East Asia and the Pacific

Operational information on the East Asia and the Pacific subregion is presented below. A summary of this can also be downloaded in PDF format. This subregion covers the following countries:

| Australia | China (including Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions) | Japan | New Zealand | Pacific Island States | Papua New Guinea | Republic of Korea | 

Subregion: East Asia and the Pacific


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The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.


  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021

Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion East Asia and the Pacific

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2019 {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"budget":[12.19028488,12.83085178,13.85814092,15.096948320000001,13.4541783,13.201331],"expenditure":[8.30675425,9.5839666,9.9556684,10.68173903,null,null]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[11.7310978,12.395497599999999,13.53300833,14.73265702,13.03540248,12.88065238],"p2":[0.45918708,0.43535418,0.32513259,0.3642913,0.41877582,0.32067861999999997],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2016,2017,2018,2019,2020,2021],"p1":[8.05275391,9.19680051,9.67558124,10.39210824,null,null],"p2":[0.25400034,0.38716609,0.28008716,0.28963078999999997,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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People of Concern - 2021 [projected]

[["Refugees",438395],["Asylum-seekers",142286],["Stateless",720],["Others of concern",30]]
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Operational environment 

In East Asia, UNHCR has offices in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, where it supports Governments with asylum capacity, advocacy and raising public awareness about the global refugee cause. Countries in the sub-region made substantial pledges and statements of support towards the Global Compact on Refugees and UNHCR continues to facilitate States’ implementation of those commitments. The COVID-19 pandemic response has become a critical policy priority in the region.
New Zealand and Australia are key partners for UNHCR in regional cooperative forums on a range of domestic, regional and global issues, including the Bali Process and the Pacific Immigration Development Community. UNHCR will continue to work closely with them to preserve asylum space in the South East Asia and Pacific regions, where both are influential. However, Australia’s restrictive domestic asylum policy and offshore processing arrangements in Nauru and Papua New Guinea have led to protection gaps, including the denial of family reunification for those who have arrived by sea.
The pandemic significantly affected the operating environment for UNHCR in Australia. Strict border closures and social distancing measures have forced new working modalities and had wide-ranging impacts on populations of concern to UNHCR, including a significant reduction in the number of asylum applications in the Pacific during 2020. Detention remains a priority issue for UNHCR, particularly with the upsurge in the length of the detention period.
Faced with multiple challenges, such as forced displacement due to climate change, mixed population movements, and human trafficking and smuggling, the 23 States and territories in the Pacific are in an increasingly complex operating environment amid resource constraints and with limited capacity.

Strategy: Response and implementation 

In 2021, UNHCR will seek to support Australia in its commitments, which were made as part of the Compact. These include expanded and improved resettlement and complementary pathways, and stronger partnerships with key stakeholders to advance these commitments. UNHCR will also continue monitoring the detention situation in the country and advocating that Australia addresses its legacy asylum caseload and adheres to its legal obligations, as a signatory to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.
In New Zealand, UNHCR will continue to support the country’s national review of refugee status determination procedures, which are targeted for implementation in 2021. UNHCR will also support efforts to continue its community sponsorship programme.
Only six of the 14 Pacific Island States are parties to the 1951 Convention. While the number of asylum arrivals to the countries remain small, States’ limited resources and capacity mean UNHCR needs to continue providing technical advice to the relevant regional organizations and stakeholders regarding the development of policies that address statelessness and protection for all populations of concern.
In China, which has acceded to the 1951 Refugee Convention, UNHCR registers asylum-seekers, conducts refugee status determination and issues documentation. Refugees also receive basic assistance while durable solutions are identified. UNHCR works closely with the National Immigration Administration and advocates developing a national asylum system in China, while also supporting authorities in the Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions of China. UNHCR’s activities also involve public outreach, to bring the global cause of refugees to the forefront and garner support for UNHCR’s response in the form of advocacy, private sector partnerships and financial resources. China reaffirmed its support for the Compact and urged the international community to work with UNHCR to share responsibility and address the root causes of displacement in its position paper on the 75th Anniversary of the UN, issued in September 2020.
In Japan, UNHCR engages the Government on global and domestic refugee and statelessness issues, including on Japan’s commitments at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum and links to the Sustainable Development Goals. UNHCR’s priority is to enhance strategic partnership with Japan on the Compact, including by partnership with the private sector and raising awareness among the public on refugee issues in order to build support for UNHCR’s work globally. The Office works closely with Government entities and civil society to support people of concern in Japan, address issues of statelessness, and build capacities for protection under the national asylum system. An important priority is to broaden opportunities for durable solutions, including under Japan’s provision of scholarship opportunities for refugees.
UNHCR works with the Republic of Korea as a strategic partner for its global refugee response, as well as on domestic refugee protection. The Republic of Korea was an important advocate at the Global Refugee Forum and made substantial commitments across a range of thematic areas. UNHCR works with the Government, under the rubric of the Compact, to build support for refugees around the world, including from the private sector and general public. UNHCR works with the Government and civil society to provide technical guidance on protection in support of the national asylum system, and also advocates durable solutions for refugees, building on the Republic of Korea’s pilot resettlement programme.

2021 Budget for East Asia and the Pacific | USD

Operation Pillar 1
Refugee programme
Pillar 2
Stateless programme
Pillar 3
Reintegration projects
Pillar 4
IDP projects
Australia Multi-Country Office 3,357,37799,134003,456,511
China 3,951,14162,000004,013,141
Japan 3,417,40359,705003,477,108
Republic of Korea 2,154,73299,840002,254,572
Total 12,880,652320,6790013,201,331

2021 Voluntary Contributions to East Asia and the Pacific | USD

Earmarking / Donor All
East Asia and the Pacific overall
United States of America 1,950,000 1,950,000
East Asia and the Pacific overall subtotal 1,950,000 1,950,000
Total 1,950,000 1,950,000
Latest contributions
  • 16-APR-2021
  • 14-APR-2021
    Republic of Korea
  • 12-APR-2021
  • 09-APR-2021
    Republic of Korea
  • Lithuania
  • 06-APR-2021

    private donors

  • 05-APR-2021
  • 04-APR-2021

    private donors

  • United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • United States of America

    private donors

  • 31-MAR-2021

    private donors

  • Germany

    private donors

  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

    private donors

  • Spain

    private donors

  • 30-MAR-2021

    private donors

  • Greece

    private donors

  • France
  • Thailand

    private donors

  • Republic of Korea

    private donors

  • Netherlands

    private donors