Item 2 - General Debate - Joint Nordic-Baltic statement on OHCHR financial situation

| 14 September 2020


45th session of the Human Rights Council - Item 2 -  General Debate,
oral updates on Nicaragua and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

Joint Nordic-Baltic statement delivered by Ambassador Tine Mørch Smith, Permanent Representative of Norway


                                                                                     Check against delivery

Madame President,


I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and my own country, Norway.

We are deeply concerned about the current financial crisis of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Office in Geneva, and the rest of the UN Secretariat. It is a liquidity crisis, resulting from delayed payment or non-payment by some UN Member States of their dues. For OHCHR, it is also an ongoing budget crisis, resulting from insufficient regular budget allocations. This forces the Office to rely every year on voluntary contributions for up to 20 pct. of its mandated activities. This double crisis is compounded by the COVID19 pandemic.

We urge all UN member states to pay their dues not only in full, but also in a timely manner. This is essential to enable the UN human rights system, and the wider UN system, to ensure the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights, while leaving no one behind.

We stress that all mandated activities by the OHCHR should be fully funded from the regular UN budget. That requires adequate OHCHR budget proposals, as well as increased alignment between requests and resources coming from UN member states.

At a time when human rights are increasingly under pressure around the world, not least in the context of the COVID19 pandemic, we need as much as ever a strong human rights system, at the centre of a strong UN. We cannot afford otherwise.

I thank you.