In 2005, OCHA’s expenditures, for activities under OCHA in 2005, increased by US$ 18.6 million, a rise of 21 percent over 2004. The higher level of expenditure can be attributed to new and changing
humanitarian emergencies during the year and a corresponding increase in projected requirements,
as well as new headquarters projects. This was most evident in the field country offices, such as Sudan, oPt, DRC, Niger and Nepal.
Overall, OCHA expended 85 percent of its revised extra-budgetary requirements for the year, with core expenditures at 91 percent, headquarters projects at 86 percent and field offices at 85 percent.
OCHA’s expenditures against the regular budget appropriation amounted to US$ 10.7 million, of
which US$ 10 million supported core staffing and activities and the remaining US$ 0.7 million related
to natural disaster grants. The regular budget is used exclusively for OCHA’s core activities and for natural disaster grants approved by the General Assembly.
33 percent of OCHA’s core expenditures (US$ 10 million) were funded from the regular budget, while 67 percent (US$ 20.5 million) were financed from extra-budgetary resources.
The expenditure level was influenced, to varying degrees, by the following factors: (i) the vacancy rate, which reflects the delayed recruitment factor (while posts are budgeted for a full year, recruitment delays left some posts vacant for a few months); (ii) the variance between UN standard salary costs, used for budgeting purposes, and the actual salaries paid to staff; and (iii) the timeliness of funding, given that activities cannot be implemented until cash contributions are received.
OCHA’s extra-budgetary expenditures can be divided into two general categories, staff costs and non-staff costs, as indicated in the document OCHA in 2005. Staff costs include salaries and the related
entitlements of staff members; non-staff costs include expenses related to consultants, travel, contractual services, operating expenses, supplies and grants.
For core activities, staff costs represented an average of 75 percent of expenditure and non-staff costs an average of 25 percent. For headquarters projects, staff costs represented an average of 65 percent of
expenditure and non-staff 35 percent; and, for the field offices, staff costs accounted for an average
of 55 percent and non-staff for 45 percent.
Staff and non-staff expenses in the field offices varied depending on: the start-up of operations, scaling down of presence or closing of offices; the size of the operation; and the intensification of humanitarian activities in the country. Field offices tend to have higher non-staff costs since their demands under operational expenses are much more complex than those of headquarters: they have to manage their own transport (purchase and maintenance of vehicles), provide additional communications equipment, additional security support, and many other services that are not required by headquarters.
Expenditures for natural disaster activities (other than the Indian Ocean tsunami) totalled US$ 8.5 million in 2005, an increase of 117 percent on 2004, as a result of the hurricane season which affected Central America and the Caribbean, extensive flooding in central Africa and central Europe, and the South Asia earthquake in October.
The total expenditure under Humanitarian Funds and other activities was US$ 6.4 million, an increase
of only 4 percent. Humanitarian Relief Funds (HRF) were active in Liberia (closed in July 2005), Somalia, DRC, Republic of Congo, Iraq, DPRK and Indonesia.