Preparations for the 2012
Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review
of the General Assembly of UN operational activities for development

Course organized in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Switzerland and UN DESA



Module 1: Funding for UN operational activities for development: Key trends and issues (1 February 2012)


Agency-specific thematic funds
These are funds which generally allow UN agencies to programme more responsively, based on country and global priorities, without having to negotiate project agreements and conditions. Thematic funds are pooled and designed to have fewer restrictions on their use than traditional non-core resources. Examples include UNFPA’s Maternal Health Thematic Fund and UNICEF’s Thematic Fund for Basic Education and Gender Equality.

Core and non-core resources
Operational activities for development are funded by a combination of so-called core and non-core resources. Core resources are those that are commingled without restrictions and whose use and application are directly linked to the strategic mandates, guidelines, priorities and goals established by the respective intergovernmental governing bodies. Non-core resources are resources that are generally restricted with regard to their use and application as determined by the contributor. The degree to which the use and application of non-core resources are subject to and aligned with the mandates, guidelines, priorities, and goals established by intergovernmental governing bodies is at best indirect. Core resources are generally preferred by UN agencies since they are required to preserve the UN’s multilateral, impartial and universal character. Core resources also tend to provide more flexibility to spend on the priorities of programme countries.

Multi-partner trust funds (MPTFs)
These funds are a type of joint programme which uses the pass-through fund management model. Donors agree to channel the funds through one UN agency (the “Administrative Agent”) which distributes the funds to multiple UN participating organizations. MPTFs are designed to enhance coherence and provide more flexible funding than traditional non-core resources. One UN Country Funds are a type of MPTF. For example, the Mozambique One UN Fund receives contributions from 6 countries and engages 18 UN funds, programmes and agencies to deliver results in support of the national development objectives and priorities.

Nominal versus real terms
Comparisons and trend analyses in “real terms” are based on nominal amounts expressed in constant United States dollars which take into account the combined effect of inflation and exchange rate movements. This is done to make data comparable across different time periods.

Operational activities for development
These are activities of UN funds, programmes and agencies which have the specific objective of promoting development. Most United Nations entities have specific mandates in this regard. Thirty-six UN entities received contributions for operational activities for development in 2009. Operational activities for development cover both longer-term development-related activities as well as activities with a humanitarian assistance focus. Humanitarian assistance refers to activities that respond to an immediate crisis, such as the emergency operations put in place following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.