Pooled fundingUN pooled funding trends

Latest trends in inter-agency pooled funds
When it comes to flexibility and facilitating efficient collaboration across the UN system, earmarking resources for an inter-agency pooled fund plays out differently to earmarking funds for a specific project. In some ways, an inter-agency pooled fund at the country level that is set up to support a Cooperation Framework is like UN agency core funding in the sense that it supports the implementation of a wider strategic plan.
Inter-agency pooled financing is a recognized funding modality for promoting coherence during UNDS repositioning and other reform strategies by the UN Secretary-General and endorsed by Member States. Inter-agency pooled funds are ‘core-like’ resources that help strengthen efficient coordination and collaboration across the UNDS. The below figures illustrate how inter-agency pooled funds have developed over time, actors investing in these funds, and a breakdown of the UN entities receiving funding.


The following section includes data and analyses adapted from the report "Financing the UN Development System," which is annually prepared by the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office and Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation.
 
Figure 1. Deposits to UN inter-agency pooled funds 2010–2019 (US$ billion)
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Deposits to UN inter-agency pooled funds 2010–2019 (US$ billion)

 

Figure 1 shows that by 2019 the share of inter-agency pooled funds for development purposes had grown to 9%. The gap between the share of inter-agency pooled funds for development and humanitarian purposes is shrinking. A total of 11% of earmarked financing for humanitarian assistance was allocated to inter-agency pooled funding in 2019.

Funding for inter-agency pooled funds, which has undergone steady growth since 2015, amounted to US$ 3 billion in 2019, made up of US$ 1.8 billion for humanitarian funds and US$ 1.2 billion for development[1]related funds. The spike in the figure in 2014 was largely due to a US$ 500 million contribution by Saudi Arabia to the Iraq Humanitarian Fund. Volumes for humanitarian funds have grown more than those for development funds. Between 2010 and 2019, inter-agency pooled funds for development assistance tripled, from US$ 0.4 billion to US$ 1.2 billion, while humanitarian funds increased from US$ 0.8 billion to US$ 1.8 billion.

Between 2010 and 2019, inter-agency pooled funds for development assistance tripled

 

Figure 2 lists the top 12 UN Member State contributors to inter-agency pooled funds. This ranking has remained fairly constant for the past five years. Ten countries have been amongst the top 12 since 2015, while Switzerland, Qatar and the United States have moved in and out during the same period. The United Kingdom is by far the largest contributor–its funding almost doubled from 2018 to 2019 because of an increase in funding to the UN Central Emergency Relief Fund (CERF), which provides humanitarian assistance for populations in crises. The top five countries contributing to inter-agency pooled funds are all European and together contribute 72% of total funding. If European Union institutions, the sixth largest contributor to inter-agency pooled funds, are added to the list 78% of total funds come from European sources, demonstrating that contributions to inter-agency pooled funds are concentrated across a core group of contributors.

Figure 2 also shows the percentage of each country’s total earmarked contributions that goes towards inter-agency pooled funds. This percentage varies between Member States, but Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom each contribute 30% or more of their earmarked funding to inter-agency pooled funds. Except for the United States, all 12 of the top Member State contributors are at least on the 10% mark for earmarking funding for inter-agency pooled funds.

78% of total funds come from European sources
Figure 2. Deposits to UN inter-agency pooled funds from the top 12 Member State contributors, 2019 (US$ million)
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Figure 2. Deposits to UN inter-agency pooled funds from the top 12 Member State contributors, 2019 (US$ million)

 


 

Figure 3. Countries contributing over 10% of their total earmarked funding to the UN through UN inter-agency pooled funds, 2019
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Figure 4. Countries contributing more than 10% of their total earmarked funding to the UN through UN inter-agency pooled funds, 2019

Figure 3 analyses further the extent to which countries invest in inter-agency pooled funds. The figure shows the 22 countries that contributed 10% or more of their earmarked funding to the UN through inter-agency pooled funds in 2019. The majority of these countries also achieved 10% in 2018, but five countries – Estonia, Guyana, Lithuania, Poland and Uzbekistan – are new to the list in 2019. Programme countries are investing in pooled funds domestically to advance Cooperation Frameworks and accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. Uzbekistan, for example, is now the country with the fourth-largest share of investments in pooled funds (37% of its total earmarked funding), due to its investment in the Aral Sea Region Fund. Albania, which invested 11% of its total earmarked funding in 2018 through pooled funds, became the country with the highest share of inter-agency pooled funds in 2019 (64%), due to a large increase in its contributions to the Albania SDG Acceleration Fund.

Programme countries are investing in pooled funds domestically to advance Cooperation Frameworks and accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.


 

Figure 4 analyses the entities receiving the highest volumes of inter-agency pooled funds and the percentage these funds represent in terms of their total earmarked revenue in 2019. Inter-agency pooled funds have grown in importance: compared to 2018, all ten agencies in Figure 4 (except for WFP and UNHCR) have seen an increase in both the volume and percentage of funding through inter-agency pooled funds. UNDP, the largest recipient inter-agency pooled fund transfers, saw a substantial increase in volume between 2018 and 2019 due to engagement in the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOFTA) and humanitarian funds in Sudan and South Sudan. UN Women, however, saw the largest growth in relative terms between 2018 and 2019, with an increase in revenue from inter-agency pooled funds of 172% because of Spotlight Initiative implementation, a fund where stakeholders work to eliminate violence against women and girls, as well as a strengthen gender aspects of pooled funding.

Figure 4. Top ten UN entities that receive the highest revenue through inter-agency pooled funds, 2018–2019 (US$ million)
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Top ten UN entities that receive the highest revenue through inter-agency pooled funds, 2018–2019 (US$ million)

 

 

Figure 5. Percentage of earmarked development-related expenditure from UN inter-agency pooled funds in 40 countries
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Countries where 10% or more of earmarked development-related expenditure comes from UN inter-agency pooled funds (40 countries)

 

In which countries do inter-agency pooled funds contribute to development results? Figure 5 shows the percentage of earmarked development-related expenditure from UN inter-agency pooled funds in 40 countries in which the UN maintained a presence in 2019. A total of 40 countries received more than 10% of their funding from inter-agency pooled funds in 2019 (compared to 28 countries in 2018). For 18 of these countries, the share of inter-agency pooled funds was more than 20%. The geographical spread of inter-agency pooled funds in 2019 is almost twice what it was in 2015, when only 21 countries met this criterion.

The UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF Office), hosted by UNDP, is the only UN unit exclusively dedicated to the design and administration of multi stakeholder pooled financing instruments. The MPTF Office acts as administrative agent for a broad portfolio of pooled funds covering key areas of UN action (across the humanitarian, peace and transition, development, and climate and environment themes). In 2019, nearly 80% of all inter-agency pooled funds with a development, transition or climate focus, and 42% of all inter-agency pooled funds, were administered by the MPTF Office.


Select Funding Compact indicators (US$ million)
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Funding Compact indicators

The table above shows progress in Funding Compact indicators related to inter-agency pooled funds along with those that have failed to reach set targets. Contributions to inter-agency pooled funds have steadily increased, doubling from US$ 1.5 billion in 2015 to US$ 3 billion in 2019. As a percentage of total non-core resources for development, inter-agency pooled funds reached 9% in 2019, close to the target of 10% set for 2023, and a doubling of the baseline of 5% in 2017.

At the same time, the number of Member States contributing to development-related inter-agency pooled funds has shown a declining trend, and the likelihood of reaching the target of 100 contributors seems slim. Ambitious targets set for the capitalisation of flagship funds such as the Joint SDG Fund and the Peacebuilding Fund have likewise failed to materialise.