The State of the Humanitarian System report (SOHS) is ALNAP’s flagship report which assesses the size, shape and performance of the humanitarian sector against key criteria over time.

Published every three to four years, it is an independent study based on evidence from on-the-ground practitioners, crisis-affected populations, academics, policy-makers and donors. The SOHS reports provide unique sector-level mapping and assessment of international humanitarian assistance.

Following from a successful pilot in 2010, the SOHS study has been repeated in 2012 and 2015 and 2018. The 2022 edition is the newest edition of this research.


What is in the 2022 SOHS report?

This edition answers key questions and illustrates changes over time:

  • How is the system performing on health, refugee crises, active conflict, reducing mortality and averting hunger?
  • Does the system cause harm?
  • Is the system becoming more locally led?
  • Does the system have enough money? Is it resource-efficient
  • What do we know about the demographics of staff and contractors at humanitarian agencies?
  • How does the system comply with humanitarian laws and standards?
  • Can crisis-affected people hold system actors accountable, and can they influence the decisions that affect them?
  • How has the system responded to and been affected by COVID-19?

Previous versions of the report focused on assessing the performance of the system against the
5th OECD DAC criteria. While the edition still considers those elements to allow for longitudinal comparison, it also focuses more on asking the key questions outlined above that are relevant for policy-makers and practitioners today. Our frontloading of inputs from crisis-affected populations means that there is a new focus on core concerns highlighted by affected populations, including targeting, corruption and accountability.

This edition also covers for the first time the ‘system outside the system’, including diaspora, community-led efforts and the private sector, acknowledging that the ‘formal international humanitarian system’ is just one source of support for people in crisis.