This summary is a preview of the key findings from the forthcoming 2014 GHA Report. We produce this report annually to give a unique data-led analysis of current trends in humanitarian financing. The full 2014 GHA Report will be released in September 2014 and will include further detailed analysis and a comprehensive overview of all areas of humanitarian financing.
Extraordinary scale of humanitarian crises and needs in 2013, and of the level of international humanitarian response, which rose to a record US$22 billion.
International humanitarian response, 2008–2013
In a stark change from 2012 (which saw no major new disasters and a slight decrease in funding), 2013 saw millions of people affected by three very different crises – in Syria, Central African Republic (CAR) and the Philippines – each designated as the highest level emergency by the UN. Individually and combined with other crises, these placed unique demands on humanitarian responders and donors. In 2013, 37% (US$3.1 billion) of funding for UN-coordinated appeals went to the Syria crisis.
Growing contribution from government donors: accounting for three quarters of the international response, contributing US$16.4 billion. This amounted to a 24% increase from 2012 levels, with nine of the ten largest government donors increasing their funding.
Humanitarian assistance from government donors, 2004–2013
The role of governments outside the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) group has continued to rise, contributing US$2.3 billion in humanitarian assistance in 2013. This represented 14% of the total from all government donors – double the proportion in 2011.
Top 10 largest changes in international humanitarian assistance from government donors and EU institutions, 2012–2013
Growing contribution from private funding sources: Contributions from individuals, trusts, foundations and corporations rose steeply to an estimated US$5.6 billion in 2013 (35% increase from 2012 levels). Over the past five years, assistance from these sources has accounted for more than one-quarter (26%) of the international humanitarian response.
Private and government humanitarian assistance and annual percentage change, 2008-2012
Pressing demand for response as humanitarian needs continue to be unmet – overall, 2013 UN coordinated appeals were 65% funded, leaving over one-third of identified needs unmet.
Funding and unmet needs, UN-coordinated appeals, 2004–2013
UN-coordinated appeals targeted 78 million people for assistance in 2013 and called for US$13.2 billion in funding. Needs are continuing to rise: as of early June 2014, UN-coordinated appeals requests totalled a record US$16.4 billion.
Disparities in the scale of response: winners & losers from humanitarian assistance
Winners: In 2012, (the most recent year for which recipient country data is available) 24% of international humanitarian response went to the top 5 recipient countries. Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and the West Bank & Gaza Strip have consistently appeared in the top 10 recipients list over the past five years (see Annex 1).
Losers: Many crises continue to be de-prioritised (see Annex 2) with countries such as Nepal, Myanmar and Algeria repeatedly appearing in the European Commission’s Department of Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)’s forgotten crisis index. There is considerable disparity between the financing of different UN appeals. In 2013 Mauritania’s appeal was 83% funded compared with Djibouti’s, which was 36% funded.
Best and worst funded UN appeals, 2004–2013
Disparities in the timeliness of response to different crises
The time taken for donors to respond at scale to acute crises triggered by sudden natural hazards can vary enormously in the first weeks and months. The response to Typhoon Haiyan during the first month, for example, was half that of the Indian Ocean earthquake-tsunami appeal in 2005 in terms of needs met. The response to conflict-related and complex crises is even slower. South Sudan, Syria, Central African Republic and Yemen crises remained more than 50% unfunded six months after their appeals were launched.
Timeliness of response to four natural disasters: Indian Ocean tsunami-earthquake, Haiti earthquake, Pakistan floods and Typhoon Haiyan
Timeliness of funding response to five UN appeals, 2013: conflicts and complex emergencies in Syria, CAR, Yemen and South Sudan
Humanitarian assistance is only one small element of resources reaching crisis-affected countries yet continues to play a critical and unique function
Humanitarian assistance retains a critical and unique function to provide a principled response to crisis-affected populations. It represented around 1% of the combined domestic and international resources of its top 20 recipients in 2012. As a comparison, domestic expenditure accounted for 67% of total resources in these countries.
Protracted crises continue to capture the bulk of official humanitarian assistance – 66% in 2012. There were an estimated 179.5 people living in poverty in these long-term recipient countries. Almost 50% of long-term humanitarian assistance went to countries with government expenditure of less than US$500 per person per year – one third of the developing country average.
Long, medium and short-term recipients of humanitarian assistance: levels of poverty, domestic resources and humanitarian assistance, 2012