Oxfam calls for urgent new donations to UN earthquake appeal and publishes new league table of rich country donations

Published: 22 November 2005

Oxfam International has today called for urgent new donations to the UN's earthquake appeal as it publishes a new league table of rich governments' contributions to the UN Asian Earthquake appeal.

Oxfam International has today called for urgent new donations to the UN's earthquake appeal as it publishes a new league table of rich governments' contributions to the UN Asian Earthquake appeal.

Sweden, which has pledged 170% of its fair share, tops the league table. At the bottom of the table of rich country governments are Spain, Finland, Greece and Austria, all of which have still pledged nothing to the UN appeal.

It is not only OECD countries that have failed to contribute all they should. Oil rich countries in OPEC have also so far failed to make any funds available to the UN appeal though there have been some contributions outside the appeal.

"Time is running out. The donor conference that we hoped would spur the aid effort has so far only delivered loose change for the UN appeal. Donors have to wake up to the looming humanitarian crisis. The UN also has to make sure that it has got its best people on the ground, so if and when these funds do come in, it has the capacity to spend them effectively," said Jo Leadbeater, Oxfam's head of advocacy.

The league table has been compiled by Oxfam following Wednesday's donor conference in Geneva and identifies the amount rich countries have given to the UN earthquake appeal verses their fair share based on the size of their economies.

Oxfam welcomes the significant new funds that were pledged bilaterally or for long-term reconstruction at this conference but so far less than $30 million extra has been contributed to the UN appeal. While donations outside of the UN appeal are also vital, Oxfam believes that the full funding of the UN appeal is critical to ensure an effective and well-coordinated aid effort.

Following Wednesday's donor conference there are still only four governments that have given more than their fair share to the UN appeal: Sweden, Norway, Ireland and Luxembourg. Governments who have given less than one fifth of their fair share (based on the size of their economy) are France (18.7%), Japan (9.5%), Germany (8%), the US(6.9%) and Italy (5.3%). France and Belgium, which had given nothing, have now made at least some contribution, taking them from 0% to 19% and 26% of their fair share respectively.

"The UN is warning that the lack of funding means its helicopters may have to stop flying aid to people within days, yet rich governments appear to have their heads in the sand. It is hard to make the warnings more clear. Once people start dying in large numbers in the snow the conscience of donors may stir, but by then it will be too late to reach thousands. The UN appeal needs funding now," added Leadbeater.

Oxfam is urging the international community to learn the lessons of this crisis and many others including the Niger crisis earlier this year and fund a US$1billion UN global emergency fund.

"Whether it's in West Africa earlier this year or in South Asia now, the lack of a properly resourced UN emergency fund is putting thousands of lives at risk. In Niger rich countries were warned there was a crisis on the horizon but ignored it until people started dying. This crisis must not be allowed to become another Niger where thousands die unnecessarily. The urgent appeal for resources must be heeded as must the lessons of these crises and the need for this US$1billion fund," added Leadbeater.

The league table is based on the amount rich countries have given to the UN earthquake appeal relative to the size of their economy.

Editors notes

Oxfam calculated how much each government should contribute to the fund and to the UN South Asia appeal according to the relative size of their economy (as a proportion of the OECD total).

The UN Global Emergency Fund, already approved by world leaders at the UN Summit in mid-September, will go before the 191-member General Assembly for final ratification in mid November. The UN expects the fund to be operational by early 2006.

These current pledge totals for each country are as issued today by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

UN Earthquake Appeal Pledges

 

CountryFair Share US$Actual Pledges US$% of Fair Share
1. Sweden
6,229,093
10,539,774
169.2
2. Norway
4,475,052
7,125,814
159.2
3. Ireland
2,656,319
3,846,150
144.8
4. Luxembourg
501,431
600,961
119.8
5. Canada
17,363,697
16,900,000
97.3
6. Netherlands
10,194,587
78,12,491
76.6
7. Denmark
4,277,468
2,903,226
67.9
8. Australia
10,594,857
5,699,092
53.8
9. Switzerland
6,699,196
2,227,908
33.3
10. New Zealand
1,637,185
519,031
31.7
11. Belgium
6,353,877
1,682,692
26.5
12. United Kingdom
38,570,920
9,398,496
24.4
13. France
36,036,854
6,730,769
18.7
14. Japan
84,651,833
8,000,000
9.5
15. Germany
48,545,118
3,906,251
8.05
16. United States
209,004,958
14,455,100
6.9
17. Italy
29,692,943
1,580,476
5.3
18. Spain
17,488,078
0
0
18. Portugal
2,924,355
0
0
18. Greece
3,634,016
0
0
18. Finland
3,292,959
0
0
18. Austria
5,175,193
0
0

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:
Brendan Cox in the UK on + 44 1865 47 2498 or +44 7957 120 853
Caroline Green in the US on +1 202 321 7858