Donors pledge a record US$576.5 million to UNHCR for next year

News Stories, 7 December 2010

A refugee helps put up a UNHCR tent in the Cameroon. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the largest recipient of UNHCR assistance.

GENEVA, December 7 (UNHCR) Donor governments today pledged almost US$600 million for the UN refugee agency's operations next year in helping forcibly displaced and stateless people worldwide.

The US$576.5 million pledged at a special conference in Geneva is the highest amount to have been contributed through a single pledging session and represents 17.3 per cent of UNHCR's US$3.32 billion projected requirement for 2011.

The amount, which was pledged a week before UNHCR celebrates its 60th birthday, is US$99 million more than was committed at the equivalent session a year ago.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres thanked donors for their support, noting their generosity at a time of global economic difficulties. "These pledges give us a clear indication that in 2011 we will be able to maintain, and perhaps even to enhance, the level of our activities," Guterres told donors. "Taking into account the global economic and financial situation [this] is I believe a very clear demonstration of your support and your commitment."

UNHCR has changed its budgetary approach in recent years. Previously its annual budget basis was derived from anticipated donor support, however in 2009 it moved to an approach aligned to the actual needs of displaced populations under its care. For 2010, global needs have reached US$3.28 billion. Donors have responded so far this year by providing close to US$1.8 billion, the highest amount to have been received in a single year.

Some 72 per cent of UNHCR's budget is devoted to the needs of refugees and asylum-seekers, however in recent years the agency has been increasingly involved with assisting internally displaced people. For 2011 it is also devoting more attention to the reduction and prevention of statelessness, which by some estimates affects as many as 12 million people.

Worldwide, there are 43 million forcibly displaced people, the majority of whom are of concern to UNHCR. This figure includes 15.2 million refugees, 27.1 million internally displaced and 983,000 asylum seekers.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the largest recipient of UNHCR assistance, accounting for 45 per cent of the total needs, followed by 17 per cent for the Middle East and North Africa and 13 per cent for Asia.

UNHCR is almost entirely funded by voluntary contributions, mostly from governments. As such, it acts as a vital funnel for international funding towards the needs of the world's displaced.




Geneva Pledging Conference for UNHCR 2011 Programmes

Pledges for UNHCR 2011 programmes received prior to the Pledging Conference, 7 December 2010

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 and Supplementary Appeals

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

UNHCR and Partners Tackle Malnutrition in Mauritania Camp

The UN refugee agency has just renewed its appeal for funds to help meet the needs of tens of thousands of Malian refugees and almost 300,000 internally displaced people. The funding UNHCR is seeking is needed, among other things, for the provision of supplementary and therapeutic food and delivery of health care, including for those suffering from malnutrition. This is one of UNHCR's main concerns in the Mbera refugee camp in Mauritania, which hosts more than 70,000 Malians. A survey on nutrition conducted last January in the camp found that more than 13 per cent of refugee children aged under five suffer from acute malnutrition and more than 41 per cent from chronic malnutrition. Several measures have been taken to treat and prevent malnutrition, including distribution of nutritional supplements to babies and infants, organization of awareness sessions for mothers, increased access to health facilities, launch of a measles vaccination campaign and installation of better water and sanitation infrastructure. Additional funding is needed to improve the prevention and response mechanisms. UNHCR appealed last year for US$144 million for its Mali crisis operations in 2013, but has received only 32 per cent to date. The most urgent needs are food, shelter, sanitation, health care and education.

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

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

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

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

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