(Originally Broadcast on November 15, 2012)

As the Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) 2012 Report notes, humanitarian needs in 2011 decreased from those of the previous year. Financing requests dropped by 21% and the overall funding response decreased by 9% from 2010 to 2011. However, despite this shift, the gap in unmet financing widened. According to the GHA report, "the proportion of humanitarian financing needs within the UN CAP [United Nations Consolidated Appeals Process] appeal that remained unmet in 2011 was greater, at 38%, than in any year since 2001, despite overall reduced requirements." This trend is not exclusive to the past two years. In the past half decade, the gap between met and unmet needs in UN CAP appeals widened by 10%, despite large increases to financing.

Further complicating the ability of international agencies to meet humanitarian needs, the year 2012 has seen crises emerge in environments that have been highly politicized increasingly dangerous for international workers. According to the Aid Worker Security Database, an initiative of Humanitarian Outcomes, the number of major attacks on aid workers has increased by 228% percent from 2002 to 2011. The ongoing crisis in Syria illustrates the resulting dilemmas. As of late September, despite the overwhelming outcry over the humanitarian disaster in the country, donors had yet to release sufficient funds. Reasons for this delay could include concerns about strengthening or legitimizing the Assad regime and interest in leaving the door open for military intervention.

Meanwhile, the profile of donors is evolving. According to the GHA report, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates now rank among the top 20 major aid donors. Furthermore, the Arab League has given $500,000 to the World Health Organization for work inside Syria and aims to double this amount for relief within the country as well as in countries hosting Syrian refugee communities. However, donations from groups outside of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) still only represent about 5% of the overall pie, remain quite erratic, and do not always fall within established international mechanisms.

In this context, our panel will examine the following questions:

1. What is the capacity of the current funding system to meet humanitarian needs?

2. What is the potential of new donor groups to address the challenges to the current funding system?

3. What are the potential difficulties with encouraging funding from outside the OECD DAC groups?

Hosted By:

Christina Blunt (Project Coordinator, HPCR)
Rob Grace (Research Associate, HPCR)

Panelists:

Tasneem Mowjee (Policy2Practice)
Robert Smith (CAP OCHA)
Andrea Binder (Global Public Policy Institute)

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