Refugees: International Assistance

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 20th December 2021.

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Photo of Lyn Brown Lyn Brown Shadow Minister (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the UNHCR Pledging Conference 2021: UK statement, published on 7 December 2021, what assessment she has made of the impact on (a) refugee protection, (b) UK influence within the UNHCR and (c) UK influence with countries affected by large refugee populations or flows of the reduction in UK contributions to the UNHCR from $134 million in 2020 to $78.6 million in 2021.

Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

Humanitarian assistance is one of the Foreign Secretary's top priorities, and the UK remains a major humanitarian donor. Our work around the world to support displaced people and the countries that host them, and to champion International Humanitarian Law, is central to our efforts to build a global network of liberty. We have led the way in forging innovative solutions to refugee crises, championing a longer-term approach and helping shape the Global Compact on Refugees - including our pioneering responses in Jordan and Ethiopia.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is a critical partner in delivering these priorities. We play a central and influential role in supporting UNHCR - as one of its largest core funding partners, through close joint work via their Executive Committee and other governance fora, through our UN reform agenda, and by deploying our bilateral funding and global diplomatic network to carry out humanitarian diplomacy. Refugee protection is a crucial element of this partnership - and to our partnerships with other UN and Red Cross agencies - but is subject to a much broader range of factors than funding alone. We do not yet have a final figure for the UK's total 2021 funding to UNHCR, but we know the Covid-19 pandemic has had particularly severe impacts for displaced people. That is why the UK provided a £20 million uplift in core funding to UNHCR to help counter the effects of the pandemic. We have also been instrumental in advocating for greater support for host countries through our bilateral engagement - including driving progress on development financing, and host communities' access to health services, education and livelihoods.

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