Environment Fund and VISC
The Environment Fund is the main source of funding for UNEP to implement its Programme of Work and Medium Term Strategy. It leverages Member States’ investments into pooled resources to ensure delivery of results of environmental initiatives across national boundaries and specific thematic issues. Contributions are voluntary and all Member States of the United Nations are expected to make adequate and timely payments.
At the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development convened in Brazil in June 2012, governments emphasized that in order for UNEP to function as Member States requested, it needed increased stability and security of funding and an overall increase in its budget. The former is as important as the latter. Multi-year commitments, adequate resources and timely payments into the Environment Fund will enable UNEP to deliver the approved medium term strategies and the biennial programmes of work in an efficient, effective and balanced manner. The shift towards the Environment Fund was already decided upon by the Member States in the approved 2014-2015 Programme of Work and budget, which did not substantially increase overall funding but focused on progressively directing more resources to the Environment Fund (US$110 million and US$135 for 2014 and 2015, respectively).
The shift is also reflected in the revision of the biennial indicative scale of contributions (see below), in accordance with relevant Governing Council decisions.
Status of the Environment Fund as at 30th June 2014
VISC (Voluntary Indicative Scale of Contributions)
With the arrival of Universal Membership, it is even more important that all Member States of the United Nations, taking into account economic and social circumstances, should contribute financially to UNEP. The seventh special session of UNEP Governing Council in Cartagena (2002) approved the use of a voluntary indicative scale of contributions to the Environment Fund (VISC) and encouraged all countries to contribute on the basis of VISC or any other basis identified by a Member State.
The introduction of VISC and other voluntary options (contained in paragraph 18 of decision SS.VII/1) has proved to be an efficient approach in stimulating voluntary contributions.
The 2014-2015 VISC has been set in accordance with the relevant Governing Council decisions. The VISC reflects UNEP’s new funding priorities following the principles that universal membership obliges countries to take global responsibility for UNEP and that with regard to the environment fund every country is a donor and every country is a recipient.
Salient points on the 2014-2015 VISC scale:
- Member States are being requested to contribute at least to the UN assessed scale.
- All Member States already contributing at or above UN scale are requested to retain their high level of contribution. In addition, all countries that are contributing below their highest ever payment are encouraged to strive back to that level of funding.
- minimum and maximum rates are applied as per GC decisions: the minimum rate per country is 0.001% of the Environment Fund budget, a Least Developed Country should pay maximum 0.01% of the budget and no single country should pay more than 22% of the budget.
The Executive Director notified the Member States of the latest scale in August-September 2013.
More on VISC:
To help the governments to provide their contributions to the Environment Fund in the easiest, most straight forward manner, the below guideline was developed