2013 UNHCR country operations profile - Africa
The humanitarian emergencies that dominated the operational environment in Africa in 2012 are expected to continue to command a large share of UNHCR's resources in 2013. As a result of the new emergencies as well as older, long-standing refugee situations, UNHCR's planning figure for the number of people of concern in Africa has risen to more than 13 million.
Violence and drought in Mali displaced hundreds of thousands of people, both internally and across the country's borders into Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. The violent dispute in the border area between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan continued, triggering significant displacement. More than 200,000 Sudanese refugees from South Kordofan and Blue Nile states fled to South Sudan and Ethiopia, where UNHCR has been providing them with basic assistance, while access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile remained challenging.
In the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), fighting and human rights abuses displaced more than half a million people during the second half of 2012. Most were displaced internally in North and South Kivu, where UNHCR assists them under the cluster framework both in IDP camps and in host communities. More than 60,000 refugees fled to Rwanda and Uganda.
While new emergencies unfolded, old ones persisted. With more than one million Somali refugees in the East and Horn of Africa and some 1.36 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Somalia, the country remains at the centre of one of the worst humanitarian crises UNHCR has faced. However, the fall of militia strongholds in the southern and central parts of Somalia and the President's inauguration in Mogadishu have renewed hopes for peace and stability.
In 2013, UNHCR will also focus on the search for durable solutions, in particular for refugees in protracted situations. The cessation of refugee status for Angolan and Liberian refugees at the end of June 2012 was preceded by a significant increase in voluntary returns and the opening up of more opportunities for local integration. While in 2012 the focus was mostly on voluntary repatriation, in 2013 considerable attention will be paid to achieving local integration. A third protracted refugee situation is expected to come to an end in mid-2013, with the expected cessation of refugee status for Rwandans who fled their country between 1959 and 1998. Efforts to find a durable solution, including local integration and resettlement, for some 465,000 DRC refugees in the region will also continue.
Strategic objectives in 2013
In line with its global strategic priorities, UNHCR's priorities in Africa include:
Addressing the protection and assistance needs of people of concern
UNHCR strives to meet the basic needs of people of concern and provide them with essential services in emergencies and protracted situations. In 2013, given the number of ongoing emergencies, UNHCR will give priority to life- saving activities, including reducing malnutrition and anaemia and providing shelter, domestic energy, water, sanitation and hygiene. UNHCR will seek to ensure that core protection needs are met, including access to education, and that the cornerstone principles of non-refoulement and access to territory for refugees and asylum-seekers are respected.
Of particular concern to UNHCR are displaced women and children, and especially the need to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Key priorities in child protection include registration and documentation at birth; equal access to education, especially for girls; completion of Best Interest Determination (BID) interviews for unaccompanied, separated and at-risk children; and reduction of malnutrition and mortality through the provision of greater access to health care, supplementary nutrition and therapeutic feeding.
The prospects are good for the 2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of IDPs in Africa (also known as the Kampala Convention) to come into effect by the end of 2012. The Convention will provide an important new international legal framework for the protection of the internally displaced in Africa. UNHCR will then focus on assisting States to incorporate their obligations under the treaty into national laws and policies.
Ending protracted situations
UNHCR will continue to implement the comprehensive solutions strategies for Angolans and Liberians who ceased to hold refugee status in 2012, and for those Rwandans for whom cessation of refugee status will be invoked in June 2013. Any former refugees who had expressed a wish to be repatriated before cessation entered into force, but who could not return, will receive UNHCR support, but the main emphasis will be on local integration.
The cessation of refugee status for Rwandans who fled their country between 1959 and 1998 is being preceded by efforts to promote voluntary repatriation, local integration or alternative legal status in countries of asylum. Those in need of international protection will continue to receive it.
Special efforts to support the local integration of the more than 162,000 newly naturalized Tanzanians and for reintegration of some 35,000 Burundian former refugees from the Mtabila camp in the United Republic of Tanzania will also continue.
With the growing number of actors responding to displacement crises in Africa, and the numerous emergency situations that need to be managed simultaneously, the need for clear and predictable coordination among national authorities, the UN system and NGOs is becoming ever more crucial. UNHCR, as the lead agency in the protection, camp management and emergency shelter clusters in IDP situations, will work with its partners to make coordination mechanisms effective. It will also collaborate closely with international and national NGOs and regional organizations to strengthen response capacity and mobilize resources to support operations. UNHCR and the African Union will jointly promote the Kampala Convention, as well as address issues related to mixed migration and human trafficking in Africa.
In addition to its close partnership with the African Union UNHCR also works closely with the Economic Community of West African States, the East African Community and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development. Joint activities will focus on strengthening local capacity with regard to refugee protection, mixed migration and border monitoring.
