UN Refugee Chief Warns of 'Severe Cuts' Without Urgent Funding

On Monday, UN refugee agency head Filippo Grandi said the organization will have to make significant cuts unless they source an additional $700M in funding before the end of the year.

UN Refugee Chief Warns of 'Severe Cuts' Without Urgent Funding
Photo by Julie Ricard / Unsplash

Facts

  • On Monday, UN refugee agency head Filippo Grandi said the organization will have to make significant cuts unless they source an additional $700M in funding before the end of the year. He spoke at the UNHCR's annual executive committee meeting in Geneva, making the announcement as the number of forcibly displaced people passed 100M globally.
  • He stated the Russia-Ukraine war had caused, "the largest and fastest displacement crisis in Europe since the Second World War." He also said the conflict - which has seen 7.6M Ukrainians flee their nation - had increased the UNHCR's 2022 budget by over $1B to more than $10B.
  • According to Grandi, the UN has successfully expanded the funds raised from private sources to more than $1B this year, up from under half a million in 2019. However, inflexibility in the way funds are earmarked makes it difficult for the UNHCR to respond effectively, including to dire crises in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan, he said.
  • He further commented that he was concerned about the effect cold weather would have on the 6.2M internally displaced people in Ukraine during the coming winter.
  • "If we do not maintain focus on all crises," he said, "if we do not adequately resource all responses, we are dooming refugees and their hosts to further hardship."
  • Another spokesperson for the organization also said that 12 of the agency's programs are currently funded at 50% or less - when asked which of them might need to be cut as a result of a lack of funding, they expressed concerns about Middle Eastern areas, such as Yemen and Ethiopia.

Sources: Macau Business, Al Araby, Al Jazeera, and Reuters.

Narratives

  • Left narrative, as provided by Guardian. Migration has become an urgent political issue over the last decade, not only due to global displacement but also attempts by administrations to artificially erect boundaries across national borders. Europe and the West at large have shown their true xenophobic colors by portraying this migration as an "invasion," and refusing to take responsibility for their part in causing the problem or in solving it. Now we must tackle systems that enable marginalization - including the preference for white Ukrainians.
  • Right narrative, as provided by FOX News. The scale of the current global crisis is largely the result of Vladimir Putin's vain and barbaric war in Ukraine - a conflict that has seen Europe and the US show solidarity, straining their resources to support those fleeing invading forces. Responding to such issues is only ever palliative however, and the ultimate solution to the scale of displacement is not to invite people to cross borders, but to implement long-term stability abroad.
  • Narrative C, as provided by Atlantic. The global asylum and refugee system is not fit for purpose. Countries are failing to respond effectively to today's humanitarian crises because the framework for coping with these problem is designed for a much smaller scale. There are various and complex problems involved with the verifying of asylum claims and the unequal distribution of the burden of refugees - such issues need debate and reform to help cope with current levels of displacement.