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ICRC facing record funding shortfall

13-09-2000 News Release 00/34

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today presented a review of its 2000 operations and financial situation to representatives of the Permanent Missions in Geneva. It announced that it still needs a record 270 million Swiss francs in additional contributions to cover its operations for the current year, and launched a renewed emergency appeal.

The Renewed Emergency Appeal for 2000 was presented by the ICRC's Director of Operations, Jean-Daniel Tauxe, who emphasized that while the ICRC's initial overall budget for its worldwide humanitarian operations this year amounted to a record 944,326,981 Swiss francs, overall contributions received and pledged stand at Sfr442,952,999, a level of funding that is similar to previous years at the same period. Since expenditure for its operations until the end of the year is currently estimated at Sfr 719,990,000, which is more than in any previous year at the same period, the contributions received and pledged to date cover 62% of the estimated expenditure. The 38% of expenditure still to be funded is a significantly higher percentage than in previous years at the same period.

The high ICRC budget and expenditure levels this year are in part a direct consequence of the number of conflicts and situations of violence around the world. The ICRC is present and actively carrying out its work in some 20 countries and regions where armed conflicts rage on, and in nearly 40 more where volatile situations could escalate into open conflicts.

The funding shortfall affects the ICRC's operations across the board and is not restricted to any geographical area. Nevertheless, some large operations, s uch as those in Afghanistan, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Yugoslavia, stand out in terms of the millions still required. This may be explained in part by the fact that the conflicts in these countries, and the resulting humanitarian needs, have dragged on for many years already. Also seriously underfunded are the ICRC's 21 regional delegations which, in addition to carrying out assistance and protection activities in smaller conflict situations, act as an early-warning system in regions where conflict is latent but potentially explosive.

The ICRC performs a range of humanitarian activities worldwide through two types of delegations:

  • operational delegations which deploy protection, assistance and preventive activities for the benefit of civilians, people deprived of freedom, the wounded and sick;

  • regional delegations which cover several countries and may carry out the same tasks as operational delegations, but are primarily concerned with preventive activities; their presence in a region enables them to function as an early-warning system and, through diplomatic networking among authorities and civil society, to create the conditions conducive to the deployment of humanitarian activities.