With its official development assistance amounting to 1.1 percent of its gross national income in 2014 — the largest proportion of aid in the world — Sweden is one of the few countries that has consistently exceeded the United Nations’ 0.7 percent ODA-to-GNI target.
Multilateral core support — or unearmarked funding for multilateral organizations — has through the years remained one of the largest recipients of Swedish aid, alternating with bilateral support for developing countries for first place. Unearmarked contributions are vital to an organization’s operations, as these allow it to align the allocation of its resources to its priorities.
Earlier this year, the Swedish government announced pledges to two multilateral organizations — $101.8 million for the Global Fund and $14.2 million for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. In addition, the country recently announced core funding figures for 15 more multilaterals, many of them agencies within the U.N. system. Below is a listing of these organizations, together with the corresponding amounts committed by Sweden.
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees ($75.9 million)
With staff operating in more than 125 countries, UNHCR leads and coordinates international action to protect and preserve the rights of refugees and displaced and stateless people worldwide. From immediate emergency response during disasters and conflict to the rebuilding of refugees’ lives, UNHCR is present, working with those fleeing persecution or war toward voluntary repatriation, local integration or resettlement.
World Food Program ($65.2 million)
WFP is the front-line U.N. agency in the global fight against hunger. Aside from delivering urgent food assistance to over 80 million of the world’s poorest and vulnerable, it works to improve nutrition and quality of life, promote food security and prevent hunger in the future — eventually eliminating the need for food aid.
UNICEF ($62.3 million)
UNICEF operates in some of the world’s toughest places, working to protect children from the harmful effects of poverty, violence, disease and disaster. Upholding the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF’s work focuses on the survival and development of young children, education and gender equality, children’s health — specifically the prevention of HIV and AIDS — and protection from abuse, violence and exploitation.
U.N. Development Program ($58.7 million)
As the U.N.’s global development network, UNDP links and coordinates global and national efforts to reduce poverty and promote progress in the developing world. The agency supports the development of local capacity and helps countries use aid effectively as they work toward creating their own solutions to development challenges.
U.N. Population Fund ($57.5 million)
UNFPA expands the possibilities of women, families and youth to lead better lives by promoting and advocating for sexual and reproductive health, youth empowerment, gender equality and human rights. The agency has played a vital role in halving the number of maternal deaths since 1969 and in fighting oppressive practices such as female genital mutilation.
U.N. Central Emergency Response Fund ($48.6 million)
Funded by voluntary contributions, CERF has received almost $3.8 billion since 2006, which has been made available to U.N. agencies, funds and programs, as well as the International Organization for Migration. CERF supports fast and effective humanitarian response during emergencies by providing immediate funding to people affected by natural disasters and armed conflict. The fund also disburses grants for neglected crises and underfunded emergencies.
Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance ($41.5 million)
Gavi brings together the public and private sectors to expand access to childhood vaccines in the world’s poorest countries. The World Health Organization estimates that just the first decade of Gavi’s work has contributed to the immunization of an additional 440 million children. Members of the alliance include the World Bank, WHO, UNICEF, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, developing and donor country governments, research and technical agencies, civil society organizations and vaccine companies.
UNAIDS ($23.7 million)
UNAIDS operates all over the world, working toward the achievement of universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. Its focus includes reducing sexual transmission of HIV, preventing HIV among drug users, eliminating new HIV infections among children, closing the global HIV and AIDS resource gap, and ending discrimination and stigma against people living with HIV through policy support.
U.N. Women ($8.3 million)
As the U.N. organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, U.N. Women supports the formulation of gender-sensitive international policies and standards and helps implement these standards at the country level. Aside from providing funding, U.N. Women provides technical support to governments and nongovernmental organizations working alongside it to eliminate discrimination against women and girls and achieve equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development.
The Development Assistance Committee of the OECD is composed of many of the world’s largest funders of aid or official development assistance. OECD-DAC aims to promote development cooperation and advance policies that contribute to pro-poor economic growth, poverty reduction, and the improvement of living standards in developing countries.
U.N. Peacebuilding Fund ($6.8 million)
UNPBF’s aim is to promote peace and prevent a relapse into conflict in the areas where it operates. The fund pours resources into activities designed to strengthen national capacities to promote peaceful coexistence and resolution of conflict and rebuild basic infrastructure in societies damaged by conflict, violence and war.
International Committee of the Red Cross ($5.9 million)
Financed mainly by voluntary donations from governments, the private sector and national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, ICRC provides humanitarian assistance to those affected by conflict and armed violence. Through its field missions across the globe, the organization protects civilians, upholds international humanitarian laws and ensures economic security.
IDEA is an intergovernmental organization that promotes cooperation and collaboration toward sustainable democracy and democratic change at global, regional and country levels. IDEA’s areas of expertise and support include electoral processes, constitution-building processes, political parties and proper citizen participation and representation.
U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime ($4.2 million)
In the fight against illicit drugs, transnational crime and terrorism, many governments and development partners are increasingly turning to UNODC for its specialized expertise in the area. Aside from building the capacities of U.N. member states to crack down on these issues, the agency also conducts research and analytical work aimed at expanding the evidence base for policy and operational decisions relating to a host of threats and menaces.
U.N. Capital Development Fund ($2.9 million)
UNCDF supports the world’s least-developed countries by promoting financial inclusion and making investments in the areas of local development and microfinance. Working closely with UNDP, the fund combines investment capital with capacity building and technical advisory services. The fund’s programs have been designed to help empower women and catalyze larger capital flows from national governments, development partners and the private sector.