Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2023: Chapter 5
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Humanitarian assistance is intended to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain human dignity during and after human-made crises and disasters associated with natural hazards, as well as to prevent and strengthen preparedness for when such situations occur. Humanitarian assistance should be governed by the key humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. These are the fundamental principles of the international Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, which are reaffirmed in UN General Assembly resolutions and enshrined in numerous humanitarian standards and guidelines.
In this report, when used in the context of financing data, international humanitarian assistance refers to the financial resources for humanitarian action spent outside the donor country. Our calculations of international humanitarian assistance are based on what donors and organisations report as such and do not include other types of financing to address the causes and impacts of crises, which we refer to as crisis-related financing.
There is no universal obligation or system for reporting expenditure on international, or indeed domestic, humanitarian assistance. The main reporting platforms for international humanitarian assistance are the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and the Financial Tracking Service (FTS) of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Increasingly, data on humanitarian activities is also published according to the International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard. OECD DAC members are obligated to report their humanitarian assistance to the DAC systems as part of their official development assistance (ODA), in accordance with definitions set out by the DAC. Some other governments and most major multilateral organisations, including several of the largest private philanthropic foundations, also voluntarily report to the DAC.
The FTS is open to all humanitarian donors and implementing agencies to voluntarily report contributions of internationally provided humanitarian assistance according to a set of inclusion criteria determined by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.
The analysis of international humanitarian assistance in the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2023 draws largely on data reported to the FTS and the OECD DAC. Between these two sources, there is variation in inclusion criteria for humanitarian assistance, as well as volumes reported, so we aim to consistently explain and cite the data sources used. In this GHA report, we have compared the preliminary DAC and FTS data on humanitarian funding by donor in 2022 to capture the most comprehensive data possible, as explained in more detail below. Since the 2018 report, we have included humanitarian funding reported to FTS that has been provided by OECD DAC members as assistance to countries not eligible for ODA. We also use other sources to calculate international humanitarian assistance, including reports from UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on private humanitarian funding and data from the Central Emergency Response Fund on contributions from public donors; data sources and methodologies for these are also clearly marked and explained.
Our global estimate of humanitarian assistance provided in the form of cash and vouchers in 2022 is based on data collected from 29 organisations by the CALP Network and supplemented with FTS data. For 2022, 98% of the total global value of humanitarian cash and voucher assistance (CVA) is based on survey data and around 2% supplemented with FTS data for implementing agencies that did not complete surveys on their volumes of CVA. Similarly, in the previous five years over 90% of the data on global volumes of humanitarian cash and voucher assistance was based on survey data and 10% or less on FTS data. The methodology used for this analysis is outlined in greater detail in Development Initiatives’ recent research on tracking cash and voucher assistance. This methodology was further improved upon for this report by including funding reported to FTS for projects under humanitarian response plans, for which 50% or more of the project budget was allocated for cash and/or voucher assistance.
We use ‘channels of delivery’ to describe the first and subsequent levels of organisations receiving funding for the delivery of humanitarian assistance – multilateral agencies, NGOs (both international and local/national), the public sector and the international Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement – whether they deliver the assistance themselves or pass it on to partner organisations. Our data on channels of delivery in Figure 3.1 (Chapter 3) comes from the FTS.
This data includes all ODA disbursements reported to the OECD DAC Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and marked with a relevant Rio marker by DAC members, multilateral organisations and other government donors that voluntarily report to the OECD DAC. The two Rio markers can be used to report the relevance of any ODA funding in terms of:
- Mitigation, where a project contributes to stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere by promoting efforts to reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions or enhance greenhouse gas sequestration
- Adaptation, where a project seeks to reduce the vulnerability of human or natural systems to current and/or expected impacts of climate change.
We include ODA marked as principal only for both markers.
Country and region naming conventions used throughout this report are based on those used by the OECD DAC or the UN. Region naming conventions are based on those used by the OECD. The conventions used do not reflect a political position of Development Initiatives.
Where appropriate in performing analyses of financial trends, we adjust for inflation by applying deflators in constant 2021 prices by source location of the funding. We use US$ gross domestic product deflators from the OECD DAC for DAC members and EU institutions and calculate these deflators from International Monetary Fund Economic Outlook April 2023 data for other countries. In the limited cases where data was missing from both of these sources, we estimate deflators based on the historical average real and nominal growth of gross domestic product based in US$. For financial flows that have a multilateral source, we deflate using the ODA-weighted average DAC deflator from the OECD. Consistent with our annual methodology, data in the Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2022 was shown in constant 2020 prices, so totals may vary between reports.
