(HQ) UNESCO's financial situation - Information Meeting of the Executive Board with the Director-General
07 May 2012
The financial situation, the state of progress towards the Roadmap and the post-2015 agenda were all at the core of the information session organized by the Director-General for the Executive Board. The debate began with a summary of the main achievements over the past few months, testimony to UNESCO’s growing role within the United Nations family.
After paying tribute to the staff and stressing the dynamism of our Organization despite the difficulties it has to overcome, the Director-General recalled the main initiatives taken to ensure the Organization’s financial equilibrium: implementation of the recommendations by the working group on efficiency, a drastic reduction in mission costs, a freeze on 75% of vacant posts (sometimes more), the number of temporary and consultant contracts at Headquarters reduced by half, a reorganization of administrative services, fundraising via the Emergency Fund and new partnerships… The number of workplans within the Regular Programme has already been cut by 13%, in order to refocus activities in line with the objective fixed by the Roadmap. A growing number of projects are being financed by extrabudgetary resources. The decentralization rate to our offices in Africa has increased.
Thanks to the measures taken by the Secretariat and the timely payment of contributions by many Member States, our financial situation looks better than we feared, said the Director-General, who also underscored the importance of the Emergency Fund. The situation nevertheless remains extremely delicate, as an analysis of the workplans still reveals the need for $491.8 million in funding. This is equivalent to a potential deficit of $26.8 million in relation to the ceiling of $465 million, if you exclude the Emergency Fund.
The Director-General highlighted her efforts to raise additional funds, especially the key role played by the Emergency Fund, which is endowed with $38 million and has received a further $8 million in pledges. Irina Bokova stated that she was allocating these funds on the basis of the sectors’ needs and the priorities approved in the C5. Details of funding allocations and programme execution are available in SISTER.
Irina Bokova thanked those Member States that have assumed responsibility for organizing conferences and meetings, statutory meetings or regional consultations for their support for UNESCO in these difficult times.
One key element of the current reform consists in transferring administrative savings to programme piorities and redeploying relevant professionals in the field. ‘Throughout this process,’ the Director-General said, ‘confidence and efficiency require respect for the staff rules.’ A committee will be entrusted with the task of ensuring staff mobility. She also announced the forthcoming launch of a virtual tool, « unescommunity », to enable staff to communicate and interact more easily, in order to strengthen dialogue in the workplace. ‘Confidence and respect also suppose an objective, transparent evaluation of performance, including that of the senior management team’, declared the Director-General, who announced the development of a new evaluation tool for 2014.
Start of preparations for the post-2015 agenda
The discussion then moved on to preparations for the United Nations’ post-2015 agenda, with several deadlines and parallel processes looming before the United Nations General Assembly in 2013. The first of these deadlines is the Rio+20 conference: the Director-General urged Member States to travel to Rio within their national delegations in order to make UNESCO’s voice heard, such as on culture and development or equity and quality education. Irina Bokova also appealed to Member States to define a small number of strong priorities for the next C4 which will need to be aligned on the global agenda of the United Nations.
The Director-General stressed UNESCO’s leadership role on several fronts, in particular within the framework of Ban Ki-moon initiative for Resilient People, Resilient Planet: a Future worth Choosing. Prior to Rio+20, the ad hoc Group set up by Irina Bokova is due to submit proposals to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for implementing the science-related recommendations contained in the High-level Panel’s report on global sustainability.
Irina Bokova also recalled the role played by UNESCO in the Secretary-General’s initiatives for the Oceans and Education. ‘These efforts testify to UNESCO’s growing role within the United Nations family,’ she recalled before adding that these initiatives could ‘serve as springboards for the post-2015 period.’
<a jquery1336662150748="129" target="_blank" href="http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002162/216285m.pdf" title="Address by the Director-General on the occasion of the information meeting of the Executive Board, UNESCO">Address by the Director-General on the occasion of the information meeting of the Executive Board, UNESCO</a>