Ulkoministeriö / Utrikesministeriet

MFA: Humanitarian assistance is needed more than ever before — Finland strengthens food security and supports safe childbirths in crisis areas

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The UN estimates that 274 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2022. The needs are increasing, for example due to the escalation of conflicts in Afghanistan and Ethiopia. Finland will increase its support for the alleviation of human suffering in crisis areas, which is why Finland will raise its funding for humanitarian assistance to EUR 113 million this year.

According to the Global Humanitarian Overview launched today by the UN, 274 million people in 63 countries will need humanitarian assistance in 2022. The situation is particularly difficult from the perspective of food security. The number of undernourished people has risen to 811 million. The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased violence against women; over 70 per cent of women in humanitarian settings have experienced gender-based violence.

As global humanitarian funding is not sufficient to cover all needs, assistance must be targeted more and more carefully at the most disadvantaged people. In its humanitarian policy, Finland places special emphasis on the needs of women, girls and persons with disabilities.

“For many consecutive years, the UN has announced that the number of people in need of emergency relief is higher than ever before. Unfortunately, this is true also this year. Finland will increase its humanitarian support to save lives and alleviate suffering in humanitarian crisis. We will focus on addressing the needs of women and improving the difficult food security situation,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.

Finland strengthens food security in countries affected by humanitarian crisis by supporting the World Food Programme (WFP). The additional funding of EUR 14 million will be channelled to WFP’s work in Afghanistan and Ethiopia as well as to school feeding programmes in, for example Somalia, the Central African Republic and Madagaskar.

“School feeding improves children’s nutrition and encourages families to send also girls to school. It can therefore indirectly protect children from recruitment as child soldiers, forced marriage and exploitation in conflict-affected countries,” says Minister Skinnari, who serves as global champion for school feeding for the WFP.

Finland addresses the needs of women in humanitarian crises through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Finland has granted EUR 4 million to provide opportunities for safe childbirths, to support the operation of mobile clinics, and to provide medical treatment and psychosocial support for survivors of gender-based violence.

Additional funding will also be granted to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for its COVID-19 response in the Horn of Africa (EUR 3 million); to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) (EUR 3 million); to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Syria (EUR 1.2 million); to the Finnish Red Cross for its field hospital in Haiti (EUR 1 million); and to the Finnish Red Cross for such emergency relief materials as tents and kitchens to Ethiopia (EUR 0.5 million). Plans have also been made on additional funding for the United Nation’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), through which Finland will contribute in responding to sudden-onset disasters and protracted underfunded crises.

As a result of the funding decisions made towards the end of the year, Finland’s humanitarian assistance in 2021 will rise to EUR 113 million. In Afghanistan and Ethiopia, in particular, humanitarian needs have grown dramatically in tandem with the slowing or suspended implementation of development cooperation programmes. Therefore, funding targeted at these countries has been redirected from long-term development cooperation to humanitarian assistance. This will increase the total amount of humanitarian assistance and, for its part, emphasise Afghanistan and Ethiopia in humanitarian funding for 2021.

Inquiries:

Lauratuulia Lehtinen, Director of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 46 921 2030

The email addresses of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs are in the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi

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