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Understanding the impact of de-risking on humanitarian aid

Providing assistance to those affected by humanitarian crises has become more challenging and more expensive in recent years due to political and logistical upheaval. In particular, restrictions imposed on the banking sector are increasingly impacting the provision of financial support to humanitarian agencies.

The inability to access vital financial services due to restrictions on the transfer of funds into vulnerable countries prevents the implementation of lifesaving humanitarian aid.

Delays, refusals or even the closing of accounts by financial institutions results in the exacerbation of humanitarian crises by slowing the response times to deliver aid. The lack of legitimate funds in turn creates a vacuum that is frequently filled by illicit means which can foster the growth of crime and corruption.

In the absence of legitimate funding through regulated banking systems, humanitarian agencies are increasingly resorting to obtaining funds from whatever source is available. These strategies force them into unregulated financial arrangements that are not subject to internationally recognised governance.

By preventing them from using transparent, regulated and legitimate funding channels, humanitarian agencies are facing financial challenges that risk the delivery of aid to those in crises who are already working at their capacity to provide lifesaving assistance.

This project aims to produce evidence-based case studies highlighting how the de-risking strategies of financial institutions are affecting the work of humanitarian organisations in Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Palestine.