The international community pledged more than US$1.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Syria on 30 January, in the most successful fundraising conference in UN history - meant to meet the needs of two UN appeals:
The Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan requires $519 million for distributions of food, medicine and hygiene kits, rehabilitation of shelters, and other activities for displaced and needy people inside Syria.
The Regional Response Plan requires a further $1 billion to help the 700,000-plus refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.
So where did the pledged money come from and where will it go? Here is a breakdown:
Kuwait: The host of the conference, the Kuwaiti emir, pledged $300 million, to be channelled through UN agencies, according to the Kuwaiti information minister. A coalition of Kuwaiti NGOs pledged a further $183 million, but as both donors and implementers, these NGOs (including the International Islamic Charity Organization) are unlikely to channel the funds to the UN response plans.
Saudi Arabia: Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, the Saudi government and people have raised more than $345 million in aid money, Saudi Minister of Finance Ibrahim Abdulazziz Al-Assaf told the pledging conference. Of that, $123 million had already been disbursed “through various channels” in coordination with a number of UN agencies and organizations. That leaves $222 million, to which the Kingdom added $78 million during the conference, for a total of $300 million to be allocated in humanitarian aid. “This sum will be delivered in assistance to countries helping Syrians and to various UN agencies,” the minister said. Members of the Saudi delegation later told IRIN that “all options are on the table,” in terms of how to channel the money - including through the Saudi Relief Committees and Campaigns, a local group which implements projects on the ground, or even through the opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition which has a humanitarian aid arm. Saudi Arabia has already given the Coalition $100 million in aid.
United Arab Emirates also pledged $300 million, but it was unclear how the money would be channelled.
USA announced $155 million in additional funding (including the $10 million recently announced during the visit of a US delegation to the region), bringing its total contribution in humanitarian aid for the Syrian crisis to $365 million. The new money will go towards “UN and partners and other NGOs with which we are working” to provide flour to bakeries, fund emergency healthcare supplies in field hospitals, provide winter supplies to those in communal shelters, help Palestinian refugees in Syria, and help refugees and their host communities in neighbouring countries. “We’ve very committed to ensuring that we are pursuing all channels to ensure the assistance reaches directly to the people of Syria,” said Nancy Lindborg, assistant administrator of the US Agency for International Development. “The UN continues to be a critical part of the solution.”
European Commission: Apart from pledges by member countries, the European Commission pledged $136 million in new funding, bringing its total contribution so far to $270 million. According to its Commissioner for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and crisis response, Kristalina Georgieva, most of the new funding will go towards the two UN appeals, but a small amount may also go to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), she said.
UK pledged 50 million pounds ($79.18 million) in new funding towards the UN appeals, bringing its total contribution so far to 139.5 million pounds. Justine Greening, secretary of state for international development, did however say: “We must ensure that coordinated aid reaches people across Syria, including agreed cross-line and cross-border work,” suggesting that the UK would also be open to funding projects outside the UN’s response plans, which do not include aid delivery from the northern Turkish border.
Japan announced a new pledge of $65 million to support Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs), to be spent in coordination with UN agencies and NGOs. Toshiro Suzuki, ambassador in charge of Syrian Affairs at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized in particular the importance of supporting host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and other neighbouring countries “to avoid any further destabilization in the region”.
Norway pledged an additional $38 million to be channelled through the UN’s Regional Response Plan.
Italy pledged 22 million euro ($30.06 million) for 2013, in addition to 7.5 million euro disbursed in 2012.
Canada pledged $25 million for “food, protection and support to those affected by the conflict”. In 2012, it pledged $23.5 million for food, water and other basic needs both inside and outside Syria.
Sweden pledged $23 million to support the core budgets of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), the Relief Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and the Central Emergency Response Fund. In 2012, it gave $37 million. It is also the largest recipient of Syrian refugees in Europe.
Bahrain: The Crown Prince announced $20 million in pledges, in addition to $5 million given earlier to build four schools and 500 houses for refugees.
