|Humanitarian and Emergency Programs
International Refugee Fund
Conflicts, crises and disasters significantly undermine the potential for long-term poverty reduction, sustainable development and security. Australia’s humanitarian, emergency and refugee programs help address the impacts of conflicts, crises and disasters on vulnerable populations. They also complement and support the objectives of longer-term aid, and integrate with longer-term conflict prevention, conflict management and reduction, peacebuilding, and post-conflict recovery initiatives.
The 2004 OECD Development Assistance Committee review of Australia’s aid program found that Australia had made significant achievements in developing its policy framework for humanitarian action, and that Australian experience gained from its regional involvements could provide useful references for the international donor community.
Australia will boost its funding for humanitarian and emergency programs by $24.4 million to a total of $155.4 million in 2005‑06. Australia will focus its humanitarian and emergency efforts on the Asia–Pacific region, but retain the ability to respond flexibly, when required, to emergencies further afield. This flexibility was demonstrated in 2004 through Australia’s response to the crisis in Sudan, the Bam earthquake in Iran, floods in Bangladesh, the Indian Ocean disaster, and in 2005 through Australia’s response to the Sumatra earthquake.
Key priorities for 2005–06 will be developing closer integration between humanitarian and emergency responses and activities addressing peace, conflict and development, and the ongoing response to the Indian Ocean disaster and subsequent earthquake.
Australia will continue to provide core support to key humanitarian agencies. These will include the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Core funding for the ICRC will increase to $7 million in 2005–06. Australia will also continue to work with the World Food Programme (WFP) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in partner countries.
Australia will provide continued funding to the International Refugee Fund to help address the needs of people displaced by conflict. The fund provides assistance to help improve conditions for refugees and the reintegration of returnees, and supports durable solutions to people movement, particularly in the Asia–Pacific region.
Sudan: Responding to the humanitarian crisis
The Darfur region of western Sudan is experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. Following more than twelve months of armed conflict, up to 2.3 million people have been forced from their homes in Darfur, fleeing violence, rape, and the deliberate destruction of livelihoods by militia. The crisis has been exacerbated by crop failure and drought, which have affected an additional 1.1 million people.
In response, Australia has committed $40 million in humanitarian assistance since May 2004. Australian assistance is helping protect vulnerable populations in the face of widespread violence and human rights abuse, and delivering emergency shelter, food supplies, clean water and improved sanitation. Australia is actively encouraging and supporting action by the United Nations and will continue to support international efforts to end the conflict and alleviate the suffering and gross human rights abuses in Sudan.
Australia’s contribution has been channelled through multilateral humanitarian relief agencies. To date, this has included:
- $8 million to UNICEF for emergency relief needs of refugees in Chad and internally displaced people in Darfur, Sudan;
- $11.5 million to the WFP for emergency food supplies and nutritional needs of refugees in Chad and internally displaced people in Darfur, Sudan; for transportation of humanitarian workers; and for infrastructure support;
- $5 million to the ICRC for humanitarian assistance, protection of civilians and promotion of international humanitarian law;
- $1.5 million to CARE Australia for emergency relief needs of refugees in Chad and internally displaced people in Darfur, Sudan;
- $1.5 million to Oxfam for emergency relief needs of refugees in Chad and internally displaced people in Darfur, Sudan;
- $1.5 million to World Vision Australia, for emergency relief needs of refugees in Chad and internally displaced people in Darfur, Sudan; and
- $500,000 for the placement of Australian protection officers within UN agencies for up to one year.