Growth in aid funding slows for second year

by Meka Beresford | @mekaberesford | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Tuesday, 19 June 2018 05:00 GMT

Women hold food aid distributed by humanitarian institutions in Afrin, Syria March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

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Just 10 governments account for 83 per cent of all state contributions

By Meka Beresford

LONDON, June 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Growth in humanitarian aid slowed for the second year running in 2017 as government spending virtually stagnated, according to a report published on Tuesday that said the industry needed to find new ways of funding its work.

Overall aid increased by 3 percent year on year, with private donors accounting for almost all that growth, the annual Global Humanitarian Assistance Report showed.

Just 10 governments account for 83 per cent of all state contributions and 62 per cent of the overall total, said the report compiled by Development Initiatives, an independent international development organisation.

Harpinder Collacott, executive director of Development Initiatives, said the stagnation in public funding and reliance on a relatively small number of donors reinforced the need to find new financing mechanisms.

"This includes insurance, concessional loans and guarantees for long-term refugee hosting to complement humanitarian assistance," said Collacott in a statement.

"We also need to look to wider sources of crisis financing, such as that from multilateral development banks."

More than 200 million people across 134 countries were in need of international humanitarian assistance in 2017, according to the report, a fifth of them in Syria, Yemen and Turkey.

Christina Bennett, head of humanitarian policy at the Overseas Development Institute, said that there was a need to move away from "traditional" aid.

"I think we've had a sense for a while that donor interest in humanitarian aid is levelling off and there's a lot of conversations we're having about whether we've reached peak aid," Bennett told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"If we do have less money from governments to work with, then we need to be smarter in the way in which we use it."

That includes improving coordination between aid agencies to avoid duplicating each other's work, finding alternative funding sources to minimise the reliance on a small number of donors, and investing more in preventative aid, Bennett said.

(Reporting by Meka Beresford @mekaberesford, Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit

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