In brief

The humanitarian funding gap has grown since the start of the study period. Over the past decade, aid levels have not kept up with the near quadrupling of the financial requirements set out in humanitarian appeals as these sought to reach more people in more crises. While the COVID‑19 pandemic drove a $39.3 billion peak in appeals requirements in 2020, funding rose modestly, meaning the appeals were little more than half-funded – a record low. The effects were unevenly felt and the gap between the best and the worst funded appeals has widened. Protracted crises continued to place a major strain on the system, accounting for the majority of requirements, but also seeing their lowest levels of funding.  

Despite commitments to ‘deepen and broaden’ the resource base, there has been little progress in mobilising new sources of finance at the necessary scale. Shortfalls were felt by crisis-affected people in the reduced quality and quantity of support: more aid recipients felt that aid was insufficient than in the previous study period. Tellingly, though, people were more positive about sufficiency when they felt that agencies had made good efforts to engage with them.


In 2012, the SOHS asked, ‘Does the system have adequate resources to do the job?’ It concluded ‘the answer, unfortunately, is still no’.128 A decade on, as Chapter 2 shows, humanitarian financing had roughly doubled,129 yet the answer to this question remains the same: humanitarian response is often held back by insufficient funds. While this is not the only constraint and – as the Ukraine crisis shows – sufficient absorption capacity and access are essential, the rise in donor spending did not keep pace with the rise in demand for humanitarian support. 

This increased demand is not as simple as a raw rise in the number of new crisis situations around the world or the number of people affected by them. It is also a combination of cumulative needs, a growing system, and shifts in the scope of and expectations for humanitarian response. The result is a global humanitarian ask, in the form of UN-coordinated appeals, that reached record highs over the past four years, but which also saw in 2020 a record low in the level of funding against needs. This prompted renewed questions about how the system should frame its scope of action; how it defines needs and calculates costs; whether it can operate more efficiently within its means; and, of course, where it can find more resources. 

These questions were central to discussions and commitments in the study period. They were the reason why the former Secretary-General set up the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, whose 2016 report on addressing the humanitarian financing gap130 informed the creation of the Grand Bargain process. However, subsequent efforts have focused on the quality rather than quantity of aid. Despite pockets of initiatives, the humanitarian financing gap remained largely unaddressed over the study period.  

This chapter charts the levels of humanitarian resources against identified financial needs over the past four years. It examines the sufficiency of funding globally, by technical sector and in specific emergencies, as well as over time in protracted crises. Critically, it explores what is known about the impacts of shortfalls for humanitarian response.

Are there enough funds globally?

Rising requirements 

UN-coordinated appeals – including humanitarian response plans, flash appeals and refugee response plans – represent the system’s collective estimate of needs and costs. While they do not involve all agencies,131 they are the most comprehensive indicator of the humanitarian financing required, and how funding measures up against this. As the humanitarian system grows (see Chapter 2), so does the level of need it recognises and seeks to respond to: in 2012, 617 agencies participated in the appeals process;132 by 2021, this had more than doubled to 1,245.133

In 2021, appeals requirements reached $38.4 billion – nearly four times the $10.5 billion in 2012. Over the previous four years, the collective financial ask rose steadily, before COVID-related requirements drove a dramatic peak of $39.3 billion in 2020, which included a $9.5 billion global humanitarian response plan (GHRP) for the COVID-19 pandemic. This was not matched by the relatively modest increase in funding and the level of requirements met in 2020 reached a record low.134 By 2021 levels had shown some improvement but were still well below the 60% average over the rest of the decade.

In 2021, appeals requirements reached $38.4 billion – nearly four times the $10.5 billion in 2012.

Figure 20: Requirements and funding, UN-coordinated appeals, 2012–2021

The amount of funding required by UN humanitarian appeals nearly quadrupled over the past decade. In 2020 the appeals reached the highest level of requirements but the lowest level of funding.

