“Money must be used as a unifier, not as a divider,” says Yannick Glemarec, co-author of the report Financing the UN Development System: Getting it Right for a Post-2015 World which launched yesterday in New York. The report familiarises readers with different UN financing mechanisms and their possible evolution as part of the post-2015 development and, as Glemarec adds, “aims to tell the stories behind the numbers.”
The launch event, attended by UN staff, UN permanent missions and civil society, stimulated rich discussion around different financing mechanisms with particular emphasis on three major emerging and evolving trends in financing: issue-base funding, leveraging of ODA and innovative sources of finance — all potential ways forward for the UN in financing its development agenda. A few important observations emerged from the discussions:
- The financing landscape will likely be even more complex in future necessitating high-quality financial engineering focusing on horizontal linkages;
- Core financing (contributions left to the discretion of each individual member state) will continue to be a critical ingredient of UNDS funding, but the discussion on funding sources and instruments needs to be broadened. Raising the quality of non-core funding will continue to be an important component of these discussions. Developing flexible financing frameworks will be key;
- There is a need to reconsider old financing definitions and to develop a more agile and responsive system. In this context the UN development system must demonstrate that they can change, adapt and reposition;
- More analysis and suggestions are needed on how UN development system financing relates to a new world increasingly characterized by non-grant mechanisms;
- To encourage system collaboration, it will be important to set up financing systems/mechanisms that use money as a unifier, not as a divider.
Before laying the groundwork for the new financial landscape, the report also casts a backwards glance at the genesis of UN financing. “Understanding the history of UN financing is important for understanding today’s situation and tomorrow’s options,” says co-author Bruce Jenks. A discussion regarding “tomorrow’s options” will continue and gain momentum as the global community readies for the new development agenda, the third international conference on Financing for Development (July 2015) and the longer-term positioning of the UN development system.