Donors pledge US$ 482 million in support of the world's forcibly displaced at Geneva Conference

Press Releases, 15 December 2011

GENEVA, December 15 (UNHCR) Donor governments today pledged US$ 482 million for the UN refugee agency's operations in 2012 to help forcibly displaced and stateless people worldwide. An additional US 122 million was pledged for 2013 and beyond.

UNHCR's total budget requirements for 2012 and 2013 are $3.59 billion and $3.42 billion respectively.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres thanked donors for their support:

"This funding is vital for our work in ensuring the protection and well-being of millions of individual refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people," Guterres said. "Given the pressure that donors face in the current uncertain economic environment, we are particularly gratified to see this level of support."

UNHCR's budget for 2012 and 2013 is based on a careful assessment of the needs of people of concern that the agency anticipates being capable of addressing in the next two years. As in previous years, the organization's global refugee programme remains the largest component of its requirements amounting to $2.7 billion of the $3.59 billion needed.

Of the world's more than 43.7 million forcibly displaced people and estimated 12 million stateless, some 33.9 million people receive protection and assistance from UNHCR.

Sub-Saharan Africa remains the largest recipient of UNHCR assistance, accounting for 45.6 per cent of the total needs in 2012, followed by 15.7 per cent for the Middle East and North Africa and 14 per cent for Asia and the Pacific.

UNHCR is almost entirely funded by voluntary contributions, mostly from governments. As such, it acts as a vital funnel for international funding towards the needs of the world's forcibly displaced.

For further information on this topic, please contact:

In Geneva:

  • Melissa Fleming on mobile +41 79 557 9122
  • Adrian Edwards on mobile +41 79 557 9120
  • Andrej Mahecic on mobile +41 79 200 7617
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More focus needed on reintegration of former Afghan refugees

Many of the more than 5.5 million Afghan refugees who have returned home since 2002 are still struggling to survive. Lack of land, job opportunities and other services, combined with poor security in some places, has caused many returnees to head to urban areas. While cities offer the promise of informal day labour, the rising cost of rental accommodation and basic commodities relegate many returnees to life in one of the informal settlements which have mushroomed across Kabul in recent years. Some families are living under canvases and the constant threat of eviction, while others have gained a toe-hold in abandoned buildings around the city.

UNHCR gives humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable, and is currently rallying support from donors and humanitarian and development agencies to redouble efforts to help returning refugees reintegrate in Afghanistan.

More focus needed on reintegration of former Afghan refugees

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Every night, hundreds of refugees flee from Syria via dozens of unofficial border crossing points and seek shelter in neighbouring Jordan. Many feel safer crossing in the dark, but it remains a risky journey by day or night. They arrive exhausted, scared and traumatized, but happy to be in the welcoming embrace of Jordan and away from the conflict in their country. Some arrive with bad injuries, many carry belongings. A large proportion are women and children. Observers at the border at night see these eerie silhouettes approaching out of the dark. Earlier this week, UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres was among these observers. He and his UNHCR colleagues were moved by what they saw and heard at the border and earlier in Za'atri refugee camp, where arrivals are taken by the Jordanian military. The majority of the Syrian refugees move to Jordan's cities, towns and villages. Guterres has urged donors to set up special funds for the Syria crisis, warning of disaster if more humanitarian funding is not forthcoming soon. Photographer Jared Kohler was at the border when Guterres visited. These are his images.

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