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UN seeks over $10 billion for COVID-19 response

Masked Palestinian workers at the United Nation Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) loading food aid rations for refugees. (Mohammed Saber / KEYSTONE)

More than $US 10 billion will be needed to meet the targets set out by the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) devised in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The funding appeal for 2020 will be the largest in UN history, according to a draft of the report obtained by The New Humanitarian ahead of the plan’s expected publication tomorrow. The ask to donors has increased by 50% since the initial proposal was developed in early May.

Why now? The GHRP would cover a range of humanitarian projects, including food aid, water and sanitation, and gender and sexual violence reduction in 63 low-income countries identified as most at risk from the health, social, and economic fallout of Covid-19. Even so, adequate aid mobilization now will avert far costlier crises associated with political instability and higher refugee flows in the future, the report states:

“Containing COVID-19 in poorer countries is in the national interests of richer countries.”

Inadequate response. All in all, total funding requests from both UN agencies and NGOs to support the Covid-19 response will amount to a staggering $US 40 billion for this year alone. But only 23 percent of those needs have been funded so far. Moreover, funding for the GHRP in its initial draft phase only amounted to $US 1.74 billion. As the horizon for international aid mobilization grows ever more challenging, Dan Coppard, director of research and analysis at the NGO Development Initiatives, told TNH:

“It is very likely we will see absolute falls in levels of global assistance,” with the current system “under significant strain.”

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The New Humanitarian - UN coronavirus appeal to top $10 billion