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‘Humanitarian Financing Is In Need Of An Overhaul,’ Additional Funding To Prevent Impending Famines

Financial Times: The season of famine looms across Africa
Editorial Board

“…Emergencies bring out the best humanitarian instincts. Often the Western public responds generously … When faced with a real crisis, aid workers spring to action with war room mentality and lives are saved. Yet many more lives could be spared — and funds saved — were preventive action taken earlier. … To be fair, the global context is grim. Between 2000 and 2014 there was a more than twelvefold surge in funds raised for humanitarian action, which rose from $2bn to $24.5bn. Yet despite those increases, only 62 percent of total needs identified were being met. Climate change, natural disasters, conflict, and associated economic turmoil have together made 125m people around the world dependent on humanitarian aid. … The problem is not just funding shortfalls. The whole architecture of humanitarian financing is in need of an overhaul. If aid agencies are to nip disasters in the bud, they require reliable data. … Aid agencies also need a pipeline of upfront financing commensurate with the needs. For this, there has to be a much larger pool of resources within the U.N. system for fighting emergencies. U.N. agencies could be more open to working with local non-governmental organizations. Too often they act like multinational wholesalers subcontracting to their favorite retailers, the big western charities they trust. Sometimes, national actors are better equipped to act early in the field…” (2/22).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.