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Donors, funding and coordination of responses

In this video Associate Professor Phil Connors explores some of the factors contributing to the inefficiency of funding systems.
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With all predictions and research indicating an increase in natural disasters over the coming years, the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian operations will need to be continually improved to meet the needs and requirements of affected populations. The capacity and effectiveness of humanitarian operations is both directly and indirectly influenced by the funding systems and the flow of donations from governments, philanthropic organisations and the donor public. Current funding systems have been identified as one of the causes of inefficiencies in humanitarian operations.
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There are a number of contributing factors to this, including the increasing demand for humanitarian aid, an increasing number of relief agencies competing for available funds, increased tagging of funds to particular outcomes by donors, new funding mechanisms (such as central emergency response funds, common humanitarian funds and emergency response funds), and donors that are demanding increased measures of performance, accountability, quality and impact. Each of these can and do have an impact on response operations as agencies need to be aware of the requirements of different funding sources, be prepared to meet the demands of donors and compete, cooperate, or collaborate with other agencies, depending on the context.
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The structure of the current funding system also plays a role in the efficiency of relief operations. How the system is structured impacts the power of different stakeholders to influence the process. It can also impact on the amount of funds that reaches affected communities. As each intermediary in the process has legitimate costs, that decreases the amount received by affected people. The majority of funds for humanitarian responses are provided by governments. However, the importance of philanthropic organisations, the private sector and individual donors has increased over the last few years. There have also been a number of other factors involved in this changing context.
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Evolving power dynamics have seen a multiplicity of civic and private organisations shifting into areas that have traditionally been in the realm of government actors. Furthermore, increased scrutiny of the process and quality of responses enhanced by the speed of information dissemination has led to increased expectations for more rapid and effective actions with clear and measurable results. There have also been increasing demands for greater accountability from governments, public and most importantly affected people and communities. All of these factors have increased the need for greater creativity and flexibility in the sector in order to meet the demands of the changing context.
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There have been many positive changes made, but this will need to continue at arguably a greater pace in order to meet the anticipated challenges.
Research indicates that current funding systems are one of the major causes of inefficiencies in humanitarian operations.
In this video Associate Professor Phil Connors explores some of the factors contributing to the inefficiency of funding systems. For example many donors now want to tie funds to particular causes, which in turn impacts on how an agency might respond to a situation different from that cause.

Your task

As you watch Phil’s short video take note of the different factors that are impacting on the efficiency of funding systems. Comment on one of these factors and propose a possible method to minimise the impact. Discuss your ideas with your peers.
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Introduction to Humanitarian Aid

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