Despite age of 'mega-crises,' UN chief says humanitarian finance gap is a 'solvable problem'

In Dubai, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks with reporters at the launch of the High-Level Panel report on Humanitarian Financing. 17 January 2016. UN Photo/Mark Garten

17 January 2016 – Highlighting that people around the world are living at an age of “mega-crises,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed the launch of a new report on finding solutions to the growing gap between the increasing numbers of people in need of assistance and sufficient resources to provide relief.

“Globally, the world is shattering records we would never wish to break,” Mr. Ban told reporters in Dubai at the release of the High-Level Panel report on Humanitarian Financing, entitled “Too important to fail – addressing the humanitarian financing gap.”

“We are seeing all-time-high numbers for the amounts of money requested through humanitarian appeals, the amounts raised from generous donors, and scale of the global humanitarian funding gap,” he continued. “That is why, in May last year, I asked a high level panel of eminent independent experts to urgently seek solutions to the funding gap.”

Earlier today, the UN chief met with the panellists to discuss their recommendations to tackle the estimated $15 billion shortfall in funding. He underlined that since they began their work, the needs created by the demand for humanitarian aid have continued to rise dramatically.

“We are living in the age of the mega-crises,” he stated. “But, as this report clearly demonstrates, the gap in funding is a solvable problem.”

Noting that the report's title indicates that the global community “simply cannot fail,” the Secretary-General said the world needs “fresh thinking and the determination to take bold decisions.”

“I believe the panel has seized this opportunity and delivered,” he stated, thanking them for the important contribution to shaping the priorities for the World Humanitarian Summit, scheduled next May in Istanbul. “In a few weeks I will publish my report and vision for the future humanitarian agenda. I will build on the excellent report launched today to shape this important thinking.”

The report focuses on three areas to address the funding gap: shrinking the needs, growing the resource base for funding, and improving efficiency through a “Grand Bargain” between key humanitarian partners.

To reach their conclusions, the panel conducted hundreds of interviews with all parts of the humanitarian ecosystem, including meetings with affected people in ongoing crises.

“Our starting point was the stark facts and figures: 125 million people in need; a record $25 billion a year going to aid them; but, in spite of that, the needs continuing to outpace resources,” explained the report's co-chairs, Kristalina Georgieva, Vice- President of the European Commission, and Sultan Nazrin Shah of Malaysia, in a press release.

“A gap of $15 billion is a lot of money but in a world producing $78 trillion of GDP it should not be out of reach to find,” they added. “Closing the gap would mean nobody having to die or live without dignity for lack of money and a victory for humanity at a time when one is greatly needed.”

The co-chairs noted their ambition for this report is to carry it forward, so that by the time of the Summit in Istanbul “there will be significant engagement by the global humanitarian system for making the necessary changes which will ensure that the needs of vulnerable people can always be adequately met.”


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

UN chief appoints expert panel to address humanitarian funding shortfalls

Related Stories






In-depth Interviews