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Statement on Budget, Finance, Oversight

Statement by Norway on budget, finance and oversight at the UNHCR ExCom October 2017. Delivered by Senior Advisor Stian Nordengen Christensen.

Thank you, Chair,

In a time with growing needs and a widening funding gap, UNHCR has to make tough priorities. We appreciate the measures already taken to widen the donor base. Norway encourages UNHCR to continue its efforts to mobilise funds from new sources.

A persistent challenge is the relatively low percentage of unearmaked funding. Norway places great significance on unearmarked funding, including in the follow-up of the Grand Bargain. Norway has reached the target of around 30% unearmarked or softly earmarked funding. We encourage UNCHR to continue to develop reporting that assures visibility for donors’ unearmarked contributions. Visibility is the key to increasing these contributions from their current level.

Norway commends UNCHR for its progress in regard to cost savings and efficiency gains. At the same time, we would welcome more details of the quantified achievements and impact of these savings and efficiency gains. This point was also made by the ACABQ.

Norway favours the increased use of cash assistance. Provided that market conditions are condusive, this modality holds the potential for greater cost-efficiency. We would also welcome more details about estimated cost-savings through the use of cash in UNHCR reporting. Specifically, would welcome a break-down, in future reporting, of the volumes of cash and in-kind assistance on the global level.

Norway also supports the multi-year planning approach. It is important that the increased predictability of multi-year planning also benefits the implementing partners.

Finally, Chair,

Norway remains committed to strong oversight and robust financial control. Adequate oversight functions will contribute to combat fraud, and ensure value for money in UNHCR  operations. Sufficient resources in the budget to oversight functions should be a priority, in line with the recommendation from the Audit and Oversight Committee.

Thank you.