- A UN donor conference held in Cameroon for the chronically instable Central African Republic has ended with failure. The conference was in particular to seek fresh funds for the new wave of internally displaced and refugees streaming out of the country, creating a big but little publicised humanitarian crisis. No money pledges were made.
An international donor conference has elicited promises of humanitarian aid for 1 million vulnerable people in the Central African Republic though "no new financial commitments were made," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.
The situation however was not totally negative, OCHA claimed. "Several regular donors promised to return to their capitals and push for funding to alleviate the crisis" in the north of the nation, the UN agency said today. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Antonio Guterres, recently termed the humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic as "the world's most neglected crisis."
About 15,000 Central Africans have fled increasingly insecure and violent conditions in the north over the past 6 months, bringing the total number of Central African refugees in neighbouring southern Chad to more than 43,000. Chad already hosts a large number of refugees from Sudan's Darfur region.
Held in the Cameroonian capital of Yaoundé on Monday, the donor meeting zeroed in on the agency's 2006 Humanitarian Appeal for the Central African Republic. OCHA had requested about US$ 46 million under its so-called "Consolidated Appeal Process", which only was to address the humanitarian crisis in the country.
"That appeal is not targeted at Central African refugees in southern Chad, but will help care for people displaced by attacks in the north who have remained within their home country," an OCHA spokesperson said. Funds were also needed to provide assistance and help repatriate about 30,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, including Congo Brazzaville, Sudan, Chad and Congo, Kinshasa as well as internally displaced persons, the OCHA spokesperson said.
The donors for past appeals, which were funded at less than 40 percent, have been Demark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United States and the World Bank.
Last year, the largest donors to Central African Republic were UN agencies, using funds that had not been earmarked for other projects. It has been increasingly difficult to find any potential donor for the chronically instable country as there is no confidence in a long-lasting peace and reconstruction period. Donors fear that funds invested in projects could be wasted in the next round of violence.
In Bangui, the total disinterest from donors is causing one government after the other growing headaches. Without funds from donors or financial institutions, Bangui argues, it will not be possible to return to stability. An empty treasury only leads to public unrest. It is a catch 22 situation.
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