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Good Humanitarian Donorship: overcoming obstacles to improved collective donor performance

Working paper

Working paper

This paper argues that the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) initiative represents a unique opportunity to improve the quality of donors' contributions to the humanitarian system.  Therefore, if effectively implemented, GHD has the potential to radically change the operational face of humanitarian action, and significantly enhance the quality of official humanitarian aid. However, for GHD’s potential to be realised, its high-level commitments need to be translated into practice and obstacles to making GHD an operational reality must be understood and overcome. Clear indicators are needed to clarify the roles and responsibilities of donors, increase the accountability of individual donors and make GHD more tangible for all stakeholders. A collective performance framework in line with the full range of GHD principles should be agreed between donors. Such a framework will provide direction for systematic improvements in performance among the majority of official humanitarian donors, and enable more valuable assessments of progress in implementing GHD. Operational agencies and humanitarian policy advocates need to engage more actively and collectively with the GHD initiative to enhance implementation by donors, and to take full advantage of the opportunity GHD presents. Agencies should advocate for improved donor behaviour against the broad range of GHD principles.

Sue Graves and Victoria Wheeler