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Oxfam: Qatar, Russia and France among countries failing Syrians

Published: Updated:

Research carried out by international aid agency Oxfam reveals that many donor countries are failing to provide their share of the urgently needed funding for the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

Oxfam’s latest analysis shows France, Qatar, Russia are all giving less than half of their fair share; whereas countries like Denmark, Norway and Saudi Arabia are exceeding their fair share.

The research, released in advance of next week’s U.N. General Assembly meeting in New York, calculates the amount of aid that should be given according to a country’s Gross National Income (GNI) and its overall wealth.

While the need for a political solution to the crisis is considered urgent, Oxfam says donors must also prioritize funding the U.N.’s $5 billion appeals. Qatar and Russia have both committed just three per cent of what would be considered their fair share for the humanitarian effort, while France is struggling to reach half of its fair share, according to Oxfam.

In contrast, the UK has given 154 per cent of its fair share, according to Oxfam, and Kuwait tops the league table with 461 per cent.

In a statement released by Oxfam, Colette Fearon, Head of the Syria program, said: “Too many donor countries are not delivering the level of funds that is expected of them. While economic times are tough, we are facing the largest man-made humanitarian disaster in two decades and we have to seriously address it. The scale of this crisis is unprecedented and some countries must start to show their concerns to the crisis in Syria by putting their hands in their pockets.

“Countries such as France and Russia are failing to provide the humanitarian support that is desperately needed. Donors must make real commitments at next week's meeting on Syria and ensure that the money is delivered as soon as possible. This is not the time for pledges. The situation demands committed funds in order to save lives.”

A third of all countries who are members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic and Development (OECD), whose members account for some of the richest countries in the world, have given less than half of what would be expected, given the size of their economies., according to the report.

Japan, for example, has contributed just 17 per cent of its fair share and South Korea just two per cent.

The United States is currently gives 63 per cent of its fair share.

Several countries have given generously. Those who have exceeded their fair share include Denmark (230 per cent), Norway (134 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (187 per cent).

The aid agency welcomed new pledges of funding at the recent G20 meeting, but says funds need to be released as soon as possible to provide desperately needed aid.

Fearon said: “When funding is so tight every aid pound counts. We’re seeing people go without food, shelter and water on a daily basis. By knowing who is providing what assistance and where, we can help as many people as possible.”

Funding gaps are already affecting the ability of organizations to respond to humanitarian needs and forcing them to make difficult decisions about how to use limited aid money, according to the report.

Oxfam is also calling on all donor contributions to be registered with the international Financial Tracking System, to maximize aid efficiency and accountability.