World Humanitarian Data and Trends

2411-8419 (online)
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The World Humanitarian Data and Trends is an annual flagship report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that presents global and country-level data and trend analysis about humanitarian crises and assistance. Its purpose is to consolidate this information and present it in an accessible way, providing policy-makers, researchers and humanitarian practitioners with an evidence base to support humanitarian policy decisions and provide context for operational decisions.
World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2016

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14 Feb 2017
9789210600521 (PDF)

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World Humanitarian Data and Trends is an annual OCHA publication, which highlights major trends in the nature of humanitarian crises, their underlying causes and drivers, and the actors that participate in crises prevention, response and recovery. Beyond providing statistics, the report uses infographics to display trend analyses that show how the humanitarian landscape is evolving and how the humanitarian system can be more effective in a rapidly changing world. Data used in the report comes from a variety of sources and partners. The report is structured in three main sections: 'the year in review', which provides an overview of the humanitarian landscape in terms of funding, capacity, crises and appeals, a ‘regional perspectives’ section and ‘trends, challenges and opportunities’, which provides case studies on issues that impact humanitarian operations. The report is anchored in the Agenda for Humanity, launched at the World Humanitarian Summit held in May 2016. Highlights for 2016 include a new case studies on the development profile of people in humanitarian need, the protection of healthcare in emergencies, gender-based violence, disability in humanitarian action and financing local actors. The report aims to provide a "one-stop" shop for policy makers, researchers and humanitarian practitioners to have an evidence-base and advocacy tools for humanitarian assistance. This report is one part of OCHA's efforts to improve data and analysis on humanitarian situations worldwide.

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  • Introduction

    World Humanitarian Data and Trends presents globaland country-level data-and-trend analysis about humanitarian crises and assistance. Its purpose is to consolidate this information and present it in an accessible way, providing policymakers, researchers and humanitarian practitioners with an evidence base to support humanitarian policy decisions and provide context for operational decisions.

  • Highlights
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts The year in review - 2015

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    • Humanitarian assistance in 2015 - Overall funding, capacity and reporting

      In 2015, overall needs and requirements increased, putting even more strain on responders. Notwithstanding current crises, 2015 was a record year on many fronts: funding requirements ($19.3 billion), overall contributions ($28 billion), people targeted (82.5 million) and a 55 per cent funding gap. Over one third of the jobs advertised on ReliefWeb were in health, coordination and protection and human rights – themes that potentially reflect the wide-held belief that humanitarian action in conflict situations is increasing.

    • Humanitarian needs – inter-agency appeals, funding and visibility Inter-agency appeal analysis; public awareness

      In 2015, appeal funding requirements increased by 7 per cent compared with 2014. There were four level-three (L3) emergencies: Central African Republic (CAR, which ceased to be an L3 on 13 May 2015), Iraq, South Sudan and Syria. A record number of inter-agency appeals surpassed the billion-dollar mark (South Sudan, Sudan, the Syria Regional Refugee Response Plan, the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan and Yemen), and the majority of funding requested and provided went to these mega-crises. In 2015, South Sudan, the Syria response plans and Ukraine accounted for approximately 56 per cent of funding received. Globally, the average amount of funding received per person decreased from $182 to $96.

    • Humanitarian needs – sector funding – Funding per sector; CERF contributions per sector

      2015 saw a repeating pattern in terms of sector funding. Multisectoral programmes and the food-assistance sector continued to have the largest funding requests. Overall, there was less funding received compared with 2014. The sectors that experienced the largest drops in funding (based on percentage funded) were coordination and support services; food; protection; human rights and the rule of law; safety; and water and sanitation. The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) comprised 4 per cent of the total funding available in 2015 ($470 million). This marked a slight increase compared with 2014,

    • Conflict in 2015 - Overall numbers of refugees, IDPs and asylum seekers; number of political conflicts; urban violence

      Forty-three extremely violent political conflicts took place in 2015, marking a decrease of three compared with 2014. The total number of political conflicts decreased by 15 to 409. The number of refugees and people forcibly displaced by violence or conflict increased by 5.8 million to reach a staggering 65.3 million people worldwide. Compared to the global population (7.4 billion people), one in every 113 people is an asylum-seeker, internally displaced person (IDP) or refugee.

    • Natural disasters in 2015 - Overall trends in natural disasters; number of affected people; cost of disasters

      There were roughly 50 more natural disasters in 2015 than in 2014. The number of affected people decreased from 141 million in 2014 to 102 million in 2015. Two disaster categories, potentially related to climate change, increased: floods and droughts. In terms of mortality, most disaster-caused fatalities occurred in Asia (72 per cent), with the highest fatality rates

    • Global landscape: Trends, challenges and opportunities Migration; global demographics; health; poverty; forced labour

      Conflicts and natural disasters have been seen as the main drivers of humanitarian need. They are often treated as discrete events, with little analysis of the underlying causes and warning signs. Today, the humanitarian landscape is changing more rapidly than ever. Global risks are recognized as increasingly central to humanitarian crises. They can make people more vulnerable and prevent them from building the resilience necessary to cope with shocks. The protracted and recurrent

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Regional perspectives

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    • Degrees of risk: Subnational aid delivery in the Sahel

      In the same way that socio-economic conditions vary greatly within a country, so does the level of risk. The Index for Risk Management (INFORM) is a way to understand and measure the risk of humanitarian crises and how the conditions that lead to them affect sustainable development. INFORM is a composite index that takes into account hazards and exposures, ultimately providing a risk ranking that shows a country’s ability to cope with shocks. Recognizing the risk-variation level within a country and a region, INFORM Sahel was launched in 2015 to map degrees of risk within the Sahel region, in the hope of improving cooperation between humanitarian and developing actors in managing risk and building resilience across the region.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Trends, challenges and opportunities

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    • A country in need

      In 2015, OCHA and its partners estimated that 125 million people needed humanitarian assistance. What if those 125 million people were a single country in need? What would its development profile look like? Taking into consideration all crises with an appeal lasting a year or more and the corresponding indicators, this infographic presents an estimated development profile of the country in need.

