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An evaluation of the Belgian core funding policy of multilateral organisations


©WHO/Gregor Donaldson
 

In April 2021, the Special Evaluation Office (SEO) published the final report of its evaluation of Belgium’s core funding policy of multilateral organizations. The restitution where the results and recommendations were presented took place on the 21st of June. The full report is available in English. There is also a summary in Dutch and French.
 

Effective multilateralism

Core funding makes it possible to contribute to the general resources of international partner organisations of the Belgian cooperation, rather than making earmarked contributions to targeted projects. Belgium has been applying this policy since 2009, demonstrating its strong commitment to an effective multilateralism.

Fifteen international partner organisations receive more than a third of Belgian multilateral development aid through the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD). The current selection of these international partner organisations is in line with Belgium's sectoral, thematic and policy priorities, such as human rights, decent work, food security, climate action and gender equality.

The evaluation aimed to assess the choice and implementation of a core funding policy. Were the expected results achieved? Which mechanisms and instruments were used?  A number of policy and operational recommendations were also made for the design and implementation of the new multi-annual funding of international partner organisations.
 

UN development organisations

The evaluation focused on the United Nations development agencies, concentrating on Belgian support to the OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund) and the WHO (World Health Organization). Special attention was paid to the work of these organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The core funding allowed the organisations to allocate their funding to priority areas, and helped to fund interventions that were critical for beneficiaries, including during Covid-19, such as:

  1. strengthening health systems through WHO
  2. promoting democratic governance through UNDP
  3. ensuring the presence of qualified human rights defenders at country level through OHCHR
  4. reinforcing the right to access reproductive health services for women through UNFPA

The main conclusion was that the voluntary core funding policy has been highly relevant within the broader framework of multilateral development cooperation, reducing fragmentation. However, core funding was not sufficiently exploited as a possible tool to exert influence.

The evaluation makes a number of recommendations to the Cabinet of the Minister of Development Cooperation, to the DGD and to the Permanent Representations to the UN and diplomatic missions in Belgian partner countries.