As of August 2012, nine countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were party to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, while 16 had signed and ratified the 1954 Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons. In 2013, UNHCR will continue to urge States to ratify the two statelessness conventions. It will assist States to identify stateless people, or people at risk of statelessness, within their borders and to formulate laws and policies to prevent and reduce statelessness.
Implementing the urban refugee policy
In line with its urban refugee policy, UNHCR will promote better access to services for refugees in urban areas. Such services include health care and education; the promotion of livelihood opportunities, including the right to work; refugee status determination (RSD); and the provision of documentation.
Strengthening UNHCR's operational effectiveness, in particular its emergency preparedness and response capacity
UNHCR will continue to strengthen its contingency planning in areas where conflict could lead to displacement. It will ensure that funding and deployment arrangements are in place to respond to emergencies as they occur. The Mali situation and the crises in Sudan and Somalia remain of particular concern and will require close monitoring in 2013. The new population displacements that followed the crisis that recently erupted in the eastern DRC will also be closely watched.
Improving management, performance and accountability
UNHCR will build on progress achieved thus far in improving management in the areas of financial due diligence, performance assessment, risk management and overall accountability in its programmes in Africa. Training and other activities will help UNHCR's partners to work with new systems and structures. Ensuring staff security and full compliance with the UN Minimum Operating Security Standards will be given high priority.
Managing competing priorities, a growing number of people of concern and limited resources will remain a challenge in 2013. Hard choices will have to be made to prioritize immediate life-saving needs over long-term requirements.
The refugee emergencies in 2011 and 2012 have shown an effective and vibrant protection environment in Africa, with most of those in need of refugee status being given it on a prima facie basis. However, UNHCR is concerned about the trend of limiting access to asylum procedures and territory, in particular in the context of mixed-migration movements.
Access to beneficiaries remains an enormous challenge in many operations in Africa. This can be due to the sheer remoteness and undeveloped nature of the areas refugees have fled to, or as a result of insecurity and targeted attacks against law enforcement officials, refugees and humanitarian workers, as has been the case in Dadaab in Eastern Kenya. All these problems come together in South Sudan, where, at one site, some 20,000 refugees remain perilously close to the border and at risk of aerial bombardment and forced recruitment. Given the remoteness of the refugee settlements and the lack of infrastructure, UNHCR has had to invest heavily in building roads, drilling boreholes and chartering air transport to bring in supplies, in particular during the rainy season.
The need to prioritize resources for immediate life-saving protection and assistance over investment in long- term activities, such as education, creating livelihood opportunities and durable solutions, will continue to characterize programmes in Africa in 2013. In 2012, several thousand refugees in the Congo were unable to repatriate to the DRC due to the lack of funding. In 2013, UNHCR expects to be able to cover only one-third of the needs in education for refugee children. This will mean that the Office can only maintain current standards in primary education, while all capital investments in secondary education have been put on hold.
UNHCR's financial requirements in Africa have grown significantly over the last few years. While donors have responded generously, the gap between needs and resources is widening.
In 2011, UNHCR's financial requirements in Africa increased to USD 1.78 billion, mostly due to emergencies in West Africa and the East and Horn of Africa. However, a shortfall of some USD 920 million forced UNHCR to curtail some of its activities. The year 2012 has seen a similar pattern, with financial requirements increasing to USD 1.96 billion due to several concurrent emergencies.
The 2013 budget for Africa stands at USD 1.82 billion, slightly less than in 2012. Some budget reductions in Ethiopia and South Sudan were possible because investments in previous years to build access roads and open refugee camps and facilities will not need to be repeated in 2013 - unless the number of arrivals increases dramatically. However, it has since become clear that the 2013 budget will have to be further revised to address additional needs related to the South Sudan and eastern DRC situations, which could not be assessed at the time this budget was approved.
|UNHCR 2013 budget in Africa (USD)|
(as of 30 June 2012)
|1. Coordinates activities in Gabon and the Congo.
2. From 2013, Gabon will be reported under the Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Office.
3. Includes activities in Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
4. Includes regional activities in Southern Africa.
|CENTRAL AFRICA AND THE GREAT LAKES|
|Central African Republic||27,795,778||9,908,597||5,519,680||5,070,163||3,121,223||23,619,663|
|Democratic Republic of the Congo Regional Office||151,018,845||64,729,635||1,894,970||24,576,432||64,796,478||155,997,515|
|United Republic of Tanzania||79,976,419||15,213,717||0||24,393,325||0||39,607,042|
|EAST AND HORN OF AFRICA|
|Ethiopia (UNHCR Representation to the AU and ECA)||1,495,953||1,516,513||0||0||0||1,516,513|
|Kenya Regional Support Hub||9,687,668||10,342,184||0||0||0||10,342,184|
|Senegal Regional Office||173,017,923||190,054,238||582,224||230,000||4,692,640||195,559,103|
|South Africa Regional Office||35,083,644||35,322,437||2,069,208||0||0||37,391,645|
Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update