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Budgets and Expenditure in Subregion Eastern Europe
People of Concern - 2020[["Refugees",3684470],["Refugee-like situation",105153],["Asylum-seekers",327079],["IDPs",1676459],["Stateless",110775],["Others of concern",1620000]]
Response in 2020The COVID-19 pandemic severely affected Eastern Europe’s economies and public services. UNHCR distributed emergency COVID-19 cash grants to the most in need and urged States to include people of concern in their COVID-19 response plans. UNHCR continued to advocate for access to territory and asylum, prevention of statelessness, stronger asylum procedures, and local integration programmes including access to employment.
In September 2020, renewed conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh displaced people into Armenia and within Azerbaijan. UNHCR supported the Government responses to humanitarian needs in both countries.
The number of people in a refugee-like situation in Armenia grew to over 107,900, including 14,000 Syrians, in addition to 3,366 refugees and 151 asylum-seekers. As legislation to reduce the risk of statelessness remains pending, the number of stateless persons reached 1,000, up from 848 in 2018 and 960 in 2019.
In Azerbaijan, the number of refugees and asylum-seekers has slightly increased to some 1,600 individuals. Pending publication of the 2019 national census results the number of stateless stands at 3,585. Government data shows there were 653,921 IDPs at the end of year.
Belarus hosted 9,360 people of concern at the end of 2020, after a slight increase in refugees and asylum-seekers, mainly from Ukraine, and a similar decrease in the number of stateless persons, from 6,467 in 2019 to 6,296 in 2020.
Georgia continued to host over 290,000 people of concern, including 288,538 IDPs (2,322 more than in 2019). There was a slight increase in the number of asylum-seekers from the Islamic Republic of Iran and a commensurate decrease among refugees, mainly those originating from Iraq, Russia and Ukraine.
Government data shows the Russian Federation (RF) hosted 81,295 people of concern in 2020, 30,836 (28%) fewer than in 2019. Over 8,000 (12% of the total registered stateless population) obtained Russian citizenship. The statistics from the Ministry of Information showed a 52% fall in the number of people with temporary asylum, mainly Ukrainians. The number of asylum-seekers also fell by 42% (835 people) compared to 2019.
In Ukraine, the population of concern remained stable with 2,274 refugees and 2,366 asylum-seekers. The UN estimated there were 734,000 IDPs from Non-Government Controlled Areas (NGCA) and over 1.6 million conflict-affected people, and 35,875 stateless persons, including 5,815 registered as stateless. Migrants, ethnic minorities such as Roma, people lacking birth registration or other identity documents, remain at heightened risk of statelessness pending adoption of by-laws associated to the law introducing a Statelessness Determination Procedure adopted in June 2020.
Operations that will NOT have an individual operation summaryArmenia
UNHCR continued advocacy efforts to mainstream people of concern in SDGs and the UNSDCF 2021-2025. The Office has contributed to the State Integration and Reintegration Strategy, still pending approval, and to the update of the Statelessness Strategy and Action Plan. With a view of identifying durable solutions for refugees in Armenia, UNHCR worked with the International Centre for Human Development and Migration Service Armenia to develop a unified database for all people of concern. Through a new partnership with MADE51 global marketing platform UNHCR supported livelihoods of Syrian refugee women entrepreneurs who engaged in production of facial masks to prevent spread of COVID19, Christmas toys and embroidered accessories.
COVID-19 and the emergency resulting from the conflict with Azerbaijan required swift adjustments of UNHCR’s programmes, a task made particularly challenging by the initially limited humanitarian space and access to registration data. The response mainly focused on core relief items and scaling up protection. UNHCR and the Resident Coordinator’s Office coordinated humanitarian assistance, engaging UN and civil society partners across six sectors. An Inter-Agency Response Plan was finalized in December and launched in January 2021.
UNHCR and the State Migration Service agreed to a roadmap for UNHCR to phase-out from mandate refugee status determination (RSD). The Government fulfilled its GRF pledge, giving mandate refugees and asylum-seekers access to the labour market through registration of their labour contracts and including them in the law on mandatory health insurance expected to come into force in April 2021. Some key protection gaps such as a lack of secure legal status for mandate refugees and low government recognition rates remain and are likely to have a negative impact on adequate protection space for refugees and asylum-seekers in Azerbaijan.
Following the Government’s pledge to naturalize all documented stateless persons permanently residing in Azerbaijan at the UNHCR High Level Segment on Statelessness, a Working Group comprising relevant government entities and UNHCR was established in 2020.
