UPR Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance
In 2007, the Human Rights Council established a new financial mechanism called the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance (resolution 6/17), with a view to provide, in conjunction with multilateral funding mechanisms, a source of financial and technical assistance to help countries implement recommendations emanating from the universal periodic review, in consultation with, and with the consent of, the country concerned.
In 2009, the terms of reference for the UPR Trust Fund were defined to provide funding for:
(a) the dissemination of information on the UPR outcomes with a view to mobilizing support for countries concerned; the integration of the UPR outcomes into United Nations common country programming documents, including the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF);
(b) the coordination of United Nations, multilateral and bilateral action in support of the UPR outcomes, including the conduct of needs assessments as well as the formulation of programs and projects aimed at implementing UPR outcomes;
(c) the exchange of information and sharing of best practices, including through the organization of regional and sub-regional meetings, seminars, consultations and other interactions;
(d) the development of a national capacity and expertise for the implementation of the UPR outcomes;
(e) the co-funding of programs and projects aimed at implementing the UPR outcomes;
(f) the regular follow up, with national bodies and institutions concerned, of action to implement the UPR recommendations.
- In 2010, OHCHR adopted a comprehensive and holistic approach to promoting/supporting follow-up and implementation of UPR outcomes and recommendations, in line with the High Commissioner’s mandate and OHCHR’s priorities and thematic strategy on “Strengthening human rights mechanisms and the progressive development of international human rights law” as reflected in the 2010-2011 Strategic Management Plan;
- In 2010, OHCHR facilitated the sharing of experiences. In cooperation with the UNDP Regional Offices and the Commonwealth Secretariat, two subregional meetings to share experiences on follow-up to UPR outcomes and implementation of recommendations were held for West and Central African countries and for East and South African countries. See list of regional meetings to share experiences ;
- In 2009 – 2010, OHCHR examined and responded to six formal requests for assistance -Cape Verde, Tuvalu, Ecuador, Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso and Chad- received by OHCHR. OHCHR also responded to other requests by providing support/assistance from within existing resources, to other countries/regions. See list of countries being assisted by OHCHR.
Information on activities implemented in 2009 and 2010, and on the contributions to the UPR Voluntary Fund, is provided in the 2009 and 2010 OHCHR report on Activities and Programmes.
- In most countries with a human rights presence, OHCHR is involved in supporting/assisting States and stakeholders in the follow-up to UPR outcomes and recommendations;
- Discussions on strategies to follow up on UPR outcomes have led to the elaboration of comprehensive national road maps or actions plans reviewing UPR recommendations and voluntary pledges/commitments together with those from other UN human rights mechanisms; identifying priorities amongst all recommendations, identifying immediate and priority actions; identifying resources available/necessary; and identifying the State lead agency and the relevant national and international partners;
- The follow up to UPR outcomes has further facilitated OHCHR’s engagement with countries on specific thematic issues/areas. Such as ratification of international human rights instruments; meeting reporting obligations to treaty bodies; issuance of open and standing invitations/acceptance of country visits by special procedures mandate-holders; establishment/strengthening of national human rights institutions in line with the Paris Principles; elaboration of human rights action plans; cooperation with OHCHR; and other key human rights issues;
- OHCHR ensured that all requests for technical assistance were evaluated and responded to, keeping in mind OHCHR’s mandate and added value, as well as modalities of the technical cooperation program. All assistance requests were integrated in the Office work and cost plans.
Challenges and lessons learned:
- Funding to the UPR Trust Fund and other OHCHR field activities remained modest;
- OHCHR might be in a better position to assist countries in which it has a country/regional presence;
- The Human Rights Council still needs to define its modalities to effectively assess the implementation of all UPR outcomes.