Germany announced $13.5 million in new funding for UNHCR activities in Lebanon and Jordan, UNRWA activities helping Palestinian refugees who fled Syria for Lebanon; and projects both in and outside Syria in cooperation with German humanitarian organizations. Last year, it gave $72 million in humanitarian assistance, including $16 million to the Emergency Response Fund for Syria (the latter sum is currently still available); as well as $67 million in “structural and bilateral assistance”.
Switzerland: Switzerland’s pledge of 10 million Swiss francs ($11 million), in addition to 20 million francs spent earlier in the crisis, will go towards the UN response plans, the ICRC and “bilateral efforts”.
France: Despite its very public stance in support of the Syrian opposition, France was not at the top of the list of humanitarian pledges, announcing a total of 7.5 million euros (slightly over $10 million), to be allocated as follows: 3.5 million euros to UNHCR and WFP projects in the response plan; 1.5 million to ICRC and 2.5 million to Syrian organizations in coordination with opposition umbrella group the Syrian National Coalition. Eric Chevallier, French ambassador to Syria, said his country hopes to announce additional funding for UNRWA in the future. In 2012, France provided 13 million euros to the UN, NGOs, host countries and to Syrian organizations like the Union of Syrian Medical Relief Organizations (UOSSM). It has also assisted “solidarity networks”, like the Local Coordination Committees, the network of peaceful activists who started the protests in Syria in 2011, as well as the Assistance Coordination Unit of the Syrian National Coalition.
Iraq: Already hosting 80,000 Syrian refugees, Iraq pledged $10 million, likely to be channelled through UNHCR, its delegation said, to help refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. Two months ago, it gave another $10 million for IDPs inside Syria and refugees in Lebanon and Jordan, coordinated by the Iraqi Red Crescent.
Denmark pledged $10 million in humanitarian support, in addition to $27 million in 2012, $10 million of which was given in December to the UN.
Australia pledged an additional $10 million for UNHCR’s support to refugees in neighbouring countries, WFP’s activities inside Syria and “other international organizations providing emergency health and medical assistance in Syria”. That brings its total contribution to $41.5 million since June 2011.
Belgium pledged 6.5 million euros principally for the Emergency Response Fund (ERF), but also for WFP’s work inside Syria, and UNHCR’s work in Jordan. Peter Moors, head of the directorate for development, cooperation and humanitarian aid at Belgium’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called on aid to be delivered to Syrians whatever their location, “regardless of the authorization by the Syrian regime”. Belgium’s contribution in 2012 was around $3.3 million.
Ireland announced $6.2 million for UNHCR, WFP, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UNRWA and ICRC, bringing its total contribution to $9.46 million.
Finland pledged 3.5 million euros ($4.7 million), as follows: one million euros for the Regional Response Plan, one million euros for WFP’s work both inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, 1.5 million euros for ICRC, and 250,000 euros to Finnish Church Aid, which is working in Jordan’s Za’atari camp for Syrian refugees.
Morocco announced $4 million, without specifying its destination. It is also establishing a field hospital in Za’atari camp in Jordan and hosting thousands of refugees itself.
Spain: Similarly, Spain announced $4 million to go towards the protection, food security and health sectors of both UN response plans.
Luxembourg pledged three million euros ($4 million), adding to more than two million euros spent in 2012 through UNHCR, ICRC, NGOs and direct in-kind donations of medical equipment to Jordan. Its minister of foreign affairs said it was also ready to deploy several emergency telecommunications systems if needed.
The Republic of Korea pledged an additional $3 million, in addition to $2 million given so far.
Russia did not announce a pledge at the conference, but told IRIN it plans to give WFP $3 million, adding to its contributions in 2012: more than $1 million to ICRC, $4.5 million to WFP, 1.5 million to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and 200 tons of tents, medicine and other items bilaterally to Syria.
China said it had “recently” made a decision to give $1 million to UNHCR and $200,000 to the International Organization for Migration, though it was unclear whether the money was already given before the conference. In the past, it has given $2 million to ICRC and $5 million in emergency supplies to refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.
