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Underfunding Report, September 2022 – World



2022 has seen a huge increase in the number of forcibly displaced people around the world, largely due to the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainians received the kind of welcome that should be reserved for all those forced to flee: access to safety and protection, and freedom to travel, work and study, supported by a great outpouring of solidarity and generous funding from public and private donors. However, conditions for forcibly displaced people elsewhere in the world have not improved. In fact, the economic repercussions of the war in Ukraine – which are felt in families around the world, including in donor countries – have weighed heavily on displaced communities, especially in the world’s most forgotten situations. People who were previously self-reliant have seen their reserves sapped by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has added to their marginalization and increased the risk of dropping out of school, being forced into early marriage or experiencing gender-based violence. . Today, the war in Ukraine has caused a global economic shock, disrupting food and fuel supplies and driving up prices. Food insecurity has worsened considerably, exacerbated by increasingly intense and frequent climatic events, putting millions of people on the brink of famine.

All of these factors have combined to deepen vulnerability and increase the number of forcibly displaced and stateless people worldwide, pushing UNHCR’s needs-based budget above $10 billion for the first time. Donors have responded in a timely and generous manner – in Ukraine in particular, but also in other emergencies. However, there remains an urgent and significant gap between the funds available and the funds needed to meet the most urgent and essential needs of people who have been forced from their homes, especially in crises that are out of the spotlight. The funding situation was already extremely tight at the beginning of 2022. In 2021, the underfunding rate had reached its highest level since 2015, with the largest funding gap ever recorded in absolute terms. UNHCR has been forced to make some very difficult decisions on prioritization. People served by UNHCR are already forced to make harrowing choices, such as whether to educate their child or buy medicine for older relatives. No one should have to choose between equally vital priorities. Nine months into 2022, with even greater underfunding, growing vulnerability and unprecedented forced displacement, UNHCR needs donor support now to prevent even more costly and long-lasting needs in the future. . These exceptional circumstances call for exceptional support.

This report examines the financial situation of 12 of UNHCR’s largest operations, countries with large numbers of forcibly displaced people and persistent vulnerabilities. In these countries alone, UNHCR has $612 million less in funding in 2022 than it spent in 2021. These 12 countries account for about half of UNHCR’s most acute underfunding. Globally, simply maintaining the same level of assistance provided by UNHCR in 2021 would require an additional $1.15 billion in funding by the end of 2022. As this report shows, UNHCR has already been forced to scale back its assistance, but a lack of funding may mean its plans have to be scaled back, just as inflation, food shortages and – in some climates – winter set in. to bite. Fuel prices have skyrocketed following the war in Ukraine. In the first half of 2022, UNHCR spent 45% more on fuel than in the same period of 2021. Cost planning scenarios – based on diesel prices and overall inflation – now show that UNHCR is expected to spend between $65.8 and $82.8 million. on fuel in 2022, more than double the planned spending of $31.7 million. The fuel financing gap, which is concentrated almost entirely in Africa and Asia, will require a reallocation of resources. Even higher price spikes can result from emergencies such as floods in Pakistan, where fuel and electricity prices were 63% and 123% higher in August than a year earlier, and where supplies disrupted food is likely to accelerate inflation. The government has said it will limit spending given limited resources.

Forcibly displaced people in the countries profiled in this report have very different needs: some suffer the most severe consequences of disruptions in the food supply chain. Others are less vulnerable to food insecurity in particular, but are in desperate need of funding that will enable refugees to build better and sustainable lives, thereby reducing their future dependence on UNHCR donor-funded aid. UNHCR’s donors have been steadfast: in the three months since UNHCR’s first identification of urgent needs for these 12 operations, their overall funding level has more than doubled, from 17% to 37%. Nevertheless, with the exception of the situations in Afghanistan and Ukraine, UNHCR operations in all regions are more underfunded today than at the same time in 2021. Donors have also given UNHCR more leeway in the use of their funds – a welcome and vital change that helps meet emergencies and the most acute needs. Around 40% of funds received globally so far this year have been flexible – not earmarked for any particular use.

The latest tranches of donor funding have enabled UNHCR to provide cash assistance in the Middle East and North Africa, to continue its operations in Bangladesh, to meet rising fuel costs worldwide and to maintain partnership agreements for health, education, gender-based violence and child protection. services. UNHCR border monitoring was also maintained. But without fresh funding, all of these activities are at risk of being reduced or eliminated later in 2022 or 2023. Already, many operations have taken austerity measures to cope with fewer funds. Some have scaled back their plans to buy basic relief items, with supplies only slated to last until the end of September. Others have reduced the scope of services or goods they provide, or reduced the provision of basic goods to ensure sufficient supplies for the coming winter months. This report shows how persistent underfunding can lead to reductions in the assistance UNHCR is able to provide, including life-saving support to the most vulnerable, but also crucial support to help forcibly displaced people return home. them and to resume a more normal life. Of the countries highlighted in the report, UNHCR is particularly concerned about funding shortfalls in Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen. These countries will have far less money for cash assistance, even compared to last year. At a minimum, UNHCR will need to provide about $180 million less in cash in the region, which affects 1.7 million people. The effects could be greater. Other hard-hit operations include Ethiopia and Uganda, which are in a region beset by conflict and drought that has left 20 million people acutely food insecure, and where UNHCR is lacking $125 million for basic necessities and shelter. Without additional funds for Uganda, UNHCR will not be able to pay the salaries of teachers and medical staff in the fourth quarter of the year, and it is short $4 million for the purchase of medicines. The 15,000 Burundians who wish to return to Burundi and resume their lives there will not receive assistance to do so. Another country highlighted in this report is Bangladesh, where recent progress – such as education and water supply – could be undermined by severe underfunding in areas such as health, infrastructure and sanitation.

This report provides an up-to-date overview of needs in a sample of major countries. This is not an exhaustive list. UNHCR’s operations in many other countries, such as the Central African Republic and Somalia, are also severely underfunded and need the support of UNHCR donors to provide the most vital protection and assistance to millions of people.