July 16, 2012 ·0 Comments
New report assesses global humanitarian aid performance: better funding, improved coordination, but ‘deep inertia’ may leave sector struggling to adapt to the politicised emergencies and complex natural disasters that may come to define the 21st century.
Launching this month, The State of the Humanitarian System found a growing, increasingly diverse, aid system with government, private sector and public donations continuing a 10-year rising trend to a global total of US$16bn in 2010 ($3.5bn of which was donated in response to the Haiti earthquake).
Based on interviews with aid workers and recipients, field studies and data analysis, the report highlights some step change improvements in how aid is coordinated and the successful mainstreaming of old innovations, such as cash and mobile communications technology.
However, it urged the international community to pay attention to the increasingly politicised nature of disaster response – seen most recently in the Arab Spring or the Pakistan floods – and the growing gulf between the principles of ‘traditional’ humanitarian aid agencies like the Red Cross/Red Crescent and development agencies like Oxfam and World Vision that are also involved in relief efforts.
John Mitchell, director of the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance in Humanitarian Action (ALNAP), which published the report, said: “According to the findings, many humanitarian organisations have willingly compromised a principled approach in their own conduct through close alignment with political and military actors. The report suggests that the coherence that binds agencies though a common value system is being severely tested with a divergence between strict ‘humanitarian aid only’ agencies like MSF and the ICRC and the rest of the ‘development and aid’ system.”
Mitchell adds: “The State of the Humanitarian System report, for the first time, lets us zoom out to the system-level performance of aid, instead of focusing on any one emergency response or aid organisation. It’s really a joint effort from the whole humanitarian community. All organisations involved in emergency relief should now use it to see what’s working and what’s not.”
Link to the report and animated video: http://www.alnap.org/ourwork/current/sohs.aspx
By goth Mohamed