In an annual meeting in Geneva last week, donor governments pledged a total of $857 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN refugee agency. These funds are aimed at assisting some 67 million refugees and internally displaced persons in the world in 2018.
This year's pledges are higher than the contributions pledged in 2016 for 2017, which totaled $701,097,142.
Fewer countries pledged for 2018 than for 2017: 40 countries (including the European Union) pledged for 2017 vs. 38 for 2018.
Six countries that pledged for 2017 did not for 2018: Algeria ($100,000), Brazil ($662,779), Morocco ($1,000,000), Saudi Arabia ($6,760,897), Slovenia ($33,520), and Zambia ($10,081).
Four countries that did not pledge for 2017 did pledge for 2018: China ($6,063,784), Montenegro ($11,848), Slovakia ($236,967), and Serbia ($5,000).
The United States made the largest pledge in both years: $125,000,000 for 2017 by the Obama administration and $133,795,709 for 2018 by the Trump administration.
Contributions Pledged in 2017 for 2018
The 10 highest contributions are as follows:
- United States: $133,795,709
- Germany: $111,597,227
- Sweden: $104,900,814
- European Union: $101,280,643
- Denmark: $53,896,383
- United Kingdom: $47,022,322
- Canada: $46,913,622
- Netherlands: $46,574,973
- Norway: $42,603,003
- Australia: $26,179,019
Only three Arab countries contributed in 2017:
- Qatar: $6,200,000
- Kuwait: $4,425,000
- United Arab Emirates: $3,400,000
Turkey pledged $300,000, but it is worth noting that it is now hosting some 3.4 million refugees.
France pledged $123,084, less than half of what it pledged in 2016.
Contributions Pledged in 2016 for 2017
The 10 highest contributions were as follows:
- United States: $125,000,000
- European Union: $105,525,209
- Sweden: $81,914,889
- Netherlands: $52,154,195
- Denmark: $46,065,586
- Norway: $40,909,626
- Canada: $38,657,916
- Switzerland: $28,775,698
- Australia: $19,156,992
- United Kingdom: $10,488,068
Five Arab countries contributed in 2016:
- Algeria ($100,000)
- Kuwait ($1,000,000)
- Qatar ($200,000)
- Saudi Arabia ($6,760,897)
- United Arab Emirates ($326,000)
Turkey pledged $300,000.
France pledged $292,138.
The United States still leads the humanitarian appeal to help refugees worldwide. The Trump administration, as it just demonstrated in Geneva, is more than ever committed to the refugee cause. Those who are quick to criticize this administration following President Trump's decision to cut down refugee resettlement admissions to 45,000 in FY 2018 should reconsider.
The answer to the refugee crisis, as I've written before, is not to pick a "lucky few" out of millions who are undergoing common hardships. The focus instead should be toward empowering millions of refugees close to their home, and working on ending conflicts to secure their safe return.