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Published September 2022

Taking data quality to the next level

By United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB)
The Chief Executives Board (CEB) Secretariat has been producing financial statistics on United Nations system- wide revenue and expenditures for at least three decades. The key data source is the revenue and expenses data that individual UN entities report annually to the CEB Secretariat.


Published September 2022

Fiscal response to the COVID-19 crisis

By Vera Songwe
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the global economy on a scale not recorded since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Global real gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 5% in 2020, with – aside from a handful countries, including China – economies across the board registering real GDP contraction. In response to the unprecedented economic crisis, countries responded vigorously and swiftly, deploying a variety of fiscal, monetary and financial policy measures. In contrast
to the response during the 2008 global financial crisis, there was wider consensus on the use of fiscal policy
– notably utilising discretionary fiscal measures while also letting automatic stabilisers work. In total, the global fiscal response between January 2020 and September 2021 amounted to US$ 16.9 trillion, or 16.4% of global GDP in 2020.
Nature is sending us invoices, and they are getting bigger by the day. The costs of the COVID-19 pandemic and other zoonotic diseases, linked to how we treat nature, are well-documented. Increasing wildfires and heatwaves, associated to climate change, are costing national economies billions of dollars each year. Pollution and waste are damaging ecosystem services, claiming millions of lives and placing a huge financial burden on healthcare systems.
Published September 2022

Financing the UN normative agenda amidst growing polarisation

By Nada Al-Nashif
On 1 April 2022, the Human Rights Council (HRC) concluded the longest session it had held since being established in 2006.1 The session took place against an exceptional backdrop of events that placed the HRC at the heart of multilateral diplomacy, at a time when other intergovernmental bodies were in stalemate. In response to rapidly evolving developments following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the HRC – taking upon itself a mandate for accountability – called for immediate de-escalation and respect for international humanitarian law.
Published September 2022

Financing gender equality: The role of the gender equality marker and financial targets

By Anita Bhatia and Aparna Mehrotra
The global outbreak of COVID-19 saw a dramatic backsliding in women’s labour force participation, a deepening feminisation of poverty, an escalating burden of unpaid care work, and an intensification of all types of violence against women and girls (‘the shadow pandemic’). Thus, now more than ever, prioritising gender equality commitments and mobilising financing for gender equality is vital to ensuring that the significant erosion of gender equality gains and women’s human rights is reversed, and that progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is put back on track. In short, building forward better demands a stronger and more concerted focus on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.


Unlike previous United Nations reforms, the current reform of the UN development system (UNDS) squarely addresses the imperative of changing how the UNDS is funded in order to ensure it can respond robustly and predictably to countries’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) priorities without compromising the multilateral nature of UN support.1 Through the Funding Compact welcomed in 2019, both Member States and the UNDS recognised the necessity of addressing the sharp imbalance between core and non-core resources. Moreover, there was clear acknowledgement of the need to change funding behaviour, and especially to improve the quality of funding, if the UN is to deliver better results against the ambitious 2030 Agenda.
Speed, flexibility and accountability lie at the heart of the humanitarian pooled funds managed by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The creation of the funds – the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the country- based pooled funds (CBPFs) – date back to 2005, when the reform process aimed at improving humanitarian response effectiveness was initiated.1 Since then, the funds have become important lifelines for the most vulnerable, between them disbursing US$ 13.7 billion and supporting tens of millions of people.
Published September 2022

Re-discovering assessed contributions in the UN system – Underexploited, yet full of potential

By Silke Weinlich, Nilima Gulrajani and Sebastian Haug
In May 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Member States took the historic decision to increase the share of assessed contributions in the organisation’s regular budget from 16% to 50% by 2028. While future budget negotiations will show whether Member States honour their commitments, the political signal is clear. Member States want to provide a more sustainable financial footing for WHO which is currently overly dependent on voluntary earmarked funding, including from private actors. The pitfalls of (certain forms) of earmarked funding have been widely discussed, not least in previous editions of this report. Assessed contributions represent an important alternative route to sustainable financing for multilateralism as they cannot be arbitrarily withdrawn – they are membership fees that all states are obliged to contribute. Assessed contributions can also be re-purposed in line with an international organisation’s mandate and core organisational needs, thereby enabling the organisation to act more effectively, independently and with greater authority.