OCHA Trust Funds, Special Accounts and Other Funding Channels
OCHA finances its activities through two main channels:
- The UN Regular Budget, which is approved biennially by the General Assembly (in 2010, this will comprise five percent of the total OCHA initial annual requirements).
- Voluntary contributions administered through trust funds (primarily the Trust Fund for the Strengthening of OCHA and the Trust Fund for Disaster Relief).
Trust Fund for the Strengthening of OCHA
Established in 1974 pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 3243
Voluntary contributions to this trust fund enable OCHA to cover staff and non-staff costs at headquarters for activities carried out in the discharge of the mandate entrusted to it by the General Assembly (where these costs are not funded by Regular Budget allocations).
This fund is subject to three percent programme support costs on grants to NGOs and 13 percent on other activities.
Sub-account for Strengthening the Integrated Regional Information Networks
Established under the Trust Fund for the Strengthening of OCHA as the funding source for IRIN’s staff and non-staff requirements.
This sub-account was closed in 2009 and its fund balance transferred to the Trust Fund for Disaster Relief to facilitate the central management of field activities.
Trust Fund for Disaster Relief
Established in 1971 pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 2816
This fund receives earmarked and unearmarked contributions for disaster relief to finance coordination and relief activities and provide initial emergency grants to COs. The fund enables OCHA to cover relief needs as an advance in cases where the response of the donor community is slow.
A special sub-account known as the Field Coordination Reserve Fund was established in 1999 to enable donors to provide unearmarked funds for field coordination. This sub-account is used as a reserve fund to allow for the establishment of OCHA presence in new emergencies, the expansion of an OCHA presence in changing situations, and support to severely underfunded crises. Following assessment of the programming and funding situation of its COs, OCHA is able to allocate resources from this fund on a priority and emergency basis – allowing field operations to be managed with the required flexibility, and promoting equity between crises.
The fund also contains “specially designated contributions”, which do not form part of the requirements for activities detailed in OCHA in 2010. They are used for the implementation of emergency relief assistance activities by partners (UN agencies and NGOs) and include:
Natural Disaster Activities – These funds are earmarked for specific disasters or purposes. These funds are used to provide grants to UN agencies and other partners providing emergency relief in the event of a natural disaster and to fund UNDAC deployments and stock relief items for sudden emergencies.
Natural Disaster Reserve Pre-position Funds – These funds are earmarked and held in reserve for response to sudden natural disasters.
Other Humanitarian Funds – The Emergency/Humanitarian Response Funds consist of contributions earmarked by donors as grants to NGOs and UN agencies implementing relief activities in the field.
The trust fund is subject to three percent programme support costs on grants to NGOs and other partners and 13 percent on activities carried out by OCHA.
Special Account for Programme Support
The funds in this account are derived from the programme support costs levied on activities financed through OCHA trust funds. This levy is 3 percent on grants to NGOs and 13 percent on all expenditures incurred by OCHA activities. The resulting income is used to fund administrative and common services provided by the UN in support of OCHA extrabudgetary activities.
Afghanistan Emergency Trust Fund
Established in June 1988 by the Secretary-General
The Afghanistan Emergency Trust Fund channels funds received from donors for humanitarian activities in Afghanistan. The fund currently supports the Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and the necessary assistance through two memoranda of understanding. The first provides grants to NGOs working to address rehabilitation needs, while the second is for humanitarian and economic development activities.
Tsunami Trust Fund
Established following the tsunami of 26 December 2004
This fund financed activities undertaken in the course of coordination of humanitarian action in relation to the earthquake and tsunami of December 2004, including the provision of relief to victims as well as longer-term infrastructure development. This fund ceased financing of activities in 2009 and is in the process of winding up its operations.
Programme support was levied at three percent for grants to UN agencies, international organizations and NGOs, with 13 percent for coordination activities carried out by OCHA.
Central Emergency Response Fund
Established in 1991 pursuant to General Assembly Resolution 46/182 as a Revolving Fund; expanded in December 2005 to a Response Fund following a consensus decision
The Central Emergency Revolving Fund (CERF) operated for 14 years as a revolving cash-flow mechanism, ensuring the provision of adequate resources to UN humanitarian agencies in the initial phase of emergencies requiring a system-wide response. The loan facility of $50 million primarily allows agencies to access funds quickly while awaiting receipt of contributions from pledges.
The fund was upgraded (and renamed as the Central Emergency Response Fund) in December 2005 to include a grant element that makes funds available to UN agencies and the International Organization for Migration for early action and response – to reduce loss of life and enhance response to time-critical requirements and to strengthen core elements of humanitarian response in underfunded crises. The CERF is funded through voluntary contributions from Member States, the private sector and individuals its target is $500 million, of which $450 million is for grants. Approximately $425 million has been pledged for CERF for 2010.