Donors pledge US$1.2 bn to UNHCR for refugee humanitarian programmes

GENEVA, At an annual pledging conference in Geneva on Thursday, donor governments pledged US$1.2 billion to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to provide humanitarian assistance and safeguard the rights of tens of millions of forcibly displaced and stateless people in 2020 and beyond.

The pledges include an initial $884.4 million for 2020 to provide refugees and internally displaced people with shelter, food, clean water and sanitation, healthcare, education and legal protection, and to assist stateless people with obtaining a nationality. This amounts to around 9 percent of the $8.7 billion UNHCR estimates is needed for its programmes next year.

Besides, some $310 million has been pledged towards multi-year programming, a demonstration of trust in the organisation that allows UNHCR to be more efficient and effective in its long-term planning and support partnership in a more sustainable way.

“After a decade in which forced displacement levels reached record highs year after year, the humanitarian needs of those affected by war and persecution have never been greater,” said the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Kelly T. Clements. “This (support) is a great start to the year. With early, flexible and generous contributions, we can ease the suffering of people and their impacted hosts and help them cope with long-term pressures.”

The timeliness of these pledges will allow continuity of life-saving activities, including in some of the largest operations in the world responding to crises in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, South Sudan, Bangladesh, Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and across the Sahel.

However, the gap between needs and available funding continues to grow. Multiple conflicts remain unresolved, more people are uprooted from their homes, in part fuelled by the effects of climate change, poverty and inequality.

Donors have indicated their intention to pledge additional financial support at the Global Refugee Forum, GRF, set to take place in Geneva from 17th to 18th December, 2019.

Voluntary contributions from governments, intergovernmental institutions, private businesses and individuals make up almost the entirety of UNHCR’s funding. In addition to today’s pledges from donor governments, representatives of UNHCR’s eight Private Sector National Partners attended the pledging conference for the first time and announced an initial commitment of $250 million for 2020.

Source: Emirates News Agency