OCHA in 2009 Cover Download Hi-res PDF (6.4 MB)

A. Introduction

2009 was a difficult economic year worldwide, particularly for the humanitarian community. OCHA was not exempt. It was hit hard by the combination of the impact of the strong dollar, the financial crisis and protracted underfunding against budgetary requirements. With early warning in January 2009 that donor governments would not be able to meet the extra-budgetary requirements in the original US$240 million budget, OCHA voluntarily reduced its budget by $18 million. With a more consistent and effective outreach and a number of increased contributions in national currencies, at year’s end donor contributions rose by $10 million from the previous year. OCHA's 2009 expenditure remained stable compared to the previous year ($208 million versus $209 million in 2008). Despite budgetary increases due to establishing new offices during the year, the final 2009 budget was almost zero net growth from the final budget for 2008 ($238 million versus $234 million). The increase in donor contributions was offset by a large decrease in miscellaneous income from interest, accounts liquidation and other transfers. Despite cost-cutting, resource mobilization efforts and tight discipline, OCHA’s expenditure on programme activities exceeded the total of voluntary contributions received.

In 2009, OCHA received $157 million, or 75 per cent, of its total 2009 expenditure from donors. A total of $18.5 million, or 9 per cent, was covered from the programme support account and $13.7 million, or 6 per cent, from the Regular Budget (RB). The resulting 10 per cent shortfall ($19 million) was covered by a combination of miscellaneous income, a drawdown on OCHA’s cash reserve funds and redeploying funds from dormant accounts. The net result was a reduction of OCHA’s programme funding closing balance by approximately $13 million and a further depletion of OCHA’s cash reserve funds.