Finland strengthens its support to UNHCR

“We are grateful for Finland’s support to UNHCR. Finland is an important donor to UNHCR and its contributions to the Syria crisis and refugee situations in Africa and Asia will alleviate the suffering of thousands of refugees and internally displaced persons and ensure their protection. Finland’s continued support to UNHCR will help the most vulnerable, such as children, women and people with disabilities in countries and regions where the need is the greatest”, says Pia Prytz Phiri, Regional Representative for Northern Europe.

Furthermore, Phiri strongly embraces Finland’s decision to also increase its resettlement quota with 300 places and allocate 500 places for Syrian refugees in 2014. To date, Finland is one of the 20 countries in the world that has pledged to receive Syrian refugees on resettlement or humanitarian admission.

The conflict in Syria has driven more than 2.7 million people into exile. Almost all refugees have fled to Syria’s neighboring countries, whose own societies and economies are under extreme pressure. Around 6.5 million people have fled their homes within Syria due to the conflict and 5.5 million children are now affected inside the country and in neighbouring countries.

To keep pace with 2013’s alarming exodus and ensure adequate protection and provide documentation, refugee registration efforts were expanded, reducing waiting times to only a matter of hours. Mobile registration teams were also established to better reach unregistered Syrian exiles. In addition, UNHCR distributed more then 196 000 tents to refugees living in camps or informal sites in the neighbouring countries of Syria. Schools and psycho-social support facilities were established and more than 5.7 million blankets, 4.9 million mattresses and 870 000 kitchen sets were distributed. For the cold winter season UNHCR provided insulation of tents, thermal blankets, stoves, clothing and fuel, heating of schools, and cash grant schemes. Inside Syria, UNHCR was able to reach over 3.2 million people delivering more than 8 million various core relief items.

In 2013, Finland was UNHCR’s 15th largest donor. Of Finland’s total support of USD 27.2 million, USD 9.1 million was unearmarked support. USD 7.8 million was earmarked for the Syria emergency. USD 7 million was targeted towards Africa, in particular the Somali refugee situation and the emergencies in Mali, South Sudan and Central African Republic. USD 2.6 million was earmarked mainly for protracted refugee situations in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

For 2014 Finland has so far supported UNHCR with USD 9.5 million to UNHCR operations worldwide; USD 4.1 million to the Syria situation; USD 2.8 million to South-West Asia (Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan); USD 2.1 million to Ethiopia; USD 2.1 million to Kenya; USD 1.4 million to the Myanmar situation; and USD 137,931 to Confidence Building Measures in Western Sahara.

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