The UN refugee agency announced today in Geneva its intention to double funds for cash-based assistance to refugees across the world by 2020 as a way to better assist and protect them.
“The use of cash-based assistance has been a real game changer in the way we help refugees and we have now decided to make it a worldwide policy and expand it to all our operations, where feasible*,” said the High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi.
“UNHCR was one of the first UN agencies to employ cash-based assistance in the mid-80s and has developed an in-depth expertise in this field. Over the years, we have seen its remarkable effect on the life of refugees and forcibly displaced people,” he added.
“Refugees know best what they need. The broader use of cash-based assistance means that many more will be able to decide how to manage their family’s budget. This will help them lead more dignified and normal lives,” he added.
The High Commissioner noted that cash-based programmes are also very effective and often prove to be an efficient way to help those fleeing conflict and persecution, in a context of growing urbanization and search for alternatives to camps.
He also stressed that cash assistance benefits local businesses and economies and is an important asset to foster relationships between host and refugee communities.
“Expanding our cash-based assistance to refugees and forcibly displaced people in the coming years will go hand-in-hand with enhancing our partnerships. I am convinced that by developing joined cash delivery arrangements with our partners on the ground, we will not only ensure a more predictable and coordinated assistance to refugees but also maximize efficiency and synergies,” said the High Commissioner.
UNHCR is already providing cash-based interventions in 60 countries. They have been particularly successful in Jordan and Lebanon, where they have allowed UNHCR to help the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in the most cost-efficient manner.
In 2017, firmly committed to reach the 2020 target, UNHCR will introduce and expand cash-based assistance to vulnerable refugees and people in need of help in 15 additional countries, including Niger, DRC, Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Afghanistan and Iran.