Free legal counselling and assistance continued to be provided to IDPs through UNHCR’s legal contractor. UNHCR engaged with stakeholders to assist people displaced by the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. After the trilateral ceasefire statement of 9 November 2020, UNHCR engaged further with government counterparts to help develop a framework and operational initiatives for the IDP/refugee return process.
The socio-political context in Belarus was marked by large-scale peaceful protests following presidential elections in August 2020. In 2020, UNHCR contributed to the development of the UN inter-agency COVID-19 response action plan and crisis communication strategy, and to the UN COVID-19 Socio-Economic Response Plan for Belarus.
The Quality Initiative (QIEE) project focusing on building the capacity of State authorities, the judiciary and legal aid providers on RSD procedures, resulted in improved interviewing techniques and quality of decisions, more frequent use of UNHCR documents to substantiate decisions on asylum claims, and the increased use of Article 1D of the 1951 Convention for granting refugee status.
Despite the Government’s pledge during the UNHCR High Level Segment on Statelessness, Belarus did not accede to the UN Statelessness Conventions in 2020. According to the Ministry of Interior, both conventions will be ratified in 2021 after a new version of the Law on Citizenship comes into force in June 2021.
Despite the pandemic and parliamentary elections, Georgia finalized the 2021-2030 Georgia Migration Strategy before the end of year, in line with its GRF and statelessness pledges. In the Migration Strategy and the nationalized SDG documents, the Government committed to further develop asylum procedures and to put in place legal and institutional frameworks for refugee integration. UNHCR established a partnership with the IDP, Eco-migrants and Livelihoods Agency, a new entity responsible for refugee integration, and strengthened community-based mechanisms by setting up a network of community group facilitators.
UNHCR’s long-term goal in Georgia remains the full socioeconomic integration of all IDPs. The IDP community volunteer network was consolidated while the Government IDP allowance reform remains pending.
The pandemic exacerbated an already precarious situation in Abkhazia. UNHCR had to re-direct resources to life-saving assistance and livelihoods for protection. Freedom of movement, documentation, and access to rights for the IDP returnee population of Gali district remains of concern.
Working environmentThe situation in Eastern Europe remains impacted by displacement resulting from conflicts. The sub-region hosts a significant number of people of concern to UNHCR including refugees, IDPs, people in refugee-like situation and stateless persons. UNHCR supports the States in the sub-region to ensure that all people of concern receive protection, live alongside the host communities, and become progressively self-reliant.
UNHCR will engage in strengthening the asylum systems to ensure sustainability of its efforts and will support governments to adjust their capacity to strengthen local integration programmes, including access to employment and livelihoods. UNHCR will continue to advocate for the mainstreaming of refugees in the national Sustainable Development Goals as well as into national sectorial strategies.
Compared to 2018, the number of people of concerns in the sub-region remained stable with most asylum-seekers still originating from Afghanistan, Ukraine, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Somalia. UNHCR monitors closely the situation of internally displaced Ukrainians and while is it believed that since 2014 over a million Ukrainian left the country, as of 31 December 2018, 125,200 Ukrainians remained in need of international protection in neighboring, and other, countries.
The resolution of displacement challenges in the region will depend on a proper resolution of the conflicts that have affected the countries of Eastern Europe. UNHCR will continue to support relevant processes under the leadership of the OSCE, the EU and the UN. While the basic needs of the displaced are gradually being met, many people of concern are still in need of durable solutions.
In 2020, UNHCR’s work in Eastern Europe will focus on:
- Supporting access to durable solutions for people of concern, primarily through local integration and self-reliance activities;
- Assisting people of concern with specific needs, while working to facilitate access to public services and livelihoods for all people of concern. This includes cash assistance targeting the most vulnerable to cover acute shelter, medical, child protection, SGBV response and other specific needs. Legal aid, as well as some ad-hoc health care interventions will also be provided;
- Supporting peacebuilding processes with efforts to improve conditions for durable solutions and prevention of further displacement;
- Regular monitoring of conditions in reception and temporary accommodation centers, borders, and penitentiary establishments;
- Strengthening national legislation and procedures to prevent and reduce statelessness, and advocating for accession to the two statelessness conventions;
- Supporting government actions for and accountabilities to all people of concern, including IDPs;
- Strengthening the quality of the national asylum systems, including refugee status determination, to ensure that people of concern to UNHCR have access to protection;
- Working closely with relevant stakeholders on contingency planning, as required.