Source: Development Initiatives based on UN OCHA FTS, Syria 3RP Dashboards and UNHCR data. Data from 2012 onwards includes all regional response plans tracked by UNHCR’s refugee funding tracker and all response plans tracked by FTS, including HRPs, flash appeals and other plans outside of OCHA’s Global Humanitarian Overview. Data is in current prices and was last updated on on 22 June 2022. Funding data for the Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan was taken from 3RP funding dashboards for 2018–2020 and FTS for 2021, given no end-of-year funding dashboard was available for 2021 at the time of analysis. There is potential double-counting for appeal requirements and funding in HRP countries that are also country components of RRPs. However, the possible extent of this is not big enough to change global UN-coordinated funding trends.

Notes: These figures include all UN-coordinated appeals covered under the Global Humanitarian Overview (regional response plans, refugee response plans, flash appeals and humanitarian response plans).

Financial requirements grew as appeals sought to reach more people in more crises. Prior to the pandemic, in 2019, there were 36 UN-coordinated response plans for specific countries or crises. In 2020, the COVID-19 response pushed this up to 56 – including the GHRP, which in turn covered 63 countries. The number of humanitarian response plans fell slightly in 2021, but continued COVID-related needs and the launch of new appeals (including for Northern Ethiopia and Afghanistan) meant that there were 48 appeals by 2021 – more than double the number a decade ago.135

There were 48 appeals by 2021 – more than double the number a decade ago. 

In the five years between 2017 and 2021, the number of people the system aimed to reach through humanitarian response plans rose by over two-thirds. The number of people targeted in appeals had already been increasing annually, but when the pandemic hit in 2020, the total in the humanitarian response plans alone jumped to 141 million in 2020 – a 43% rise. However, the peak did not subside; needs continued to rise into 2021, with 143 million people targeted for humanitarian aid. By the time the 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview was published in December 2021, the crisis in Afghanistan had prompted another significant increase in the number of people targeted in the humanitarian response plans, to 154 million. This was two months before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Figure 21: Number of people in need, 2018–2021

The estimated number of people in humanitarian need peaked in 2020. That year, UN appeals reported nearly 440 million people in need and aimed to assist just over 60% of them.

Source: OCHA Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO), 2018–2021.

Notes: These figures include all UN-coordinated appeals covered under the GHO, including refugee response plans, flash appeals as well as humanitarian response plans.

The price tag for humanitarian response reflects not just the number of crisis-affected people, but also how expensive it is to respond to their needs, as we explore further in Chapter 10. Taking the long view, the average funds required per person targeted actually appears to have decreased over the past decade. In 2012, the SOHS reported an average of $220 required per targeted person in appeals, compared to $178 per person in the 2021 appeals. These figures have to be treated with caution, not only because they mask great variation between contexts, but also because the methods for estimating the numbers of people have changed over the past 10 years.136 Bearing this in mind, these figures do counter the common perception that humanitarian response is becoming more expensive. It is likely that the COVID-19 pandemic had a mixed effect on how expensive different programmes were in 2020 and 2021, pushing up the costs of procurement as the prices of basic goods rose yet lowering the cost of provision in some contexts as international staff stayed away. Access challenges may also be having an impact on cost: in terms of requirements per person, the three most expensive crises by far in 2021 – Libya, Iraq and Syria – were all situations of active conflict, where access to affected populations was extremely constrained.

Figure 22: Requirements and funding per targeted person in UN-coordinated appeals, 2017–2021

Although the number of people targeted for aid in humanitarian appeals grew each year since 2017, the average funding required and received per person appears to be much lower in 2021 compared to 2017. These figures should be treated with caution due to differing contexts and changes in estimation methods.

Source: Development Initiatives based on HPC API for data on people in need and targeted and UN OCHA FTS for funding data.

Notes: For reasons of data consistency over the period, data only includes HRPs and not other types of UN-coordinated appeals.

Deepening shortfall 

As the mismatch between expectations and available funds grew, some donors questioned the shortfall. Response plans are an imperfect aggregate of what agencies estimate they need to respond to – oversight of which is held by the agencies with the biggest financial stake.137 There have long been concerns that a combination of underfunding and funding competition creates considerable pressures to ask for more. In the last study period, the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing addressed concerns about ‘appeal inflation’.138 Yet research has also suggested the reverse: in some cases, pressures to present a tightly prioritised appeal with an acceptable price tag for donors have led to agencies under-presenting, rather than over-estimating, needs.139 Over the past decade, there have been multiple iterative measures to address appeals scepticism, from separating the needs overview from the response plans, to testing new costing models and standardising presentation. Donor representatives recognised progress in improving the reliability and comparability of appeals, including under the Grand Bargain work on needs and the new Joint Intersectoral Assessment Framework, but as one put it: ‘I think we would recognise the efforts that have gone into that, but also the fact that we are nowhere near there yet’.

