Humanitarian aid effort faces major funding shortfall, UN official warns

Humanitarian aid effort faces major funding shortfall, UN official warns

United Nations efforts to respond to humanitarian emergencies worldwide are being severely hampered by a funding shortfall which has left more than half of all projects without resources, a senior UN official reported today.

“This year, there is concern that there is a major shortfall in the amount of money that is being given overall to meet humanitarian needs,” said Mark Bowden, Chief of the Policy Development and Studies Branch of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The present shortfall was estimated at approximately $2.2 billion, which meant that only 38.5 per cent of the $3.67 billion required had been forthcoming.

Currently, 19 countries had consolidated appeal programmes, covering approximately 33 million people, he said, adding that there were “winners and losers” in the process. The appeal for Afghanistan, for example, had received 48 per cent of required funds.

The results were more worrying in other countries. “The reason that we’re concerned,” he stressed, “is that in many countries, where there are opportunities to make considerable progress in meeting humanitarian needs, such as Angola and Sudan, were not able to make those humanitarian gains because the money just isn’t there.”

Overall, the UN was concerned not only that the appeals were not being adequately met, but that there was an imbalance in funding across countries “because we can’t take advantage of the opportunities to make a real difference at a stage where peace processes are moving forward,” Mr. Bowden said.