Annex IV: OCHA Trust Funds, Special Accounts and Other Funding Channels

OCHA finances its activities through two main channels:
  1. The United Nations Regular Budget, which is approved biennially by the General Assembly. In 2011, it will comprise 5 per cent of the total OCHA initial annual requirements.
  2. 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 3 per cent programme support costs on grants to NGOs and 13 per cent on other 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 to provide initial emergency grants to country offices.

The fund also holds OCHA’s cash reserve accounts, which enable OCHA to cover coordination needs as an advance in cases where the donor community’s response is slow. Following assessment of the programming and funding situation of its country offices, OCHA can allocate resources from the cash reserve accounts on a priority and emergency basis. This allows field operations to be managed with the required flexibility and promotes equity between crises. These accounts include the Field Coordination Reserve Fund. This special sub-account was established in 1999 to enable donors to provide unearmarked funds for field coordination. It is used as a reserve fund to allow for an OCHA presence in new emergencies, the expansion of presences in changing situations and to support severely under-funded crises.

The fund also contains “specially designated contributions”, which do not form part of the requirements for activities detailed in OCHA in 2011. They are earmarked donor contributions for projects implemented by third parties (United Nations agencies and NGOs). They include pre-positioned funds for natural disaster grants, emergency response funds, relief stock items, and the ProCap and GenCap rosters.

The trust fund is subject to a minimum 3 per cent programme support costs on grants to NGOs and other partners and 13 per cent 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 per cent on grants to NGOs and 13 per cent on all expenditures incurred by OCHA activities. The resulting income is used to fund administrative and common services provided by the United Nations in support of OCHA extrabudgetary activities.

Afghanistan Emergency Trust Fund

Established in June 1988 by the Secretary-General
The Afghanistan Emergency Trust Fund ceased financing activities in 2009 and is in the process of winding up operations. It channeled funds received from donors for humanitarian activities in Afghanistan. The fund supported the Office of the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, providing grants to NGOs working to address rehabilitation needs, and supporting humanitarian and economic development activities.

Tsunami Trust Fund

Established following the tsunami of 26 December 2004
This fund financed activities undertaken while coordinating humanitarian action in relation to the December 2004 earthquake and tsunami. It included the provision of relief to victims and longer-term infrastructure development. This fund ceased financing activities in 2009 and is in the process of winding up its operations.

Programme support was levied at 3 per cent for grants to United Nations agencies, international organizations and NGOs, with 13 per cent 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 United Nations 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.

In December 2005, the fund was upgraded (and renamed the Central Emergency Response Fund) to include a grant element that releases funds to United Nations agencies and the International Organization for Migration for early action and response. This includes reducing loss of life, enhancing response to time-critical requirements and strengthening core elements of humanitarian response in under-funded crises. 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 $420 million is expected to be pledged to CERF in 2011.