The more the gap between appeals requirements and funding increases, the more it exposes the ‘relative fragility’140 of a system reliant on the discretionary support of a small number of donors. Five years after the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing called for a ‘deepening and broadening of the resource base’, a progress review concluded that ‘there has been a disappointing lack of progress on widening the resource base of the existing humanitarian system’.141 Despite high hopes for the potential of innovative financing models in the last study period, this has not translated into anything of significant dollar value. Impact bonds and other models have not yet proved suitable to finance humanitarian needs at scale. While Islamic Social Financing remains important to many communities and agencies, it is not the funding solution for the system; in the words of one interviewee, ‘There’s no pot of gold’. INGOs did, however, report being positively surprised by the generosity of the general public in maintaining and increasing their giving even while facing economic uncertainty themselves. Even before the Ukraine war, one INGO leader described the positive reaction to the COVID‑19 and Afghanistan appeals: ‘People have been concerned about domestic issues, whether it’s Brexit or food prices, but for them to think about what it looks like in South Sudan, or Yemen, or Somalia, and contribute money, it’s been incredible’.

What does the funding gap mean for different emergencies?

Variation between countries 

The global funding shortfall was not evenly distributed between crises. As previous editions of the SOHS have found, there remains a significant gap between the best- and worst-funded appeals – and that gap appears to have widened over the past four years. In 2018, there was an 86 percentage point gap between the least- and the best-funded appeals;142 in 2021, there was a 172 percentage point coverage gap: the COVID-19 Nepal response plan was 9% funded, putting programming feasibility in question, while the Afghanistan flash appeal was 181% funded, raising questions around absorption capacity. Although these were outliers, they were part of a wider picture of funding polarisation: between 2016 and 2018, 8% of appeals were less than a quarter funded and 13% were over 75% funded. Between 2020 and 2021, 19% were less than a quarter funded and 17% were over 75% funded.143 

Although the GHRP was only 40% funded and the response to country-specific COVID-19 plans was highly variable, evaluations found that there was a good level of funding for the primary health impacts of the disease – both new, direct funding and funding redirected from elsewhere. Redirected funding came in particular from programmes that had to be suspended due to COVID-19. However, it appears that this may have been at the cost of meeting pre-existing needs144 and addressing the pandemic’s secondary impacts. For example, a Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) review of the COVID-19 response in Afghanistan reported concern among local populations  that the lack of medicines for other diseases was a more pressing issue for them.145 This was echoed by a multi-country review by War Child Holland: ‘“If COVID, then why not … (malaria/malnutrition/etc)?” is a very legitimate question in communities plagued by other needs. Even more so considering how preventive measures worsened very fragile situations. Many staff also struggle with this question. Obviously, this question is relevant not only for War Child, but to the whole international community’.146 

Figure 23: Requirements and funding by individual UN-coordinated appeals, 2021

2021 saw high variation in appeals between countries, both in the amount required and in the percentage of funds received. For example, Nepal was among the smaller appeals in 2021 but was only 9% funded.

Source: Development Initiatives based on UN OCHA FTS.

Notes: CAR is Central African Republic. DRC is Democratic Republic of the Congo oPt is occupied Palestinian territories. Data is in current prices cand was downloaded on 24 May 2022.

Concentration of funds 

Global requirements and funding are concentrated in a handful of major emergencies – the five largest appeals accounted for 46% of all requirements, and nearly 40% of all funding to appeals. This concentration extends beyond appeals themselves – over the past decade, an average of 42% of country-specific humanitarian funding147 went to just five recipients. At the other end of the scale, the last 10% of humanitarian aid was shared between a ‘long tail’ of smaller emergencies – 117 countries in 2021. Yemen and Syria were the two largest recipients throughout the study period, receiving between a third and a fifth, respectively, of all humanitarian assistance each year. 

