41st meeting of the Standing Committee
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CONVENTION ON WETLANDS (Ramsar, Iran, 1971)
41st Meeting of the Standing Committee
Kobuleti, Georgia, 26 April – 1 May 2010
Agenda item 8
Ramsar Secretariat Core Budget 2010
Action requested: The Standing Committee is requested to note this report on the budget for the current year and advise the Secretary General as appropriate.
1. Attached to this note is the Core Budget for 2009 to 2012 as approved by the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (COP10). Parties will remember that the 2010 budget allows for increases only in salaries and IUCN charges (still 13%), with all other budget lines remaining the same.
2. The Secretary General is not at this stage seeking any changes to the budget for 2010, but he notes the following:
- Zero cost of living increases for 2010. The Secretary General plans to use the 4% (CHF 110,279) budgeted increases in staff lines as follows:
Net cost of 50% documentation officer
Additional admin resource
Basic (“2%”) performance increments
Medical costs (CHF 20 per month)
Other (including additional performance increments)
- The new budget line for the Partnership Coordinator allocates CHF 141,696 for expenditure in 2010. Together with the 2009 allocation not spent this will be sufficient to make this post operational from May 2010.
- We have a significant problem with our intern programme. Due to the tightly restricted numbers of work permits in the Canton of Vaud, and the belief by the authorities that we are underpaying our interns, we, and IUCN, are not able to obtain the work permits we need for our interns. We are hopeful that we might be able to negotiate to get the release of the one currently embargoed for 2010, but we expect that from 2011 we will be required to increase the intern salaries by CHF 2,000 per month, increasing our salary cost by an estimated CHF 118,000 per annum. We will continue to work with the Swiss authorities and IUCN to minimise the operational and financial impact of this matter.
- The 2009 budget of CHF 279,190 is to be allocated to Regional Initiatives – see document SC41-13 for the proposed allocation.
- 2010 travel budgets may not support the currently anticipated travel plans of the Secretariat. However, with the 2009 Reserve Fund transfer requested in SC41-4, the Secretary General is confident that this problem will be manageable.
- Education costs (for children of expatriate staff) presented a challenge in 2009. Known changes in staffing in 2010 should reduce this problem. However, further challenge may arise depending upon the requirements of new expatriate staff hired in 2010.
- With financial support for flight and accommodation costs coming from the Georgian Ministry of Environment, we expect that the Secretariat costs of holding the 41st meeting of the Standing Committee (SC41) in Georgia will be no greater than that ordinarily budgeted and spent on holding the meeting in Gland.
- IUCN charges to Ramsar for 2010 are being finalised but are expected to be in line with the 2010 budget. The charges for 2010 are being modified to take into account the effects of the extension to the IUCN building, the allocation of charges for shared space, and the Spring 2010 move of the Secretariat within IUCN.
3. The Subgroup on Finance is requested to recommend this 2010 budget for the Standing Committee approval.
4. As agreed at SC40, for 2010 contributions we did not send provisional invoices in mid-2009, but instead waited until after new UN rates were published on 23 December 2009 to issue final 2010 invoices. This did mean that a number of Contracting Parties that have traditionally paid annual contributions early did not do so for 2010. This was anticipated and managed. Indications are that the benefits of reducing administrative work at the Secretariat and reducing the scope for error and confusion in Contracting Parties outweighed the cash flow disadvantage.
5. It would however help us greatly if Contracting Parties who have not yet paid their 2010 contributions could do so sooner rather than later, and respond positively to 2011 contribution invoices which will be sent out in Autumn 2010.