Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights


The Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights was established in 1987 by the Secretary General. It is funded from voluntary contributions and provides technical cooperation to countries upon Governments’ request. Programmes are implemented within the framework of the Technical Cooperation Programme, administered by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. A Board of Trustees (BoT) was created in 1993 to assist in fund-raising and to provide expert advice and support for the Voluntary Fund. Members are appointed by the Secretary-General for three years and are chosen for their independence and wide experience in the field of human rights and technical cooperation.

  • Commission on Human Rights resolution 1987/38
  • Commission on Human Rights resolution 1991/49
  • ECOSOC decision 1987/147


Board of TrusteesBased on equal representation from the five regional groups and upon recommendation by the HC, the Board Members are appointed by the SG for a maximum of two three-year terms. The Board meets twice a year. It formerly held both sessions in Geneva but since 2011, one is held in countries where OHCHR has a field presence to ensure better exposure to the realities, challenges and opportunities on the ground. Meetings outside Geneva have been held in:

  • Burundi and Kenya in 2011
  • Mauritania and Tunisia in 2013 and
  • Mexico in 2014 and
  • Cambodia and Thailand in 2015
  • Ukraine 2016
  • Guatemala 2016
  • Lebanon and Occupied Palestinian Territory 2017
  • Colombia 2017
  • Santiago de Chile 2018
  • South Africa and Mozambique 2019
  • 50th Anniversary of BoT Session and 51 Session (held online – virtually hosted in Lund Sweden)

The annual report of the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the VFTC, submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 18/18, provides an update of the Board’s activities and discussions, including status of donor contributions and extra-budgetary income/expenditures. The latest annual report, in 2019, is A/HRC/43/68.

In view of the relevance and complementarities of the VTFC and the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance in the implementation of the universal periodic review (hereinafter referred to as the Voluntary Fund for UPR Implementation), the Secretary-General requested the Board to also oversee the Voluntary Fund for UPR Implementation. In 2003 the Board changed its focus from a more detailed review of individual projects to advising OHCHR on policy orientation and strategy in strengthening its technical cooperation programme in the field of human rights. The Board had observed that the work of OHCHR field presences in the area of technical cooperation is of critical importance and therefore it should be the priority for support from the VFTC. This approach was presented to Member States in the annual report of the Secretary-General submitted to the Human Rights Council and it was endorsed [A/HRC/16/66]. The Board in its recent reports, has reaffirmed its continuing support to the use of the resources of the VFTC to finance Human Rights Advisers (HRA) in UN Country Teams (UNCT), human rights components of UN peace missions and OHCHR country/stand-alone offices. The Board sees this dimension of the work of the OHCHR as a very significant contribution to achieving the goals of the UN in the protection and promotion of human rights and of the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Mr. Morten KJAERUM (Denmark) (Chairperson)
Ms. Azita BERAR AWAD (Iran)
Ms. Valeriya LUTKOVSKA (Ukraine)
Mr. Santiago CORCUERA-CABEZUT (Mexico)
Ms. Nozipho JANUARY-BARDILL (South Africa)


Contributions to the Voluntary Fund and expenditure trends 2008–2020The total expenditure of the Voluntary Fund as at 31 December 2020 was $15,801,485. The Voluntary Fund provided resources for technical cooperation programmes designed to build strong human rights frameworks at the national level in 53 regions, countries and territories, through 42 human rights advisers and human rights mainstreaming projects, in Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guyana, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, the Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, the Republic of Moldova, the Republic of North Macedonia, the Russian Federation, Rwanda, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Zimbabwe, as well as the South Caucasus region (Georgia); seven human rights components of peace missions, in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Libya, Somalia and the Sudan (Darfur); and four country and stand-alone offices, in Chad, Mauritania, Mexico and the State of Palestine*).



* Reference to Palestine should be understood in compliance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 67/19.

Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation in the Field of Human Rights