Info Service on Finance and Development (Sept15/04)
23 September 2015
Third World Network
the UN fit for the ambitious new Sustainable Development Agenda? (PDF)
New study highlights private funding and corporate influence in the
New York City, 22 September 2015. More than a hundred Heads
of State and Government will gather in New York this week to adopt
the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda is intended
to make the UN 'fit for purpose', but it is important to ask, 'whose
purpose will it be fit for'?
A new study from Global Policy Forum warns that the United Nations
is embarking on a new era of selective multilateralism, shaped by
intergovernmental policy impasses and a growing reliance on corporate-led
solutions to global problems.
full report here (PDF, 2,5 MB): https://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/images/pdfs/
The changing funding patterns of the UN and its funds, programmes
and specialized agencies reflect these alarming trends. Key features
are the growing gap between the scale of global problems and
the (financial) capacity of the UN to solve them; the growing share
of non-core contributions and earmarked trust funds in UN finance;
increased reliance on the corporate sector; and the outsourcing of
funding and decision-making to exclusive global partnerships.
"Funding of all UN system-wide activities is around US$40 billion
per year. While this may seem to be a substantial sum, in reality
it is smaller than the budget of New York City, less than a quarter
of the budget of the European Union, and only 2.3 per cent of the
world's military expenditures," said Jens Martens, co-author
of the study. He added: "As the World Bank calls on the global
community to move from 'Billions' to 'Trillions' to meet the investment
needs of the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations still
has to calculate in terms of 'Millions'."
Barbara Adams, co-author of the study said: "Member States have
failed to provide reliable funding to the UN system at a level sufficient
to enable it to fulfill the mandates they have given it. Many Member
States, particularly the large donors, pursue a dual approach of calling
for greater coherence in UN development activities while at the same
time increasing their use of earmarked funding, which furthers fragmentation."
She added: "This pick- and- choose dynamic, together with ongoing
financial constraints, has opened the space for corporate sector engagement.
Increasingly the UN is promoting market-based approaches and multi-stakeholder
partnerships as the business model for solving global problems. Driven
by a belief that engaging the more economically powerful is essential
to maintaining the relevance of the UN, this practice has harmful
consequences for democratic governance and general public support,
as it aligns more with power centres and away from the less powerful."
Fit for Whose Purpose? Private Funding and Corporate Influence
in the United Nations, released today, gives a comprehensive overview
of current UN funding trends and ends with a summary of findings
and policy recommendations to counter the new 'business model' of
global governance and to make the United Nations really 'fit for purpose',
fit for the purpose of a democratic and inclusive global governance.
Detailed and specific, the demands range from adopting measures to
limit earmarked funding as a percentage of total funding, to strengthening
the rules and tools governing engagement with the business sector,
and to establishing an intergovernmental framework for partnership
Contact: Barbara Adams | phone 001-917-287 5935
Jens Martens | firstname.lastname@example.org
for whose purpose?
funding and corporate influence in the United Nations
Global Policy Forum
866 UN Plaza, Suite 4050, New York, NY 10017, USA
K๖nigstrasse 37a, 53115 Bonn, Germany
Authors: Barbara Adams and Jens Martens
Bonn/New York, September 2015
full report here (PDF, 2,5 MB)
For single chapters, please see