Funding appeals for complex humanitarian emergencies


Based on a sample of high value protracted complex emergency humanitarian appeals and responses please provide information on: (i) the factors that contribute to the sums requested and the coverage of appeals; (ii) characteristics of how the appeal sums and their coverage changed over time as the crises evolved.


Key findings: It is possible to derive some key factors from the available literature:

  • Needs-based allocation: This is a core principle of humanitarian assistance. All funders use needs assessments in their original funding allocations, and many changes to funding are preceded by needs assessments.
  • Tipping points: Most protracted crises receive a steady and/or low level of funding but experience sudden increases in funding flows if a particular incident or need rapidly escalates the situation.
  • Geopolitical concerns: Different crises receive different amounts of funding depending on their strategic importance to donor countries.
  • Resilience: There is a general global shift towards more funding for resilience rather than emergency response in protracted crises. This can cause funding changes during a crisis, when opportunities to develop resilience become available.
  • Media and public interest: A high level of interest usually stimulates funding, but complex and protracted emergencies rarely draw the necessary public and media interest.
  • Sector priority: Certain sectors receive more funding as they are perceived as life-saving. Some are continually under-funded.
  • Absorptive capacity: Funders usually work with local implementing partners and these are only able to absorb and use a certain amount of funds.