The United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office convened, in hybrid format, the 2022 UN Pooled Funding Multi-Stakeholder Discussion Forum. Over 100 representatives from Member States, the UN, and non-profit sector from around the world came together to discuss achievements and experiences related to inter-agency pooled funds.
Established in 2019, the forum takes place yearly and is a platform for stakeholder dialogue and engagement. It was created at the request of the UNDP Executive Board and following recommendations from an independent evaluation of inter-agency pooled funds in September 2018. The purpose of the Forum is to review progress, discuss trends in global financing, and strategies on ways to strengthen partner engagement and boost confidence in pooled funding mechanisms and their use.
At the 2022 forum representatives from Member States, UN, and civil society discussed recent growth and trends, particularly those linked to specific commitments on pooled funding established by the Funding Compact. The Compact is a mutual commitment made by UN Member States and UNDS on how to improve the ways in which the UN is funded.
Latest data shows steady growth in pooled financing due to its comparative advantages in supporting flexible and integrated responses to humanitarian, transition and development challenges. Contributions to inter-agency pooled funds totaled $3.4 billion US dollars in 2021, the highest amount ever. Growth accelerated significantly across development pooled funds with funding to development related inter-agency pooled tripling since 2015. In 2020, inter-agency pooled funds represented 11.7% of all non-core financing to UN development-related activities.
The latest UN pooled fund data—aggregated according to contributor, UN partners, and country level parameters—was presented with a new data visualization tool that allows users to identify which countries operate with 10% or more of earmarked development-related expenditure from UN pooled funds. Trends show that more countries now work with a higher share of pooled funding, but only 37 countries hit the 15% or more threshold of an earmarked expenditure.
An important part of the discussion centered on how to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of pooled funds by way of common management features, which is fully articulated in Commitment 14 of the Funding Compact. Commitment 14 covers aspects like clear theories of change, solid results-based management systems, and transparency standards. Updates were presented in terms of system-wide evaluations, reduction of transactions costs, gender markers, and COP27 announcements on the climate portfolio, which included the launch of the Infrastructure Resilience Accelerator Fund and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund for Sustainable Development in the Legal Amazon.
The thematic focus of the 2022 Forum was “nexus and innovation in pooled funding.” Ramiz Alakbarov, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, shared via video on the Afghanistan experience, highlighting the work of the Afghanistan Humanitarian Fund and Special Trust Fund for Afghanistan—two pooled funds established under his leadership.
Participants explained how, pooled funding mechanisms can be useful tools to support operationalization of the nexus and ensure that assistance is delivered in coordinated and effective ways. Affording the UN and partners the flexibility to allocate funding across the nexus according to country-specific logic and analysis of acute opportunities and risks is vital. It informs how pooled financing can support United Nations country teams in working towards collective outcomes and forging better synergies across humanitarian, development and peace programming, while safeguarding of humanitarian principles.
As such, the MPTF Office shared three models of pooled funding that have been elaborated based on country-level needs:
The forum concluded with a presentation of the new MPTF Office Gateway. A flagship digital platform revamped and relaunched by the MPTF Office to introduce new functionalities in exploring pooled financing investments across the world with a stronger focus on results, visibility of partners, and impact of results achieved.