• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

UNHCR's donors announce contributions of almost US$500 million for 2008

News Stories, 11 December 2007

© Bianco/ Patrick Bertschmann
High Commissioner António Guterres (centre) presides over the Pledging Conference.

GENEVA, December 11 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Tuesday sought US$1.096 billion from donor countries to fund its extensive operations in 2008 to help millions of refugees, displaced civilians and stateless persons around the world.

UNHCR later announced intended contributions made at the annual Pledging Conference in Geneva of $492.2 million, up about 25 percent on last year's pledges of US$393.8 million. The balance is expected over next year.

Donor nations clearly heeded High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres's call for early and generous donations. "This response is tremendous," said Guterres.

"We are grateful for this vote of confidence, which will help us deal with the growing challenge of forced displacement around the world," he noted, while adding: "Our programme this year received strong support and we trust donors will respond equally generously in 2008."

As UNHCR relies almost entirely on voluntary funding, it is vital to get early and generous pledges so that it can plan effectively and continue operations to help those uprooted by conflict and persecution without interruption. So far, 93 percent of that 2007 budget has been funded by donors.

In addition to its regular budget, UNHCR has appealed for some US$480 million for emergency and special programmes in places such as Iraq, Darfur and Somalia. This will bring the agency's total expected budget in 2008 to more than US$1.57 billion, compared to US$1.45 billion in 2007.

The largest operations in the 2008 combined annual budget are Iraq, Chad and Sudan, Afghanistan, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The leading donors to UNHCR this year were, in order: the United States, Sweden, the European Commission, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Switzerland, France, Italy, Australia and Finland.

UNHCR is present in 116 countries, has 262 offices worldwide with 6,260 staff members 5,400 of whom are in the field. The agency works with 624 partners to provide help and assistance to 32.9 million refugees, displaced and stateless people.




The Global Report and Funding Reports

A comprehensive view of the refugee agency's challenges and achievements worldwide.


Governments, organisations and individuals who fund UNHCR's activities.

The Global Appeal, Supplementary Appeals and Response Plans

Alerting donors, organizations and individuals to the plight of millions of uprooted people.

Kuwaiti Funds Provide Vital Medical Aid for Syrians in Lebanon

As the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon continues to grow, ensuring access to quality health care is becoming an increasing challenge for humanitarian aid groups and the international community. So, Kuwait's unprecedented donation in April of US$110 million for UNHCR's Syria crisis operations this year came at a most opportune time. Slightly more than 40 per cent of the amount has been used to fund programmes in Lebanon, including the provision of vital - and often life-saving - medical care. In the following photo gallery, photographer Shawn Baldwin looks at the essential work being done in just one Kuwaiti-supported clinic in northern Lebanon. The small Al Nahda Primary Health Care Clinic in the town of Beddawi has a staff of seven doctors and one nurse. Between 600 and 700 people seek medical attention there every month and the clinic meets the needs of some of the most vulnerable refugees.

Kuwaiti Funds Provide Vital Medical Aid for Syrians in Lebanon

More focus needed on reintegration of former Afghan refugees

Many of the more than 5.5 million Afghan refugees who have returned home since 2002 are still struggling to survive. Lack of land, job opportunities and other services, combined with poor security in some places, has caused many returnees to head to urban areas. While cities offer the promise of informal day labour, the rising cost of rental accommodation and basic commodities relegate many returnees to life in one of the informal settlements which have mushroomed across Kabul in recent years. Some families are living under canvases and the constant threat of eviction, while others have gained a toe-hold in abandoned buildings around the city.

UNHCR gives humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable, and is currently rallying support from donors and humanitarian and development agencies to redouble efforts to help returning refugees reintegrate in Afghanistan.

More focus needed on reintegration of former Afghan refugees

Flight by Night: Syrian Refugees Risk the Crossing to Jordan in the Dark

Every night, hundreds of refugees flee from Syria via dozens of unofficial border crossing points and seek shelter in neighbouring Jordan. Many feel safer crossing in the dark, but it remains a risky journey by day or night. They arrive exhausted, scared and traumatized, but happy to be in the welcoming embrace of Jordan and away from the conflict in their country. Some arrive with bad injuries, many carry belongings. A large proportion are women and children. Observers at the border at night see these eerie silhouettes approaching out of the dark. Earlier this week, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was among these observers. He and his UNHCR colleagues were moved by what they saw and heard at the border and earlier in Za'atri refugee camp, where arrivals are taken by the Jordanian military. The majority of the Syrian refugees move to Jordan's cities, towns and villages. Guterres has urged donors to set up special funds for the Syria crisis, warning of disaster if more humanitarian funding is not forthcoming soon. Photographer Jared Kohler was at the border when Guterres visited. These are his images.

Flight by Night: Syrian Refugees Risk the Crossing to Jordan in the Dark

Syria: A Heartbreaking Human TragedyPlay video

Syria: A Heartbreaking Human Tragedy

As the conflict in Syria grinds on, UNHCR and its partners are calling on donors to dig deep to help refugees and host communities.
UN Appeals for Syria OperationsPlay video

UN Appeals for Syria Operations

Faced with the prospect of a worsening situation inside Syria and growing numbers of refugees in 2014, UN agencies on Monday December 16, 2013 appealed to donors for US$6.5 billion in funds – the biggest amount so far requested for a single humanitarian emergency.
Syrian Refugee VoicesPlay video

Syrian Refugee Voices

UNHCR joins a call to donors for US$193 million to assist Syrian refugees this year. The revised appeal is a response to the growing numbers of people leaving the country.