As a voluntary and informal state-led process, the GFMD does not have a regular funding mechanism. Financial contributions are offered on a voluntary basis to rotating Chairmanships. Each Chair-in-Office prepares a comprehensive budget for the Chairmanship period, indicating the part it will cover through its own resources and the part for which it will require external funding.
A GFMD assessment exercise in 2012 reached a conclusion that the GFMD needed a more stable and predictable funding mechanism to ensure the sustainability of the GFMD process. On the basis of the consolidated GFMD Assessment Paper, the Swedish GFMD Chair in 2013-2014 led the GFMD in developing a long-term financing framework with the following elements:
- clear governance and accountability in accordance with established international financial and accounting standards;
- annual standardized core budget that includes the costs of preparatory activities, the operational costs of the GFMD Support Unit and the costs of organizing the GFMD Summit in the host country;
- early voluntary pledging to be held at the start of each Chairmanship; and
- a broader donor base that welcomes contributions of any amount by as many countries as may be possible.
Financial contributions are paid to a fund administered by the Chair-in-Office through the GFMD Support Unit and in coordination with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), host entity of the GFMD Support Unit. The Chair-in-Office, directly or through the GFMD Support Unit, incurs expenditures in accordance with the budget and ensures the efficient management of all funds received, including controlling and auditing.
Over the past years, contributions-in-kind have also been provided by a few governments, international organizations and foundations to the rotating Chairs-in-Office. Such in-kind contributions take the form of secondment of experts, drafting of Roundtable background papers or supplementary papers, and logistical assistance with preparatory activities. In these respects, the IOM, in particular, has been an important and steadfast contributor to the GFMD through the years. The MacArthur Foundation had also been one of the largest donors of the GFMD process until 2012.
Governments' responses to calls for financial and in-kind contributions have varied from one Chairmanship to another. Nonetheless, the number of donor governments has grown remarkably, averaging around 15 to 20 donors each year, since 2010. Records show that the number of contributors to developing country Chairs-in-Office is comparatively higher than to developed country Chairs-in-Office.
For its part, the Chair-in-Office from 2007 to 2016 assumes a varied scope of financial responsibility, depending on its economic situation. Each Chair establishes a national task force consisting of national experts and international advisers to the GFMD Chair. The host governments usually shoulder the salaries, travel and other costs of national task force members. Meanwhile, international advisers are usually seconded or paid by other donors. These costs, however, are not considered as part of the core budget of the Chair-in-Office and are therefore not included in the end-of-the-Chairmanship report to the donors.