Press Conference on Launch of 2012 Global Humanitarian Assistance Report

19 July 2012

Press Conference on Launch of 2012 Global Humanitarian Assistance Report

19 July 2012
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Press Conference on Launch of 2012 Global Humanitarian Assistance Report


For humanitarian assistance to be effective, disaster prevention and preparedness needed to be incorporated into international responses to humanitarian needs, stated Lydia Poole, Programme Leader of Global Humanitarian Assistance, at the launch today of the 2012 Global Humanitarian Assistance Report at a Headquarters press conference.

With an introduction from Tom Berry, Head of Communications of Global Humanitarian Assistance, Ms. Poole highlighted the Report’s key points on how international financing had responded to humanitarian crises up to 2011, including where financing came from, where it went and how it got there.  Also present at the briefing were Lisa Walmsley, Head of Information Services, and Georgina Brereton, Communications Officer of Global Humanitarian Assistance.

The international financing response had remained “resilient” in 2011, she said, and the growth of private funding had increased by 70 per cent in 2010, with private individuals providing 75 per cent of that funding between 2006 and 2010, and continuing to contribute in 2011 as well.  Of concern was a widening gap between the United Nations consolidated appeals and response, with unmet financing increasing by 10 per cent over the past five years, and “non-CAP” appeals and those of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) decreasing more in 2011 than their preceding 10- and 5-year averages.

Further, she said, funding from donors of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation (OECD) Development Assistance Committee had increased by $1 billion between 2009 and 2010 and fallen by $266 million, or 2 per cent, between 2010 and 2011.  Humanitarian aid from Governments outside the OECD Development Assistance Committee had fallen by $299 million, or 31 per cent, in 2011.  The impact of economic austerity on government spending was apparent, she added.

It was a “lack of willingness” by international donors to respond to clear indications of impending crises that was of great concern, she said.  That was evident in the Horn of Africa, where crisis warning signs had emerged as early as 2010.  Yet, by June 2011, only 28 per cent of the United Nations consolidated appeal financing requirements had been received.  Within a few weeks, famine had been declared and funding had increased dramatically.  The delay in response, however, had resulted in “great human and financial cost” and illuminated the value of expanding the perception of humanitarian need by incorporating risk and the probability of disaster in the planning.

“We are failing to invest in early action and failing to invest in preventing and preparing,” she said.  How financing was placed required some adjustment, she added, pointing out that only 4 per cent of humanitarian aid went to disaster prevention and preparedness and less than 1 per cent to development financing.

She then turned to the distribution of humanitarian funding, which had been relatively stable in past years, with Sudan as the leading recipient from 2005 to 2009.  That had dramatically changed in 2010 when Haiti and Pakistan had received substantial financial funding in response to their emergencies.  The data showed that those emergencies attracted funding at the expense of less high-profile emergencies, she said, noting that an affected person in Haiti received $1,022 compared to just $34 for an affected person in Chad.

Concluding, she said that the majority of humanitarian financing was spent in countries disproportionally affected by State fragility and conflict.  Humanitarian assistance alone was not capable of tackling the root causes of those crises.  “We’ll need to consider humanitarian financing in the context of a range of resources,” she said, including applying resources to addressing some of the underlying causes of crises and to building resilience during challenging times.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.