UNHCR gains $550M head start for 2013

Snow at the U.N. headquarters in Geneva. At a Dec. 11 pledging conference, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees was able to secure $550 million in donor pledges for 2013 and $169 million for 2014 onward. Photo by: Jean-Marc Ferré / United Nations

The United Nations’ refugee agency can now draft a more concrete plan to help the millions of displaced and stateless people worldwide, at least for 2013.

At a Dec. 11 pledging conference, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees was able to secure $550 million in donor pledges for 2013 and $169 million for 2014 onward. The 2013 pledges comprise just 14 percent of the $3.92 billion the agency estimates it needs for the year, and some are still subject to government approval. Nonetheless, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres is “pleased” with the support, which is higher than last year’s $482 million donor commitment, UNHCR’s media and content chief Adrian Edwards told Devex.

Although 78 percent of agency’s projected $3.92 billion budget needs for 2013 will be earmarked for its global refugee program, requirements will be adjusted as needed. Over the past 12 to 18 months, humanitarian crises in Mali, South Sudan, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria were classified as among the most urgent cases. Syria’s neighboring countries, Edwards noted, has been registering one refugee every 27 seconds.

Geographically, operations in sub-Saharan Africa still accounts for the largest portion of assistance per year.

As in 2012, the United States pledged the largest amount this year, with $125 million, followed by Sweden with $96 million.

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    Adrienne Valdez

    Adrienne Valdez is a former staff writer for Devex, covering breaking international development news. Before joining Devex, Adrienne worked as a news correspondent for a public-sector modernization publication.