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Lives in Crises

What Do People Tell Us About the Humanitarian Aid They Receive?

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In May 2016, the World Humanitarian Summit represented a turning point for humanitarian policies. The Summit gave the impetus to seriously reflect on how to operate in environments where people’s needs don’t coincide anymore with existing mandates and sectors. The OECD believes that an effective humanitarian response is the one that addresses affected people’s needs in a timely and efficient manner. One way to measure effectiveness is to ask aid beneficiaries what they think about the aid they get. With this is mind, the OECD initiated a first round of surveys during the cycle 2016-2017 in six countries affected by different type of crisis : Lebanon, Afghanistan, Haiti, Iraq, Somalia and Uganda. Two years after the World humanitarian Summit, the OECD and Ground Truth Solutions took another round of surveys in the same countries, plus Bangladesh. The purpose of this second round of surveys is to assess whether the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit, including the Grand Bargain, are having a tangible impact on people’s lives in the most difficult contexts in the world. This paper provides some answers to this question.

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From people to policy: A call for new approaches

The surveys’ results are a clear call to combine humanitarian aid with longer-term solution in crises contexts. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus calls for greater coherence when engaging in crisis contexts. This requires a common analysis that helps frame the context, risks and opportunities for donors engaging in crises using a set of instruments that includes, but is not restricted to, humanitarian assistance. Emerging good practice – on education for example – shows that global analysis and coherent programming can help international responses alleviate the impact of crises by supporting both affected people and local economies and infrastructure. Continuing on the reform path will mean turning aid programming into a genuinely people-centred approach, implying a significant shift from the current supply-driven humanitarian system to a customer approach.

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