Non-DAC donor analysis of humanitarian aid relies on data from the Financial Tracking Service (FTS) – currently the most comprehensive and comparable data available on this group of donors. Donors and implementing agencies report their humanitarian aid expenditure to the FTS based on a broad definition of humanitarian aid as “an intervention to help people who are victims of a natural disaster or conflict meet their basic needs and rights”. The aid is: to save lives, to alleviate suffering and to prevent the occurrence of another emergency; guided by principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence; and to protect civilians.
The voluntary nature of reporting to the FTS means that not all humanitarian aid from all donors is captured. Instead, non-DAC donors are a self selected group. We might actually expect India and China to appear amongst the list of the top non-DAC donors year and year. Their absence could be because they did not fully report to the FTS rather than because they gave small volumes of humanitarian aid. In contrast, the dominance of some donors, such as some Arab countries, could also reflect the reporting rather than real volumes of humanitarian aid. This could distort results, with non-DAC donor trends actually reflecting Arab countries priorities rather than all non-DAC donors. Finally some non-DAC donors can have a rather different understanding of aid and do not necessarily have a clear distinction to humanitarian, recovery or development aid. The absence of some donors from the FTS and the incomplete picture of humanitarian aid volumes from certain non-DACs therefore makes drawing conclusions and producing trends problematic. However, as it stands, the FTS is the most comprehensive database available for non-DAC donor humanitarian aid flow. Increased visibility and reporting of humanitarian aid from non-DAC donors would help contribute to more accurate trends.
The FTS’s broad definition and the voluntary nature of reporting means that the volumes of aid recorded are not comparable between donors. Nor are the volumes captured by the FTS comparable with those captured by the DAC. Some non-DAC donors report to the DAC, and have done for a number of years, in spite of not being DAC members or being required to report in the same way as DAC members. However, this is limited to just six government donors (Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Korea, Poland and Slovak Republic), with a further three (Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia) grouped together as ‘Arab countries’.