Image by ICRC / M. Yerow
  • Report
  • 2 August 2016

Somalia: an overview of poverty, vulnerability and financing

The imperative to address fragility, conflict and insecurity has become a central focus of global development processes. Following on from the agreement of the ‘New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States’ at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in 2011, which recognised the need to take a different approach in fragile states and to address peace and security as a prerequisite for sustainable development, commitments to address fragility through development assistance have continued to gather pace. The inclusion of Global Goal 16 on ‘inclusive and peaceful societies’ in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the mandate to look beyond aid to include much broader sources of finance is a clear example of this. Furthermore, the recent reports of the United National Secretary General (UNSG) for the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS)[1] and of the UN High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing[2] call for a greater proportion of aid to be targeted towards situations of fragility.

To effectively measure the delivery of these commitments and ensure that assistance in fragile states meets the needs of the most vulnerable people, there is a pressing need for data. Data on poor and vulnerable people is critical for ensuring that available resources are targeted effectively. Data on the domestic capacity to address poverty and vulnerability, the different international resource flows, together with evidence on the different funding mechanisms used, is important for identifying where the funding gaps are and how to strengthen the effectiveness of the response.

Yet, the collection of such data is particularly challenging in fragile and conflict-affected countries where domestic capacities are low and access to affected areas is constrained as a result of conflict and insecurity. This makes it difficult for donors and governments to make coordinated and needs-based decisions on how to effectively allocate finite resources.

This report seeks to scope the availability of such data and evidence in one fragile state, Somalia, and to provide an overview of what this data tells us, where it exists. The aim of the report is to draw lessons for future application in other fragile contexts, highlight challenges, identify areas where further research could be undertaken, and make recommendations for strengthening the availability and quality of data.

The report is structured around the following five key sections: a background to the context in Somalia; an overview of the availability of data at national and subnational levels on both poverty and vulnerability; an overview of the availability of data at subnational and national levels on domestic and international resource flows (aid and beyond); analysis of the various funding mechanisms in operation, drawing key lessons; and recommendations for where further research could be undertaken and how data gaps could be addressed.

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 Photo credit: International Committee of the Red Cross


[1] Report of the UN Secretary General (2015), One Humanity: Shared Responsibility Report of the Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit (

[2]  UN High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing (2015), Too Important to Fail. (