Published 2017
A new contract for financing the UN development system: What does it mean and how can it be achieved?
By Max-Otto Baumann and Pratyush Sharma

Max-Otto Baumann is a Researcher at the German Development Institute (Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik), which is a think tank for global development and international cooperation world-wide.The institute’s work is based on the interplay between research, policy advice and training.

Pratyush Sharma is a Researcher at Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), which is a New Delhi based autonomous think-tank that specialises in policy research on international economic issues and development cooperation.

‘Follow the money’, goes the advice, for understanding any organisation. In the UN development system (UNDS), the bulk of member states’ contributions take a fairly ballistic course: launched with political fanfare, the money is aimed at the narrow landing place of a concrete project or purpose. 77% of development and humanitarian resources were earmarked in this way in 2015, ‘bilateralizing’ and bypassing the UNDS’ multilateral- and value-adding mechanisms. The three largest donors, accounting for 47%, also rely heavily on ear-marking, and have thus practically cancelled the contract according to which the UNDS, like any other organisation, is (core-) funded to implement joint global agendas. Emerging donors are adapting the same transactional funding pattern for their South-South Cooperation.