Financing the UN Development System: Getting it Right for a Post-2015 World

It’s our pleasure to introduce you to the report – Financing the UN Development System: Getting it right for a post-2015 world – produced by The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation and the UNDP Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office.


This report, which presents an overview of financing instruments in the UN Development System (UNDS), aims to familiarise readers with the financing instruments of the UNDS and their possible evolution as part of the post-2015 development agenda. It’s our hope that this report will provide decision-makers and other development actors with the information they need to make informed choices about the financial mechanisms available for the UN to meet its goals.

Seventy years after the establishment of the UN, we have created a complex organisational financial architecture. The UN development system must be responsive to the needs identified at the country level; address competing requests of different UN agencies, funds and programmes; be responsive to donors keen to see a “bang for their buck” and flexible enough to address a rapidly changing world – from Ebola to climate change to peacekeeping;

The post-2015 development agenda will usher in a host of additional resource requirements as the work of the UN stretches to meet the challenge of an ambitious set of universal sustainable development goals (SDGs). Achievement of the SDGs will depend on identifying instruments and strategies that will promote resource mobilisation for sustainable development and the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

The release of this report comes at a critical juncture as we ready for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 2015) and the Post-2015 Summit (New York, September 2015).

The report is articulated in two parts, bolstered by tables and figures that offer a rare cross-referencing of different UN bodies. The first part of the study analyses existing financing instruments in the UN development system. The second part takes stock of three emerging trends that are likely to influence UN financing options in the years ahead: namely UN Pooled Financing Mechanisms, issue-based global funds in the health and climate sectors, and innovative spending and sourcing instruments.

The report may surprise some readers with the variety and multiplicity of financing instruments that have been developed in the UN development system. It suggests that the financing of the UN development system is more innovative and dynamic than it is sometimes given credit for. On the other hand, the UN is entering a new world of finance which will require openness to new approaches.

Naturally, better information is essential to better decision-making and it is our intention that this report provides data in a way that is useful for policy makers. There is no shortage of data, but it needs to be presented in ways that help to inform current policy debates and to frame better policy options.

We hope that the information and analysis in Financing the UN Development System: Getting it right for a post-2015 world will inform and stimulate serious discussion on financing options over the next decade. To this end, we will hold discussions on the future financing of the UNDS and encourage you to join in either in person or on-line as well as share this report with your colleagues.

We are sharing this report with you as a working draft and plan to take up to three months to receive feedback and suggestions. After the data and the arguments have been subjected to extensive scrutiny, we will then issue a revised final report which will incorporate the suggestions we have received.