Over the past decade 42% of humanitarian funding went to just five countries while 10% of all funding was shared across 117 countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic diluted this funding concentration. The share and volumes of funding received by the largest recipients fell, as the number of countries requiring assistance dramatically rose; 34 more countries were in receipt of humanitarian aid in 2020 than in 2019, including serval high-income countries.148 

Figure 24: Share of international humanitarian assistance to top five recipient countries, 2012–2021

A small number of countries have accounted for nearly half the share of international humanitarian assistance allocations over the past decade. The COVID-19 response in 2020 diluted this concentration, as more funds went to a larger number of countries.


Source: UN OCHA’s FTS financial flows API.

Notes: Underlying data is in constant 2020 prices. Proportions are of total country-allocable humanitarian assistance (flows reported to FTS with a recipient country).

Protracted crises 

The vast majority of humanitarian requirements are for protracted crises. Of the 30 humanitarian response plans in 2021, 12 were for countries that had had consecutive appeals for at least 10 years and their combined financial ask represented over 70% of total HRP requirements that year.149 All of the seven largest HRPs were in this group, and – with the exception of Somalia – all saw their requirements grow over the decade. Requirements for DRC grew by 150%, for Yemen, by 550% and for Syria, over 1110%.150

There was little consistency in how well-funded these appeals were against their requirements. Total levels peaked in 2019, before falling as the pandemic response drew funds towards newer crises. But there was significant variation between countries: in 2021, funding against requirements for three countries (Afghanistan, Central African Republic and the Occupied Palestinian Territories) was the highest in a decade, while for four countries (Chad, DRC, Niger and Sudan) funding was at its lowest. Sustaining responses to protracted crises, with growing needs and no end in sight, continues to place major pressure on the system. As Chapter 12 explores, this has been a major driver behind the quest for a nexus approach to bring long-term development resources to bear on chronic needs but, given that so many are in highly constrained settings, this shift has so far proven elusive.

Figure 25: Levels of met and unmet requirements for countries with 10 consecutive years of appeals, 2012–2021

Twelve countries have had humanitarian appeals every year from 2012 to 2021, with the total requirement more than doubling over the period for these protracted crises. While the amount of funding to these has grown, the proportion of requirements met has been volatile.

Source: Development Initiatives based on UN OCHA FTS.

Notes: Data is in current prices. Included in the figure are 12 countries that have had consecutive appeals for all 10 years of 2012–2021: Afghanistan, CAR, Chad, DRC, Mali, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and oPt.

Are some sectors better funded than others?

The food security sector continues to dominate both humanitarian requirements and funding, as it has over the study period and indeed the past decade. By 2021, its $11.1 billion requirements accounted for 40% of the total needs for all the technical sectors combined in country-specific appeals.151  The dramatic rise in requirements in 2021 – up 33% from the previous year – was driven by a deterioration of food security in several countries; for example requirements for food support tripled in Ethiopia and increased by a third in Syria.152 Reporting was also a factor: 2021 figures included Yemen’s food security requirements – the largest in the world – whereas this data was not available in 2020.153 If Yemen’s requirements had been factored into 2020 figures, there may have been a steeper observable rise in food security needs as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. 

Levels of funding against food security requirements recovered from a low of 49% in 2020 to 53% in 2021, but still remained below pre-pandemic levels. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 also caused requirements for the health sector to increase by 62%, prompting a sharp rise in funding, but once again this fell short – even at peak funding in 2020, nearly two-thirds of requirements were unmet.  

As the system struggled to meet the requirements of priority ‘life-saving’ sectors, early recovery – consistently the smallest sector – saw funding shrink in 2021 to its lowest levels over the study period, receiving just 17% of what it requested. Funding for education also fell after an increase in 2020. However, funding for the protection sector, which had long been the subject of concern, rose steadily over the period as recognition of growing needs increased. At $1.4 billion, 2021 saw the highest volume of protection funding to date – but little change in the proportion of needs met, as requirements appeared to nearly double from the previous year.  

