The global scale of the pandemic has not only placed new constraints on the current humanitarian financing model. It has also revealed, once more, chronic difficulties to pre-arrange resources in the face of predictable needs and to channel resources efficiently to the frontlines. As the system faces this and other threats—climate change and an increase in conflict—financial resources are outpaced by the growth in needs. Now is the time to collectively agree more ambitious changes
CGD Policy Blogs
In new analysis, our experts review 15 NGO governing boards engaged in humanitarian response, and find that fewer than 20% of board members were from countries that are eligible to receive aid. Explore the interactive tool to learn more.
Demand-Driven Humanitarian Action in the Asia-Pacific: A Conversation with National and Regional Actors
We’re facing a “make or break” moment to reset commitments to humanitarian reform. The Asia-Pacific region has proven itself a unique case with increasing national and regional leadership; begging the question, how do global ideas for humanitarian reform apply in this context?
Humanitarian donor governments today spend roughly $25 billion every year, and approximately two-thirds of this is channeled through UN agencies and the international Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement.
COVID-19 is compounding humanitarian crises across the globe and exposing the current aid model as ill-adapted to support the frontline response. We have argued that applying an area-based model to humanitarian coordination would help tailor crisis response to the priorities and capacities of local communities and responders.
India’s second COVID-19 wave has been explosive, reaching world record totals of over 300,000 daily officially reported cases. The true number is likely to be much higher, with a large number of cases missed as indicated by the delays in testing and rapidly rising positivity rates - currently one in every four people tested are positive for COVID-19 across India. Leading models estimate that there could be over 1 million cases per day. The health service has collapsed, with queues of ambulances parked outside full hospitals, oxygen and drug shortages in multiple states, and life-saving non-COVID services interrupted.
Past humanitarian reform agendas have continually emphasised the need for humanitarian response to be locally owned. But for two decades, attempts to systematically elevate the representation, participation, and power of local actors have fallen short; donor governments still have an incentive to channel their funding through large international organizations.
Coordination is essential to effective humanitarian action. As a recent policy paper argues, an area-based approach would better align humanitarian action around the needs of crisis-affected people – compared to the cluster system. To understand how this approach operates at the local level and its benefits and challenges, Patrick Saez spoke with Noorina Ani, Abdul Wodood Elemyar, Farkhunda Samsoor and Jahanzeb Daudzai of NRC Afghanistan about their experiences with the “Urban Displacement Out of Camps” programme.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted once again that the humanitarian business model is poorly suited to today’s world. Humanitarian action is most effective when it is demand-driven and locally owned. But the humanitarian sector remains supply-driven: oriented primarily around donor preference and the global mandates of large aid agencies.
Coordination is essential to effective humanitarian action. But as a recent policy paper argues, the cluster system struggles with persistent weaknesses. To understand the impacts of this model at the local level, Patrick Saez spoke with May Kayali, executive director of Pekawa in Iraq about her experiences of humanitarian coordination. Below is their exchange.