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Making a difference, together.
​The United Kingdom is a long-standing partner to UNHCR.

Serving on UNHCR’s Advisory Committee since 1951, and a founding member of UNHCR's governing Executive Committee since 1959, the United Kingdom’s support is steeped in history. Not only a top donor, the United Kingdom is also a strong advocate for the rights of refugees and other people of concern and is a strategic partner in the search for long-lasting solutions.

The United Kingdom is one of the only member states committed to the target of disbursing aid equivalent to 0.7% of GDP, which is enshrined in UK law. UNHCR’s fourth largest contributor of unearmarked funding, the United Kingdom provides a vital resource enabling flexibility to kick start emergencies, bolster underfunded situations and help operations implement programmes as fully as possible. A model for upholding the Grand Bargain commitment to multi-year contributions, the United Kingdom’s funding helps give UNHCR the predictability and assurance to carry on operations from one year to the next, thus ensuring that refugees and other displaced people continue to have, among others, clean water and shelter, and access to legal services, healthcare and education. The United Kingdom is, in particular, a dedicated supporter of cash-based assistance, giving displaced people dignity and independence to determine their own needs.

As a strategic partner, the United Kingdom supports UNHCR to ensure that protection is central to all humanitarian responses. A strong advocate for vulnerable groups of people, the United Kingdom works closely with UNHCR to safeguard women, girls and persons with disabilities who could be at risk of sexual and gender-based violence, or of sexual exploitation and abuse.

A Syrian family enjoy their first ride on the London Underground after being resettled to the United Kingdom.

Syrian refugee Jamal and his family fled the Syrian conflict, but now the family hope for new opportunities. In 2019, the United Kingdom was UNHCR’s third largest resettlement country and reaffirmed its ongoing commitment to the resettlement of refugees, announcing a new, global programme starting in 2020. In the last four years, the United Kingdom has provided a safe and legal route for over 20,000 refugees.

©UNHCR/Paul Wu

Students having fun during break time at a UNHCR-supported girls’ boarding school in Kakuma refugee camp, northwest Kenya.

The United Kingdom is a long-standing advocate for ensuring that children have access to quality education. Through the Department for International Development (DFID), the ‘Innovation in Learning and Education in Protracted Crisis’ project aims to support the development of innovative approaches to education in protracted humanitarian crisis and has informed the Education Cannot Wait initiative (ECW). The United Kingdom is ECW’s largest contributor, with GBP £85 million (approx. US $103 million) in new funding in late 2019.

©UNHCR/Vincent Tremeau

A Syrian refugee receives winter cash assistance at Zaatari Refugee Camp, Jordan. 

For refugees across Jordan, the harsh winters bring greater worries and difficulties in daily survival. After eight years in displacement, many people’s personal financial resources have all but gone and many live below the poverty line. The costs of heating, insulation and adequate clothing places additional strains on already desperate families as temperatures dip below freezing. Multi-year funding from the United Kingdom is providing over GBP £30 million (approx. US $36.5 million) of cash assistance in Jordan, giving vulnerable families a dignified and flexible way to prioritize their winter needs.

©UNHCR/David Azia

A UNHCR staff member comforts a mother and her children at a transit centre in Bangladesh. 

Nearly one million Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar. UNHCR works together with partners and the Government of Bangladesh to provide them with vital protection services, including safe spaces for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Refugees in the settlements are at additional risk during the monsoon season, with heavy rainfall causing floods and landslides. The United Kingdom is one of UNHCR’s top donors to the operation in Bangladesh contributing over GBP £34 million (approx. US $41 million) since 2018.

©UNHCR/Roger Arnold

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