While sector-specific reporting provides a useful overview of the balance of the humanitarian effort, it is arguably at odds with the desire to move to a holistic understanding of need that reduces the competition between sectors (see Chapter 5). It also fails to capture the levels of funding to cross-cutting interventions. This has been a perennial problem for protection, which as a sector is undeniably underfunded, but where interventions mainstreamed in other sectors are hard to track. Shortfalls in funding to support gender equity have also been raised repeatedly, but are hard to quantify as interventions cut across sectors – a visibility issue that perpetuates underfunding.154 A recent Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation (IAHE) found that there was inadequate funding for gender expertise due to an ‘implicit assumption among some programming staff that GEEWG [gender equality and empowerment of women and girls] considerations can be addressed without resources, including funding for expertise’.155,156 

At $1.4 billion, 2021 saw the highest volume of protection funding to date – but little change in the proportion of needs met, as requirements appeared to nearly double from the previous year.

Figure 26: Requirements and funding by sector, 2018–2021

Food security is by far the largest humanitarian sector, accounting for 40% of all sector requirements in 2021. The Health sector saw an obvious peak in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and protection, WASH and education have steadily increased year on year since 2018.

Source: Development Initiatives (Global Humanitarian Assistance – GHA), based on UN OCHA FTS API.

Notes: See methodology in Annex 3 for more details. Other sectors includes CSS, Logistics, CCM, Agriculture, Emergency Telecommunications, and Other. There are no recorded requirements for Unspecified sectors. Data is in current prices. Technical sectors are aligned to FTS’ global clusters based on DI mapping. Totals therefore do not match FTS overview figures. Figures include Humanitarian response plans, flash appeals and other response plans but not Refugee Response Plans, for which comparable sector data is not available for the full period.

What are the impacts of funding shortfalls?

Views of affected people 

In 2021, 39% of survey respondents said that they were satisfied with the amount of aid they received, compared to 43% in the previous study period.157 This decline reflects the trend in funding against appeals, both globally and in most of the survey countries.158 Aid recipients identified ‘not enough aid’ as the biggest barrier to receiving support – with a third of survey respondents saying that this was the greatest problem. Notably, these are the views of those who received some support; the surveys did not include communities that missed out altogether.

Aid recipients identified ‘not enough aid’ as the biggest barrier to receiving support – with a third of survey respondents saying that this was the greatest problem.

It is also important to remember that recipients’ views of sufficiency are based on the level of support that comes out of the system, not the amount of funding that goes into it. Multiple obstacles stand in the way of providing levels of support commensurate with the severity of need, including transaction costs,159 organisations’ absorption capacity and access. For example, in Tigray, Ethiopia, where access was blocked, just 8% of survey respondents reported that they were satisfied with the amount of aid they received, compared to 39% and 53% respectively in Oromia and Somali regions.

Global averages masked significant differences between countries and population groups. Overall, refugees were 60% less likely than other groups to express satisfaction with the amount of aid they received.160 This was particularly striking in Lebanon, where refugees were 70% less likely than other groups to answer positively – a response that may be attributable to the protracted nature of their displacement, volatility in the support they received and the lack of alternative livelihood options for coping in the face of rapid inflation. Interestingly, in all countries surveyed women were more likely to be positive than men about the amount they received – on average 30% more likely to answer yes. This was a new finding; in the previous period, men and women tended to answer the same. The extent to which this response is a result of deliberate efforts by humanitarian agencies, or of social norms about gratitude and expectations, is hard to know.

There was a clear link between how well humanitarians engaged with aid recipients and how satisfied those recipients were with the amount of aid they received. People who felt that they were consulted were 150% more likely to feel that they received enough aid than those who said that they weren’t consulted, and people who felt that that they had an opportunity for feedback were 110% more likely compared to those who felt that there were no avenues for feedback. Those who thought that aid workers communicated well with them were 90% more likely to say that they received sufficient aid. This supports the argument that communicating with people is fundamental to increasing trust and satisfaction. It also suggests that engaging with recipients does make a difference in aligning delivery with expectations, or vice versa. Equally, the causation might run the other way; the findings could suggest that the humanitarian system is better at engaging with people in better funded settings.

People who felt that they were consulted were 150% more likely to feel that they received enough aid than those who said that they weren’t consulted.

