Donors pledge US$857m to protect refugees in 2018

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Donors have pledged an initial US$857 million to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to fund operations destined to help some 67 million displaced or stateless people worldwide in 2018, including operations in major emergency in Bangladesh.

The pledges, made at an annual meeting in Geneva on Tuesday, amount to around 11 per cent of UNHCR’s total 2018 funding needs of over US$7.5 billion.

These include operations in some of the biggest emergencies around the world such as those in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, according to UNHCR release obtained from Geneva.

While this figure represents the highest level of funds committed by states at this pledging conference, the UNHCR says the gap between the funds received and the needs of refugees and other displaced people continues to grow.

“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.”

“UNHCR is often asked what these figures mean and what the impact of funding gaps is,” he said, adding, “It means that UNHCR has to prioritize, sometimes mercilessly.”

“This can mean 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 particularly thanked the countries and communities hosting refugees.