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Diversity in donorship: Field lessons

Working papers

This Working Paper is part of an ongoing project by the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) on Diversity in Donorship. The HPG report Diversity in Donorship: The Changing Landscape of Official Humanitarian Aid (Harmer and Cotterrell, 2005) established a number of core findings. In particular, it found that more donor governments are involved in humanitarian action than ever before. Donors who are not members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have accounted for sizeable portions of official humanitarian financing, and while they are engaging in a growing number of countries, resources are being concentrated in a specific few. The substance of these donors’ policies, including the definition of humanitarian aid they use, can differ among non-DAC donors, and compared to the approach of DAC donors. The findings from the study were based on an examination of policy, institutional and financing issues from a headquarters perspective, as well as the relationship of operational agencies to this diverse range of donors.

This Working Paper is based on research conducted in preparation for the field work. It updates and expands upon recent policy initiatives and approaches of key non-DAC donors since the 2005 study, focusing on new developments. As such, it assumes a high level of knowledge; those interested in a more in-depth examination of the history of these donors’ humanitarian engagement should refer to the 2005 report and its corresponding case studies on Central Europe, the Gulf States and Asia.

Katherine Haver