About OHCHR Funding
OHCHR receives about one third of its funding needs from the United Nations regular budget which is approved by the General Assembly every two years. The amount of regular budget funding appropriated for use by OHCHR has increased gradually since 2005, when leaders attending the World Summit supported a commitment to double funding for the Office over five years. Nevertheless, despite this increase, the proportion of the overall UN regular budget devoted to human rights remains small, at just under 3 per cent, or US$ 168.5 million, of the total 2012-2013 biennium budget.
The other two thirds of OHCHR’s budget needs are met from voluntary contributions by Member States and other donors. The level of voluntary contributions to OHCHR steadily increased until 2008, augmenting from US$41 million in 2002 to a peak of US$120 million in 2008. In 2009, contributions dropped slightly to US$118.1 million and a sharper decrease was witnessed in 2010 when contributions amounted to US$109.4 million. Although a slight recovery took place in 2011 when the Office received US$111.1 million, the level of voluntary funding remained the same at US$111.1 million in 2012.
The share of unearmarked funding followed the same pattern, rising from 7 per cent in 2002 to 56 per cent in 2009, dropping slightly to 54 per cent in 2010 and 51 per cent in 2011 then slightly increasing to 53 per cent in 2012. The High Commissioner uses every opportunity to appeal to donors to provide more of their support without earmarking, thereby giving the Office more flexibility and autonomy in allocating resources.
About 62 per cent of voluntary funding was used in 2012 to support work in almost 60 field presences which receive little support from the regular budget. The remainder is distributed between other areas of the Office’s work.
Trust funds and grants
Voluntary contributions to support OHCHR’s activities at headquarters and in the field are channelled and managed through nine trust funds, established by General Assembly or Human Rights Council resolutions, including: the United Nations Trust Fund for the Support of the Activities of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights; the United Nations Trust Fund for a Human Rights Education Programme in Cambodia; the United Nations Trust Fund for the Programme of the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination; the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Participation in the Universal Periodic Review mechanism; the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance for the Implementation of the Universal Periodic Review; and the three humanitarian trust funds (the Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture, the Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery and the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations). In addition to these, OHCHR manages two other small funds: one to help finance the implementation of recommendations made by the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, and another to respond to human rights emergencies through the rapid deployment of human rights personnel and the provision of necessary logistical support. More information on these funds can be found at the OHCHR Report 2012.
OHCHR funding overview 2000-2012
Data as per 31 December 2012
Earmarked versus unearmarked funding 2000-2012
Data as per 31 December 2012