41st meeting of the Standing Committee

25/03/2010

CONVENTION ON WETLANDS (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
40th Meeting of the Standing Committee
Kobuleti, Georgia, 26 April – 1 May 2010

DOC. SC41-03

Agenda item 8

Review of 2009 Core and projects income and expenditure

Action requested: The Standing Committee is invited to note the contents of this report and advise as appropriate.

1.       Attached to this note is the final draft of the financial statements for 2009. These include:

  • Management accounts with 2009 Core budget vs actual with 2008 actual for comparison
  • Statement of Income and Expenditure (statutory format) - Core and Projects
  • Balance Sheet (statutory format)
  • Analysis of projects financed by Restricted Funds.


2.    Core budget

  • It is the objective of the Secretariat to break even each year, with Core incomes and expenditures largely in balance. 2009 has seen a net surplus of CHF 187,000 before transfers to restricted projects. The Secretary General anticipates that the Parties would expect to see CHF112,000, being the unspent amounts ring-fenced for the Partnership Coordinator post and for Regional Initiatives, transferred to restricted projects for use on these activities in 2010, as reflected in the draft financial statements. The Subgroup on Finance is invited to recommend this course of action to the Standing Committee. This leaves a net surplus for 2009 of CHF 75,000, underlining the generally cautious fiscal approach of the Secretary General in an uncertain financial environment, together with a less harsh year-end exchange rate effect in 2009 that was feared.
  • The principal under- and overspends compared with the COP10-approved budget for 2009 are explained below:

Income

CHF’000

 

Retained Swiss income tax

-23

Due to changes in personal tax situation of various members of staff, tax rebates to Ramsar have reduced.

Expenditure

 

 

Partnership Coordinator

87

SC40 decision to defer position creation until 2010 –allocation transferred to restricted projects.

Regional Initiatives underspend

25

Allocation to Himalayan Initiative withheld –allocation transferred to restricted projects for use in 2010.

Communications underspend

42

Ecosystem services factsheet expenditure slipped out of 2009 into 2010, together with some of the work on the Handbook revisions. The CEPA panel meeting was deferred to 2010.

Charge for increase in exchange loss and bad debt provisions

32

2009 increase not required.

Other

15

Individually small amounts

Total

187

 

 

(112)

Transfers to restricted projects

Net surplus

75

 


3.       There are also a few unders and overs in the various staff salary lines – these reflect very minor budgeting anomalies. 2009 salary increases of 2.6% were given, to reflect Swiss cost of living increase. No performance-related increases were given. This compared with a budgeted increase in salaries of 4%. Expatriate benefit costs (especially school fees) were greater than budgeted for.

4.       Non-core budget

  • 2009 non-core, project income was CHF 1,781,000, a slight fall over 2008. Of this CHF 874,000 came from Danone.
  • In 2009 USFWS granted the Secretariat CHF103,000 to fund additional consultancy support resources for the Americas team at the Secretariat.
  • Wetlands for the Future income declined to CHF 16,000, in part due to adverse exchange rates.
  • CHF 86,000 of new income came from DEWHA, Australia (to fund the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Administrative Reform).
  • Modest STRP funding was received from CBD, UK, Finland, Norway, Tanzania.


5.       Other items of note in the financial statements include:

  • The cost of the 2009 Standing Committee meeting was CHF11,000 greater than that budgeted, due to escalating interpretation costs and the increased travel costs of a greater number of sponsored delegates on the Committee. However, generous 2009 travel funding from Norway allowed some of this cost increase to be offset.
  • Travel costs have been closely managed. The budget continues to be inadequate for the desired activity levels of Ramsar management.
  • IUCN charges for the year were CHF 550,000, of which CHF 515,000 (13%) have been charged to the Core budget and CHF 35,000 to the non-Core administrative fees account where it is covered by overhead charges recovered from Danone.
  • There was a strong cash and thus interest income in 2009 due to good collection of contributions and close cash management, with high year-end external and IUCN creditor balances.


6.       Final audited accounts for 2008 are attached. There are no significant changes between the financial statements provided to SC40 and the final audited accounts.

7.       Final audited accounts for 2009 will be available from May 2010.

Appendices (PDF):

Income and expenditure tables
Auditors’ report

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