The need for humanitarian assistance across the world is growing – strong support from Finland for the most vulnerable groups

According to a new UN assessment, 168 million people in 53 countries are currently in need of emergency relief. The guidelines for persons with disabilities in humanitarian crises, supported by Finland, have recently been adopted at both EU and UN levels.

Based on the Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) 2020, published by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on 4 December, the world's worst humanitarian crisis is currently in Yemen, but the situation is also very difficult in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and South Sudan. The majority of the needs are caused by conflicts, but climate change, for example, has also led to an increase in the occurrence of natural disasters.

The total amount of humanitarian assistance needed for 2020 is estimated at around USD 28.8 billion. Altogether, 168 million people in 53 countries are in need of urgent assistance.

In 2019, Finland allocated a total of EUR 78.8 million in humanitarian assistance. EUR 12.4 million of this sum was targeted to the management of the Syrian crisis and support for Yemen was increased considerably, to EUR 5.7 million in all. EUR 21.3 million was directed to those in need of humanitarian assistance in Africa. Funding decisions for the rest of the year will be directed at Syria (UN Population Programme UNFPA), Yemen (World Food Programme WFP) and Central and Eastern Africa (Red Cross and the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR).

“In accordance with the Government Programme, Finland has raised the level of its humanitarian assistance. We have also updated our guidelines applying to the provision of assistance. At EU development ministers’ meeting on 25 November, conclusions were adopted, on Finland's initiative, that strengthen the EU's role both as a donor for humanitarian assistance and as a guardian and promoter of humanitarian law,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.

During its Presidency of the Council of the EU, Finland has drawn attention to the importance of humanitarian law in the protection of civilians and in ensuring the delivery of assistance. In the UN, Finland has supported international guidelines, through which the position of persons with disabilities will be better taken into account in humanitarian action and activities.  The Guidelines on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action were adopted by the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC) in October and published in November in New York.

Finland will publish its new guidelines concerning humanitarian assistance on 13 December. The aim of the guidelines is to further strengthen humanitarian aid operations in crisis areas and provide guidance for Finnish actions and activities so that Finland remains to be a principled, innovative, flexible, reliable and effective actor in the provision of  international humanitarian assistance.

Inquiries: Claus Lindroos, Director, Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, tel. +358 40 132 1416, and Riikka Mikkola, Senior Adviser, Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, tel. +358 295 350 138.

The Foreign Ministry's email addresses are of the format firstname.lastname@formin.fi.