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Sun 24 May 2015 02:30 PM

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UN appoints panel to address humanitarian funding gap

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon set up new panel which includes UAE-based businessman Badr Jafar

UN appoints panel to address humanitarian funding gap
The new UN panel includes Badr Jafar, CEO of the UAEs Crescent Enterprises.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a high-level United Nations Panel to address the yawning gap between resources and financing for the world’s ever-pressing humanitarian efforts.

In an official statement, the Secretary-General observed that over the last decade, the demand for humanitarian aid had risen "dramatically" with the number of people requiring critical relief more than doubling since 2004 to over 100 million today and current funding requirements for 2015, according to the UN, standing at $19.1 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2004.

The statement added that this is the result of a number of factors including protracted conflicts which are forcing record numbers of people from their homes; water scarcity; food insecurity; demographic shifts; rapid urbanization; and climate change.

"All these and other dynamics are contributing to a situation in which current resources and funding flows are insufficient to meet the rising demand for aid," Ban’s statement said.

"Humanitarian actors are expected to stay longer and longer in countries and regions impacted by long-running crises and conflicts."

The financial requirements for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the Middle East and North Africa, for example, rose from $651m in 2011 to $1.76bn in 2014 as a result of the response to the current crisis in Syria and Iraq.

As a result, the Secretary General has appointed his High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, which will examine humanitarian challenges and identify ways in which the gap between rising needs and the resources available to meet them can be closed.

The committee will also work on generating solutions around the issues of more timely and predictable funding, as well as ways in which resources can be used more effectively, according to the statement.

The panel, which includes Badr Jafar, CEO of the UAE's Crescent Enterprises, is expected to meet regularly during the course of the year and will submit its recommendations to the Secretary General to help frame the discussion at the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.

Earlier this year it was revealed that the UAE was the world’s largest donor of development assistance in proportion to its gross national income (GNI).

The UAE exceeded the United Nations’ target of 0.7 per cent official development assistance in proportion to its GNI ratio by donating 19.84 billion, representing 1.34 per cent of its GNI.

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