Speech

Statement of the Executive Director on the UNFPA Integrated Budget 2022-2025 at the Second Regular Session of the Executive Board 2021

31 Aug 2021

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

This morning I laid out our ambitious vision and strategic direction for the next four years, the UNFPA Strategic Plan 2022-2025.

The accompanying Integrated Budget proposal for the same period is fully aligned with the strategic focus on achieving the three transformative results by 2030: zero unmet need for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths, and zero gender-based violence and harmful practices. All based on quality population data and evidence.

Preparing an integrated budget with a four-year time horizon is a challenging exercise even in normal times. With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting Member States across the globe, the development of the Integrated Budget for 2022-2025 is marked by considerable uncertainty about many factors affecting UNFPA’s work. Mindful of this challenge, UNFPA endeavors with this Integrated Budget to set the strategic course for four years while staying nimble and realizing that course corrections may well be necessary.

The income projections underlying the Integrated Budget 2022-2025 are deliberately conservative and prudent, while at the same time reflecting the ambition of the Strategic Plan. Compared to the actual contributions for 2018-2021, income projections are essentially flat. UNFPA projects US$5,045.6 million in gross contributions for 2022-2025, compared to actuals for 2018-2021 of US$5,059.8 million (with 2021 values estimated).

These projections take into account the announcement of funding reductions by one major donor earlier this year, as well as the re-engagement of another major donor. UNFPA expects, and is actively working to attract, contribution growth in several areas, including UN pooled funds, financing from international financial institutions, such as multilateral development banks, and the private sector.

UNFPA continues to advocate for increased contributions to regular resources, which enable a more sustainable delivery of our mandate. They are the bedrock of our operational activities to complete the unfinished business of the ICPD and champion the rights of women and girls. Experience from the response to the Covid-19 pandemic underlines the importance of a solid regular resource base. The flexibility regular resources afford us enables us to plan and to adapt quickly to shifting global challenges and countries’ changing circumstances and needs.

The lion’s share of integrated budget resources, US$4.3 billion or 83.8 per cent, is proposed to be allocated to programmes, in support of the achievement of the Strategic Plan outcomes and outputs. This represents an increase over the 82.3 percent in the mid-term review of the current budget, 2018-2021.

The gross institutional budget is proposed at US$839.9 million. While this is an increase compared to the mid-term review institutional budget of US$756.2 million, the proportion of total resources utilized for the institutional budget will decrease from 17.7 per cent to 16.2 per cent, hence making more resources available for programmes as just mentioned.

In addition to cost increases totaling US$81.7 million over four years, including staff costs, inflation and after-service health insurance, UNFPA proposes investments in its institutional budget totaling $67.1 million over four years. The key strategic investment areas are field leadership and operational support, investments in the UNFPA individual giving programme, strengthened and decentralized human resources management, corporate partnerships and resource mobilization, as well as continued strong investments in the independent oversight functions.

Recognizing the importance and value of the independent assurance functions, UNFPA has been consistently increasing investments in them, including in this latest budget cycle proposal.

The institutional budget also anticipates reductions totaling US$65.1 million over four years, stemming from the completion of the ICT transformation project, including the enterprise resource planning (ERP) project; cost classification realignments; operating efficiencies; the alignment of the funding model for procurement services; reductions in travel costs and the alignment of staffing in field offices.

Overall, UNFPA remains a very field-centered organization. For 2022-2025, the Integrated Budget envisages 88 per cent of total resources will be spent in the field. Currently approximately 88% of our personnel are deployed in the field.

UNFPA has presented the Integrated Budget to the Advisory Committee for Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). In its report, the Committee, noted UNFPA's conservative approach to income estimates, emphasized the importance of coordination with the resident coordinator system and its support for a strong field presence, and noted UNFPA’s successful efforts to achieve gender balance among its staff. It further recommended additional reporting in future budgets. We thank the Advisory Committee, welcome the report, and are pleased that most of the recommended reporting already takes place, albeit in separate documents to the Executive Board.

 

Madam President, distinguished delegates,

I would like to thank you for your constructive engagement, valuable guidance and positive feedback during the informal consultations on the Strategic Plan and Integrated Budget leading up to this session. Your comments have been welcomed and many were incorporated into the final document in front of you. We are grateful for your inputs, which have helped strengthen and improve the proposal.

We were especially encouraged by the steadfast and broad-based support for UNFPA’s mandate. This support is critical. The Covid-19 pandemic and other crises have shown that even impressive gains can be worryingly fragile. We see the tremendous toll the pandemic continues to take on women, girls and the most vulnerable communities, including a shadow pandemic of gender-based violence. The ICPD Programme of Action and our efforts to achieve those three zeros are more relevant than ever for women and girls and for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  UNFPA will continue to play a vital role in supporting countries to achieve these goals.

Yet, given the voluntary nature of our income, nothing in this Integrated Budget is a given, even if approved by Member States this week.  That is why we need your continued support, not only political, but also financial, to bring to fruition the ambitions of the Strategic Plan, as reflected in the Integrated Budget. With that in mind, we encourage all partners to contribute multi-year core funding, as core funding is the only fully flexible and responsive funding mechanism available to us.

While we have planned the budget based on prudent income projections, as you know the needs of the countries we support and the ambition of the Strategic Plan are much higher. Therefore, any funding received above the targets will be allocated in support of country programmes.

That is where we need to scale up and accelerate our work – on the ground, in communities, and for the women, girls and young people we serve and work with. Together, we can deliver on the promise of Cairo and build a more just, equitable, prosperous future, a future where the rights of every woman, every girl, and every young person are respected and protected, where they can live in dignity and health, and reach their full potential. We count on your support.

Thank you.

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