United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture - Financial situation of the Fund
The UN Torture Fund does not receive contributions from the UN Regular Budget or the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Voluntary contributions are made mainly by Member States of the United Nations. Private foundations and individuals contribute as well currently, to a symbolic extent (less than 1%).
In line with UN Rules and Regulations Programme support costs, i.e. overheads, are kept at a minimum, and do not exceed 13% on a yearly basis. Such costs include staffing and equipment.
In 2010, the UN Torture Fund received approximately US$9.4 million in contributions from 25 donors (including 23 Member States) a decrease of 13.8 per cent compared to 2009, when 31 donors supported its activities.
In 2011 the UN Torture Fund faced an additional shortfall to continue to meet requests from grantees at the 2010 level, as contributions were limited to US$7.9 million, which compelled the Board to decide on strategic cuts to grantees.
For 2012, additional cuts had to be applied to all projects. Namely, a decrease of 40% applied to grants awarded to ongoing projects located in Western European and Others Group (WEOG) countries, while the level of support to projects located in other regions was reduced by 30%. With a view to mitigating the effects of the cuts on small-grass roots organizations, in particular those located in remote regions where access to alternative funding is difficult, no strategic cut was applied to grants of US$20,000 or below.
It is to be noted that, as a rule, the maximum support to all grantees was capped at US$80,000 instead of the usual US$200,000. In addition, funding for training and seminars for professionals assisting victims was capped at US$5,000, instead of the usual US$30,000. As it was already the case in 2011, support for direct assistance to new grantees was capped at a maximum of US$20,000 instead of the usual US$50,000.
The need for states to continue to contribute to this crucial humanitarian Fund was recalled by the Secretary-General in his Statement marking the International day in Support of Victims of Torture.
The historical evolution of contributions to the UN Torture Fund since its creation is charted below.
Due to the funding cycle, contributions received in a calendar year are used in the following year, as the Board meets every October to award grants for the following year. In the past 3 years the UN Torture Fund has been using its reserves to mitigate the effects of the shortfall in funding, as visible in the chart below.
As this is not a sustainable approach, and the UN Torture Fund has no reserves left, the Board of Trustees of the Fund and the OHCHR have decided to increase the visibility of the Fund and embark on a new fundraising strategy, consolidating existing donors, outreaching to non contributing Member States and targeting the private sector, including foundations and the corporate world.