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For the UN, collecting from members can be the hard part

Host countries like Lebanon have been hard-pressed to manage the influx of Syrian refugees, a situation made worse by harsh weather in the region over the past week, including at this camp near the Lebanese border town of Arsal.

Ahmad Shalha/REUTERS

Monday's appeal to donors is just the beginning of the battle for the United Nations to obtain the necessary funds to deal with the Syrian crisis in 2014.

If the response to the funding request for 2013 is any indication, the international community will make promises to provide the $6.5-billion but will fail to keep many of them. Only 68 per cent of the $4.4-billion pledged to the United Nations for Syrian humanitarian relief in 2013 has been received, UN numbers show.

The biggest IOU comes from Britain, which pledged more than $700-million but to date has paid only $400-million. Among Europeans, the next biggest marker comes from Italy, which promised some $80-million but has ponied up just $25-million.

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Overall, however, the Arab world accounts for the greatest shortfall. The United Arab Emirates still owes $263-million of the $310-million it pledged; Qatar owes a whopping $100-million of the $116-million it pledged; and Bahrain still owes every dinar of the $20-million it promised.

For the record, Saudi Arabia paid in full the $96-million it promised, and Kuwait paid up its pledge of $324-million.

The United States paid in full its commitment of $1.16-billion, while Canada paid all of the $131-million it pledged.

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About the Author
Global Affairs reporter

As Global Affairs Writer, Patrick Martin’s primary focus is on the turbulent Middle East, to which he travels regularly. He has twice been posted to the region – from 1991-95 and from 2008-12. More

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