General Assembly Resolution 2997 of 1972 stated unequivocally that “the costs of servicing the Governing Council and providing the small secretariat shall be borne by the regular budget of the United Nations and that operational programme costs, programme support and administrative costs of the Environment Fund shall be borne by the Fund.”
In Para 1 of the same resolution the General Assembly also decided that “a small secretariat shall be established in the United Nations to serve as a focal point for environment action and co-ordination within the United Nations system in such a way as to ensure a high degree of effective management.”
However, while the responsibilities of the Secretariat have grown, the amount of UNEP’s funding provided by the Regular Budget has decreased in absolute and percentage terms until 2013. (see graph below):
In line with the Rio+20 outcome, the General Assembly (GA approved, in December 2013, an increased budget for UNEP of about USD 21 million for the biennium 2014-2015. The increased funding, in compliance with GA resolution 67/213 of December 2012, is geared towards consolidating and securing UNEP’s capacity to fulfil its catalytic and coordination function at global, regional and sub-regional levels in proving its ability to facilitate access to technology and capacity building, consolidating its headquarters’ functions in Nairobi, strengthening and reinforcing UNEP’s strategic presence in the regions.
This is the first time since 1978 that there is a substantial increase in UNEP’s regular budget share, both in absolute and relative terms. The environment section of the UN regular budget has declined as a proportion of the total from 1.13 per cent in 1974 to 0.27 per cent in 2013. The recent decision brought it up to 0.67 per cent of the overall budget for 2014-15.
GA resolution 68/248 on Programme budget for the biennium 2014-2015
The allocation requested by the Secretary General would go a long way towards enabling UNEP to operate as originally planned and meet the vision articulated in the Rio+20 Summit.