G7, Gulf States bid $1.8 billion for refugees

G7 and Gulf states bid extra $1.8 billion for aid to UN aid agencies facing budget shortfalls as they respond to some 60 million refugees

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

The G7 group of leading economies as well as European countries and Gulf states have pledged $1.8 billion in funding for UN aid agencies struggling with the worst refugee crisis in 70 years.

The commitment came after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told world leaders at the opening of the General Assembly discussions that UN humanitarian agencies were "broke."

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres also said the UN aid agencies were "broke" and unable to provide the "bare minimum" for refugees in conflict areas such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and South Sudan.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters, "We have agreed to provide together $1.8 billion for the international aid organizations of the United Nations, especially the UN refugee agency and the World Food Program."

The aid will focus on Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which are hosting some four million refugees from conflict-torn Syria, Steinmeier added.

The UN has requested a record $20 billion to help alleviate refugee crises around the world.

Germany, the European country which has received the most refugees - up to 1 million - this year, will provide an additional $113 million to help deal with the refugee crisis.

Several countries - including the United States ($419 million), the Netherlands ($123 million), Saudi Arabia ($100 million), Switzerland ($71.7 million), and Austria ($10 million) - also made pledges to the UN aid budget.

Separately at the United Nations, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced a $1.5 billion commitment by Japan to help face the expanding Middle East refugee crisis.

According to data from the UN, the war in Syria has killed over 200,000 people and displaced over four million more with hundreds of thousands traveling to Europe to try to rebuild their lives.

The United Nations is struggling to help some 60 million refugees displaced by the conflict andworld countries - Gulf states in particular - have been harshly criticised for not doing more to help manage the crisis.

The G7 summit is composed of the foreign ministers of member countries such as Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States and their counterparts from Austria, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

TRTWorld and agencies