Steepest shortfall in U.N. humanitarian appeals in a decade - report
Thu, 19 Jul 2012 15:41 GMT
Source: alertnet // Lisa Anderson
South Sudanese carry food aid from a World Food Programme distribution centre in Pibor, Jonglei State, January 12, 2012. REUTERS/Hereward Holland
By Lisa Anderson
NEW YORK (AlertNet) - United Nations humanitarian appeals have seen the steepest shortfall in a decade as overall international humanitarian aid fell 9 percent to $17.1 billion in 2011, a report said on Thursday.
The dip in funding partially reflected the absence of the colossal natural disasters of the earthquake in Haiti and floods in Pakistan that drove sharp increases in humanitarian aid in 2010, as well as the growing impact of the global economic crisis on government aid budgets, according to the latest annual report by Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA), a U.K.-based aid monitoring group.
In 2011, governments contributed $12.5 billion in humanitarian aid and private funders gave $4.6 billion for a total of $17.1 billion, down from $18.8 billion in 2010, according to preliminary estimates released by GHA. Despite the reduction, both private and government contributions remained above 2009 levels.
What is most striking is the huge gap of 38 percent in unmet needs experienced in 2011 by the U.N. Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP), which seeks funding for the worst humanitarian crises.
The United Nations had requested $8.9 billion to meet the humanitarian needs of 62 million people. That compared with an appeal for $11.3 billion to help 74 million people in 2010. Nonetheless, it received only $5.5 billion of its 2011 request.
“This is one of the confusing or inconsistent trends that we’ve observed this year,” Lydia Poole, author of the report and GHA programme leader, told AlertNet.
“The amount of the funding request within the appeal has gone down. The number of people affected within the appeal has gone down. And the overall funding has gone down, but it hasn’t gone down by as much as the appeal requirements actually went down,” she said in a telephone interview.
“So you’d expect there would be more funding available, but that doesn’t seem to have happened,” Poole added.
Poole said GHA can’t say conclusively why the gap widened but it is part of a progressive downward trend in which the U.N. appeal system has received a lower proportion of its request every year since 2007.
“In 2011, what seems to have happened is that relatively small amounts of funding have gone to quite a large number of small-scale crises which are outside the U.N. funding appeal,” she said.
Specific information on the aid given to these smaller crises, in places such as Myanmar, Turkey, Uganda, Bangladesh and Tanzania, is difficult to track but “collectively, it adds up to quite a bit”, she said.
The report found, “unmet humanitarian financing needs rose across the board in 2011, for U.N. CAP and other appeals alike”. These included the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies which saw only half their needs met against an average of 67 percent in the period 2006-2011.
One major area of funding by governments continues to be peace and security in conflict-affected states, where investments grew by 140 percent between 2001 and 2010, the report said.
In terms of countries with fragile governments where years of humanitarian assistance have not yielded great results, Poole said “I think there is a growing consensus that building institutions of government is one of the most effective ways, long-term, of dealing with the state in providing basic services for their populations.”
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