High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, Report to the Secretary-General, Too important to fail: addressing the humanitarian financing gap, 2017

Published Date

The world today spends around US$ 25 billion to provide life-saving assistance to 125 million people devastated by wars and natural disasters. While this amount is twelve times greater than fifteen years ago, never before has generosity been so insufficient. Over the last years conflicts and natural disasters have led to fast-growing numbers of people in need and a funding gap for humanitarian action of an estimated US$ 15 billion. This is a lot of money, but not out of reach for a world producing US$ 78 trillion of annual GDP. Closing the humanitarian financing gap would mean no one having to die or live without dignity for the lack of money. It would be a victory for humanity at a time when it is much needed.

The UN Secretary-General has appointed a nineperson group of experts (“the panel”) to work on finding solutions about this widening financial gap. The panel identified and examined three important and interdependent aspects of the humanitarian financing challenge: reducing the needs, mobilising additional funds through either traditional or innovative mechanisms, and improving the efficiency of humanitarian assistance.

The panel’s work aims to help inform and shape the objectives of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul in May 2016. It is also highly relevant in the context of adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—only by focusing the world’s attention on the rapidly growing numbers of people in desperate need will we be able to achieve the SDGs.