The European Union has ignored the warnings of the UN’s climate change body (UNFCCC) and stopped governments from giving it as much money as it says it needs for the years 2024 and 2025.
At climate talks in the German city of Bonn last week, governments negotiated how much money to give the UNFCCC for the next two years.
The UNFCCC wanted €83m ($91m) but governments could only agree to give it €74m ($81m), leaving its work at the mercy of what governments want to fund voluntarily.
Three sources in the room during negotiations told Climate Home that the European Union, one of the UNFCCC's major funders, would not allow any increase above this figure.
Ignoring inflation, its a 19% increase on the previous two years' budget. A spokesperson for the EU confirmed that the block "together with other Parties" supported a 19% increase.
One small island negotiator told Climate Home: "The big issue with the budget is that we agree as [governments] to mandates at Cops. We all make compromises and then 6-18 months later, in a sparsely-attended budget room, we decide on how much of those mandates get funded".
"It's inefficient and fundamentally unfair," the negotiator added, "all the power in the budget room is with the countries that contribute a lot".
The budget increase is 19%, most of the extra money will be eaten up by inflation and by increases in staff salaries ordered by the UN's headquarters in New York.
The small island negotiator said it was "just maintaining the status quo" with "no new staff, no new capacity to fulfill the expanded mandates the [governments] have given the secretariat".
In his pitch for funds, Stiell said that, on top of its normal tasks, the UNFCCC has to help governments respond to the global stocktake of climate action, negotiate a new climate finance goal and submit new and improved climate plans in 2025.
The UNFCCC also wants to do more work to hold polluting governments and corporations to account, he said.
Carrying out all its jobs will cost €131m, he said, so it will have to try and drum up more money, mainly from governments, on a voluntary basis.
Stiell said this funding is "unpredictable" which "jeopardises the delivery of mandated activities".
Relying on voluntary funding gives bigger and wealthier countries more power over what work the UNFCCC is able to carry out.
The UNFCCC does get some donations from private companies although there are restrictions on this.
If they don't receive enough extra funding, then work like organising a ministerial round-table on climate ambition in the 2020s could be jeoparised, as could engagement with companies and training on scrutiny of governments climate plans.
A spokesperson for the European Commission said: "The EU and its member states not only contribute a significant share to the core budget, but also make a contribution to the supplementary trust fund and to the fund that supports developing country travel."