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Statement of Non-Governmental Organisations on Programme, Administrative and Financial Matters

Statement of Non-Governmental Organisations on Programme, Administrative and Financial Matters

3 October 2002

53rd Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner's Programme
3 October 2002

Mr Chairman,

NGOs support recommendations to tighten up auditing procedures with respect to accounting of sub-projects implemented on behalf of UNHCR and we should have no difficulty in fulfilling standard auditing expectations. However, we feel bound to recall that many NGOs' accounting challenges, and indeed very many of their challenges and obstacles in implementing UNHCR programmes, derive from budget reductions imposed upon them, often at impracticably short notice, as a result of funding shortfalls.

NGOs would, therefore, urge UNHCR to further hone their arrangements for giving timely notice of budget cuts. When budget cuts are inevitable, such cuts should be made in consultation with their NGO partners. NGOs would further call on donor governments of ExCom to ensure the full funding of UNHCR' s entire programme.

We would also stress that in order properly to meet our responsibilities to refugees, UNHCR's programme budget should be needs-based as opposed to resource-based. Furthermore, those needs should not be defined by the geographical location of refugees. NGOs also urge States to designate at least a portion of funds as unrestricted, to the extent possible, to allow UNHCR the flexibility to designate resources to unforeseen emergencies or to respond to unforeseen shifts in priorities.

The current system, which requires contributions from NGO implementing partners, favours large, well-resourced, international NGOs over smaller or national NGOs that may be better placed because of their mandate or presence. The use of NGO resources and expertise can address gaps in UNHCR's capacity to carry out certain activities, including, for example, work on resettlement.