OCHA is almost entirely dependent on voluntary contributions to deliver on its UN General Assembly mandate. These resources will continue to be used to make global humanitarian response more effective, inclusive and innovative. Every cent spent on OCHA maximizes the value of money spent on direct aid programmes through greater coordination.
OCHA’s work and budget plans for 2014 and 2015 are based on the organization’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. Delivery against this plan in 2014 is budgeted at $331.8 million in 2014 and $321.7 million in 2015. As always, OCHA will rely on a variety of sources to finance its work. In 2014, an appropriation from the global UN regular budget will cover $14.5 million in programme requirements (0.04 per cent of total programme budget). In addition, programme support costs levied on CERF allocations will cover OCHA’s management of the CERF Secretariat ($6 million in 2014). Costs associated with OCHA’s management of the Common Humanitarian Funds ($6 million in 2014) will be covered by UNDP’s direct costs.
OCHA is asking Member States to make voluntary contributions totalling $271.4 million to cover the remainder of OCHA’s extrabudgetary programme budget. In consideration of the significant humanitarian coordination challenges ahead, Member States are asked to disburse their contributions as early as possible in the first quarter. Member States are also requested to continue to show their support for OCHA’s mandate by providing flexible and predictable funding.
Where and how OCHA will spend its budget in 2014
The fact that funding levels to OCHA have remained generous – even during the international financial downturn – is a clear sign of confidence in OCHA’s added value. Through its two-year planning-and-budget cycle, the organization will remain committed to its agenda of long-term reform, with clearly defined results and targets that we will monitor closely.
This budget reflects OCHA’s continued focus on support to the field, particularly in relation to the support we provide to HCs, HCTs and OCHA offices. As a people-centred organization, 73 per cent of OCHA’s budget will cover the costs of our 2,154 national and international staff spread throughout the world.
Looking at it another way, Goal 1 – field effectiveness – will account for a substantial majority of OCHA’s 2014 budget. In total, OCHA will spend 74 per cent of its budget ($244.1 million) on field-based humanitarian coordination and direct Headquarters support for field activities. This includes 60 per cent ($197.8 million) of the budget that will be spent on OCHA offices away from Headquarters, including regional, country and liaison offices, and IRIN. It also includes 14 per cent ($46.2 million) that will be spent on Headquarters sections that directly support the field: the Coordination and Response Division in New York and the Programme Support Branch and Emergency Services Branch in Geneva.
Income and financial management
By the end of 2013, the level of donor income was $224.6 million; OCHA expects a similar level of donor income in 2014.
OCHA now has 19 formal multi-year agreements with ten donors. These agreements accounted for 37 per cent of OCHA’s funding in 2013, and nine are up for renewal in 2014. Securing these renewals will be a priority, as formal multi-year funding agreements have laid the foundation for predictable financial support, leading to better planning and allocation of resources. For example, donors have pledged $48.1 million for 2014 through multi-year agreements.
OCHA will also place special emphasis on broadening its funding base to a wider range of Member States and more varied sources of income. Thanks to improvements in budgeting, resource mobilization and financial management – but also strict budget discipline and clearly prioritized resource allocations – OCHA expects to cover projected expenditure in full from voluntary contributions.
Throughout 2014 and 2015, OCHA will aim to maintain a cash reserve covering six months of staff costs and three months of operating costs for the following year. This would allow regular and adequate allocations of cash to parts of the organization that receive insufficient earmarked funds, to cover unforeseen crises, and to offset late disbursements of donor pledges. In 2014, OCHA anticipates that cash reserves will be sufficient to cover costs for four months across the entire organization, minimizing the administrative burden and freeing up resources to deliver on our mandate. OCHA’s financial and resource management will see further improvements in 2014 with the introduction of the International Public Sector Accounting System.
OCHA’s role in humanitarian financing
As referenced earlier in this document, OCHA manages a range of humanitarian financing and resource mobilization initiatives, such as CERF, the CHFs and the Emergency Response Funds (ERFs). Since 2006, OCHA has raised nearly $3.3 billion for CERF from 124 Member States and observers and over 30 other entities including private-sector corporations. At the country level, OCHA also manages pooled funds that help HCTs allocate money where it is most needed. These initiatives are mostly not covered by OCHA’s annual programme budget, although they benefit from regularly budgeted OCHA activities. Most notably, CERF and country-based pooled fund allocations rely on the needs analysis and prioritization work undertaken by OCHA country offices.
Note: OCHA’s total funding request from partners may shift slightly based on the outcome of ongoing discussions with the UN Secretariat’s Programme Planning and Budget Division (PPBD). The enormous impact of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the rapid deterioration in conditions in the Central African Republic in late 2013 required 2014 budget revisions for these offices. Based on rapidly changing conditions, these revisions were ongoing in late December 2013 and could not be finalized before publication. As a result, total budget requirements in 2014 could change slightly from the figures reported here. These changes will be reflected on the website as soon as they are finalized.