Global humanitarian assistance report 2015

Development Initiatives


The spotlight is on financing to address crisis, vulnerability and risk as never before. This report provides the evidence to better understand how to meet the urgent challenge of meeting rising humanitarian needs with limited resources, and to inform the number of global processes taking place in 2015 and 2016 including Financing for Development and the World Humanitarian Summit.

Key findings:

  • International humanitarian assistance rose for a second year running to a record US$24.5 billion in 2014. All of 2013’s largest donors gave more in 2014, and many gave their largest amounts. Despite this rise, funding was not sufficient to meet needs. In response to the scale of need in 2014, UN-coordinated humanitarian appeals requested the highest amount of funding to date – a total of US$19.5 billion – yet a record US$7.5 billion of requirements went unmet.
  • 2013 saw a shift in the geography of displacement – with more people now displaced in the Middle East than in Africa. As a result, Gulf donors rose in prominence, and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) became the 6th and 15th largest government donors, respectively.
  • Two thirds (66%) of international humanitarian assistance continues to go to long-term recipients where crises are protracted or disasters recur in the same places,  such as Syria, Somalia and Pakistan.
  • An estimated 93% of people living in extreme poverty (defined as less than US$1.25 a day) are in countries that are either fragile, environmentally vulnerable, or both. There is an urgent need to address the underlying causes of crises.
  • Domestic response and capacities often play an important role in best meeting needs and reducing the need for international finance, as case studies of Turkey and Mexico show.
  • Only 0.2% of the total international humanitarian assistance went directly to local and national NGOs and 3.1% to the governments of affected states.


Global Humanitarian Assistance (2015). Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2015. Bristol: Development Initiatives.