- 21 June 2017
New analysis reveals significant slowdown in growth of international humanitarian assistance despite high need
New analysis by Development Initiatives shows that while total international humanitarian assistance increased again in 2016, the pace of growth has slowed.
New analysis published today by Development Initiatives shows that while total international humanitarian assistance increased again in 2016, the pace of growth has slowed. Only four of the 10 government donors that provided the most assistance in 2015 increased their contributions in 2016, and there was a significant decrease in contributions from others.
The Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2017 finds that international humanitarian assistance increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2016, reaching US$27.3 billion, an increase of US$1.5 billion over 2015 figures. At 6%, the growth in humanitarian assistance between 2015 and 2016 was considerably smaller than in the previous three years, which showed increases of 12% in 2015, 21% in 2014 and 18% in 2013.
The slowdown was in part caused by a 24% decrease in funding from governments in the Middle East and North of Sahara region, following several years of successive increases. Decreases were largely driven by a 50% reduction in reported contributions from the Government of Kuwait, as well as reduced funding from Qatar (down 57%) and Saudi Arabia (down 26%).
Conversely, contributions from European governments grew by 25% between 2015 and 2016. Notable increases included contributions from Germany, with an additional US$1.4 billion in 2016 (increase of 109%), Belgium (58%), Denmark (51%) and France (41%). These figures represent international humanitarian assistance and do not include domestic spending on hosting refugees.
Development Initiatives estimates that over 164 million people globally were in need of international humanitarian assistance during 2016, another year of multiple conflicts and disasters contributing to refugee crises. Over a quarter of those in need were living in just three countries: Yemen (21.2 million people), Syria (13.5 million) and Iraq (10.4 million).
Echoing trends in recent years, humanitarian assistance reported to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Financial Tracking Service was concentrated on a few large crises in 2016, and five received more than half of all funding (54%): Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan and Ethiopia. These were all severe crises with some of the largest populations in need. They have also all been in receipt of significant levels of humanitarian assistance for extended periods, due to ongoing or recurrent crises.
Harpinder Collacott, Executive Director at Development Initiatives, said, “Poverty, crisis and risk are intrinsically linked. An estimated 87% of people living in extreme poverty are in countries that are considered environmentally vulnerable, fragile or both. This means that effectively preparing for and responding to crises is critical, not only to save lives and alleviate suffering, but also to achieve a sustainable end to global poverty by 2030.
“Furthermore, we need a holistic set of financing tools and sustained investments to deal with the causes and long-term consequences of crises. Understanding the resources that are available is an important first step. Greater transparency of humanitarian financing mechanisms is vital to maximise the effectiveness of assistance at a time when so many people across the globe are in need.”
Emma Cooke, Communications Officer at Development Initiatives
E: [email protected] T: +44(0)1179 272505
Notes to editors:
- Development Initiatives publishes its Global Humanitarian Assistance Report annually, providing vital information for those making decisions about future policy directions and resource allocation, supporting them to navigate a complex and constantly changing financing landscape.
- The executive summary and full report can be found after the embargo is lifted at devinit.org/global-humanitarian-assistance-2017.
- Charts and data can be provided, and can be used with the following credit: – If using our data and figure: Data analysis and figure development by Development Initiatives: www.devinit.org – If using our data and redesigning for your own figure: Data analysis by Development Initiatives: devinit.org.
- Interviews can be arranged with Harpinder Collacott, Executive Director, Sophia Swithern, Head of Research and Analysis, or Charlotte Lattimer, Senior Policy and Engagement Adviser.
Key findings include:
- In 2016, the estimated global total of international humanitarian finance increased for the fourth year running, reaching a new high of US$27.3 billion. However, the 6% rise from 2015 was significantly lower than increases in previous years, indicating a slowdown in the pace of growth.
- While combined contributions from European donors rose by 25%, those from donors in the Middle East fell by 24%.
- Five government donors (US, UK, Germany, Sweden and Japan) together contributed almost two-thirds (65%) of the total in 2016, and one donor (US) provided almost a third (31%).
- Funding from private donors only increased by an estimated 6% in 2016, following a sharp 26% rise in the previous year.
- For the fourth year running Syria was the single largest recipient in 2015 – receiving 12.5% of country-allocable assistance.
- An estimated 88% of international humanitarian assistance went to medium- or long-term recipients in 2015. Moreover, of the 20 largest recipients of international humanitarian assistance in 2015, 18 were medium- or long-term recipients facing recurrent or protracted crises.
- Despite commitments to reinforce local and national capacities, data reported to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Financial Tracking Service shows that only 2% of international humanitarian assistance in 2016 went directly to local and national responders, and national and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) received just 0.3% directly. Ongoing efforts aim to ascertain the volume of funds that they accessed indirectly as recipients of funding from international organisations.
- The amount requested through UN-coordinated appeals increased in 2016, though only marginally, to US$20.5 billion.
- The amount of funding going to UN-coordinated appeals rose by 12% in 2016, still leaving a 40% global shortfall. This was felt unevenly across the 43 appeals, with a 95-percentage-point gap between funding levels to the best and worst funded appeals.
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