• Data tool
  • 1 October 2021

International humanitarian assistance: Donors, channels and recipients

This data tool lets you explore the largest donors of international humanitarian assistance and how they deliver assistance to recipients.

Use the three interactive charts to view and compare how much international humanitarian assistance donor countries give and through which channels, and how this varies between recipient countries.

This tool is useful for those who want to focus on the funding trends of specific donors or recipients over time or make comparisons within the two groups. Read more on how leading donors allocated humanitarian assistance to recipients in this year’s Global Humanitarian Assistance Report.

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Donors

Who gives international humanitarian assistance?

Government donors are the main source of international humanitarian assistance. Over the past 10 years the amount given by government donors has increased from US$13.6 billion in 2010 to US$24.1 billion in 2020, and the majority of this (95%) has been provided by the largest 20 donor countries. However, the volumes given by individual governments have fluctuated over time.

How is this assistance provided?

Government donors provide humanitarian funding in different ways. Most funding is provided as bilateral contributions, with donors broadly or strictly specifying where and what their funding is spent on by implementing organisations, such as UN agencies and international NGOs. Public donors also provide multilateral contributions for humanitarian responses in the form of core funding for multilateral institutions, such as the EU and the UN. This distinction reflects the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC)’s definitions of bilateral and multilateral official development assistance, applied to humanitarian assistance.

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Compare volumes of international humanitarian assistance from the 20 largest donors and how it is allocated

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  • The controls above the chart allow you to manipulate different views of the data. You can then hover your cursor over (if on a desktop) or tap (if on a tablet) the bars to view more details. Use this chart to:

    • View individual donors or compare two donors using the drop-down menu ‘Select donors’
    • View the data as volumes or in proportions using the drop-down menu ‘Display data as’.

    Proportions can be more helpful when comparing donors of different sizes.

Source: Development Initiatives based on OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System (CRS), UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Financial Tracking Service (FTS) and UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) data.

Notes: Figures for 2020 are preliminary estimates. Data is in constant 2019 prices. EU institutions are shown as a separate donor for comparison but are not included in the calculation of all donors. This is because contributions by EU member states to the EU budget are imputed to their respective international humanitarian assistance. There is no comprehensive data available on multilateral assistance provided by non-DAC donors. For more information, visit our online ‘Methodology and definitions’ for the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2021.

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Channels of delivery

How is international humanitarian assistance delivered?

Over the last 10 years, international humanitarian assistance from public donors has been delivered in largely the same way. Most of the funding provided bilaterally by public donors is channelled through multilateral organisations such as UN agencies, with a smaller proportion going to NGOs. However, there are some differences between donors.

This chart shows the first-level recipients of assistance. While funding is often passed onto further intermediaries before reaching the final recipient, there is a lack of comprehensive data on how funding is channelled beyond first-level recipients.

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Compare how the 20 largest donors channel international humanitarian assistance

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  • The controls above the chart allow you to manipulate different views of the data. You can then hover your cursor over (if on a desktop) or tap (if on a tablet) the bars to view more details. Use this chart to:

    • View individual donors or compare two donors using the drop-down menu ‘Select donors’.

Source: Development Initiatives based on OECD DAC CRS, UN OCHA FTS and UN CERF data.

Notes: NGO = non-governmental organisation; RCRC = International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Data is in constant 2019 prices. OECD DAC CRS codes ‘other’, ‘not reported’, ‘public–private partnerships’, ‘private sector institutions’ and ‘teaching institutions, research institutes or think tanks’ are merged to ‘other’.

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Recipients

Which countries receive international humanitarian assistance, from which donors and to which types of organisation?

Over time, a small number of large-scale crises have absorbed the majority of country-allocable international humanitarian assistance. There has been little change in the group of largest recipient countries over the past five years. In 2020 the 10 largest were all countries experiencing protracted crisis. Despite this, levels of funding to different crises have fluctuated over time.

The types of organisations to which assistance is delivered in countries also varies between crises.

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Explore funding to the largest country recipients of international humanitarian assistance, their leading donors and types of recipient organisations

To view this interactive visualisation make sure JavaScript is available on your device.

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  • The controls above the chart allow you to manipulate different views of the data. You can then hover your cursor over (if on a desktop) or tap (if on a tablet) the bars to view more details. Use this chart to:

    • View recipient countries using the drop-down menu ‘Select recipient’
    • Break down the volumes of assistance to each recipient country by the largest donors to the crisis or by type of recipient organisation, selecting either option from the drop-down menu.

Source: Development Initiatives based on UN OCHA FTS.

Notes: DRC = Democratic Republic of Congo; NGO = non-governmental organisation; RCRC = International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Data is in constant 2019 prices.

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Metadata

Dataset title: Donor governments, recipient countries and channel of delivery for international humanitarian assistance

Author: Development Initiatives

Source: Development Initiatives based on OECD DAC, UN OCHA FTS, UN CERF data

Timeframe: 2011–2020

Geography: Global

License: Creative Commons Attribution BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license

Citation: Development Initiatives, 2021. International humanitarian assistance: Donors, channels and recipients. Available at: https://devinit.org/data/international-humanitarian-assistance-donors-channels-and-recipients

These charts build on the analysis presented in the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2021 and allow users to investigate specific donors and crises. Development Initiatives’ Global Humanitarian Assistance programme regularly produces briefings and outputs related to humanitarian finance. You can find more content on our resources page and sign up to our ‘Humanitarian crisis’ topic updates via our mailing list for information on future outputs and events.