State of the Humanitarian System 2022 | Briefing: COVID-19

20 Dec 2022

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The COVID-19 pandemic drastically increased humanitarian requirements, with more people in need of humanitarian support in more countries. Funding increased but was not sufficient to meet needs, and record requirements were met with record shortfalls. The humanitarian response was largely agile and effective, but the protection response was initially weak and there were missed opportunities to lastingly transform ways of working, particularly around localisation and coordination. 

The COVID-19 pandemic drove a steep rise in humanitarian needs 
Funding rose but was insufficient  
The humanitarian system proved agile and responsive 
The COVID-19 pandemic did not transform the humanitarian system 


About ALNAP’s State of the Humanitarian System report 

Humanitarian action can be a lifeline to people experiencing the worst that conflict and disaster can inflict. For over a decade, ALNAP’s State of the Humanitarian System report (SOHS) has provided a unique, evidence‑based understanding of the system and how well it works for affected people. Based on a huge body of evidence including exclusive research with crisis-affected people and practitioners, SOHS addresses key questions about performance and effectiveness in areas such as hunger and mortality reduction, as well as giving a comprehensive picture of funding, resource flows, staffing and organisations. Consultations with people affected by crises were central to the research from the outset, and shaped the focus of the report. This edition of the SOHS looks at the period from January 2018 to December 2021 - a period that encompassed the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as multiple armed conflicts - and draws comparisons with previous editions to take the long view on trends, accomplishments and challenges in the humanitarian system.