UN says humanitarian agencies face ‘biggest funding gap ever’

Funds are to help 204 million people and communities as armed conflict and climate change threaten their livelihoods.

UN flag is seen
The United Nations flag is seen during the 74th session of the General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City, on September 24, 2019 [File: Yana Paskova/Reuters]

The United Nations’ humanitarian projects face a record funding gap this year, with only a third of the required $48.7bn secured so far as global needs outpace pledges, according to the world body’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The money is needed to help about 204 million people worldwide as armed conflict and climate change emerge as key drivers of “mega crises” that threaten the livelihoods of whole communities.

“More than halfway through the year, the funding shortfall is $33.6bn, our biggest funding gap ever,” OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke told a media briefing on Friday.

“The needs in the world are rising much faster than the donor funding is coming in,” he said.

So far, $15.2bn has been collected by the midyear mark, also a record, Laerke said, in a year of soaring humanitarian needs.

According to OCHA’s website, the United States is the top donor, contributing just a little more than $8bn, while the World Food Programme was the largest recipient.

The nearly $50bn needed includes all the UN-coordinated appeals worldwide, like the annual humanitarian response plans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Syria, as well as flash appeals in war-torn Ukraine and regional appeals for refugees in Afghanistan.

The money is meant for all UN humanitarian agencies and some NGOs, but does not cover appeals from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the ICRC because they have independent appeal processes, Laerke said.

Source: Reuters