In 2022, Iceland more than doubled its level of financial contributions to UNHCR.
UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, deeply commends Iceland on its commitment to help and protect refugees around the world, clearly demonstrated by Iceland’s increased contributions to UNHCR in 2022.
“With now more than 100 million people forced from their homes globally due to war, violence, persecution and human rights violations, humanitarian and protection needs are vast. We rely on the support from donors, and Iceland deserves recognition for responding to the global situation by increasing its financial contributions,” says Henrik M. Nordentoft, UNHCRs Representative to the Nordic and Baltic Countries.
Last year, Iceland made its largest financial contribution ever to UNHCR’s work worldwide, contributing 4.2 million US dollars, which is 120 percent higher than the year before. At the same time, Iceland provided almost 1,5 million USD of the contribution as so-called unearmarked funding, which is a tripling compared to earlier. This funding is vital for UNHCR, allowing us to respond to quickly developing emergencies, as was the case with the rapidly developing situation in Ukraine last year, as well as providing protection and life-saving aid in protracted and often overlooked crises across the world.
“Thanks to these funds, we can help refugees, not only to find safety, but to be able to rebuild their lives by ensuring access to healthcare, education and livelihoods. As a small country, Iceland’s global engagement in refugee protection must serve as an inspiration to others,” says Henrik M. Nordentoft. “We hope that Iceland will continue this vital engagement as well as apply the same strong commitment to refugee protection at home.”
Globally, 2022 proved to be a tragic year for forced displacement. The invasion of Ukraine has led to the largest and fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II. Currently almost 8 million people have fled the country with another close to 6 million people displaced within the country.
However, in many other crises across the world – often overlooked or even forgotten – children, women and men continue to be uprooted and forced to flee their homes. In Syria, Myanmar, Venezuela, South Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan, DR Congo to just name a few. They also need the world’s attention.
The conditions for these people have deteriorated significantly due to the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine. Adding the widespread and worsening food insecurity as well as the harsh reality of climate change, resulting in draught, desertification and floodings in many regions, the impact in humanitarian emergencies is hard felt.
Against this backdrop of increased needs, UNHCR had estimated a budget of 10.7 billion dollars last year, of which only 56 % was covered (6 billion dollars). Almost three-quarters came from governments, including the European Union – and a strong increase was seen in contributions from private donors, counting companies, foundations and individual givers, totalling 1.17 billion dollars.
“Unfortunately, armed conflicts and human rights violations are still forcing people to flee and the global situation remains alarming. Support from Iceland and other reliable humanitarian donors will continue to save lives in 2023,” says Henrik M. Nordentoft.
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