UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Says Funding Continues to be Inadequate, Delayed and Poorly Coordinated
Six months after the launch of the Humanitarian Appeal 2007, the United Nations, the International Organisation for Migration, and 220 non-governmental aid organisations still require $2.5 billion to respond to the world’s most severe crises.
$ 1.8 billion has been mobilised through the Appeal, equalling 43 per cent of funding requirements. This is a slight improvement on the mid-point of previous years (36 per cent in 2006), reflecting a swifter reaction on the part of donors, as well as the allocations of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) towards chronic under-funded emergencies. A total of $ 110 million from the CERF has been targeted to 15 consolidated appeals and three flash appeals, the largest recipients being the Democratic Republic of Congo ($36.5 million), Sudan ($10.5 million) and Somalia ($9.2 million).
“Despite some improvement, funding continues to be inadequate, delayed and poorly coordinated, which hampers the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people in the world,” noted John Holmes, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. In the occupied Palestinian territories, for example, low donor response to the Appeal meant that a number of urgent humanitarian programmes had to be suspended. To make matters worse, the inability to provide much-needed assistance coincided with the Palestinian Authority’s reduced capacity to deliver basic services to the population.
In regions emerging from conflict, such as the Great Lakes and West Africa, money is often not available to build emergency preparedness capacity and to undertake other recovery actions critical to support the transition to peace and development. In fact, recovery-type humanitarian action receives less money than any other sector: on average recovery and infrastructure projects in the Humanitarian Appeals are only 13% funded, whereas the food sector, for example, is 62% funded. In other countries, such as Burundi, better donor support for the appeal’s recovery elements has made it possible to strengthen national capacity and emergency preparedness. Such capacity building is not only critical to a country’s recovery from crisis, but also a condition for the gradual withdrawal of humanitarian agencies. Countries in transition from conflict and humanitarian crisis need to be well supported in order to solidify peace.
In addition, significant funding disparities persist among appeals. Of the 19 appeals, five have received less than 33 per cent of requirements at mid-year: Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, the occupied Palestinian territories, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of Congo. Funding in relation to requirements is highest for Burundi (62%) and Chad (60%).
Overall, the gap between best-funded and least-funded crises is not narrowing, and the funding disparities bear no relation to the severity of the various crises. This means that the international community is still far from realising its agreed objective of funding humanitarian assistance in proportion to need.