UNGA72 | Ambassadors call on all States to stand by UN decision to fund treaty bodies


While a path for treaty body funding was made clear in 2014, their funding is currently under fire with a recommendation that less than the required funding is approved. Two Ambassadors publically call on the Fifth Committee - the UN finance committee - to stand by the agreed formula and ensure these bodies are sufficiently funded if they have any chance of protecting fundamental human rights.

This week the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly will make its final decisions on the funding of UN mechanisms and sections. In 2014, as part of a move to strengthen the treaty bodies, the Third Committee of the General Assembly – the committee that examines human rights issues – developed a formula (recorded in resolution 68/268) to determine the funding of the treaty bodies according to need of those engaging with the mechanism.

Treaty bodies are committees of experts that seek to ensure that States respect the human rights of their citizens. The formula is an attemt to deal with the current challenges, including the significant backlog of individual complaints received by treaty bodies from victims of human rights violations. 

In a controversial move, the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), that makes recommendations to assist the Fifth Committee in its deliberations on funding, has recommended a lower amount than indicated by the formula.

Ambassador Kai Sauer, the Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN emphasised the crucial need to ensure adequate funding:  

'For us it is of utmost importance that the treaty bodies receive the needed funds in order to operate effectively. Their role is crucial in protecting human rights and this needs to be supported, as part of our commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights.'

Ambassador Juan Carlos Mendoza Garcia, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN urged States to stand by what they agreed only a few years ago

'Treaty bodies are essential in the promotion and protection of human rights. Over the past decade we have seen an increase in the demand on these bodies by those whose rights have been violated. It is on us all to ensure these bodies can meet that demand by adequately resourcing them. The formula developed in 68/268 is a step towards this. We need to stand by our commitments to the treaty bodies and to protecting human rights.' 

'All States should support the intention behind resolution 68/268 and actively engage in discussions at the Fifth Committee. Failure to follow the formula at this session of the Fifth Committee risks undermining the efforts to enhance the effectiveness of the treaty body system (known as the treaty body strengthening process),' said ISHR’s Legal Counsel Tess McEvoy. 

'The protection of fundamental human rights should not be lost in the numbers games that occurs in the Fifth Committee. The challenge of adequately funding the treaty bodies remains alive even if the Fifth Committee decides to dodge it on this occassion.'

Contact: Tess McEvoy, t.mcevoy@ishr.ch

Photo: ISHR.  


  • Treaty body strengthening process
  • United Nations
  • UN General Assembly
  • UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies