4 Donor funding |
41. The UK has made a sizeable financial
contribution to the humanitarian effort in Syria and the surrounding
countries. Since the crisis began, the UK has committed £600
million, including funding for Syria itself (see Chapter 2), funding
for the neighbouring countries (see Chapter 3), and funding whose
allocation is still to be finalised.
The UK's annual spending on its response to the crisis has increased
steadily and now stands at approximately £300m per year.
 This increase has
been made possible by the fact that the UK's total Official Development
Assistance (ODA) budget has itself been increasing, reaching 0.7%
of GNI in 2013.
42. The Minister of State told us that
he expected DFID's annual spending on the Syria crisis to remain
broadly stable for "the next year or two."
He went on to say that whilst DFID's spending on the Syria crisis
had not yet affected its spending on bilateral programmes, there
may be some effect in the future:
As our budget has plateaued and
other lumps of money have been put into things such as the [new
Conflict, Stability and Security Fund], we are not as flush as
we have been over the last two or three years. Whereas I am not
saying that the Syrian crisis is necessarily going to have a detrimental
impact on bilateral agreements - maybe you can take some from
the multilateral alternatives - there are going to be some difficult
choices anyway, even if there were not a Syrian humanitarian problem.
43. We asked the Minister of State to
clarify DFID's overall budget for responding to humanitarian crises,
but he was reluctant to provide a figure:
Whereas it is logical to perhaps
ringfence or commit a percentage to what are predictable
continuous programme objectives, humanitarian spending is less
susceptible to that certainty. We are already of course asked
to commit 30% of our budget towards fragility and stability. We
are in danger of ending up with a lot of overlapping, slightly
illogical, incoherent percentages all bumping into each other
] we have a contingency for the unexpected earthquake or
cyclone. I am pretty confident that, by and large, particularly
if the Syrian problem remainsand heaven knows there is
enough going on in Africawe will probably end up spending
something like 10% on humanitarian. However, to plan for it and
demand it is a slightly different way of approaching the issue.
44. In its written evidence, DFID highlights
the UK Government's attempts to lobby other donor countries to
match its commitment. In practice, however, many have failed to
do so. The table below shows the commitments/contributions and
pledges made by other EU member states since the crisis began.
|Donor representative country
|| USD pledged
Source: adapted from UN OCHA Financial
Tracking Service, 'Syrian Arab Republic Civil Unrest' accessed
24 June 2014
45. The Minister of State told us:
I have to say, I am seriously worried
about the rise of donor fatigue. At the last meeting I was at,
which was an officials' meeting about donor co-ordination, I sensed
that this is going to be the real challenge of the next year or
so, which is that the willingness of people to contribute is likely
to peter out a bit. That makes it essential to argue that those
who have not stepped up to the plate so far should do so now.
its humanitarian response to the Syria crisis, the UK has led
the world: we commend the Government for its exemplary contribution.
The UK has been able to increase its annual spending because its
Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget has been increasing;
now that the 0.7% target has been reached, spending will not continue
to increase at the same rate. As the Minister of State highlighted,
there are difficult choices ahead: if DFID continues to prioritise
humanitarian spending in the Middle East, this will have implications
for DFID's spending in other parts of the world. Whilst we accept
that humanitarian crises are unpredictable, we recommend that
DFID set a clear budget for its humanitarian spending. With the
ODA budget capped at 0.7% of GNI transparency as to the apportionment
of humanitarian and development spending is essential. DFID
should tell us what the budget for humanitarian spending is in
its response to this report. It should tell us how it sets about
planning for humanitarian work; what contingencies it has; and
at what point it would be unable to commit further resources to
humanitarian work. Rather than simply telling us that it has a
contingency, it should explicitly provide us with an annual figure
as to what the contingency is.
this context, it is ever more crucial that other donors fulfil
their responsibilities. The contributions made by many other donor
countries fall far short of that made by the UK. The Government
should use every means possible to put pressure on other donor
countries and encourage them to match the UK's commitment.
48. UNHCR is appealing to countries
around the world to accept up to 30,000 Syrian refugees by the
end of 2014, either on humanitarian admission, resettlement or
other programmes. Currently twenty countries have agreed to do
so: Germany, for example, has accepted 10,000 refugees on humanitarian
49. The UK has been criticised in some
quarters for not taking part.
However, the UK has launched its own Vulnerable Persons Relocation
(VPR) scheme. The Government expects to accept several hundred
refugees under this scheme, with a focus on the most vulnerable.
As at 13 May, 24 Syrians had arrived in the UK.
The Minister of State said: "We have tried [
] to pick
some of the most [
] vulnerable and design a specialist approach
to their acute needs. [
] In my view, that is one up on the
UNHCR scheme, rather than just an easy "Thank you very much;
we will go along with it.""
He went on to say that "transplanting someone from a completely
different cultural context, particularly when they are the most
acute victims, is not necessarily always the very best and easiest
way of putting them into a happy setting."
50. We received strong representations
that stressed the case for supporting Syrian refugees in the region,
allowing them to remain close to their livelihoods with a possibility
of returning to Syria. Clearly there are some people with extreme
needs whom the UK should accommodate. As at 13 May 24 had come,
and we hope that the UK will continue this process in a constructive
and compassionate way.
73 DFID, UK Aid Syria Response (June 2014), p 4 Back
DFID (MID0053) para 23 Back
DFID, Statistical Release: Provisional UK Official Development Assistance as a proportion of Gross National Income, 2013
(April 2014) , p 1 Back
Q 118 Back
Q 121 Back
Q 128 Back
Q 122 Back
UNHCR, Resettlement, Humanitarian Admission, and Other Forms of Admission for Syrian Refugees: 2013/2014 Pledges
(February 2014) Back
Christian Aid (MID0049) para 2.5.2 Back
"Syria: UK helps vulnerable refugees", Home Office press
notice, 25 March 2014 Back
HC Deb, 13 May 2014, col 450W Back
Qq 153-4 Back
Q 155 Back