Sudan: UNHCR thanks Canada for flexible funding
Acting High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin is in Oslo today for the second and last day of the Donors' Conference on Sudan. Yesterday, Ms. Chamberlin appealed for urgent international support to ensure that at least minimal conditions are in place in southern Sudan so that we can help the millions of refugees and internally displaced people who choose to go home to the devastated region later this year after the rainy season ends in September.
UNHCR needs $60 million this year to begin the return and reintegration operation, but we have so far received only $7 million. Some 550,000 refugees in neighbouring countries - mainly Uganda and Kenya - and an estimated 6.1 million internally displaced people in Sudan remain uprooted following the decades-long conflict that left the region in ruins. Ms. Chamberlin told the Oslo conference that without more international donor support, the planned voluntary return and reintegration of these people may not be sustainable and - as UNHCR knows all too well from past experience - refugees could once again take flight.
UNHCR has a two-pronged strategy to ensure that uprooted southerners can go home and stay home. First, we must meet the immediate and urgent needs of some 600,000 spontaneous returnees - 200,000 non-registered ex-refugees and 400,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) - who have already gone back on their own to some areas of the south. Second, we expect another 550,000 registered refugees and an equal number of IDPs to begin returning in the organised repatriation set to start in September. Funding for both phases is at present inadequate.
In a separate development on the funding front, we join our Ottawa office in thanking the Canadian government for its newly announced contribution of $34 million - some of which will go for the south Sudan repatriation operation.
We're particularly appreciative that Canada's funding support, with its low level of earmarking, allows UNHCR more flexibility - for example, in focusing on those operations that may not be in the international spotlight.
The annual contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will also support refugee operations in Africa ($10.6 million), South and East Asia $9 million), Chechens in the Russian Federation ($1 million), mainly Colombian refugees in South and Central America ($800,000), and $1.6 million for global operations, including HIV/AIDS interventions. A significant amount of Canadian aid will support repatriation operations in Afghanistan, Liberia, Burundi, Angola, Rwanda and southern Sudan.
Over the last five years Canada has contributed US$101.3 million, ranking it among our top 10 donors.