Governance-Financing :: Multilateral Organizations
Who funds which multilateral organizations?
Brookings – Global Views, No.8, December 2017 :: 27 pages
John W. McArthur, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, the Brookings Institution
Krista Rasmussen, Research Analyst, Global Economy and Development, the Brookings Institution
This policy brief draws on official data sources to estimate how countries allocated more than $63 billion in average annual grant funding across 53 major multilateral organizations during the 2014 to 2016 period.
Some headline findings are as follows:
:: Funding sources are concentrated, with nearly half the sample total provided by four funders —the U.S., the U.K., Japan, and Germany—and 95 percent provided by 32 funders.
:: Among the same four largest funders, only the U.K. contributes more than its share of OECD donor country income to the multilateral organizations in the sample.
:: In per capita terms, the four largest funders are Norway, Luxembourg, Sweden, and Monaco. Each provides more than $185 per person per year to multilateral organizations. organizations. Denmark and Switzerland also provide more than $150 per person per year.
:: A majority of the sample’s total resources are targeted to a small number of organizations, with six entities receiving more than half of the overall funding.
:: Four of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council give their largest share of funding within the sample to U.N. peacekeeping operations: China, France, Russia, and the U.S. The U.K. gives its largest share to IDA, the World Bank’s concessional financing arm.
:: The U.S., U.K., and Japan played special funding roles across the multilateral system during the sample period. One of these three countries was the largest funder for each of 42 organizations in the sample, including all of the 17 largest organizations. Overall, the U.S. is the top funder for 24 organizations, the U.K. for nine organizations, and Japan for nine organizations.
:: Only a handful of other funders are the lead contributor to other organizations, including France (for 2 organizations), Sweden (2), Germany (1), the EU/EC (1), Switzerland (1), Brazil (1), BMGF (1), Argentina (1), and Panama (1). This suggests that even mid- and smaller-sized economies can choose to play special lead funding roles within specific organizations.
:: The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides more than $880 million per year to multilateral organizations and is the second-largest funder to CGIAR, Gavi, and WHO.
:: Estimating each funder’s relative importance to each organization—how big a relative fish it is in each pond—enables the opportunity to compare each country’s “fish factor” across organizations. This in turn offers the opportunity to assess countries’ revealed preferences among multilateral priorities. Fish factors can also be compared to objective benchmarks like share of world population, world income, or donor country income.
Altogether, the quantitative assessment in this brief offers a starting point for evaluating each country’s recent multilateral priorities and the relative importance of those priorities to each multilateral organization. Future research could usefully unpack underlying streams of finance to each entity and investigate how funding flows have changed over time, potentially reflecting shifts in priorities. In the meantime, the analysis presented here can help inform debates about where forthcoming investments in multilateral cooperation are most needed.