased investments to achieve programme goals during the period 2018-2021, and we welcome this. From the Integrated Results and Resources Framework, it seems UNICEF has planned a constant percentage of resources allocated from RR to the different Goal Areas. We ask for more information on the reasoning behind this, recalling the fact that some goal areas may be more difficult to mobilise OR for than others.
We take note of the comments by the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions to the draft Integrated Budget. We note the continued high level of non-staff contracts within the organization, assumedly partly due to funding structure and unpredictable income, and would like to ask UNICEF to present more information as to the reasons behind the extensive use of consultants.
We strongly agree with the Committee in that the midterm review is an important opportunity to assess performance against the Integrated budget and consider further developments. We would welcome such a midterm review, following the intergovernmental processes dealing with the recommendations of the Secretary General in his final report.