Flawed funding models and preparedness

In the current humanitarian system agreed coordinated plans for post-disaster action will not be sufficient on their own. The existing financing system for humanitarian response does not currently support preparedness and anticipatory response actions.

The global humanitarian system is funded by voluntary contributions commonly sought after the disaster has happened through appeals to the public and donor governments. In many cases donors are ‘benefactors’ for a good cause, but being generous after a disaster is too late. all too often monies pledged by donors do not materialise in full and are part of a complex political and economic interplay between states, politicians and voters. National and local governments struggle to rapidly reallocate funds from other budgets.

Money given for preparedness results in disasters that don’t happen, there is limited glory in that. Should a disaster occur simultaneously with another newsworthy event, media coverage of the disaster is crowded out and a lower than expected public donation results. We need to review the difficulties and uncertainties of funding response and operating in the highly politicised post-disaster arena.

We are in a position to monitor, assess the likelihood or forecast many events now but effective financial planning needed to support prepared plans is not secure and reliable.

Your task

Read pages 15 - 22 of Clarke, D. and Dercon, S. (2016) Dull Disasters.

In your view what is the three most significant consequences of the current humanitarian response funding system. Give a reason for your choice.


Clarke, D. J., Dercon, S. (2016) Dull disasters? How Planning Ahead Will Make a Difference (English) [online] Available from: http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/962821468836117709/Dull-disasters-How-planning-ahead-will-make-a-difference Accessed on [9 May 2019]

Share this article:

This article is from the free online course:

Humanitarian Action, Response and Relief

Coventry University