UNHCR set to ask donors for over one billion dollars for 2008 budget
In Geneva next Tuesday (11 December), at its annual Pledging Conference, UNHCR will present to donor countries its 2008 annual budget of US$1.096 billion, up from $1.06 billion in 2007, to help millions of refugees, displaced and stateless persons around the world.
In addition to its regular budget, UNHCR will also launch a number of supplementary appeals for emergency and special programmes for an estimated total of US $480 million bringing UNHCR's total expected budget in 2008 to over US$ 1.57 billion, compared to US$ 1.45 billion in 2007.
In January 2008, UNHCR expects to launch supplementary appeals for programmes including the Iraq situation; relief operations in Darfur; the Somali situation; repatriation and reintegration of Sudanese and Mauritanian refugees; IDP programmes in Chad, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia and Colombia.
We hope the response by donors will be generous and swift to enable a smooth continuation during the coming year of our operations to assist and protect people uprooted by conflict and persecution.
The UN refugee agency relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions with only a very small proportion of its budget coming from the UN Regular Budget. So, it's important for us to have early, flexible and predictable funding so we can help the 32.9 million people of concern to us. UNHCR looks to the Pledging Conference to provide a strong funding start for the coming year, ensuring a timely launch of new activities and avoiding interruptions in current activities.
UNHCR's operations in Africa lead the needs with 37.5 percent of the total budget, followed by the Middle East and North Africa 17.5 percent, Asia/Pacific 9.9 percent, Europe 5.9 percent and the Americas 2.8 percent. The remaining percentage is made up of funds required for global programmes, headquarters and reserves.
The largest operations in the 2008 annual budget are: Chad (US$ 73.6 million), Afghanistan (US$ 49.87 million), Kenya (US$ 41.48 million) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (40.92 million).
The 2008 budget has risen by US$53 million - or five percent - from 2007, mainly due to the mainstreaming into the annual budget of the supplementary programme for the repatriation and reintegration of Congolese refugees in the DRC.
The 2008 Global Appeal reflects UNHCR's shift towards a two-year programme and budget cycle (for 2008 - $1.096 billion, and $1.108 billion for 2009) which will allow a more medium term approach to planning and implementation.
Pledges for both years would be appreciated, but we understand that donors frequently have their own restrictions which may only allow them to pledge for 2008.
So far, some 93 percent of last year's UNHCR budget has been funded by donors. Top donors in 2007 have been the USA, Sweden, the European Commission, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Norway.
UNHCR is present in 116 countries, has 262 offices worldwide with 6,260 staff members - 5,400 of whom are in the field. We work with 624 partners to provide help and assistance to 32.9 million refugees, displaced and stateless people.