Clark: UNDP Institutional Budget Estimates for 2012-2013

06 Jul 2011

Introductory Statement by the Administrator
on the UNDP Institutional Budget Estimates for 2012-2013
at the meeting with the
Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)

6 July 2011

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of ACABQ,

Thank you for the opportunity to meet with you to initiate formal discussions on UNDP’s institutional budget estimates for 2012-2013. 

UNDP appreciates the independent budgetary advice of the Advisory Committee, which helps us to achieve efficiencies in our organization and to maximize the development impact of the resources entrusted to UNDP.

I hope that you will have had the opportunity to review the institutional budget document, DP/2011/34, prepared by UNDP’s Bureau of Management.  It contains important information and several critical proposals to enable UNDP to address effectively the major development challenges which confront many of the countries with which we work.

The development landscape is changing dramatically. While countries across the world are making significant progress in reducing poverty and advancing human development, problems of inequity and exclusion continue to affect a substantial proportion of the world’s population. In different parts of the globe, we are seeing major challenges related to food security, access to water and energy, the prevention of and recovery from conflicts, and the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters – including those related to climate change.  

UNDP has worked and will continue to work closely with governments and other development partners to tackle these challenges.  We are building capacities in developing countries to accelerate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. We support countries to bring about transformational change in their development status. Our new tag line expresses that succinctly: “Empowered Lives. Resilient Nations”.  Looking ahead, UNDP will play a proactive role in the preparations leading up to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be held mid-next year.    

Last week, UNDP held a Global Management Meeting, which brought together UN Resident Coordinators/UNDP Resident Representatives and Country Directors from around the world. It reaffirmed the central role which UNDP plays in development, and in promoting co-ordinated action across many agencies within the UN development system.  

UNDP’s comparative advantages include:

  • our universal presence;
  • our experience gained from decades in the field;
  • our ability to generate new approaches to advancing human development;
  • our mandate to engage in sensitive programme areas and in countries when and where other partners cannot; and
  • our broad-based development mandate with its unique governance component.

All these factors mean that UNDP’s work today is not only highly relevant, but indeed may be even more critical now than ever before.

The UNDP institutional budget estimates for 2012-2013 form an integral part of our overall strategy. They draw on the guidance provided by the UNDP Executive Board on the Mid-Term Review of the Strategic Plan.  They are also in line with Executive Board decisions 2010/32 and 2011/10 which approved the harmonized approaches for cost classification and results-based budgeting, within the context of the joint road map to integrated budgets for UNDP, UNFPA, and UNICEF.

The budget estimates reflect the UNDP Agenda for Organizational Change which we launched in April. The change agenda is about ensuring that UNDP is more strategic, focused, consistent in the quality and effectiveness of its work, and nimble. This is critical in order to retain our leading role in a crowded development field. We aim to lift our performance as  a solution-oriented, knowledge-based and knowledge-sharing organization, helping developing countries make transformational change, and helping channel the strengths of the entire UN development system to that end.  Our objective at UNDP is to move from being a good organization to being a great one.

Implementation of the Agenda for Change is underway, and will support us as we work on the formulation of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan. The institutional budget estimates for 2012-2013 are linked to these activities.

In response to the ongoing fiscal pressures on many of our key donors,  and to related Executive Board decisions, UNDP is exercising budgetary discipline for its 2012-2013 budget through both further containment and better alignment of costs. We are also proposing investments in critical areas of our organization to ensure proper accountability for resources, and successful delivery of the results our Strategic Plan expects us to achieve.

Three main approaches have been followed to arrive at an unprecedented level of $120.1 million in volume reductions. That represents a 12.3 per cent decrease from the approved gross budget appropriation for 2010-2011.

First, organizational units were challenged to improve operational effectiveness and efficiency by eliminating redundant and non-essential services and activities, and by identifying lower priority functions which could be reduced, including the freezing of posts.  

Second, opportunities for improved alignment of costs were identified  at both  corporate  and unit levels with respect to the use of  regular and extra-budgetary resources.

Third, all costs associated with the completion of capital and other investments were eliminated. 

The $120.1 million in volume decreases have been used to offset $31.1 million (3.2 %) in non-discretionary cost increases related to inflation and salary entitlements.  They have also been used to offset $40 million (4.1%) in strategic investments, in areas which include:

  • implementing the change agenda;
  • strengthening strategic human resources management;
  • increasing support to countries making transitions, with an emphasis on South Sudan and the Arab States region;
  • framing the global development agenda, with an emphasis on accelerating the achievement of the MDGs and preparing for Rio+20; and
  • enhancing corporate value-added services and accountability, including through implementation of the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS).

Taken together, these reductions and proposals result in a 2012-2013 regular resources funded budget of $856.5 million, in net terms. In nominal terms, this is five per cent less than the 2010-2011 biennial support budget figure. 

We look forward to the valuable advice of this Committee as we move forward in the budget approval process.

My colleagues and I stand ready to provide further clarifications and answer questions that you may have.

Thank you.

Leadership
Helen

Helen Clark became the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme on 17 April 2009, and is the first woman to lead the organization. She is also the Chair of the United Nations Development Group, a committee consisting of the heads of all UN funds, programmes and departments working on development issues.

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