We focus on three intersecting dimensions facing people in need in our analyses: climate vulnerability, socioeconomic fragility and conflict risk. We use country-level data for each of those dimensions.
We classify countries’ climate vulnerability using data from the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) vulnerability index. We identify people living in countries ranked in the top quintile of this index as having high climate vulnerability. People living in countries with no index data are assumed not to have high vulnerability.
The classification of socioeconomic fragility is based on the OECD States of Fragility framework 2020. Country-level socioeconomic fragility is calculated as the average of the framework’s first principal components of social, political and economic fragility dimensions. We identify people living in countries in the top quintile of this index as having high socioeconomic fragility. Countries with no index data are assumed not to have high fragility.
Our classification of high-intensity conflict risk uses information from the Conflict Barometer 2022 (of the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research). Country-level conflict intensity is taken as the maximum of any sub-state, intra-state, and inter-state conflict intensity scores. People living in countries with a conflict score of 4+ (high-intensity, violent conflict) are identified as those with high-intensity conflict risk. People living in countries with no conflict data are assumed not to have high-intensity conflict risk.
For our analysis of ODA for the purpose of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in 2021 (see ‘How much DRR finance is reaching countries in crisis?’, Chapter 4), we include the following funding flows as reported to the OECD DAC CRS:
- Funding reported with the purpose code 43060 ‘Disaster risk reduction’
- Funding reported as principal under the ‘Disaster risk reduction’ marker, expressing DRR as principal objective of the associated activity
- Additional funding with DRR as principal objective as expressed by the project information reported to the CRS (this additional funding was identified by Development Initiatives through a search for DRR keywords in the project titles and descriptions of CRS entries; the output of the keyword search was then manually screened for relevance to DRR).
ODA in 2020 to the newly added ‘Covid-19 control’ purpose code that has also been marked as relevant to DRR has been excluded from this analysis, to focus on the risk reduction for natural hazards and to avoid conflating that with pandemic risk.
To convert original currency values into US$ values, we use exchange rates from the OECD DAC for currencies of DAC members, UN operational exchange rates for other currencies, and supplement with World Bank Development Economics Vice Presidency alternative conversion factors where these are not available. The UN operational exchange rates are also used by UN OCHA FTS.
Acute food insecurity classification data is from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification / Cadre Harmonisé (IPC/CH), supplemented by UNOCHA’s Humanitarian Programming Cycle (HPC). From IPC/CH, we classify people living in ‘crisis’, i.e. Phase 3 or higher, as being acutely food insecure. From UNOCHA HPC, we classify those in need of humanitarian assistance under the food security sector as being acutely food insecure. Acute food insecurity numbers and phases are as reported or projected by the data year’s most comprehensive IPC/CH survey or UNOCHA HPC appeal year.
Country-level food insecurity phases are calculated based on IPC/CH’s methodology of the highest phase experienced by at least 20% of the population. For countries with only UNOCHA HPC data, we estimate whether the country-level phase is either above or below equivalent Phase 3 (3-, 3+) based on the number of people in need under the food security sector.
For a trend comparison at a country level, we use data from before the Covid-19 pandemic (2017/18/19), against the most recent data year available (2022/23). Data for 2023 is preliminary, relying on partial data, projections from IPC/CH and forward-looking estimates from UNOCHA. These estimates are subject to change, both at a country level and in terms of which countries are assessed.
Food insecurity severity is calculated based on an adapted Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT; α=1) index that weights higher phases of food insecurity to produce a comparable index of severity.
Our analysis of direct and indirect funding to local and national actors in Figures 3.1 and 3.2 (Chapter 3) uses data from FTS alongside data from the UN OCHA country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) data hub. FTS data is coded according to a set of organisational categories outlined below. We then combine this FTS data with data available from CBPFs on the funds’ direct funding to local and national actors, which uses the funds’ own classifications of recipients that might differ from the definitions below. For our own coding process of FTS data, we use the following categories of local and national non-state actors and national and subnational state actors, as defined by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Humanitarian Financing Task Team in its Localisation Marker Definitions Paper.
- National NGOs/civil society organisations (CSOs): national NGOs/CSOs operating in the aid-recipient country in which they are headquartered, working in multiple subnational regions, and not affiliated to an international NGO. This category can also include national faith-based organisations.
