To ensure prudent cash management, OCHA introduced more-effective budgetary controls, enhanced expenditure monitoring and streamlined liquidity management procedures. The UN Controller approved the transfer of funds between the two main OCHA trust funds, which allowed for more flexible and timely allocation of resources for humanitarian response.
OCHA’s fundraising activities resulted in additional multi-year funding and early disbursements by donors. Two thirds of extrabudgetary requirements were received by mid-year, ensuring predictable and stable funding. At the same time, OCHA’s donor income increased by US$17 million to reach $230 million, which enabled OCHA to respond to new and evolving emergencies.
- ERF global guidelines were completed to provide country offices with the appropriate tools to support Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs) in managing ERFs. The guidelines provide clearer instructions on financial reporting and external auditing for ERF-funded projects.
Year In Review
In 2012, OCHA focused on increasing predictable income, including through additional multi-year funding agreements with donors; strengthening budget and cash management through closer monitoring and better reporting; and allowing more effective management of country-based pooled funds by providing central guidance and direction.
Between 2011 and 2012, OCHA's donor income increased by $17 million to reach $230 million. OCHA's relationships with its donors remained strong due to increasingly predictable funding flows and regular consultations at senior and working levels. For the first time, most requirements were covered by the end of the second quarter. Most funds were again received unearmarked, enabling rapid scale-up in sudden-onset emergencies. This contributed significantly to the improvement of OCHA's liquidity, and the organization is in a much better position to plan its cash flow.
Other reasons for the improvement of OCHA’s liquidity included consolidating the cash management and financial reporting functions, and standardizing monitoring and reporting on income and expenditure. Combined with the UN Controller’s approval to transfer funds between OCHA’s main trust funds at headquarters, this allowed for more predictable financing of operations and better use of available resources.
To ensure prudent and effective administrative support of mandated activities, particularly in the field, OCHA upgraded existing procedures and put additional emphasis on promoting internal controls. This included revising procedures for reviewing outstanding obligations to allow accuracy in recording expenditure at the field level. In addition, OCHA adopted an Internal Control Framework to ensure proper stewardship and accountability of its resources, highlighting the responsibilities and authorities in place to support OCHA’s activities.
OCHA conducted a comprehensive review of the administrative field support provided by local service providers to determine options for best value for money at the country level. Further to the recommendation to maintain UNDP as the main service provider, OCHA endeavoured to improve service provision by agreeing on performance standards for service delivery at the field level, allowing timely support of humanitarian activities.
On 1 January 2014, the UN Secretariat will implement International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) to ensure enhanced transparency and accountability of assets and liabilities. In preparation, OCHA updated its processes to ensure compliance with the reporting requirements, and staff were trained on the concepts of accrual accounting, which is a pre-requisite for IPSAS reporting.
To support the management of OCHA’s country-based pooled funds and to meet the requirements of external stakeholders, OCHA published the ERF global guidelines. They provide country offices with the appropriate tools to support HCs in managing ERFs. They also offer clearer instructions related to financial reporting and external auditing for ERF-funded projects. Together with initiatives in 2013 to streamline the operation of country-based pooled funds, these measures will ensure improved capacity for OCHA to manage and operate country-based pooled funds, and that proper control
- Objective 1.1 - Member States and Regional Organizations
- Objective 1.2 - Operational Partners
- Objective 1.3 - Preparedness
- Objective 1.4 - Analysis and System-Wide Learning
- Objective 2.1 - Accountable Humanitarian Coordination Leaders
- Objective 2.2 - Scaling Up and Drawing Down Operations
- Objective 2.3 - Tools and Services
- Objective 2.4 - The Humanitarian Programme Cycle
- Objective 3.1 - Funding and Financial Management
- Objective 3.2 - Surge and Staffing Solutions
- Objective 3.3 - Organizational Learning for Results