UN seeks US$3.8 billion for humanitarian aid next year
GENEVA, December 10 (UNHCR) - The United Nations on Monday called on donor nations to pledge US$3.8 billion to provide life-sustaining aid and protection next year to some 25 million people in 24 countries affected by war and natural disasters.
UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Sir John Holmes, presiding in Geneva over the launch of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) Humanitarian Appeal for 2008, said the amount that they were asking for was "about the price of two cups of coffee for each citizen of the wealthy countries of the world."
Holmes said that the 2008 CAP comprises 10 consolidated appeals to fund projects involving almost 200 UN agencies and aid organizations working together to provide humanitarian aid in a strategic, effective and prioritized way. The appeal contains a higher proportion of NGO projects than ever before.
"Humanitarian funds are not going into endless and bottomless pits," Holmes stressed, while noting that timely, well-coordinated aid has made a difference in many countries. He urged countries to make early pledges and to be more generous, noting that donors have stumped up 66 percent of this year's CAP. "We could do much better," he added.
The UN refugee agency is asking for US$383 million under the CAP. This is for projects in the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, West Africa and Zimbabwe.
Some US$224.2 million of UNHCR's CAP programmes are also included in the refugee agency's Global Appeal, which will be launched in Geneva on Tuesday by High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. He will ask for US$1.09 billion for 2008.
Guterres, addressing diplomats and aid agency representatives gathered for Monday's launch, said he saw the CAP as a powerful symbol of reform and partnership. "Reform and partnership are absolutely essential for us to be effective," he said, adding that the CAP was an excellent tool.
British entrepreneur and humanitarian, Sir Richard Branson, in a video message recorded in New York last Friday, also urged donors - both private and public - to respond generously to the appeal, adding that the amount being asked for was "a sliver of the rich countries' wealth."
Branson said that Monday's appeal "is not only about raising more donor money; it is about the commitment and willingness of humanity to create change."
Robert Glasser, secretary-general of CARE International addressed the meeting on behalf of the NGO community, while former Liberian refugee Akoi Bazzie, who now works for the British Refugee Council, spoke about his experiences.
Some US$3.3 billion has been committed to date for CAP humanitarian programmes in 2007. The European Commission, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States top the list in contributing emergency relief funding through these consolidated appeals.
The CAP has become the humanitarian sector's main tool for coordination, strategic planning and programming. As a planning mechanism, the CAP has contributed significantly to developing a more strategic approach to the provision of humanitarian aid.
As a coordination mechanism it has fostered closer cooperation between governments, donors, aid agencies, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movements and non-governmental organizations. The CAP is managed by the UN emergency relief coordinator.