In 2018, only 56% of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Egypt’s funding has been met, according to new report for the UNHCR, adding that a number of humanitarian and medical services are continually at risk of being cut off, including access to lifelong healthcare, and essential cash assistance for families which keeps children in schools.
Funding for the world’s forcibly displaced people is becoming increasingly constricted, with barely more than half of needs being met worldwide, with worsening hardship and risks for many refugees, and other displaced people and the communities they live among, said the report.
Funding shortfall is concurrent with an increase in health care costs, and an increase in new registrations with the UNHCR in Egypt, added the report, noting that the inability to maintain this steep rise means that refugees and asylum-seekers bear the brunt of underfunding, forcing them to resort to desperate measures such as going without healthcare or education, child labour, and early marriage.
In view of this, the UNHCR is reiterating its appeal to donors, who provide generous contributions to the population of concern in Egypt and the host government, to increase their support in order to maintain the services provided to refugees, asylum-seekers, and other members of the host community.
Priorities of the UNHCR’s 2019 revised budget for Egypt
The UNHCR’s revised budget for Egypt in 2019 is about $104.2m allocated for seven main pillars, according to the organisation’s website. Objectives pillars are a favourable protection environment; fair protection processes and documentation; security from violence and exploitation; basic needs and essential services; community empowerment and self reliance; durable solutions; logistics and operations support.
Resource allocation at the objective level is subject to change during the course of the year as the operational situation evolves and priorities shift, affirmed the website, noting that the UNHCR carries out registration, documentation and refugee status determination under its 1954 memorandum of understanding with the government of Egypt.
The estimated number of people of concern to the UNHCR in 2019 stands at 280,000, consisting of refugees and asylum-seekers predominantly from Iraq, Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Refugees and asylum-seekers live in urban areas alongside local communities.
The government has been able to prevent any irregular mixed movements from the northern coast of Egypt through the Mediterranean.
The UNHCR works closely with the government and its UN and non-governmental organisations (NGO) partners to provide protection and assistance to asylum-seekers and refugees. The refugee response is coordinated through the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) led by the UNHCR.
The UNHCR’s key priorities for 2019 include preservation of the protection space, enhanced access to asylum, and the prevention of refoulement. Furthermore, the UNHCR’s focus in Egypt for 2019 will be maintained on issues related to registration; access to and release from detention; alternatives to detention; issuance of longer duration residence permits; decentralisation of administrative procedures, and regularisation of stay.
Child protection, youth programmes, prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse will continue to be crucial.
The UNHCR’s office will remain engaged in the response to mixed movements, and prevention of and response to human trafficking. Moreover, the UNHCR’s engagement with the League of Arab States is expected to continue in 2019, in order to build upon progress accomplished over the past years on protection issues.
The overall strategy will be realised in close collaboration with national and international stakeholders, both when leading and coordinating the response, by using the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework model.
In 2019, the office will continue to ensure the implementation of the regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for the Syria crisis and the Egypt appeal for asylum seekers and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa, Iraq and Yemen, in close coordination with UN and NGO partners.
International Migrants Day
Moreover, Secretary General for the United Nations, António Guterres, said that migration is a powerful driver of economic growth, dynamism and understanding, as it allows millions of people to seek new opportunities, benefiting communities of origin and destination alike.
“When poorly regulated, migration can intensify divisions within and between societies, expose people to exploitation and abuse, and undermine faith in government,” Guterres added on the occasion of International Migrants Day which is celebrated on 18 December.
In December, the world took a landmark step forward with the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, added Guterres, noting that backed with overwhelming support by the membership of the UN, the Compact will help to address the real challenges of migration while reaping its many benefits, according to the website.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is people-centered, rooted in human rights, and points the way toward more legal opportunities for migration and stronger action to crack down on human trafficking, affirmed Guterres, according to the website..
“On International Migrants Day, let us take the path provided by the Global Compact: to make migration work for all,” said Guterres, according to the website.