UNHCR 58th Executive Committee meeting, 2007
Agenda item 5. (b) Programme budgets, management,
financial control and administrative oversight
N O R D I C S T A T E M E N T
I am pleased to make this statement on behalf of Denmark, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland.
As we have already stated in our national statements, the Nordic countries strongly support the ongoing reforms of UNHCR, that we believe will help UNHCR to more efficiently and effectively meet the challenges ahead. We also hope that UNHCR can soon shift to the proposed new budget structure, which in our view better reflects UNHCR's current work and which - more importantly - will increase transparency and interaction with ExCom.
In order to ensure that the internal reforms lead to the desired result of improved efficiency, it is crucial that UNHCR's Results-Based Management Framework is accurate. We appreciate the efforts and work done so far in the organization on the implementation of the results-based management framework and strategy, but more needs to be done, and we urge UNHCR to increase its efforts in this regard.
There has been an increasing trend in the size and share of Supplementary Programme Budgets. The question of how these budgets - not approved by ExCom should be integrated into the Annual Programme Budget, has been under discussion for years. The Nordic countries welcome the informal consultations on the new budget structure, and look forward to further consultations on this matter, which will be a good opportunity to also discuss how SBs fit into the new budget structure. In this context we would like to note with appreciation the introduction earlier this year of the Revised Framework for Resource Allocation and Management, which is an important aspect of the ongoing reforms.
The estimated unmet needs for 2008 are some 800 million USD. This "shortfall" will inevitably lead to UNHCR programmes falling short of the required international standards of protection and assistance. The Nordic countries welcome the Deputy High Commissioner's promise at the last Standing Committee meeting to inform ExCom of the consequences of the unmet needs, and we look forward to continuous discussions within ExCom on how to improve prioritization with limited means.
As we have said before in this Committee, we - the donors - have a responsibility to make sure that ends meet. The Nordic countries, together with barely more than a handful other countries provide almost 80 % of the voluntary contributions to UNHCR. More current and potential donor states could and should do more. Not least to match and ease the heavy burden borne by the many refugee hosting states. We would like to take this opportunity to commend the host states for their invaluable contribution to the plight of refugees.
Moving now to the recent reports of the Board of Auditors and OIOS, the Nordic countries studied them carefully and have noted their findings regarding high-risk areas, such as asset management, financial reporting and monitoring of implementing partners and Staff in between assignments (SIBA). We urge UNHCR to implement the recommendations made in the reports and to keep ExCom informed on developments in fulfilling all the recommendations.
We commend UNHCR for increasing its emergency response capacity. UNHCR's plan aims to establish a standing response capacity for refugee and conflict-generated IDP emergencies for up to 500 000 people by the end of this year.
We have not yet mentioned gender mainstreaming and gender issues. As you know, the Nordic countries attach a great importance to that aspect in UNHCR's activities. We commend the work of the senior gender adviser and trust that UNHCR will pursue its work on mainstreaming its strategy on age, gender and diversity into both management and operations.