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Students raising their hands in class.
Students raise hands to participate during a science lesson in a laboratory at St. Michaels Tongogara Secondary school at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge, Zimbabwe.   © UNHCR/Zinyange Auntony

As a leader in the provision of unearmarked funding over many years, Sweden allows UNHCR to be agile and provide a timely response.

Sweden is UNHCR’s largest donor of multi-year unearmarked funding—the kind of predictable and high-quality funding that UNHCR can spend on the most urgent needs anywhere in the world. Its leadership in providing such reliable and flexible funding allows UNHCR to send resources to areas where needs are greatest and respond to forgotten and underfunded emergencies.

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Quote former Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, Per Olsson Fridh:

“Sweden’s multi-year, unearmarked contributions to UNHCR are intended to be flexible, predictable and timely, helping UNHCR to be agile in responding to new emergencies, supporting refugees in forgotten and underfunded situations, and fully funding a wide range of programmes across the globe. We have confidence that the flexible funding provided is directed to where the needs are greatest, making our contribution as impactful as possible for the displaced populations and host communities we support through our partnership with UNHCR. As a leader in the provision of unearmarked funding over many years, we encourage UNHCR to continue to expand its base of unearmarked contributors and invite other donors to follow our example.”

We are today witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. UNHCR operates in extremely complex environments. A central challenge for UNHCR is having the ability to respond, especially as more and more of the funding UNHCR receives is earmarked, meaning it must be spent in a certain place or on a certain activity.

Sweden’s dedication to providing unearmarked funds to UNHCR supports our work around the world, ensuring we can respond quickly when disasters strike, bolstering otherwise forgotten or underfunded crises, and enables UNHCR to implement programmes as fully as possible. By providing funds in this way, Sweden has shown a great deal of trust in UNHCR and our partners. This allows us to deliver on our core mandate to reach the most vulnerable people of concern, and help them to thrive, not just survive. As a donor, Sweden sets an example within the humanitarian community.

Sweden and UNHCR’s partnership stretch back decades. Sweden was one of the first signatories of the 1951 Refugee Convention and has been a member of UNHCR’s Executive Committee since 1958.

The partnership is focused on promoting and safeguarding the rights of forcibly displaced communities, including the most vulnerable, in a sustainable manner and operationalizing the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. Gender equality and GBV, environment and climate, and education are among Sweden’s thematic priorities for humanitarian aid.

Looking into the future, Sweden and UNHCR will continue to work together to find solutions for displaced people by ensuring reliable multi-year financing, greening the response, providing resettlement places, and advocating for durable solutions.

Total contributions in 2023 to date