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Diversity in Donorship: Field Lessons

Research reports

In the past few years there has been increased attention paid to the role of non-DAC donors in humanitarian action, however little work has been done to understand how these donors engage in responding to specific crises. HPG’s latest research examines the role of non-DAC donors in relation to three contexts – the response to the Israeli offensive in Lebanon in 2006; the response to the earthquake of 2005, and floods in June 2007 in Pakistan; and the ongoing response to the protracted conflict in Darfur, Sudan. The study examines issues such as how non-DAC donors work with affected states, how decisions are made regarding the nature of their support, their relationships with implementing partners, their coordination with the rest of the international community, and how they measure and evaluate the impact of their support.

The study finds that non-DAC donors are often some of the first donor respondents on the ground, and that they prefer to channel assistance through host-state mechanisms. Non-DAC donors have a broad understanding of humanitarian assistance and its purpose which sometimes could be criticised for being supply driven. Non-DAC relations with the rest of the international assistance community (and the international community’s awareness of the role non-DAC donors are playing) at the field level is generally quite limited, and overall, analysis of these countries’ humanitarian response is inadequate compared to that devoted to the responses from western states. At the global level there is increased emphasis on the need to engage with non-DAC donors, however, more could be done to identify and develop shared interests, and a commitment to work together in headquarters fora and coordinate more effectively at the field level.

Adele Harmer, Ellen Martin.