Speaking on behalf of the European Union as a donor, I would like to thank UNHCR for the detailed update provided on budget and funding. In 2019 so far, the EU contributions to UNHCR stands at 408 MUSD, an amount that exceeds the one recorded in July 2018 and that is very likely to increase by the end of the year. This robust financial allocation illustrates the importance of our partnership and the EU’s support of UNHCR’s mandate to provide assistance, international protection and seek permanent solutions for refugees and other people under its responsibility.
We believe that UNHCR’s decentralization process can help to increase efficiency and effectiveness. We hope that this process will also facilitate the establishment of a budget that is realistic, in line with operational UNHCR’s capacity, focused on corporate priorities and comparative advantages. This should help reduce the gap between the programme budget and available resources. We also underline the important contribution UNHCR can make to collective outcomes and encourage the organization to keep supporting the implementation of World Humanitarian Summit/Grand Bargain commitments, including joint needs assessments and the drive to more comprehensive approaches in refugee situation, notably via the implementation of the CRRF. In this regard, we welcome the strategic priority focuses on ‘promoting inclusion and self-reliance, including through the engagement of development actors’ as well as the focus on resilience and solutions, which are both very much in line with our approach.
In terms of strengthening financial management and accountability, we support the observation of the Independent Audit and Oversight Committee that welcomes Controller’s efforts towards automation of standard process in the Division of Finance and Administrative Management, with the goal of improving efficiency and accountability and reinforcing internal controls. We welcome the recommendation of continuing exploring the possibility of shared back offices with other United Nations agencies in the spirit of the Innovation Group embedded in the UN reform. We encourage more cooperation with other agencies and system-wide efforts for a more efficient use of resources for logistics and administration.
We note with interest that the 2020-2021 proposed programme budget shows a stabilization of budget requirements over the next two years, with a planned increase by 0.4% in 2020 followed by a decrease by 0.6% in 2021.We welcome this foreseen stabilization and subsequent reduction in financial needs. The further roll-out of cash-based transfers is an important factor in this respect, in combination with a well-planned reduction in management costs. This will help bring us closer to the Grand Bargain commitment of ensuring that a maximum of aid goes directly to beneficiaries.