The Department of Political Affairs plays a central role in United Nations efforts to prevent and resolve deadly conflicts around the world. To carry out its mandate effectively, the Department relies on funding through the regular UN budget and through additional voluntary donor contributions. Voluntary funds offer flexibility and a genuinely rapid response capacity for preventing conflict.
The mechanism used to mobilize voluntary contributions is called the Multi-Year Appeal. This is a strategic and results-oriented document that is fully aligned with the regular budget strategic framework and links priority areas with proposed extra-budgetary activities.
The latest appeal update, which covers the 2015 period, calls for $25.5 million in extrabudgetary support. These funds will be used as a matter of priority for the following output areas:
- Timely, reliable rapid response mechanisms in place and effective on-going support provided to Special Envoys, Political Missions and other key stakeholders in the field ($14.5 million);
- Timely, coordinated and comprehensive response provided by DPA to requests for UN electoral assistance ($1 million);
- Productive partnerships developed and sustained with regional organizations, UN system entities and other stakeholders to enhance conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding ($4.5 million);
- DPA’s supporting capacity and mechanisms are enhanced to assist conflict prevention, mediation and peacebuilding ($5.5 million).
DPA activities in 2015
In its 2015 Annual Appeal
, the Department highlights how it used extra-budgetary funding to spearhead UN efforts to respond to crises or support transitions in Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia, and Europe.
Voluntary contributions received under the Multi-Year Appeal helped identify warning signs of emerging crises and offer timely diplomatic and political interventions. Tools used to prevent, contain and resolve conflicts included preventive diplomacy, mediation and good offices.
Increased Member State support
These activities – many taking place quietly, away from the spotlight – would have been impossible without support from partners and generous funding from Member States. Last year, DPA called for $24.5 million in extrabudgetary support. As of November 2014, a total of $15 million has been pledged, out of which, $11 million has been received. Sixty-nine per cent of the total contributions are un-earmarked, which is a positive trend enabling the Department to use the contributions more effectively.
Focusing on results and better planning
In carrying out its mandate, DPA tries to exhaust all resources already at its disposal before seeking voluntary contributions. Nevertheless, in light of additional mandates and growing demands placed on the Department for its mediation, conflict prevention and good offices services, voluntary contributions are critical to respond quickly to emerging needs. Limited resources make finding the balance between crisis management and relationship development upon which successful mediation rests increasingly challenging.
The Department enhanced and is further improving its Results Framework, and has further instituted a learning and evaluation framework and board. It develops annual learning and evaluation plans and has in place an assessment framework to better evaluate its engagements in preventive diplomacy and mediation, in addition to adding in-house capacity. These activities are all undertaken with a single goal: learning from the past to deliver more effectively in the future.
Official Development Assistance
DPA services are typically provided to fragile and/or conflict-affected states and are related to political processes that are essential for economic development and welfare. In recognition of the role that political processes play in development, in 2012 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) officially registered DPA as an organization eligible to receive Official Development Assistance (ODA). This registration allows donors to meet their voluntary development assistance targets when pledging funds to DPA.