Image by Mekbib Tadesse/IRC (with project funding from the EU)
  • Report
  • 22 June 2021

Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2021

The Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2021 provides detailed analysis of the crisis financing landscape. Development Initiatives found that humanitarian funding failed to grow despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The unanticipated shock of the Covid-19 pandemic intensified the strain on a humanitarian system struggling to cope with existing challenges.

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Executive summary

The impacts of Covid-19 coupled with existing crises resulted in increased humanitarian needs. UN appeals had record levels of underfunding, and extreme poverty has risen in fragile states.

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Chapter One

People and crisis

In 2020, 243.8 million people required humanitarian assistance – with people living in poverty, protracted crisis and fragile states, including women and girls, vulnerable to the impacts of Covid-19.

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Chapter Two

Humanitarian and wider crisis financing

International humanitarian assistance flatlined at US$30.9 billion, despite record appeal requirements. Multilateral development banks are active in and lending more to countries experiencing crisis.

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Chapter Three

Donors and recipients of humanitarian and wider crisis financing

Most of the largest donors increased funding but three, including the UK, made big cuts. Funding to the ten largest recipients for needs unrelated to Covid-19 fell by US$3 billion.

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Chapter Four

Funding for effectiveness and efficiency

Improvements have been made in the delivery of assistance, such as cash transfers, but more progress is needed on Grand Bargain commitments, including on localisation and unearmarked funding.

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appendix one


Thank you to those who contributed to and supported the publication of this report.

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