The Netherlands, already a significant financial supporter of the organization, have decided to raise their contribution to UNEP's Environment Fund by around $2.1 million to a total of about $4.5 million for this year.
The Environment Fund, which in recent years has been declining, is UNEP's core funding. It is critical for the organization's activities in areas such as chemicals, early warning of disasters, wildlife and environmental law as laid out in UNEP's work programme and authorised by its Governing Council of 58 nations, the organization's supreme decision-making body.
Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of UNEP, said: "The decision by the Dutch to give us this much needed and much welcomed support has come at an important time as we head for next year's crucial World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are facing the New Year with renewed optimism concerning the financial stability of the organization. I can only again thank the Government of the Netherlands for their substantial and timely intervention".
The increase in contributions comes in the wake of review and assessment of UNEP by the Government of the Netherlands.
Gertjan Storm, the Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya and Permanent Representative to UNEP in Nairobi, Kenya, said: "We were pleased with what we found. It is our conclusion that UNEP has become a more efficient and effective organization and that our money is being generally well spent. The increased contributions recognize the importance of the environment in the goal of delivering a healthier, less poverty ridden and more sustainably developed world. Indeed we are keen for UNEP to deliver on the issue of poverty and its links with the environment. The increased funding also underlines our support for the Executive Director and the excellent work he is carrying out on behalf of the international community".
The Netherlands is also backing specific projects through so called Trust or "earmarked" funds. Over the past two years they have provided important amounts of funding for areas such as environmental law for Africa, economics and trade, the drawing up of UNEP's pioneering Global Environment Outlook report and the Global Programme of Action (GPA) for reducing pollution of the seas from the land. The GPA is headquartered in the Hague
UNEP's core work programme, the lion's share of which is funded from the Environment Fund, is estimated at about $50 million a year. Other basic costs include around $14.5 million for management and administrative support costs. Last year contributions from governments, which are made on a voluntary basis, to the Environment Fund amounted to some $41 million. UNEP managed to afford the programme last year because it was able to carry over about $22 million from the previous biennium budget.
UNEP's fund raising experts anticipate that the final figure for this year will be up to $45 million. While still a shortfall, it is far higher than had been feared.
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UNEP News Release 01/114