Geneva, December 7
Donor governments on Tuesday pledged an initial $857 million to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR to help some 67 million displaced or stateless people worldwide next year, UNHCR said late on Tuesday.
“A year of no peace and much war is about to end,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
“Refugee crises grow. Refugee needs grow as well,” Grandi stressed.
The pledges, made at an annual meeting in Geneva, amount to around 11 per cent of UNHCR’s total 2018 funding needs of over $7.5 billion, the agency said.
The funds committed this year are considerably higher than the $701 million pledged at the end of 2016, the agency said noting a widening gap between the cash it has received and the needs of refugees amid new crises that have seen record numbers of displaced people.
This “means that UNHCR has to prioritise, sometimes mercilessly,” Grandi said.
“Some (refugees) will be left to fend for themselves during the harsh winter months and others won’t get the assistance they need to reintegrate upon return,” he underlined.
Grandi especially thanked the countries and communities hosting refugees.
“In terms of space, in terms of resources, in terms of the socio-economic and political cost of hosting refugees, they are some of the largest donors in support of refugees,” Grandi stated.
UNHCR said it relies almost entirely on voluntary contributions from governments, intergovernmental organisations and, increasingly, from individuals, corporations and foundations to keep up its life-saving work in some of the biggest emergencies around the world.
Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh are crisis zones where UNHCR is continuing to give vital assistance, the agency said.
UNHCR urged “flexible and early contributions” from donors to sustain and increase support for its work and allow it to channel funds to those in greatest need.