Sweden’s unearmarked funding makes a difference for refugees

21 Mar 2019

“Unearmarked funds are vital,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, during a recent visit to Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, which is home to more than 150,000 refugees. “I thank those donors that trust us and give us the responsibility to make the choice of where to put those funds.”

Unearmarked or flexible funding allows UNHCR to provide new, more environmentally friendly housing, keep schools open, build shelters, and support projects such as farms and small businesses that benefit not just the 162,000 refugees in Tanzania, but also their host communities.




Since around 70 per cent of the funding UNHCR received last year was earmarked or tightly earmarked, meant for spending in particular situations flexible funding is more important than ever. This is particularly important in underfunded operations.  

In Lebanon, which hosts around one million Syrian refugees, unearmarked funds provide cash assistance that helps cover rent, pay for education, pay for shelter materials and fuel. 

In the Central African Republic, where a gradual transition to peace and stability began in late 2016, flexible funds are supporting the reintegration of thousands of returning refugees and internally displaced people. 

In Mauritania, meanwhile, unearmarked funding supports primary education for almost 6,000 Malian children, paying the salaries of 120 teachers and school staff working in six primary schools, two extensions and school canteens. 

To maintain an effective and flexible response to refugee situations around the world, increasing the percentage of unearmarked funds is more vital than ever. Sweden is the largest donor in terms of flexible funding to UN humanitarian organisations and one of the largest contributors to UNHCR.

UNHCR uses unearmarked or flexible funds in three main ways: to make an immediate difference in people's lives by kick-starting emergency responses; bolstering efforts in underfunded and 'forgotten' crises, and scaling up programmes in a coordinated and efficient ways.

Read more about UNHCR's use of unearmarked funding here.

With special thanks and credits to UNHCR.


Last updated 21 Mar 2019, 12.11 PM