CHAD: Neglected sectors to receive UN emergency funds

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Chad is to receive US$6.8 million from the UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) which injects money into crises that have been neglected or forgotten by donors, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) John Holmes announced.

This represents the largest share of an overall US$30 million funding injection spread over seven crises, including Afghanistan and Iraq. The funds will target areas of response that have been neglected by donors, in Chad's case education, protection, nutrition and health.

"So far this year, humanitarian organisations have heavily concentrated on purely life-saving aspects of the response such as food security for refugees and internally displaced people,” said Maurizio Giuliano, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Chad

“This money enables us to make sure people not only survive but they can start to live lives that are as normal and dignified as possible. Education and protection are essential to this," he said.

Up to half a million refugees and internally displaced people (IDPs) rely on humanitarian aid in Chad, and renewed fighting over the course of 2008 increased these needs, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The 2007 emergency funding appeal (the Consolidated Appeals Process or CAP) for Chad was 99 percent funded, according to OCHA, while the mid-year review for the 2008 CAP states that 44 percent of the funds have been received.

But Giuliano says this is misleading. "Over a third of this was carried over from the 2007 appeal or comes from CERF funding and allocations of UN non-earmarked funds. So in fact, donors have directly given just 28 percent of the funds needed for 2008, not 44 percent," he pointed out.

ERC Holmes backed this up in a written statement on 16 July warning: "If funding trends do not significantly improve in the coming months, this could have devastating consequences for nearly half a million people who heavily rely on humanitarian assistance for their survival."

When the funds are broken down it is clear some sectors are more favoured than others. While agriculture and food aid have received 60 percent of the money requested in the 2008 CAP, nutrition programmes are only 3 percent funded, education 12 percent and protection 28 percent, according to the UN's mid-year financing review released in June.

Further, the funding appeals in several of these sectors were revised down over the course of 2008. Protection agencies originally asked for US$9 million but reduced this to US$5.5 while the nutrition sector reduced its requirements from US$8 million down to US$6 million.

"Under-funding is one of the greatest problems facing the protection sector, particularly for children," said Katy Barnett, emergency child protection adviser for Save the Children, which has operations in Chad. "It doesn't make any sense to provide shelter and food if we know children remain at serious risk of recruitment into armed forces, sexual violence or other forms of abuse."

"If children don't have access to schools today then there is no way that they can contribute to the development of their country tomorrow," agreed Giuliano.