Aid provided to fragile and conflict-affected states is often volatile and unpredictable. Across all 70 countries classified as fragile states in 2013, 36 experienced four or more aid shocks – a 15% or more fluctuation in aid from one year to the next – between 2005 and 2013. For some countries aid fluctuations are substantial. For example, the four long-term fragile states Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Eritrea and Zimbabwe have each experienced more than five shocks in the past eight years.
The transition from conflict or political fragility to stability takes time. In 2013, 72% of official humanitarian assistance to fragile states went to long-term recipients, defined as those that have received an above-average share of their official development assistance (ODA) in the form of humanitarian assistance for eight years or more between 1999 and 2013.
The type and predictability of financing, as well as the complementarity of responses to immediate crises and ongoing developmental support, are as crucial as overall volumes. Such volatility emphasises the importance of having effective rapid response mechanisms and anticipatory, sustainable and multi-year financing sources and modalities.