Finland to provide humanitarian assistance to major global crises

ByMinistry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

Finland to provide humanitarian assistance to major global crises

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs humanitarian assistance decisions made in the early part of the year emphasise Ukraine and the world’s largest refugee crises. The amount of humanitarian assistance granted totals EUR 63 million.

The UN estimates that nearly 300 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance in 2024. Humanitarian distress is caused especially by disastrous conflicts: every fifth child in the world lives in a conflict zone or has fled home because of a conflict. Severe drought, hurricanes and other extreme weather phenomena caused by climate change also lead to humanitarian crises around the world.

Finland contributes towards relieving distress by providing humanitarian assistance through UN agencies, the Red Cross Movement and Finnish civil society organisations.

“The funding decisions emphasise urgent, life-saving relief assistance. In addition to the biggest humanitarian crises, the assistance package takes into account the need to respond to underfunded and rapidly deepening crises in the world,” says Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio.

The ministry is granting a total of EUR 36.5 million in country- and region-specific humanitarian assistance. Ukraine will continue to be the main recipient of humanitarian assistance with nine million euros allocated from the budget item ‘Support for Ukraine’. Assistance to Ukraine will be channelled through the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

In the Middle East, Finland supports the WFP’s operation in Gaza and the West Bank and the ICRC’s operation in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank by a total of five million euros. In addition, Finland allocates assistance to the crisis areas of eastern Africa and the Sahel, to Syria and its neighbouring regions and Yemen and Afghanistan.

Apart from country- and region-specific assistance, Finland awards discretionary general grants, which are based on multi-annual agreements, to international humanitarian organisations. This year, the sum allocated for this purpose is EUR 34.5 million, of which EUR 26.5 million will now be paid. General grants are awarded to maintain the operational capacity of humanitarian organisations throughout the year so that they can respond to crises and handle humanitarian crises that do not attract international attention.

Finland awards general grants to the World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). In addition, appropriations have been allocated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

However, Finland has suspended funding to UNRWA due to the alleged terrorist connections. Payments are suspended until the results of the investigations are known.

A total of EUR 103 million has been allocated for humanitarian assistance in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs budget for 2024. In addition to the decisions made now, preparations are underway for humanitarian funding provided through Finnish organisations. The rest of the humanitarian funding will be granted later in the year.