High funding levels at mid-year of humanitarian aid appeals yet highest ever remaining requirements of $4.8 billion

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 21 Jul 2009
(New York/Geneva, 21 July 2009): Six and a half months into 2009, United Nations agencies, the International Organisation for Migration, and nearly 500 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) still require $4.8 billion to respond to the world's most severe crises through this year's Consolidated and Flash Appeals. A Mid-Year Review conference at the United Nations Office at Geneva today highlighted that overall humanitarian funding requirements for 2009 for the countries covered by 16 Consolidated Appeals or similar action plans and 2 Flash Appeals have increased by $1.5 billion since the start of the year, bringing the total target to $9.5 billion. "It is clear that the global recession puts pressure on the aid budgets of all donor governments, but of course it puts immeasurably more pressure on crises-stricken people in poor countries," said John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. "If just a fraction of the hundreds of billions of dollars recently committed by governments to private financial institutions were allocated to humanitarian action, these appeals could already be fully funded, and those in need could be getting the best available protection and assistance, on time," Mr. Holmes stressed.

The situation in some of the severe humanitarian crises has deteriorated significantly in the first half of 2009 and will require renewed efforts and resources. In Kenya the funding requirements necessary to meet humanitarian needs have risen by $187 million because of acute food insecurity and an influx of new refugees fleeing escalating fighting in neighboring Somalia. In the occupied Palestinian territory, needs have increased by $341 million as a result of the military operation in Gaza at the beginning of the year and the continuing restrictions on entry of basic commodities to Gaza. In Sri Lanka, humanitarian requirements have risen by $114 million as the end of the long war there left 285,000 people displaced and in need of sustained help. In Zimbabwe, needs have gone up by $169 million.

In Iraq, funding requirements have increased by $103 million in order to take advantage of opportunities to prepare for the return and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced people. Requirements for humanitarian operations in Pakistan soared from $55 million to $542 million, probably the most dramatic rise, as a result of the military operation which caused the displacement of two million people in just a few weeks. Requirements for Somalia have decreased from $919 million to $849 million, but only because one humanitarian organisation was forced to cancel a major food aid project due to worsening insecurity.

In response to these requirements, "CAP funding in 2009 is the best ever at mid-year, in both absolute terms and as a percentage or requirements - $4.6 billion, 49% of requirements. Yet, the unmet requirements are also the highest ever at mid-year: $4.8 billion," USG Holmes explained.

Due to the continued support by donors, including Member States, the private sector and individuals, for the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), this funding tool is succeeding in both kickstarting rapid humanitarian response and in supporting critically under-funded emergencies. To date this year, CERF has already allocated more than $153 million to 18 Consolidated and Flash Appeals. USG Holmes announced today the allocation of an additional $55 million to bolster humanitarian operations in 11 chronically under-funded emergencies.

Humanitarian actors in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will receive the largest allocation, some $10 million. Agencies working in Zimbabwe and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will receive allocations of $9 million per country while programmes in Kenya will benefit from $8 million. The remaining funds will support vital humanitarian programming in Ethiopia ($6 million), Chad ($5 million), Central African Republic ($2.8 million), Eritrea ($1.5 million), Algeria ($1.5 million), Guinea ($1.2 million) and Djibouti ($1 million). This is the second round of allocations from CERF's window for under-funded emergencies in 2009; USG Holmes approved some $75 million in allocations to 14 emergencies in February.

"CERF aims to practice optimal donor behaviour: examining funding levels among crises in order to target the least-funded, examining sectors and agreed priorities within crises and appeals to target the most urgent un-funded actions, and taking full advantage of the information, analysis, and decisions made on the ground and organized in these appeals," said USG Holmes, who manages the CERF on behalf of the Secretary-General.

Full information on all of these crises can be found in the appeal documents, which are available at www.humanitarianappeal.net. More details on funding per crisis, including donor totals, can be found on the Financial Tracking Service on www.reliefweb.int/fts. Details on the CERF can be found on http://cerf.un.org.

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