UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture - Decision Making
The UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture is subject to UN Rules and Regulations, and is managed by the United Nations Secretary-General through the OHCHR, with the advice of a Board of Trustees composed of five independent experts. The Board meets twice a year to determine priorities and review its policies and practices (February session) and adopt recommendations on grants (October session).
Grants are awarded on a yearly basis, and are renewable. A call for proposals is issued every year in January, with a deadline of 1 April. Applications may be submitted in English, French, Spanish and Russian, ensuring access for small and medium organizations located in all regions.
Between April and October, the Secretariat of the Fund analyses applications submitted as well as narrative, financial and audit reports on the use of the previous grants, and organizes pre-screening visits to new applicants as well as regular monitoring visits to grantees.
The recommendations on grants adopted by the Board in October are then to be endorsed by the Secretary-General. As a rule, grants are disbursed in January, for the 12 months ahead.
The Board of Trustees
In accordance with resolution 36/151, the Board of Trustees is comprised of a Chairperson and four members representing each of the five geographical regions, Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Western European and Other States Group. Board members are appointed by the Secretary-General from amongst experts with wide experience in the field of human rights, in particular torture and its effects on individuals, families and communities, and ideally with knowledge of fundraising and project management. Appointments are for a period of three years, which can be renewed once.
In October 2011 the Secretary General appointed the four new members of the Board of Trustees of the Fund, as well as re-appointed one member. The composition of the current Board is as follows:
Four members with a first term expiring in October 2014. Vacant position - Eastern Europe
||Ms. Mercedes Doretti (Argentina) - forensic anthropologist|
||Ms. Maria Cristina de Mendonca (Portugal) - forensic doctor|
||Mr. Morad el-Shazly (Egypt) – forensic psychiatrist|
||Ms. Anastasia Pinto (India) – Human Rights Activist specialized in Children and Indigenous |
People's Rights with large background on assistance to Victims of Torture
The Chairperson with a second term expiring in October 2014
Ms. Mercedes Doretti (Argentina) - forensic anthropologist
The Board of Trustees has met annually since 1983 to consider new or ongoing project applications, approve the extension of grants, set guidelines for applicants including admissibility criteria and consider policy issues for administration of the Fund.
During its meetings, the Board has also holds ad hoc consultations with donors. The Board sometimes also meets with project leaders of funded organisations in order to better understand the complexities that are faced by organizations providing services to victims of torture. In a number of instances members of the Board visit projects in the field. Outside of annual meetings, Board members have focused on fund-raising initiatives, leading over time to substantial increases in contributions from donor Governments. Today, the Fund has risen to one of the largest humanitarian trust funds managed by the United Nations.
The Secretariat is composed of staff members of OHCHR who are responsible for all administrative functions of the Fund and are the first point of contact between the Board of Trustees and organizations.
The Secretariat monitors and evaluates the use of grants including through project visits, pre-screens new applicants, maintains contacts with other institutional donors in the field of assistance to victims of torture as well as donors to the Fund, prepares annual reports on the Fund, keeps abreast of the jurisprudence on torture and services the sessions of the Board.