UNHCR will pursue its strategic objective of gradually phasing out from direct assistance to focus on advocating States to better protect people of concern, ensure access to government social programmes and foster their pledges and collaboration within the parameter of the Global Compact of Refugees.
Response in 2020As of 1 July 2019, Armenia hosted some 14,000 Syrian nationals of Armenian origin, as well as some 3,900 refugees from various countries. The most vulnerable people will benefit from self-reliance support provided by UNHCR, in cooperation with the Government and NGOs. UNHCR will continue working to further strengthen the asylum procedure and improve the reception conditions in Armenia. UNHCR will also pursue engagement with state agencies to balance security concerns with protection needs and reduce instances of detention of asylum-seekers, while maintaining coordination with partners to maximize resources and strengthen advocacy.
As of 1 July 2019, Azerbaijan, hosted some 1,097 refugees (out of whom only 86 were recognized through the government refugee status determination procedure), 132 asylum-seekers, some 3,600 stateless persons, and over 620,000 IDPs. UNHCR will continue its support to the Government in improving the quality of its asylum procedures and in working towards a fairer and more efficient asylum system which will eventually enable UNHCR to responsibly phase-out from the parallel refugee status determination. While only the 86 government-recognized refugees enjoy basic rights and are on the path towards integration, the remaining 1,011 are tolerated on the territory of the country without any formal legal status or right to legal employment and are therefore largely dependent on UNHCR’s assistance. UNHCR will continue to assist extremely vulnerable people of concern with specific needs, including through cash, legal, medical, educational and other types of assistance to cover their acute protection needs. UNHCR will also maintain its engagement with IDPs by continuing providing legal assistance to IDPs communities.
As of 1 July 2019, Belarus hosted some 8,500 people of concern to UNHCR, including some 5,900 stateless persons, some 2,550 refugees and 151 asylum-seekers awaiting decisions on their applications UNHCR will continue its focus on supporting the Government in building an efficient and effective national asylum system, and will promote local integration and self-reliance as the most viable durable solutions for refugees in the country. UNHCR is advocating for the country’s accession to the UN Statelessness Conventions. Finally, in partnership with IOM and other UN agencies, UNHCR will support Belarus in addressing the increasing mixed movements.
As of 1 July 2019, Georgia hosted some 2,000 refugees and people in refugee-like situations, some 900 asylum-seekers, 600 stateless persons and some 280,000 IDPs. UNHCR will support efforts of relevant stakeholders to protect and improve conditions for the integration of refugees and other displaced populations. UNHCR will seek to ensure that people of concern are informed of their rights, improve their access to State services and expand ongoing socio-economic support based on a combination of self-reliance and employment opportunities, as well as support the most vulnerable people with cash-based interventions. UNHCR will carry out monitoring of access to territory and to the asylum procedure, as well as of the reception conditions. UNHCR will further strengthen the quality of national asylum procedures notably by advocating for the full and inclusive application of refugee law principles. In Abkhazia, UNHCR will continue advocating for freedom of movement, documentation and full access to all rights for the IDP returnee population as well as for people in refugee-like situations, while also supporting the provision of sustainable livelihood opportunities to these populations.
2020 Budget and Expenditure in Eastern Europe | USD
2020 Voluntary Contributions to Eastern Europe | USD
|Earmarking / Donor||Pillar 1
|International Organization for Migration||74,550||0||0||0||74,550|
|United States of America||0||0||0||1,100,000||1,100,000|
|Private donors in Japan||0||0||55,825||0||55,825|
|United States of America||0||0||0||1,200,000||1,200,000|
|International Organization for Migration||88,469||0||0||0||88,469|
|Private donors in Japan||42,063||0||0||0||42,063|
|United States of America||19,713||0||0||2,200,000||2,219,713|
|Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||7,500||0||0||0||7,500|
|Russian Federation subtotal||7,500||0||0||0||7,500|
|Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)||52,105||0||0||0||52,105|
|Private donors in Germany||0||0||0||23,557||23,557|
|Private donors in Kuwait||2,427||0||0||0||2,427|
|Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||390,024||0||0||0||390,024|
|Republic of Korea||1,000,000||0||0||0||1,000,000|
|United States of America||64,400,000||0||0||10,500,000||74,900,000|
|Private donors in Switzerland||0||0||0||34||34|
|Private donors in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland||0||0||7,188||0||7,188|
|Private donors in the United States of America||0||0||0||200,000||200,000|
|United States of America||0||0||0||6,500,000||6,500,000|