Donors pledge US$550 million for UNHCR's global operations next year

News Stories, 11 December 2012

© UNHCR/B.Sokol
A family of Sudanese refugees at a camp in South Sudan earlier this year. The donor generosity will help people like these in the major displacement crises.

GENEVA, December 11 (UNHCR) Faced with expanding humanitarian crises in the Middle East and parts of Saharan and sub-Saharan Africa, donor nations today pledged US$550 million towards the work of the UN refugee agency in 2013 in helping millions of people worldwide. An additional US$169 million was pledged for 2014 and beyond.

The amount represents only a portion of UNHCR's total budgetary needs for 2013, currently put at US$3.92 billion. However, it provides UNHCR with indicators both of the amount with which it can begin its work in 2013 and of likely overall resources for the coming year. By comparison, last year donors pledged US$482 million for 2012.

The funds will be used to help millions of forcibly displaced and stateless people worldwide. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres thanked donors for their support.

"New humanitarian crises over the past months have created hundreds of thousands more refugees and internally displaced people," Guterres said. "This makes us especially grateful to donors who have come forward today with early pledges for our work in 2013. Given the environment we are all in of global economic worry, this is heartening."

The past 18 months have seen simultaneous major new displacement crises, including in the Syria region, Mali, South Sudan and in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. At the same time, new demands on UNHCR have arisen such as the need to help returns of displaced people in southern Yemen while protracted displacement situations such as that in Afghanistan and Somalia have not gone away.

For the UN refugee agency, which relies almost entirely on voluntary donations, this has meant repeated upward revisions of budgets for several of its major operations as the numbers of displaced rise. A further additional appeal, for example, for the Syria situation is due in just a matter of days.

UNHCR's annual budget is based on a careful assessment of the needs of people of concern that the agency anticipates being capable of addressing. As in previous years, the organization's global refugee programme remains the largest component of its requirements amounting to US$3.07 billion of the $3.92 billion (or 78 per cent) needed, with almost half the needs being in Africa.

Of the 42.5 million people who were forcibly displaced as of the end of 2011, almost 26 million were receiving protection and assistance from UNHCR. In addition to these populations are an estimated 12 million people worldwide who are stateless.

Pledges for UNHCR 2013 programmes




The Global Report and Funding Reports

A comprehensive view of the refugee agency's challenges and achievements worldwide.


Governments, organisations and individuals who fund UNHCR's activities.

The Global Appeal and Supplementary Appeals

Alerting donors, organizations and individuals to the plight of millions of uprooted people.

Kuwaiti Funds Provide Vital Medical Aid for Syrians in Lebanon

As the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon continues to grow, ensuring access to quality health care is becoming an increasing challenge for humanitarian aid groups and the international community. So, Kuwait's unprecedented donation in April of US$110 million for UNHCR's Syria crisis operations this year came at a most opportune time. Slightly more than 40 per cent of the amount has been used to fund programmes in Lebanon, including the provision of vital - and often life-saving - medical care. In the following photo gallery, photographer Shawn Baldwin looks at the essential work being done in just one Kuwaiti-supported clinic in northern Lebanon. The small Al Nahda Primary Health Care Clinic in the town of Beddawi has a staff of seven doctors and one nurse. Between 600 and 700 people seek medical attention there every month and the clinic meets the needs of some of the most vulnerable refugees.

Kuwaiti Funds Provide Vital Medical Aid for Syrians in Lebanon

UNHCR and Partners Tackle Malnutrition in Mauritania Camp

The UN refugee agency has just renewed its appeal for funds to help meet the needs of tens of thousands of Malian refugees and almost 300,000 internally displaced people. The funding UNHCR is seeking is needed, among other things, for the provision of supplementary and therapeutic food and delivery of health care, including for those suffering from malnutrition. This is one of UNHCR's main concerns in the Mbera refugee camp in Mauritania, which hosts more than 70,000 Malians. A survey on nutrition conducted last January in the camp found that more than 13 per cent of refugee children aged under five suffer from acute malnutrition and more than 41 per cent from chronic malnutrition. Several measures have been taken to treat and prevent malnutrition, including distribution of nutritional supplements to babies and infants, organization of awareness sessions for mothers, increased access to health facilities, launch of a measles vaccination campaign and installation of better water and sanitation infrastructure. Additional funding is needed to improve the prevention and response mechanisms. UNHCR appealed last year for US$144 million for its Mali crisis operations in 2013, but has received only 32 per cent to date. The most urgent needs are food, shelter, sanitation, health care and education.

The photographs in this set were taken by Bechir Malum.

UNHCR and Partners Tackle Malnutrition in Mauritania Camp

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily

The UN refugee agency is increasingly alarmed over the continuing violence in Iraq and distressed about the lack of an international humanitarian response to deal with the massive numbers of people being displaced. After an assessment mission in November last year, UNHCR officials warned that the agency was facing an even larger humanitarian crisis than it had prepared for in 2002-03. But UNHCR and other organisations are sorely lacking in funds to cope with the growing numbers of displaced.

In an effort to fill the massive gap in funding, UNHCR in January 2007 launched a US$60 million appeal to cover its protection and assistance programmes for Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Turkey, as well as non Iraqi refugees and internally displaced people within strife torn Iraq.

The longer the Iraq conflict goes on, the more difficult it will become for the hundreds of thousands of displaced and the communities that are trying to help them – both inside and outside Iraq. Because the burden on host communities and governments in the region is enormous, it is essential that the international community support humanitarian efforts.

Posted on 5 February 2007

Iraqi Refugees in Syria: 2,000 New Arrivals Daily