Foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, has announced a cut in aid to the Syrian refugee programme by almost a third at a United Nations donor conference.
The UK have pledged £205m this year, a decrease from last year’s £300m donation that was made at the same conference. Altogether, the UK provided £400m in aid last year meaning that if Raab does not announce further aid to Syria, aid will have decreased by almost a half.
Syria has not only been damaged by its ongoing civil war but is also facing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic with a lack of healthcare and further economic decline.
Before Raab spoke at the UN conference, UN secretary general, António Guterres, highlighted this saying, “More than 13 million people need humanitarian assistance to survive this year. That’s over 20% more than last year, and the majority of the population is now facing hunger.”
In response to the UK’s cut in aid, the Save the Children charity told Arab News that, “we now face a situation where Syrian children will be left to bear the brunt of a dramatic aid cut from the UK…”. It is clear that Syria is in need of foreign aid now more than ever.
Some of the largest donors to this programme, including Germany, the US and the EU, have all continued their funding with Germany pledging further donations next year.
This cut from the UK comes amid a widespread reduction in foreign aid due to the effects of the pandemic which saw Yemen have its aid reduced earlier last month. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reduced the percentage of gross national income given to aid from 0.7% to 0.5%.