Basic Information on the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF)
UNDEF was established by the Secretary-General in July 2005 as a United Nations General Trust Fund, with the primary purpose of supporting democratization around the world. It supports projects that strengthen the voice of civil society, promote human rights, and encourage the participation of all groups in democratic processes. The large majority of UNDEF funds go to local civil society organizations -- both in the transition and consolidation phases of democratization. In this way, UNDEF plays a new and distinct role in complementing the UN's work with Governments to strengthen democratic governance around the world.
The Executive Head of the Fund is Roland Rich of Australia, who brings to the job more than 30 years of experience as a diplomat, a scholar and a democracy promotion practitioner.
On 4 July 2005, then UN Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, announced
the creation of the UN Democracy Fund at the African Union summit. The
2005 World Summit reaffirmed democracy as “a universal value”,
indicating that “there is no single model of democracy, that it
does not belong to any country or region”, and welcomed “the
establishment of a Democracy Fund at the United Nations”. In his
statement to the press on 31 August 2006, Mr. Annan called on all Members
States to support the UN Democracy Fund and use it as an innovative
and flexible mechanism for advancing the UN democracy agenda. In April
2007, at the UN Democracy Fund’s fourth Advisory Board meeting,
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that promotion of democracy is
inseparable for UN’s broader work for security, development and
human rights. In the Secretary-General’s message at the meeting
of the International Conference of New or Restored Democracies of December
2007, it was noted that a democratic system also contributes to the
promotion of equitable social and economic development.
The Secretary-General’s Advisory
Board, UNDEF's main governing mechanism, is composed of 19 members.
They include the seven biggest donors -- currently the United States,
India, Japan, Qatar, Australia, Germany and France. The Board also includes
six other States from different regions, chosen for their proven commitment
to democracy, as well as four personal representatives of the Secretary-General
and two representatives of civil society organizations. The Advisory
Board provides policy guidance to the Secretary-General on the development
of programme frameworks and funding guidelines, and recommends funding
proposals for his approval.
The Programme Consultative Group serves as UN inter-agency mechanism
that provides expert advice and is comprised of DPA, DPKO, OHCHR, UNDGO,
UNDP, UNIFEM, and UNODC.
UNDEF's office is staffed by an Executive Head, three professional staff,
one Junior Professional Officer, interns and support personnel.
THIRD ROUND OF PROJECT FUNDING
UNDEF launched its Third Round of funding in November 2008. In the Second Round, 1,873 applications were received and 86 were approved. The Third Round selection will be finalized in the spring of 2009.
Thirty-six Member States have contributed to the Fund, which has received over US$106 million to date.