Norway would like to thank UNHCR the update on the 2013 budget and the funding situation, as well as the proposed biannual 2014-2015 budget. We appreciate the efforts made by the Controller and her team to engage with members and prepare the budget documents.
Budget planning is indeed complicated and demanding, given the unpredictable and escalating development on the ground, especially in Syria, but also because of the increasing financial gap and the sometimes unpredictable funding streams of various operations.
The crisis in Syria has been a major challenge to UNHCR, both operationally and financially. Despite record high contributions from traditional donors, and from new ones as well, there is a gap that seems unbridgeable. We appreciate that UNHCR will shed light on the impact of this gap in the Global Report, we will look for examples but also on a strategic level to be able to consider it properly.
The expanding funding gap is a major challenge; it is unlikely to change in the next few years. Nonetheless, we have to adopt a budget based on certain presumptions and hard facts. It is UNHCR’s job to present their projections and plans, for member states to properly assess and finally approve the biannual budgets. To this end there is a need for more transparency and insight into the needs assessments and basis for projections. Certainly the number of persons of concern, but also the context and nature of needs, impacts the cost of operations.
The basis for expected increased needs, hope for positive developments and durable solutions and also, where others, be they states or partner organizations, have a role to play and potential to contribute. UNHCR is limited by the budget format, but this information could be made more easily available to members in other ways.
The also applies to the cycle of planning, budgeting and implementation of available funds. The re-prioritization that takes place throughout the year as needs and situations change and develop, and funds are dispersed during the year is key to understanding the dynamics of the implementation of the budget when the gap between income and GNA budget is as it is. We thank UNHCR for the structured consultation with members and the influence that feedback from members has on the budget documents and the global report.