STOCKHOLM, 7 March 2017 – The Government of Sweden has just announced an $80 million contribution to support UNICEF’s life-saving work around the world. A significant part of the new funds – $20 million– will be allocated to UNICEF’s humanitarian work in countries affected by wars and other emergencies.
“Wars and conflicts are hitting children the hardest. Today we hear alarming reports around the world, from South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen about severe malnutrition and from inside war-torn Syria. The world must act. Sweden works closely together with UNICEF and we call upon other countries to step forward,” said Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate.
Most of the new funds – $60 million – are non-earmarked, giving UNICEF flexibility to use them where the needs are highest. The remaining $20 million will cover humanitarian programmes in 13 countries including:
• $4.5 million to help provide nutrition and health support in Somalia and South Sudan where 185,000 and 270,000 children, respectively, will be suffering from severe acute malnutrition this year. A famine has been declared in parts of Unity State in the northern central part of South Sudan, home to 20,000 children.
• $3.3 million to support UNICEF’s response in Syria where the conflict is about to enter its seventh year.
• $2.8 million to support UNICEF’s efforts to provide health, water, sanitation and hygiene services to families affected by the Boko Haram violence in northeast Nigeria.
• Half a million dollars to provide 7,500 refugee children in Bangladesh with non-formal basic education in makeshift settlements for six months and help 50,000 Rohingya refugees access maternal, neonatal and child health services.
“Sweden is one of UNICEF’s strongest partners, helping us reach millions of vulnerable children with life-saving assistance,” said Justin Forsyth, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director. “As children around the world continue to flee conflicts, suffer from hunger and endure abuse, this support is more critical than ever.”
Sweden is among UNICEF’s Top 5 government donors, with a donation of nearly $220 million in 2016 for both humanitarian and development programmes. Last year, the country doubled its contribution to UNICEF’s core funding, offering more flexible, long-term resources to help UNICEF react more quickly in emergencies and plan more strategically.