Africa: UNHCR warmly welcomes Russian Federation contribution
While the world focuses on Iraq there are still enormous needs in Africa, which accounts for 32 percent of UNHCR's global requirements for 2003. It's the largest single programme at US $390 million. Africa also accounts for four of the seven supplementary programmes launched by UNHCR so far this year to respond to emergencies or special operations (Angola, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Zambia).
Thus, we are pleased to welcome the Russian Federation's recent announcement that they will contribute $2 million towards UNHCR's programmes in Africa. This funding pledge marks the first ever cash contribution to UNHCR from the Russian Federation, which has previously provided in-kind contributions on several occasions.
The Russian funds will help support operations benefiting more than 4 million people of concern to UNHCR in Africa - more than 20 percent of our global population of concern. UNHCR is particularly pleased to see new donors making contributions, as this will help widen our donor base. This is part of the High Commissioner's efforts to ensure a more predictable funding flow for UNHCR and refugees.
As of today, 32 percent of Africa's total funding needs - including annual budget and supplementary programmes - are covered. This is a reasonable figure considering we are at the end of the first quarter of 2003. However, this is not enough to enable us to commit funds in advance for essential care and maintenance programmes for protracted refugee situations in the East, Horn and Great Lakes of Africa, or for large upcoming operations like the Angolan repatriation, or to respond to rapidly developing crises like in West Africa.