UNFCCC Budget - An executive summary

The 2018-2019 UNFCCC budget is inspired by the vision and objectives of the historic Paris Agreement. It is designed to respond to the needs of all governments and help Parties achieve their ambitious objectives in the wake of the Agreement rapid entry into force.

With the Paris Agreement, Parties move firmly into a new era of implementation. Building on the foundations of the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol, the budget therefore incorporates urgent support needs emerging from the Agreement speedy entry into force.

Against this background, the proposed budget is framed around the following priorities:

  • The urgent task of completing and operationalizing the Paris Agreement rule book, building on the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol;

  • Continuing support to the implementation of the Convention and its Kyoto Protocol and to the swift implementation of the Paris Agreement with a special focus on turning nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and national adaptation plans (NAPs) into actions, policy interventions and investment plans;

  • Strengthening the catalytic role of the Convention in engaging actors at the national and international level, including relevant United Nations entities, to support Parties more effectively in achieving their climate change and development objectives.

To support these priorities, the proposed budget builds on a strict prioritization of activities, the efficient organization of work, and the deployment of limited resources to achieve maximum impact. However, it would be impossible to meet the most urgent challenges arising from the Paris Agreement with a zero growth budget. While such a budget scenario is included in annex III, the budget proposed to Parties foresees a modest but necessary budget increase of 7.9%.

The proposed budget specifically aims to enhance delivery capacity in the following areas:

  • Consolidating support to the ongoing negotiations and to the bodies and processes that carry forward the technical implementation of the Convention and the Paris Agreement;

  • Supporting the reporting and review of information provided by Parties and the transition to a new transparency framework under the Paris Agreement, including review of support, and the related training and capacity-building for developing countries;

  • Enhancing support to Parties in their preparation and implementation of NDCs and NAPs, including facilitating access to finance, technology and capacity-building;

  • Catalysing and showcasing ambitious action by Parties and non-Party stakeholders to reduce emissions and build resilience so as to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

The core budget in itself will not be sufficient to address the whole range of secretariat support activities required for full and effective support to Parties. Resource requirements under the proposed core budget are therefore complemented by the supplementary resource requirements listed in chapter V of the proposed programme budget document and its annex I.

Both the proposed core budget and supplementary resource requirements aim to respond to the needs of Parties for targeted support of implementation activities at the national level. The secretariat has begun to refocus resources in order to provide such support, not as an executing agency but through more tailored delivery of technical expertise and facilitation of partnerships between Parties and institutions that can effectively assist with implementation on the ground, such as the United Nations Environment Programme, multilateral development banks and other relevant agencies.

The secretariat staff pool will remain lean. The proposed budget foresees a net increase of four staff (an increase of 2%) funded from the core budget to support enhanced delivery in the areas outlined above.

Neither the proposed budget nor the zero growth budget includes provisions for any requirements that may arise from the completion of the Paris Agreement rule book in 2018 such as requirements related to bodies that may become operational through subsequent decisions by Parties.

In a zero growth scenario, a necessary adjustment in the standard salary cost figures means a de facto budget reduction compared with the biennium 2016-2017. The core staff pool would remain at 173.5 staff. In such a scenario, the secretariat stands ready to provide essential services but delivery of enhanced services in the areas outlined above would be impossible and support to the intergovernmental process and its institutions may suffer in terms of level, quality and timeliness of services. Critically, secretariat work will become even more dependent on supplementary funding, the level of which has continuously decreased over the past years. The amount of supplementary funding received in 2016 was significantly lower than received annually from 2013 to 2015. Details of the implications of a zero growth budget are contained in annex III of the proposed programme budget document.

The secretariat is committed to improving the clarity and transparency of the details of the budget and its financial situation to aid decision-making by Parties. Additional information supporting the elements of the proposed budget and the secretariat work programme will therefore be made available on the UNFCCC website.