Mauritania: Currently dealing with an influx of refugees from Mali, Mauritania pledged $1 million “to mitigate the suffering that hundreds of thousands of refugees are facing, especially under these extreme weather conditions”.
Poland pledged $500,000 in new funding for the first half of 2013, in addition to $1.4 million in humanitarian aid in 2012, channelled through OCHA, UNHCR and Polish NGOs working in Lebanon and Jordan.
Croatia pledged 330,000 euros ($447,000) for 2013, saying it “would like to do more” but was facing financial constraints. Previously, it had given 50,000 euros to UNHCR, $50,000 to the Turkish government, 130,000 euros to help feed IDPs in the rebel-controlled camp in Atma, northern Syria, and 175,000 euros for the construction of a hospital and kindergarten in an undisclosed Syrian city.
Estonia will give 300,000 euros ($410,160) towards the Regional Response Plan, 100,000 of which has already been transferred to UNHCR. Last year, it gave 200,000 euros to UNHCR, OCHA and ICRC.
Hungary will provide $160,000 to UNRWA, UNICEF, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and ICRC. A Hungarian company will give an additional $100,000 as part of its corporate social responsibility programme. In 2012, Syria was the biggest recipient of Hungarian humanitarian aid, mostly channelled through UN agencies, but also through Hungarian organizations working in the field. It also assisted the Turkish government directly at the end of last year.
Brazil will give $250,000 to UNHCR, in addition to $360,000 given to UNHCR in 2012.
Bulgaria pledged 150,000 euros ($205,000) towards the Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan for aid inside Syria, especially that of WFP. Last year, it gave 100,000 euros towards the Regional Response Plan.
Romania pledged $100,000.
Slovakia will give 50,000 euros ($68,341) to UNICEF “to alleviate the plight of Syrian children,” in addition to $200,000 given last year in financial and in-kind assistance.
Greece will give 50,000 euros ($68,341) for the Regional Response Plan, in addition to 150,000 euros given in the past.
Botswana: The only sub-Saharan African country to pledge at the conference, Botswana offered $50,000.
Malta pledged 30,000 euros ($41,007)
Lithuania pledged $27,000.
Cyprus offered $20,000 in pharmaceuticals.
Qatar did not pledge new funds but said its governmental humanitarian donations for the Syrian crisis have exceeded $326 million, channelled through charitable organizations and Red Crescent societies, in addition to several contributions from the Qatar Red Crescent to refugees in neighbouring countries and to IDPs inside Syria, the minister of state for foreign affairs said, bringing Qatar’s total contribution to nearly $421 million.
The Netherlands did not announce new funding, but gave UNHCR five million euros at the beginning of January, in addition to 23.5 million euros in 2012, including 10 million euros in December for UNHCR’s winterization programme.
Austria did not announce new money, but gave the UN 800,000 euros at the end of last year, in addition to 2.9 million euros earlier in the year.
Iran’s speech listed the help it has provided, despite sanctions, including sending more than $200 million of food, medicine, clothes and flour to Syria; and supplying 100 tons of gas-oil; 20,000 tons of liquefied petroleum gas; helping reconstruct power plants; equipping Syrian hospitals and ambulances in cooperation with the government; sending through its Red Crescent Society 30,000 relief packages to refugees in Lebanon and 20,000 packages for Palestinians inside Syria; supplying $1 billion as a financial credit line to support “basic necessities and technical and engineer services”. It said it will contribute to the “special fund” set up by UN secretary-general, but did not specify how much.
Turkey did not donate to the response plans, but said it has spent more than $500 million hosting and taking care of the health, food and education needs of close to 170,000 refugees in 16 camps along the border. It has also delivered $100 million of aid at the border, where Syrians pick it up and distribute it to those in need across the border. The government launched a campaign, raising $10 million in donations from the Turkish public, which will be channelled towards IDPs, said Erdogan Iscan, director-general for multilateral political affairs. Turkey is also shipping $20 million worth of supplies like diesel fuel to Syria.
Other countries, including Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya and Algeria did not pledge funds but are hosting, and in many regards, financially supporting, thousands of refugees on their soil.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions