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UN panel calls for new funding sources to meet humanitarian aid gap

A UN panel in Dubai has released a report calling for more imaginative ways to raise money for aid. Among the possible sources of new funds were companies like Uber and world football body FIFA.

A panel of experts met in Dubai on Sunday to discuss a new UN study looking at possible sources of financing for humanitarian aid.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon introduced the panel, which was chaired by European Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva and Sultan Nazrin Shah of Malaysia. The members of the panel said the $15 billion (13.7 billions euros) deficiency in global aid could be solved by implementing new policies designed to tap into creative sources of funding. The report also comes as the UN struggles to meet its funding goals.

"The world has never been so generous...and yet never has our generosity been so insufficient," Georgieva told the audience.

21st Century solutions

Bildergalerie EU Kommissare Kristalina Georgieva

EU Commissoner Kristalina Georgieva was a member of the panel

Among the possibilities for new sources of aid financing were microtaxes on what the panel called "mass-volume transactions," such as popular ride-sharing app Uber.

"Five cents - that level of micro levy on a massive volume, we think is possible," Georgieva said.

The UN also approached world football's governing body, FIFA, about considering similar taxes on entertainment purchases.

As conflicts rage, aid demand increases

The panel also said it was considering using Islamic social financing and mandatory alms-giving to build up aid. According to the UN, 31 of the 33 active conflicts are in countries with a Muslim-majority population.

The world's largest intergovernmental organization has seen its budget skyrocket - from $2 billion in 2000 to $24.5 billion in 2015 - due to more wars and natural disasters in the past decade.

That funding shortfall has hurt people in need of aid. Last year, the UN had to cut food rations to 1.6 million Syrian refugees.

blc/jlw (Reuters, AFP)

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