London: The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) could lose up to 10% of its income over the next two years because of the global recession, its head said in an interview.
Unicef is funded entirely by voluntary contributions, with about two-thirds of the money coming from governments.
But as authorities across the world spend billions of dollars to bail out banks and prop up industries, the fund’s income is taking a hit.
“We haven’t seen the increases year to year that we have been seeing in some previous years but we actually haven’t seen a decline,” Ann Veneman told Reuters on a visit to London this week.
“We are anticipating that we may see some decline in 2010 and 2011,” she said. “We are not anticipating increases in our budget and we are anticipating slight declines, maybe up to 10%.”
Unicef works in collaboration with governments, UN agencies and NGOs to provide humanitarian assistance to children and mothers affected by emergencies, such as wars and natural disasters. It also works towards longer-term development goals, such as access to education and health care.
Last year Unicef’s income amounted to $3.39 billion, up 13% on 2007, a spokeswoman said. Such growth is unlikely this year.
Just for assistance in emergencies Unicef needs $1 billion in 2009. But eight months into the year, it had secured only a third of that sum.