This year, the Joint Response Plan 2023 run by UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, along with Bangladesh which will focus on finding aid donors for the welfare of Rohingya refugees.
UNHCR representative in Bangladesh, Johannes van der Klaauw, said in an interview, “We shall appeal for approximately $876 million in all relevant sectors, of which some $67 million would be required for our operations on Bhasan Char.”
According to him, in the past they did not expect this budget to be funded to the full, but the gap is expected to be much larger in the coming year.
“We therefore need to redouble our efforts to mobilize resources and notably development funding, to be used in a flexible manner, as humanitarian aid budgets are no longer available,” said the senior UN official.
Klaauw also addressed that, due to lack of funding there has been some critical gaps which needed to be focused well in future.
UNHCR will continue to appeal for further investments to provide education and skills development to the Rohingya children including vocational training and other forms of capacity-building for adolescent and adult refugees. Rohingya education in camps should be focused more with the rollout of the Myanmar Curriculum.
He also added that, Rohingya refugees should be allowed to become self-reliant to purchase part of their daily food, cooking gas, household items, as general distribution of these commodities will no longer be possible as a result of a reduction in financial support from the international community.
The plan also focuses on the protection and safety of refugee women, men, girls and boys, notably the most vulnerable among them, such as persons with disabilities or trauma victims.
It aims to maintain and enhance lifesaving and life-sustaining humanitarian assistance and services for Rohingya, by providing decent shelter and access to food, health, water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
Furthermore, Klaauw said, the plan aims at strengthening the Rohingya and host communities capacities to protect them from, and timely and effectively respond to the disasters caused by recurrent monsoon rains, cyclones and landslides as well as the effects of climate change.
And finally, he said, the most important goal of the plan remains to prepare the Rohingyas for voluntary and sustainable return to their homeland with safety and dignity to the Rakhine State in Myanmar.
“As we have moved into a protracted refugee situation, six years into the latest influx, we need to focus on making the response more sustainable by scaling up skills development and access to livelihoods for Rohingya refugees, so they can support their communities,” said the UNHCR representative.
The Joint Response plan aims to support approximately 1.47 million people, including 978,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char and around 495,000 Bangladeshis in the localities.