On Sept 19 Oxfam published research that many donor countries were not giving their fair share of humanitarian aid to Syria.
We calculated New Zealand’s 2013 contribution at around US$100,000 or 1 per cent of its “fair share”, based on its wealth, of US$10m. The New Zealand government has since responded that its contribution to date is actually NZ$5.46m (approximately US$4.2m), made up as follows:
- $1.25m to UNHCR to assist up to 100,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey and Jordan under the UN Regional Response Plan
- $1.5m through the ICRC to assist over a million Syrian people in Lebanon and Syria;
- $0.25m to UNRWA to assist up to 200,000 Palestinian refugees in Jordan;
- $0.74m to the Government of Turkey to build three schools for Syrian refugees;
- $1m through the World Food Programme to help buy food for refugees in Jordan;
- $0.72m to support New Zealand non-government organisations working to address the urgent humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees.
Oxfam is happy to update these figures and acknowledge New Zealand’s much more substantial contribution to the Syrian crisis response. These new figures put New Zealand as giving 42 per cent of their “fair share” to the UN appeal for Syria (the data may include funding prior to 2013).
The discrepancy in the data arose because New Zealand did not record its contributions properly to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS), the most comprehensive database of humanitarian assistance administered by the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The FTS requires donors to “self-report”, as a principle of good and transparent donorship. Oxfam double-checked all countries against their FTS records on the day of publication.
New Zealand also says it has made a US$1.6m contribution to the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). This is true. But the CERF is money mobilised across all emergencies around the world – not just to Syria. We calculated that New Zealand’s proportional contribution to Syria through the CERF was around $100,000.
Whilst Oxfam was clear that its research was based on figures contained in the FTS, we acknowledge that additional efforts could have been made to check the figures with the Government of New Zealand and regret that the press release gave an impression that New Zealand has been the lowest contributor to funding for this crucial humanitarian response.