- Local NGOs/CSOs: local NGOs/CSOs operating in a specific, geographically defined, subnational area of an aid-recipient country, without affiliation to an international NGO/CSO. This category can also include community-based organisations and local faith-based organisations. We combine this category with national NGOs in our analyses.
- Red Cross/Red Crescent National Societies: national societies based in and operating within their own aid-recipient countries.
- National governments: national government agencies, authorities, line ministries and state-owned institutions in aid-recipient countries, such as national disaster management agencies. This category can also include federal or regional government authorities.
- Local governments: subnational government entities in aid-recipient countries exercising some degree of devolved authority over a specifically defined geographic constituency, such as local/municipal authorities.
- Additionally, international NGOs based in aid-recipient countries are classified as national NGO/CSO in our analysis of funding to local and national actors when carrying out operations in the country in which they are headquartered.
Our estimate of total international humanitarian assistance is the sum of that from private donors and from government donors and EU institutions (see Figure 1.3, Chapter 1). Our calculation of international humanitarian assistance from government donors up to 2021 is the sum of:
- ‘Official’ humanitarian assistance (OECD DAC donors)
- International humanitarian assistance from OECD DAC donors to countries not eligible for ODA from the FTS
- International humanitarian assistance from donors outside the OECD DAC using data from the FTS.
Our ‘official’ humanitarian assistance calculation comprises:
- The bilateral humanitarian expenditure of OECD DAC members, as reported to the OECD DAC database under Table 1
- The multilateral humanitarian assistance of OECD DAC members.
The multilateral humanitarian assistance of OECD DAC members consists of three elements.
- The unearmarked ODA contributions of DAC members to 10 key multilateral agencies engaged in humanitarian response: the Food and Agriculture Organization, IOM, the UN Development Programme, UNFPA, UNHCR, UN OCHA, UNICEF, UNRWA, WFP and WHO, as reported to the OECD DAC under Table 2a and the CRS. We do not include all ODA to the Food and Agriculture Organization, IOM, the UN Development Programme, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and WFP but apply a percentage to take into account that these agencies also have a ‘development’ mandate. These shares are calculated using data on humanitarian expenditure as a proportion of the total received directly from each multilateral agency.
- The ODA contributions of DAC members to some other multilateral organisations (beyond those already listed) that, although not primarily humanitarian-oriented, do report a level of humanitarian aid to OECD DAC Table 2a. We do not include all reported ODA to these multilateral organisations but just the humanitarian share of this.
- Contributions to the UN Central Emergency Response Fund that are not reported under DAC members’ bilateral humanitarian assistance. We take this data directly from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund website.
When presenting the international humanitarian assistance of individual OECD DAC countries that contribute to the EU budget, we show in Figure 1.5 (Chapter 1) an imputed calculation of their humanitarian assistance channelled through the EU institutions, based on their ODA contributions to the EU institutions. We do not include this in our total international humanitarian assistance and response calculations or in our ranking of donor contributions to avoid double counting, given the EU institutions are also presented as donor separately.
Our estimate for official humanitarian assistance in 2022 compares preliminary data by donor between DAC and FTS to reflect the most comprehensive data available. Where humanitarian assistance reported to FTS was greater than official humanitarian assistance based on DAC data as defined above, we used FTS data. Where humanitarian assistance reported to FTS was greater than bilateral humanitarian assistance based on DAC data only, we used FTS data plus imputed multilateral humanitarian assistance based on DAC data. Otherwise, we used an estimate of official humanitarian assistance based on DAC data only. For our analysis of funding by donor on FTS we used the flow year for paid contributions and the destination usage year for commitments to try and capture funding in the year it was or expected to be disbursed.
Türkiye is captured and shaded differently in Figures 1.5 and 1.6 (Chapter 1) because the humanitarian assistance that it voluntarily reports to the DAC largely comprises expenditure on hosting Syrian refugees within Türkiye. We do not include Türkiye’s spending on Syrian refugees in Türkiye in our total international humanitarian assistance and response calculations elsewhere in the report, as these include only amounts directed internationally by donors.
In this year’s report, we use data from the FTS on volumes of international humanitarian assistance by recipient countries for 2022 data, which will become available in the OECD DAC CRS in December 2023 or later. FTS data was downloaded on 28 April 2023.
