Geneva, 12 December 2018 – Donor governments today pledged an initial US$926 million towards the work of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in providing protection and assistance to millions of refugees, returnees, internally displaced and stateless people worldwide in 2019.
The pledges, made at an annual donor gathering in Geneva, amount to the highest total yet. They come at a time of increased complexity for asylum globally and deepening scope for UNHCR’s work. Today, the UN Refugee Agency is working to meet the immediate protection and humanitarian needs of 68.5 million people displaced by violence or persecution, returnees and stateless. New displacement, such as the Rohingya and Venezuela situations, and multiple older crises such as those in Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, South Sudan, or Democratic Republic of the Congo are occurring in parallel. At the same time factors such as climate change, poverty and inequality are also fuelling conflict, which in turn creates new displacement dynamics.
“As we face unprecedented levels of forced displacement and complexity of challenges, I thank our donors for staying the course. Lives and futures of those forced to flee their homes depend on our ability to deliver vital protection and shelter”, said the UN High Commissioner for refugees Filippo Grandi to the conference. “Preparedness is key in humanitarian response”.
Against this background, a new global compact on refugees is expected to come before the UN General Assembly on 17 December 2018. The compact, which builds upon existing refugee response norms, will bring new approaches, arrangements and resources with a view to shaping a more predictable, effective and sustainable response to displacement crises. Under development since 2016, it is expected to move to implementation phase in 2019. Funds pledged today will facilitate that key shift.
UNHCR’s global financial requirements for 2019 amount to a record US$8.591 billion, a slight increase from 2018 appeal. The funds pledged today are higher than last year, when the same gathering yielded US$857 million in initial announcements by donors.
Today’s pledges are useful indication of anticipated funding levels and overall support. More importantly, these early pledges and their disbursement allow UNHCR to plan and continue its life-saving operations. UNHCR is particularly grateful to all state and private sector donors for their un-earmarked contributions which are essential for the strategic work of the organization in managing humanitarian responses in a flexible and timely manner.