UN Bodies Under Threat of UK Funding Cut

    U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell. Photo by: Rick Bajornas / UN

    The United Kingdom sent a final warning letter to U.N. organizations it deems “inefficient,” threatening funding cuts if they do not improve their “sluggish” performance.

    “We only want to work with agencies that are effective and make the most of the support Britain supplies. While we’ve seen some organisations introducing important reforms, the response from others has been disappointingly sluggish,” U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell said.

    The United Kingdom stopped sending funds to the U.N. Habitat, the U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and the International Labor Organization in March. UNESCO — which is already experiencing a funding shortfall after the United States cut its support for the agency — and the Food and Agriculture Organization are in danger of following next after being rated as poor performers in March.

    The Department for International Development said it has blocked plans for a new expensive headquarters for UNESCO until it sees better proof the aid it sends the organization is spent on programs that have an impact on the poor. As for FAO, it said the organization must implement its reform programs and “make savings with greater urgency if it is to escape a funding cut.”

    DfID said the organizations are given only until 2013 to improve their performance. However, it said that agencies who are performing well would see an increase in aid.

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    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.