Blessing or Curse?

The Effects of Earmarked Funding in UNICEF and UNDP

In: Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations
Lisa Katharina Schmid
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Alexander Reitzenstein
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Nina Hall Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies Bologna Italy

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Earmarked funding to international organizations (IO s) has increased significantly over the past two decades. International relations scholars have examined the causes of this trend, but know less about its effects on UN entities. This article identifies different types of earmarked funding, varying from low to high discretion delegated to IO s. Secondly, it examines trends in the UN Development Programme and UN Children’s Fund and finds that both have significant proportions of earmarked funding with low discretion. Drawing on thirty interviews, the article notes four implications of tightly earmarked financing: 1) higher transaction costs for IO s; 2) less predictable funding; 3) overhead costs that are rarely covered; and 4) increasing competition for financing. Overall, the article highlights that earmarked financing exists on a spectrum from tight to minimal control by donor states, and this has important implications for multilateralism.

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