In the first half of 2021, Finland grants nearly EUR 70 million in humanitarian assistance to strengthen food security, support refugees and promote the rights of vulnerable people

In the first half of 2021, Finland grants nearly EUR 70 million in humanitarian assistance to strengthen food security, support refugees and promote the rights of vulnerable people

More than 200 million people across the globe need humanitarian assistance due to conflicts, natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic. The provision of humanitarian assistance is one of the most concrete ways of responding to crises and disasters. Finland grants a total of EUR 69.6 million to humanitarian work carried out by the UN organizations, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and Finnish civil society organisations.

In its humanitarian action, Finland emphasises the rights of women and girls, disability inclusion, and school meals.

The majority of the funding now granted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will be channelled to UN organizations. Through its core funding, Finland supports food security (EUR 8 million to the World Food Programme, WFP); emergency shelters for refugees and their protection and education (EUR 7 million to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, and EUR 5 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, UNRWA); and the coordination of humanitarian action (EUR 2.5 million to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA). In addition, funding will be used to respond to sudden disasters and underfunded protracted crises (EUR 8 million to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, CERF) and to disaster risk reduction (EUR 1 million to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNDRR).

“The coronavirus pandemic has further accentuated the importance of predictable and flexible humanitarian funding. The best way to ensure rapid and timely delivery of assistance in sudden disasters is to decide on funding early in the year,” stresses Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari

Finland grants not only core funding but also funding for the regional and thematic work conducted by UN agencies. WFP will use Finland’s funding to improve food security in the Sahel and Afghanistan (EUR 4 million) and to strengthen the food security of persons with disabilities (EUR 1 million); UNHCR will support refugees in South Sudan and its neighbouring countries (EUR 2 million), Tigray in Ethiopia (EUR 2 million) and Syria and its neighbouring areas (EUR 5 million); and UNFPA will improve the reproductive health services for women and girls in Syria (EUR 2 million). 

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an important humanitarian partner for Finland. The EUR 13 million now granted to it will be distributed between core funding (EUR 3 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross, ICRC) and thematic programmes as follows: ICRC’s emergency assistance to Yemen (EUR 2.7 million), South Sudan (EUR 2 million), Burkina Faso (EUR 1.2 million), Afghanistan (EUR 1 million) and Ukraine (EUR 0.8 million) as well as work by the Red Crescent in Syria (EUR 1.1 million).These programmes will strengthen the protection, health services, food security and water supply of the most vulnerable people. 

EUR 10.2 million is granted to humanitarian work by Finnish civil society organisations. The projects will be implemented by Fida International, Finn Church Aid, Finnish Refugee Council, Save the Children Finland, Plan International Finland, Finnish Red Cross and World Vision Finland. 

Civil society organisations’ projects support, for example, water supply and sanitation, the education of persons with disabilities, as well as child protection, food security and safe reopening of schools. Civil society organisations have an important role in supporting local humanitarian actors and strengthening their capacity to respond to crises. Besides several African countries, this year the projects of Finnish civil society organisations will be supported in Yemen, Myanmar and North Korea as well.

Additionally, Finland funds the EU’s humanitarian assistance through its contribution to the EU budget. The European Union, together with its Member States, is the world's largest donor of humanitarian assistance.
Lauratuulia Lehtinen, Director, Unit for Humanitarian Policy and Assistance, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 46 921 2030.