In November 2013, a number of international agencies, donors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) committed to a Communiqué for a ‘Call to Action on Violence against Women and Girls in Emergencies’. As part of this, nine donors made initial commitments to ‘increase investment’ and ‘fund action’ to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls in emergencies. Ten months later, on September 22nd 2014 at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), a follow-up high-level will bring together those involved in the delivery of the commitments set out in the Communiqué, review progress, and map out the way forward for the year ahead.
To date, it has been hard to track donor spending on gender in emergencies. As we explored in this year’s Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) report, data have been poor, prompting the United Nations Secretary General (UNSG) to call for a gender marker “to assist in tracking the proportion of funds devoted to advancing gender equality”. In 2010, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) rolled out a gender marker for donors and agencies to use to track gender equality in humanitarian assistance. Coding is based on the extent to which: (i) a project has considered the needs of men and women equally; (ii) its activities respond equally to these needs; and (iii) the project has led to gender-related outcomes.
Our analysis of the data, recorded in the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) financial tracking service (FTS) in 2013, showed that funding to projects that ‘did not consider gender issues’ (US$566 million) was nearly four times that to projects whose ‘principal purpose’ was to advance gender equality (US$147 million). In addition, 56% of funding (US$7.9 billion) was left blank or ‘uncoded’ – meaning that the project was not coded for a gender marker – highlighting the weakness of overall reporting on gender.
In the run-up to the high level Call to Action event, we looked at the most recent data to see if this picture has changed in 2014 and to provide up-to-date information to inform these discussions.
Our analysis focuses on funding from the top ten humanitarian donors and recipients of humanitarian assistance between 2011 and 2014 (as reported to the FTS as of 19 August 2014).
- Reporting on gender remains poor. This has resulted in an unreliable picture of whether donor commitments to gender equality are being met#
– Since 2012 there have been no notable improvements in the use of the gender marker by donors, with the proportion of ‘uncoded’ humanitarian assistance remaining high and constant at around 60% in 2012, 2013 and 2014.– Where the gender marker was used, there has been a rise in the proportion of humanitarian assistance coded as ‘unspecified’, from 6% in 2013 to 23% in 2014.
- The proportion of humanitarian assistance allocated to projects that focus ‘principally’ or ‘contribute significantly’ to gender equality decreased from 22% in 2013 to 12% in 2014.
- Saudi Arabia follows the United States and EU institutions as the third largest government donor reporting to gender coded projects – but 99% of this is unspecified or not applicable.
- The proportion of humanitarian assistance given to the top 10 recipients in 2014 that focuses ‘principally’ on gender equality (code 2b) is very small. Syria, South Sudan and the Philippines received the greatest proportion of humanitarian assistance under this code (only 1% each). South Sudan received the largest proportion coded as ‘gender issues not considered’ at 12%.