Published 2021
Dollars and sense: A business case for funding UN Human Rights
By Nada Al-Nashif

Human rights financing faces longstanding underinvestment, which has created structural, contextual and political impediments. This third pillar of the UN system has seen its resources spread thin at a time when the UN’s human rights machinery is most needed. In 2021, just US$ 129.3 million – 4% of the overall UN regular budget (excluding humanitarian affairs) – was allocated to the human rights pillar. Further, due to liquidity problems affecting the UN regular budget, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) received only 75% of its allocation.

OHCHR has sought to make up budget shortfalls by relying on voluntary contributions, mostly from Member States, which fund around 60% of its activities. Excessive reliance on voluntary contributions can, due to their unpredictable nature, come at the cost of human rights. Member States can make a real difference by establishing or reinforcing multi-year