The United Kingdom’s support to UNHCR is steeped in history. Serving on UNHCR’s Advisory Committee since 1951, the United Kingdom is also a founding member of UNHCR's governing Executive Committee since 1959. The United Kingdom is a key donor to UNHCR, a strong advocate for the rights of refugees and other people of concern, and a strategic partner in the search for long-lasting solutions.
The United Kingdom is UNHCR’s second largest contributor of unearmarked funding in 2020. Flexible funding enables UNHCR to kick start emergencies, bolster underfunded situations and help operations implement programmes as fully as possible. Thanks to this type of funding, UNHCR was able to respond immediately to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis prioritizing the purchase of medical supplies and protective equipment among others. The Office also disbursed 3-months advanced unrestricted cash to vulnerable refugees and host communities who lost their income as a result of the pandemic, to help them meet their basic essential needs. The United Kingdom is a dedicated supporter of cash assistance, giving displaced people the dignity of choice and encourages self-reliance.
The United Kingdom’s funding lives up to the ideal set out in the Grand Bargain: multi-year contributions that enable UNHCR to plan ahead with confidence, therefore ensuring that refugees and other displaced people continue to have access to humanitarian assistance including clean water, shelter, healthcare, education as well as access to legal services and other life-saving assistance.
As a strategic partner to UNHCR, the United Kingdom supports the Office to ensure that protection is central across all humanitarian responses. The United Kingdom is a strong advocate for vulnerable groups of people and, to this end, it works closely with UNHCR to safeguard women, girls and people with disabilities who could be at further risk of gender-based violence or sexual exploitation and abuse.