Within the framework of the Medium Term Strategic Plan, the Executive Director submits multi-year country programmes to the UNICEF Executive Board for approval. Regular resources are allocated for each country with which UNICEF cooperates, according to a formula agreed upon by the Executive Board and based on three criteria: the country’s under-five mortality rate, gross national product per capita and the absolute size of the child population.

Total expenditure increased by 37 per cent to $2,197 million in 2005, compared with 2004. The largest share of programme assistance (38 per cent) went to early childhood development programming. The greatest share of programme assistance by geographic region was accorded to sub-Saharan Africa, which received 45 per cent of all programme expenditure.

The Biennial Support Budget for 2004–2005 was approved by the UNICEF Executive Board in December 2003. The support budget funds programme-support activities carried out by Country and Regional Offices and Headquarters; it also covers management and administration activities that include executive direction, organizational policy, external relations, information management, and financial and human resources administration.

Mandatory costs – such as those related to security and emergency preparedness, United Nations reform, additional actions to achieve programmatic results towards the Medium Term Strategic Plan and the Millennium Development Goals, and continuous improvements in global information technology systems – are also funded by the support budget. UNICEF recovers indirect support costs incurred to manage programme activities funded by other resources. This recovery is recorded as income to the support budget.