Armed conflicts, political insecurity and persecutions, natural disasters and climate changes result in ongoing massive forced migrations worldwide. In addition, the international community is regularly confronted with unexpected outbreaks of refugee crises and incurring emergency humanitarian situations. Europe is directly concerned by these humanitarian plights.
Since its establishment in 1951, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the leading refugee agency in the world, has been almost entirely funded by direct voluntary contributions from States but also from non-governmental organisations, the private sector including corporations, trusts, foundations and individual citizens. Only a small annual subsidy comes from the regular budget of the United Nations. Each year, the UNHCR issues a Global Appeal, asking governments and other donors to contribute to its budget. In large and complex refugee situations, UNHCR leads and co-ordinates the humanitarian response among agencies and non-governmental organisations.
When new and unexpected crises erupt, as in the case of Syria or Ukraine, the UNHCR is obliged to launch an emergency appeal, hoping that donors will provide it with additional resources and thereby competing with other humanitarian agencies, including UN sister organisations for a limited amount of humanitarian funding. It may take a relatively long time before the funds are raised.
This longstanding system of resource mobilisation has become increasingly inadequate and should be reviewed. The Parliamentary Assembly should contribute to the ongoing discussions on the possible ways to improve the emergency refugee situations funding, and, more generally on humanitarian situations financing challenges.