We drew estimates of people in need (PiN) from the UN OCHA Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC), supplemented by INFORM/ACAPS. Our analysis of PiN by country uses the maximum out of HPC final-year estimates for country-level humanitarian response plans (HRPs), and out of the highest value of PiN by country from INFORM/ACAPS. To avoid double-counting, we do not include PiN as estimated for flash appeals (FAs) or regional response plans (RRPs) for countries where a country-level HRP already exists. Figures for 2023 are preliminary, with data extracted 28 April 2023. 2017 and earlier PiN figures reflect the total people receiving humanitarian assistance under inter-agency coordinated response plans only.
For our analyses of PiN and and PiN disaggregated by sex and age, we used HPC final-year estimates for country-level HRPs to ensure consistency and comparability.
Our analysis of people targeted for assistance in countries with UN-coordinated response plans in Figure 2.2 (Chapter 2) is based on data from UN OCHA’s Humanitarian Action data portal on HRPs, FAs, RRPs or other UN-coordinated response plans. This was supplemented with information from response plan documents for response plans with missing data on the number of people targeted for assistance.
We request financial information directly from humanitarian delivery agencies (including NGOs, multilateral agencies and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement) on their income to create a standardised dataset on private humanitarian funding received by them. Where direct data collection is not possible, we use publicly available annual reports and audited accounts. For the most recent year, our dataset includes:
- A large sample of NGOs that form part of representative NGO alliances and umbrella organisations such as Save the Children International, and several large international NGOs operating independently
- Private contributions to IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNRWA, WFP and WHO
- The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Our private funding calculation comprises an estimate of total private humanitarian income for all NGOs, and the private humanitarian income reported by six UN agencies, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Committee of the Red Cross. To estimate the total private humanitarian income of NGOs globally, we calculate the annual proportion that the NGOs in our dataset represent of NGOs reporting to UN OCHA FTS. The total private humanitarian income reported to us by the NGOs in our dataset is then scaled up accordingly.
Data is collected annually, and new data for previous years may be added retrospectively.
Our 2022 private funding calculation is an estimate based on data on eight organisations that, combined, receive a large share of global private humanitarian funding year on year, pending data from our full dataset. These are: Médecins Sans Frontières, Plan International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Christian Aid, UNHCR, UNICEF and World Relief. These organisations made up 57% of the global total private humanitarian funding we calculated based on the above methodology in 2021. We estimate global total private humanitarian in 2022 by adding the actual, aggregate increase in private humanitarian funding received by these eight organisations compared to 2021 to the global total private humanitarian funding we calculated for 2021. This assumes that on balance, the aggregate private humanitarian funding for all other organisations without available 2022 data remained stable since the previous year. This 2022 figure is therefore a conservative estimate, given all eight organisations with available 2022 data saw their private humanitarian funding increase, in some cases significantly.
Our definition of protracted crisis countries includes countries with five or more consecutive years of UN-coordinated appeals, as of the year of analysis. The types of appeals and response plans used to determine this classification are outlined in ‘UN-coordinated appeals’.
We have chosen this approach to give an indication of the countries that have consistently, for a number of years, experienced humanitarian needs at a scale that requires an international humanitarian response. Those needs can be limited to specific geographical regions or populations (such as forcibly displaced people).
There may be minor discrepancies in some of the totals in our charts and infographics, and between those in the text, because of rounding.
We use this term to describe all humanitarian response plans and appeals wholly or jointly coordinated by UN OCHA or UNHCR, including strategic response plans, humanitarian response plans, flash appeals, joint response plans, regional refugee response plans and other plans. We use data from UN OCHA FTS and UNHCR for our financial analysis of UN-coordinated appeals in Figure 1.4 (Chapter 1).
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Guidance on how to publish humanitarian data to the IATI standard is available at: https://iatistandard.org/en/guidance/standard-guidance/humanitarian/Return to source text
OECD DAC definitions and reporting guidelines can be found at: OECD, Development finance standards, www.oecd.org/dac/financing-sustainable-development/development-finance-standards (accessed 24 May 2023)Return to source text
UNOCHA FTS, 2004 (updated 2017). Criteria for inclusion of reported humanitarian contributions into the Financial Tracking Service database, and for donor / appealing agency reporting to FTS. Available at: https://fts.unocha.org/sites/default/files/2020-10/26.01.17_-criteria_for_inclusion-_2017_updated_annex_i.pdfReturn to source text
Inter-Agency Standing Committee Humanitarian Financing Task Team, 2018. HFTT localisation marker definitions paper 24. Available at: https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/humanitarian-financing-task-team/documents-public/hftt-localisation-marker-definitions-paper-24Return to source text