The United Nations refugee agency announced today its intention to double funds for cash-based assistance to refugees across the world by 2020 as a way to better assist and protect them
“The use of cash-based assistance has been a real game changer in the way we help refugees and we have now decided to make it a worldwide policy and expand it to all our operations, where feasible,” the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said in a news release.
According to the release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the agency is already providing cash-based interventions in 60 countries, including Jordan and Lebanon, and plans to expand the programmes to another 15 countries next year.
“UNHCR was one of the first UN agencies to employ cash-based assistance in the mid-80s and has developed an in-depth expertise in this field. Over the years, we have seen its remarkable effect on the life of refugees and forcibly displaced people,” Mr. Grandi said, adding that refugees know best what they need and cash-based assistance enables them to decide how to manage their family’s budget.
The High Commissioner noted that cash-based programmes often prove to be an efficient way to help those fleeing conflict and persecution, in a context of growing urbanization and the search for alternatives to camps.
He also stressed that cash assistance benefits local businesses and economies and is an important asset to foster relationships between host and refugee communities.
“Expanding our cash-based assistance to refugees and forcibly displaced people in the coming years will go hand-in-hand with enhancing our partnerships,” he said, noting that the development of joint cash delivery arrangements with partners on the ground will help ensure a more predictable and coordinated assistance and maximize efficiency and synergies.
Cash-based interventions have been particularly successful in Jordan and Lebanon, where they have allowed UNHCR to help the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in the most cost-efficient manner. With a firm commitment to achieving the 2020 target, UNHCR will next year introduce and expand cash-based assistance to vulnerable refugees and people in need of help in 15 additional countries, including Niger, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Afghanistan and Iran.