We thank UNHCR for the update on budgets and funding for 2016 and the presentation of the biennial programme budget for 2016-2017.
We will limit ourselves to a few comments under this item.
Firstly on earmarking and predictable funding. We have taken due note of the fact that last year, 85 per cent of contributions received by UNHCR were earmarked by donors. We know how important the unearmarked funding is to UNHCR.
Last year, close to 40 percent (38.4%) of Norway’s contributions to the organization was unearmarked. In 2016, we have increased our core, unearmarked contribution by 15%. Still, in our home countries, unearmarked funding gives less visibility and is harder to defend than earmarked funding. We therefore welcome all efforts by UNHCR to demonstrate and share with us the advantages and impact of unearmarked funding, and to increase visibility to the public for donors who provide unearmarked funding. Multi-year planning and funding, as well as reduction of earmarking, are two important elements of the Grand Bargain.
In April this year, Norway made an unprecedented three-year commitment to support UNHCR’s work in Syria and neighbouring countries, totaling 500 million NOK, as part of the multi-year pledge we made at the donor conference for Syria and the region, held in February on Norway’s initiative.
This is a long-term crisis of enormous proportions, and it is therefore important to provide multi-year contributions to ensure continuity and make the relief efforts as effective as possible. We hope our commitment will assist UNHCR in continuing to play a key role in the Syria crisis for the next years.
Secondly, we recognize the challenges in planning and implementing a budget in a situation where needs are constantly changing, as has been explained from the podium today and as reflected in the draft decision. We commend the administration for their able efforts, and we would like to encourage UNHCR to keep us updated on developments that are likely to have significant impacts on the budgets in the near future.
In this regard, we thank you for the information you shared today orally, including on the underfunded situations and the consequences of underfunding, and we appreciate receiving the material in writing as well.
Finally, allow me at the same time to make a brief comment on the report of the ACABQ. We would like to echo the ACABQ in its request for an update from UNHCR on the global service centre locations in Budapest and Copenhagen, including information on the support provided to UNHCR globally, efficiencies gained and lessons learned as a result of the establishment of these two locations.