This week we’ve held roundtables in Kampala and Nairobi to discuss the relevance of global trends in humanitarian financing – as reported in our Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) report 2014 – to the East Africa region. We brought together stakeholders from the Governments of Kenya and Uganda, donor and multilateral agencies, civil society and academia to discuss:
1. How global trends in humanitarian assistance have played out in the East Africa region
International humanitarian assistance rose to a record US$22 billion in 2013, in response to an extraordinary scale of crises and needs. This is a significant change from 2012, which saw a slight decline in funding and no major new disasters.
This rise in global humanitarian assistance is reflected funding in to the East Africa region. While humanitarian assistance to Uganda declined from US$77 million in 2012 to US$57 million in 2013, it has increased to US$152 million so far in 2014. This largely reflects the funding Uganda has received from UN’s 2014 “South Sudan Regional Refugee Response Plan” appeal (2013 and 2014 figures based on estimates from the UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service)
Despite this rise in global funding, it wasn’t enough to meet the scale of humanitarian needs in 2013. Globally, over a third of funding requirements went unmet in UN-coordinated humanitarian appeals alone. This global trend in unmet funding requirements has played out at the regional level in East Africa. This chart shows that in 2013 only 56% of UN-coordinated appeal requirements were met for Kenya, and only 51% for Somalia.
Revised requirements and proportion of needs met, UN-coordinated appeals, 2013
Source: UN OCHA Financial Tracking Service (FTS). Data downloaded 16 October 2014
The chart below shows that 9 of the top 20 recipients of humanitarian assistance over the last decade were in sub-Saharan Africa. These nine received 34% of all funding to crisis-affected countries. A significant proportion of this funding (30%) went to countries within or bordering the East Africa region, highlighting how important is it in the global humanitarian financing picture.
Funding to top recipients of humanitarian assistance, total (US$bn) and proportion, 2003-2012
Source: Development Initiatives based on OECD DAC and UNOCHA FTS data
2. Addressing the extraordinary scale of humanitarian crises and needs globally and in East Africa
Humanitarian assistance continues to play an important role in reaching vulnerable and marginalised people in crisis-affected countries. Yet it is clearly not enough to address the extraordinary scale of humanitarian needs in the East Africa/Horn of Africa regions and globally, representing only 3% of international resource flows to the top humanitarian recipients.
We need to mobilise resources from outside the humanitarian sector – linking with longer-term development funding to build resilience and address vulnerabilities, but also mobilising a wider set of available international and domestic resources.
Within the humanitarian sector, it is critical that all available resources are used effectively and targeted in response to humanitarian needs.
For resources to be effectively targeted on a needs-basis, donors, operational agencies and domestic governments need an accurate and current picture of people’s humanitarian needs and the landscape of available resources. Timely, accessible, high-quality and openly available information about needs and humanitarian financing flows will help to inform better decision-making on resource allocation.
The need for better data on humanitarian funding
Discussions particularly highlighted the pressing need for better information on humanitarian funding to final recipient level, and use of funds at the local level. The current lack of data makes it difficult – almost impossible – to trace funding from its source to the final beneficiary, through geo-coding projects and other mechanisms. This undermines transparency, accountability and the capacity to measure the impact of funding.
The GHA report provides an up-to-date and comprehensive picture of global humanitarian financing. It seeks to provide decision makers with an evidence base on assistance to crisis-affected countries. Knowing who is spending what, where, and how is an essential first step in ensuring that resources can best meet the needs of people living in crises.