Donors pledge initial US$477.5 million to UNHCR's 2010 funding appeal

News Stories, 8 December 2009

© UNHCR/M.Sheik Nor
A group of young displaced Somalis. Tuesday's pledges are vital for current UNHCR operations, including those helping Somalis.

GENEVA, December 8 (UNHCR) Donor nations on Tuesday committed an initial US$477.5 million towards the UN refugee agency's US$3 billion funding appeal for 2010, its largest ever such request and aimed at meeting the basic needs of a growing number of people under its care.

The commitments came during UNHCR's annual pledging conference in Geneva, where High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres asked donors to fund a US$3.007 billion requirement.

The 2010 funding appeal is based on the most comprehensive assessment to date of the needs of people under UNHCR's care. The budget is to help more than 34 million refugees, asylum-seekers, stateless and internally displaced people in 118 countries. Donors commended UNHCR on this new approach.

"In the present circumstances and taking into account the extremely complex financial environment that we have around the world, I think we need to feel very happy with the level of support that these pledges have shown, and I would like to express my very, very strong appreciation for that," Guterres told delegates at the conference.

These early pledges are particularly critical for current operations in Afghanistan, Chad, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan.

Of the requested US$3billion, US$2.1 billion will be devoted to refugee programmes, with the aim of providing protection and for activities including adequate housing, ensuring sufficient clean water, proper sanitation facilities, as well as to upgrade and widen access to health and education services. The rest of the 2010 budget will be to meet the needs of a growing number of internally displaced and stateless people as well as for reintegration projects.

While acknowledging the initial contributions, Guterres added: "We will be counting a lot on your generosity during the year to be able to come as close as possible to the global needs assessment indications that we had". He also welcomed progress made this year in increasing donations from the private sector, as well as from states in the Persian Gulf whose financial support was essential to funding many operations this year.

By Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba in Geneva

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The photographs in this set were taken by Bechir Malum.

UNHCR and Partners Tackle Malnutrition in Mauritania Camp

Chad's other refugee crisis

While attention focuses on the Darfuris in eastern Chad, another refugee crisis unfolds in southern Chad.

A second refugee crisis has been quietly unfolding in the south of Chad for the past few years, getting little attention from the media and the international community. Some 60,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) are hosted there in five camps and receive regular assistance from UNHCR. But funding for aid and reintegration projects remains low. Refugees have been fleeing fighting between rebel groups and governmental forces in northern CAR. 17,000 new refugees have arrived from northern CAR to south-eastern Chad since the beginning of 2009.

Chad's other refugee crisis

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The UN refugee agency is increasingly alarmed over the continuing violence in Iraq and distressed about the lack of an international humanitarian response to deal with the massive numbers of people being displaced. After an assessment mission in November last year, UNHCR officials warned that the agency was facing an even larger humanitarian crisis than it had prepared for in 2002-03. But UNHCR and other organisations are sorely lacking in funds to cope with the growing numbers of displaced.

In an effort to fill the massive gap in funding, UNHCR in January 2007 launched a US$60 million appeal to cover its protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within strife torn Iraq.

The longer the Iraq conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

Posted on 5 February 2007

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