Impacts on aid provision 

Understanding the implications of underfunding remains a major challenge. Outcome monitoring is generally inconsistent, evaluations measure what was done rather than what wasn’t, and monitoring capacity is often one of the first things to go where funds are tight.161 Uncertainty about when and where shortfalls will hit also makes it hard to track impacts, as organisations make incremental changes to budgets and programme pipelines. Indeed, while over a third (38%) of humanitarian practitioners in our survey said that insufficient funding was the biggest financing problem, a quarter (25%) said that unpredictable funding posed the greatest challenge.

The  UK’s 2021–2022 aid budget cuts are a case in point. The overall ODA reduction – which included a cut of more than 25% to humanitarian aid – was rushed through, and a National Audit Office (NAO) report found that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) ‘did not complete a thorough review of the impact on outcomes’.162 There was also no consultation process to understand the potential impacts as ‘FCDO ministers made the decision that its country offices should not formally discuss planned reductions in budgets with delivery partners. This approach meant that local teams were not able to draw on relevant data and expertise from delivery partners to inform their decision’.163 A lack of transparency and communication was found to undermine both quality and scrutiny of decisions, and created significant uncertainty for partners. Evidence of the effects of the cuts has so far been partial and case specific.164 In Syria, for example, where UK funds were cut by more than two-thirds,165 funding was discontinued to UNWRA’s support to Palestinian refugees, creating significant gaps including in health and education.166 IRC reported a 40% to 50% reduction in its humanitarian funding, including cutting a protection monitoring programme in Syria which ‘will lead to less evidence for programmatic interventions aimed at helping these groups’.167

Evidence on the impacts of other funding shortfalls reveals the difficult choices agencies have had to make, either to reduce areas of operation or targeted groups, or to compromise on the quantity or quality of assistance. For WFP – one of the better funded agencies in a relatively well-funded sector – underfunding forced a decision to procure food with less nutritional value, and to cut supplementary nutritional programming in order to preserve general food distribution.168 In DRC protection actors shifted their activities away from service provision and towards community sensitisation169 – again maintaining the numbers of people reached but providing them with a less substantial response. Others took a more optimistic view, with one NGO leader noting that, although it fell short of requirements, increased funding due to the COVID-19 crisis still allowed the system to do more than ever before: ‘I’m always telling my teams let’s pull up our socks, so when at the end of the year you see how we could serve so many more people in an ethical way, that really motivates staff which is important and it also helps us understand our potential’.


ALNAP, ‘The State of the Humanitarian System.’, ALNAP Study (London: ALNAP, 2012).


International humanitarian assistance from government donors doubled, from $14 billion in 2012 to $27.8 billion in 2021. 


 High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, Too Important to Fail: Addressing the Humanitarian Financing Gap, Report to the Secretary-General (New York: United Nations, 2016).


Notably, ICRC, IFRC and MSF chose to remain outside the appeals process, and many local and national NGOs are also not directly linked into the appeals process.


These figures refer to agencies participating in the Consolidated Appeals Processes and Flash Appeals in 2012 and in Humanitarian Response Plans and Flash Appeals in 2021.


However, while the number of participating organisations increased, the share of those agencies receiving funding within response plans decreased from 51% in 2012 to 42% in 2021.


Excluding the $3.8 billion in funding to the GHRP, funding to appeals was lower in 2020  than in 2019 ($16.3 billion vs $19.4 billion, respectively).


In 2012, there were 21 UN Consolidated Appeal Plans; Oliver Buston and Kerry Smith, Global Humanitarian Assistance Report 2013 (Bristol: Development Initiatives, 2013).


As Chapter 5 explores, the methods for arriving at the number of people targeted vary significantly between appeals and, despite efforts to increase standardisation, do not bear rigorous comparison.


Jeremy Konyndyk, Rethinking the Humanitarian Business Model Center for Global Development (Washington DC: Center for Global Development, 2018).


High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, Too Important to Fail.


Sophia Swithern, Underfunded Appeals: Understanding the Consequences, Improving the System (Stockholm: Expert Group for Aid Studies, 2018).


Key informant interview.


