In our total ‘official’ humanitarian aid calculation, we attempt to present a more comprehensive picture of what government donors are really giving than would ordinarily be visible from aid data statistics. We do this by imputing money that donors give in un-earmarked funding to multilateral agencies – that is ultimately spent on humanitarian programmes – and adding this to the humanitarian aid that they give bilaterally (i.e. they administer directly themselves). For some donors, particularly some EU member states, their contributions through multilateral institutions are significant.
We were recently asked to calculate how much EU citizens give per capita, and you can see this information in a visualisation.
In doing these calculations however, we could see very clearly just how much some countries channel via the EU institutions. We calculated that the average humanitarian contribution for citizens of EU member states in 2009 was US$10.39 – but of that, US$3.22 was spent via the EU institutions.
Humanitarian giving per citizen, EU member states reporting to the OECD DAC in 2009
[Source: Development Initiatives based on OECD DAC and World Bank data]
If we didn’t impute that money and attribute the respective shares to member governments, their apparent levels of humanitarian funding would in many cases be significantly lower. In some cases dramatically lower – the graph below shows the proportion of EU member states’ (the ones reporting to the OECD DAC) humanitarian budgets which are channelled via the EU Institutions.
Shares of total official humanitarian aid expenditure channelled via the EU Institutions in 2009
[Source: Development Initiatives based on OECD DAC data]
We hope this helps to illustrate why it is important to build a comprehensive picture of humanitarian aid – including the less visible parts.