Earmarked contributions are funds that are earmarked by the donor to be used in specific countries, in specific projects or to a specific theme or sub-programme. The main purpose of earmarked contributions is to enable expansion and replication of results of our core work, including building capacity in more countries and with more partners. In 2019, UN Environment Programme (UNEP) received US$ 421.2 million in earmarked contributions.
While earmarked contributions allow Member States to report on priority issues based on their respective governments’ agenda, soft earmarking, targeted for example at the sub-programme level is needed to enable UNEP to deliver the programme in a balanced and cost-effective manner. In 2018, softly earmarked funds represented only around five per cent of all earmarked funds.
Soft earmarking reduces programme support costs by simplifying administrative procedures. In addition to flexible contributions to our core Environment Fund, some Member States have taken the lead by having multi-year agreements with UNEP. These agreements are designed to promote long-term stability and to strengthen the cooperation between the Member States and UNEP by implementing programmes consistent with our mandate, that achieve results at the global, regional and national levels. Examples of these long-term agreements with softly earmarked funding are:
- China Trust Fund
- Norway Programme Cooperation Agreement
- Sweden Programme Cooperation Agreement
- UN Development Account
- US Environmental Protection Agency
The European Commission has also taken the lead in providing sufficient funding by having multi-year agreements with UNEP.