An international conference for Yemen donors, but only crumbs reach those in need

Sweden and Switzerland will host, at the end of this month, a donors' conference for Yemen, with the aim of raising more than $4 billion to cover the humanitarian response plan for the current year, in light of growing suspicions about the fate of the funds of previous conferences, which exceed $20 billion.

Yemen's permanent representative to the United Nations, Abdullah Al-Saadi, said that Sweden and Switzerland will host the conference, which is scheduled to be held in Geneva on February 27, in a government presence to legitimize the looting of billions of dollars in the name of Yemen, while only crumbs reach those in need.

Since the start of the war in Yemen, about eight donor conferences have been held to finance the humanitarian response plans put forward by the United Nations and implemented through its humanitarian agencies, and they have been funded by more than twenty billion dollars. However, the fate of these funds remains a mystery known only to officials of relief agencies and groupers of corruption on both sides of the conflict.

Despite the Yemeni government's attendance at donor conferences, the largest interest rate belongs to the Houthi group, not to mention the government's failure to hold relief organizations accountable, which, along with the Houthis, account for the bulk of donor funds.

Yemeni activists launched a campaign on social media platforms and various outlets, in mid-2019, under the hashtag #WhereIsTheMoney. The campaign received a wide response with the aim of knowing the fate of UN aid to Yemen during the years of war, and to demand the implementation of a transparent mechanism for aid delivery. The activists argue that food is not reaching the hungry, while aid is leaking into a black hole.

Activists published a list of 96 international, regional and local organizations, asking them to reveal the fate of the $2.7 billion that these organizations have received from donors since 2018.

In 2019, an Associated Press investigation accused the United Nations and its agencies operating in Yemen of corruption. The Associated Press revealed details of some aspects of investigations in the WHO and UNICEF, including accusations of unqualified employment, harnessing UN transport vehicles to protect Houthi leaders.

Aid has flowed into Yemen since the outbreak of the war since 2015, as the United Nations collected about $10 billion to implement its humanitarian plan in the war-torn country until the end of 2021, while countries and organizations announced aid worth no less than $10 billion, in order to fight poverty, during the same period. However, the Yemeni economy is still suffering from suffocating crises.

For the sixth year in a row, Yemen ranks very low in the fight against corruption, as it ranked 176 out of 180 economies in the 2022 report.