The State of the Humanitarian System (SOHS) 2018 - Full Report

Knox Clarke, P.
Publication language
Date published
05 Dec 2018
Research, reports and studies
System-wide performance

This report outlines humanitarian needs over the past three years; provides an overview of the resources made available to address these needs; describes the current size and structure of the humanitarian system; and presents an assessment of the system’s performance in addressing humanitarian needs.

The State of the Humanitarian System project aims to provide a longitudinal assessment of the size, shape and performance of the humanitarian system. It reports every three years. This is the fourth report, covering the period 2015–17. It is based on the same broad structure, methodology and questions as the previous editions, to allow an assessment of progress over time.


  • Downloads before April 2019 included the text 'The other giants among INGOs when measured by humanitarian expenditure are, in descending order, World Vision, the International Rescue Committee, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC – which for the first time featured among the top tier of humanitarian NGOs spending in excess of $400 million per year on humanitarian operations), Save the Children International and Catholic Relief Services. Together, these six organisations accounted for nearly a quarter of the combined humanitarian spend reported by NGOs' on page 104. This text has now been removed. Different sources provide different figures for the humanitarian expenditure of these NGOs, which would affect which NGOs appear in fifth and six places on the list. However, which ever figure is used, the overall finding (23% of funds to NGOs go to the sixth largest organisations / organisation families) is correct within 1%.

  • In the printed version of this report the key in Figure 21 on page 170 is mislabelled. Black represents answers to ‘were you able to give feedback?’ and white represents answers to ‘were you consulted on what you needed prior to distribution’.