New York, US (PANA) - Donor governments on Friday pledged US$ 482 million for the UN refugee agency’s operations in 2012 to help forcibly displaced and stateless people worldwide.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in a statement made available to PANA in New York, stated that, "an additional US$ 122 million was pledged for 2013 and beyond, whose total budget requirements for the next two years are US$ 3.59 billion and US$ 3.42 billion, respectively."
The High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, who thanked donors for their support, said: "This funding is vital for our work in ensuring the protection and well-being of millions of individual refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people."
Guterres also noted that, "given the pressure that donors face in the current uncertain economic environment, we are particularly gratified to see this level of support."
He, however, disclosed that "the 2012 budget is US$260 million lower than this year’s budget, which had to be revised upwards during the course of 2011 because of a succession of crises such as those in Cote d’Ivoire, Libya, the Horn of Africa, Sudan, and the floods in Pakistan.
"As in previous years, the agency’s global refugee programme remains the largest component of its requirements, amounting to US$2.7 billion of the US$3.59 billion needed for 2012. Almost half of the US$2.7 billion is for operations in Africa.
"Projects for internally displaced persons (IDPs) amount to US$575.7 million, while global reintegration activities total US$246.4 million. Programmes such as combating HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, green energy projects, together with headquarters and regional support will require US$329 million in 2012," he stated.
According to the statement, the 2012 budget also includes US$268 million for operational reserves, intended for new emergencies and other unforeseen needs.
It said: "There are more than 43.7 million forcibly displaced people and an estimated 12 million stateless around the world. Nearly 34 million of them receive protection and assistance from UNHCR.
"Sub-Saharan Africa remains the largest recipient of UNHCR assistance, accounting for 45.6 per cent of the total needs in 2012, followed by 15.7 per cent for the Middle East and North Africa and 14 per cent for Asia and the Pacific," it added.
PANA learnt that the annual pledging conference is an occasion for UNHCR to ask donors to support its work, which is almost entirely funded by voluntary contributions, mostly from governments.
-0- PANA AA/BOS 16Dec2011