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India pledges contributions of USD 13.36 mln for UN agencies, development activities

twitter-logoPTI | November 6, 2018 | Updated 10:44 IST

By Yoshita Singh United Nations, Nov 6 (PTI) India pledged contributions of USD 13.36 million for the various UN agencies and development activities, emphasising that the world organisation should have the necessary resources to finance its activities in a balanced manner. During the 2018 United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities here Monday, First Secretary in India's Permanent Mission to the UN Mahesh Kumar said India has been a regular contributor to the UN since its founding and believes that the UN should have the necessary resources to finance its activities, in an appropriate and balanced manner. India's pledged contributions include USD 4.5 million to the UN Development Programme, five million dollars to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Near East, USD 1.92 million to the World Food Programme. USD 790,000 to United Nations Children's Fund, USD 500,000 to UN Population Fund, USD 150,000 to UN Commission on Human Settlements Programme and USD 100,000 each to UN Voluntary contribution for Financial and Technical Assistance for the implementation of Universal Periodic Review, UN Environment Programme and UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Kumar said the list is not exhaustive and India is separately processing contribution for Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Torture and UN Volunteers. About 19 countries pledged a total of USD 425.69 million at the Pledging Conference, reflecting an increase from the 2017 amount of USD 398.98 million. Chief of the Operational Activities Policy Branch in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Zina Mounla said funding for humanitarian assistance has been increasing faster than funding for development-related activities. In the past five years, funding for humanitarian activities has increased by 65 per cent compared to a 10 per cent rise in funding for development. Last year, India in association with the UN Office for South South Cooperation, established the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, a USD 100 million development finance facility. Earlier this year an additional Commonwealth Window of USD 50 million was added to the Fund, to forge development partnership with developing countries members of the Commonwealth. Together the Fund and the Commonwealth Window will provide USD150 million for development partnerships and this year, USD 16 million were contributed in the Fund and the Window. "These resources are non-earmarked in the spirit of sustained predictable funding for the SDGs and South South Cooperation," Kumar said. Since its establishment, 25 member states have partnered with the India Fund from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and, Asia and the Pacific regions. In addition, India along with Brazil and South Africa have an active partnership with the United Nations Development Programme for fruitful South-South Cooperation to assist developing countries, mainly Least Developed Countries (LDCs), through the IBSA Trust Fund. Kumar said sustainable funding remains the key in achieving the 17 goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "The ODA (Official Development Assistance) as a percentage of GNI (Gross national income) remains low; the commitment to the LDCs is far from being met by most DAC (Development Assistance Committee) members; and financing for small island developing states, and country programmable aid continues to decline. This is clearly in contrast to commitments made at various fora on issues of development financing." He said around USD 50 billion are channelised every year through the UN system, but around 65 per cent of these resources are earmarked. As a result, less than 25 per cent of the resources are utilized for development and technical cooperation. India looks forward to the dialogue proposed with member states under the UN Development System reforms on funding compact which should improve funding practices to make voluntary funding more predictable, flexible, effective and efficient, and less earmarked. PTI YAS AMS AMS

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