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Department of Political Affairs

Voluntary funds enable timely response to conflicts, DPA tells Member States at Annual Donor Meeting

Extra-budgetary contributions help the UN respond more rapidly to tensions and crises around the globe, the Department of Political Affairs underscored to member states its Annual Donor Meeting held at UN headquarters in New York at the end of November. The Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, presented the Multi-Year Appeal 2013 Update outlining how voluntary funding bolsters electoral assistance, enhances DPA support to political missions on the ground, and contributes to launching mediation efforts early on when they have the greatest chance to succeed.

In 2012, extra-budgetary resources have enabled DPA to work across these areas and undertake other actions in support of peace and security around the world. A good example, USG Feltman told delegates, is Yemen, where UN mediation has been an important factor in that country’s ongoing political transition. In Syria, voluntary funds have allowed to start up and support the efforts of mediators Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi, while in Nepal they have ensured the continuation of a small political presence following the departure of the UN mission in 2010. Over the past twelve months, DPA could make electoral expertise available to over 50 countries thanks to voluntary funding – including Libya, whose historic July 2012 elections were highlighted in a video shown to donors.
For 2013, the update to the Multi-Year Appeal requests US$ 16 million in support of anticipated activities.   This funding will help DPA lead the UN system in crafting coordinated strategies on issues ranging from the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa to the multifaceted crisis gripping the Sahel. This is a modest investment in the kind of preventive action that can help to avoid more costly troop deployments, humanitarian relief or reconstruction efforts.
Addressing the November meeting, USG Feltman expressed DPA’s appreciation for past contributions while welcoming new pledges and expressions of support from several countries who have not traditionally been donors to the department. Member states voiced support for the department’s efforts in preventing and resolving conflicts and acknowledged the progress made by DPA. The meeting, which was attended by representatives of 45 countries, saw the announcement of US$ 9.5 million in new contributions, increasing the level of extra-budgetary funding for 2012 to US$ 17 million, the highest ever for DPA. In the last 18 months member states have signed six multi-year agreements with the department.
While DPA relies primarily on the regular budget for its activities, additional funding provides a crucial complement.  Such contributions offer flexibility and a genuine rapid-response capacity in preventing conflict.  In July this year, the OECD welcomed the department onto its list of entities eligible for official development assistance, thereby allowing donors to meet their voluntary development assistance targets when pledging funds to DPA.
For more information on the Multi-Year Appeal and the 2013 update, please contact Delphine Bost at bostd@un.org or Elizabeth Leff at leffe@un.org .