Barnaby Willits-King et al., Reducing the Humanitarian Financing Gap: Review of Progress since the Report of the High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing (London: HPG/ODI, 2021).


In 2018, the best funded HRP was Iraq, at 98% funded, and the worst was Haiti, at 12%.

These figures were at time of analysis in June 2022 and may change as financial reporting to OCHA FTS is updated.

Ted Freeman, Andrea Lee Esser and Paola Vela, Interim Report: System-Wide Evaluation of the UNDS Response to COVID-19 March 2022 (New York: United Nations Development System, 2022) ; UNHCR, ‘COVID-19 Evaluative Evidence Brief #1. Evaluation Service October 2021’ (Geneva: UNHCR, 2021)


 Laurent Saillard and Humayun Iqbal, DEC –CVA Real Time Response Review: Afghanistan (Groupe URD and Disasters Emergency Committee, 2021).


 Silvia Ferretti and Niaz Murtaza, War Child Holland COVID-19 Response: Multi-Country Real Time Review (Amsterdam: War Child Holland, 2020).


AS reported to OCHA’s FTS.


The largest of these were countries hosting large numbers of refugees (Greece, Panama and Chile). For most other high-income countries in receipt of small volumes of funding as reported to FTS, the data does not indicate whether this funding was intended for use in those countries or to be directed elsewhere.


According to the FTS (data accessed 14 March 2022), the requirements of the 30 HRPs totalled $25.5 billion, excluding flash appeals, regional response appeals and other appeals.


Twelve countries have had consecutive appeals for all 10 years (2012–2021): Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Chad, DRC, Mali, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.


Excluding multi-sector and unspecified.


The Ethiopia response saw an increase in sectoral requirements from $406 million in 2020 to $1.3 billion in 2021, and in Syria there was an increase in sectoral requirements from $1.2 billion in 2020 to $1.6 billion in 2021.


Yemen food security requirements (the world’s largest in 2021, at $1.7 billion) are included in the 2021 total, but not in the total for 2020 due to there being no  sector breakdown on FTS for this HRP. Had Yemen’s sector requirements in 2020 been recorded at a similar level to those in 2019/2021, the observed jump in food security requirements for 2021 may have been far more muted (from roughly $10.5 billion in 2020 to $11.1 billion in 2021), with a more noticeable jump over the previous year (from $8.3 billion in 2019 to as much as $10.5 billion in 2020). This points to steeply rising food security needs due to COVID-19 in 2020, which continued to rise in 2021.


Courtenay Cabot Venton and Toscane Clarey, Funding for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls in Humanitarian Programming (New York: UN Women and UNFPA, 2020).


Mariangela Bizzarri et al., Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and Girls (New York: OCHA, 2020), 15.


Another evaluation found that the underfunding of gender-based violence response and prevention and gender equality had negative impacts on specific and overall programme performance (UNFPA, Evaluation of UNFPA Support to Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (2012-2020) (New York: UNFPA, 2021), 11).


The same proportions answered ‘partially’ in both study periods: 39% in 2021 and 43% in 2018.


With the exception of Ethiopia, all of the survey countries saw a decline in funding against appeals over the study period.


Blessing Mutsaka et al., Real-Time Review of DEC’s Response to Cyclone Idai (London: DEC and Key Aid Consulting, 2019), 5.


‘Other groups’ include both non-displaced and internally displaced people.


 NAO, Managing Reductions in Official Development Assistance Spending – Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office: Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (London: NAO, 2022), 5.


Juliet Conway, ‘The impact of the UK aid cuts on NGOs’, Bond, 15 March 2022.


According to official figures from National Audit Office, UK ODA to Bangladesh was reduced from £190 million to £73 million, to Myanmar from £92 million to £52 million, to South Sudan from £135 million to £68 million, to Syria from £154 million to £48 million, and to Yemen from £221 million to £82 million (NAO, Managing Reductions in ODA).


William Worley, ‘UK aid cuts increase the risk of atrocities: IRC’, Devex, 13 January 2022.


Montserrat Saboya et al., Evaluation of the Nutrition Components of the Algeria PRRO 200301. January 2013 – December 2017 (Rome: World Food Programme, 2018), 59.


 Key informant interview with an aid worker in DRC.