    • Humanitarian action in conflict situations: Debunking the myth

      Conventional wisdom argues that humanitarian action mostly takes place in conflict situations. An oft-quoted phrase that attempts to support this argument is that 80 per cent of humanitarian action takes place in conflict situations. The origin of this argument can be traced to a financial statistic used in the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the coordination of humanitarian assistance of the United Nations (A/69/80): “Between 2002 and 2013, 86 per cent of resources requested through United Nations appeals were destined to humanitarian action in conflict situations ($83 billion out of $96 billion).”

    • Protecting civilians in armed conflict: Afghanistan

      In 2015, the conflict in Afghanistan continued to cause extreme harm to the civilian population, with the highest number of total civilian casualties (deaths and injuries) recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) since 2009. Conflict-related violence increasingly harmed the most vulnerable people: in 2015, one in 10 civilian casualties was a woman and one in four was a child. Overall civilian casualties increased by 4 per cent in 2015, compared with 2014. UNAMA documented a 37 per cent increase in women casualties and a 14 per cent increase in child casualties.

    • Health care in emergencies

      Under international humanitarian law, parties to armed conflict must respect and protect medical staff, facilities and transports, as well as the wounded and sick. The parties must take all feasible precautions to verify that targets are legitimate military objectives, and to choose weapons and tactics so as to avoid and minimize incidental harm to medical personnel, facilities and transports, as well as the wounded and sick. Unfortunately, respect for the rules of war has been eroding over the last few years, with the number of deaths and injuries of medical staff increasing, as well as the number of facilities attacked.

    • Gender in humanitarian action

      Women, girls, men and boys all suffer in a crisis, but women and girls face greater challenges and risks to reaching their full potential and leading safe, healthy and dignified lives due to structural gender inequalities. The capacity, knowledge and impact that women and local women’s groups consistently display in a crisis is also rarely recognized, supported or enabled due to these structural inequalities. The World Humanitarian Summit emphasized the importance of achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment and called forgive core commitments to achieve this: empower women and girls as change-agents and leaders; ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health; implement a coordinated approach to prevent and respond to gender-based violence; ensure that humanitarian programming is gender responsive; and comply with humanitarian policies on women’s empowerment and women’s rights. This infographic provides baseline information on each of these commitments to illustrate the enormous challenge moving forward: beyond political will to realize gender equality, there will need to be tangible investments if gender equality and women’s empowerment is to become a reality in humanitarian crises.

    • Gender-based violence: A case study on Syria

      Gender-based violence (GBV) crimes have devastating immediate and long-term effects on the lives of survivors and their families, altering the development and future of their communities. There is wide recognition that GBV against women and girls increases during conflict, including domestic violence, sexual violence and exploitation, and child marriage. Men and boys also experience sexual violence, especially in the context of detention and torture.

    • Link between IDPs, refugees and migrants

      People move from their country of origin for many reasons: family, in search of better economic prospects, to flee conflict and violence or for professional advancement, among others. People who leave their country in a predominantly voluntary nature are considered international migrants, to be distinguished from refugees and IDPs. Refugees have a specific legal status, while IDPs are forced to leave their homes but stay in their country of origin. However, these categories are not as rigid as they appear. International migrants sometimes leave to escape situations of extreme deprivation, casting doubt over how ‘voluntary’ their move was. A person may also be considered an IDP, refugee

    • Leaving no one behind: Disability in humanitarian action

      Currently, over 1 billion people globally are living with a disability, 93 million of whom are children. Differences exist among developed and developing countries, but people with disabilities suffer from a lack of care or access to services. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006, provides that States shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of people with disabilities in situations of risk.

    • Transcending humanitarian-development divides

      The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides an ambitious 15-year vision that aims to leave no one behind and reach those furthest behind first, including those affected by humanitarian crises worldwide. In order to deliver on this, the Secretary-General, ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit, called on humanitarian and development actors to adopt a new way of working that transcends humanitarian-development divides to achieve collective outcomes, over multi-year timeframes and based on the comparative advantages of a wide range of actors. A collective outcome is the result that development, humanitarian and other actors want to achieve in a particular context at the end of three to five years as installments towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

    • Localization: Using data and technology for better contextual awareness

      Data are changing the face of humanitarian response, providing unprecedented opportunities to innovate and better assist affected people. The Secretary-General, in his report One Humanity, Shared Responsibility, called for humanitarian action to be driven by shared data and analysis. Accurate data is crucial in humanitarian response. Data contributes to planning

    • Innovative instruments for humanitarian financing

      Traditionally, the provision of humanitarian assistance has relied on grant mechanisms, i.e., a transfer made in cash, goods or services for which no repayment is required. However, in an age where humanitarian needs and funding requirements are increasing due to crises that are crossing the billion-dollar mark, humanitarians need to get creative about funding, using loans, grants, bonds and insurance mechanisms. This shift also requires donors to be more flexible in the way they finance responses, including giving longer-term funding. And it requires aid agencies to be as efficient and transparent as possible about how they spend their money.

    • Financing local action

      One of the commitments in the Agenda for Humanity is to reinforce local systems, including by investing in local capacities. Local organizations face significant barriers to access international funding. In this context, country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) are an agent of change in the fulfilment of commitments to greater localization of aid. CBPFs promote the equitable inclusion of local and international actors in the collective prioritization, programming and delivery of humanitarian assistance, which is critical to ensure context-appropriate interventions. CBPFs leverage the comparative advantages of local and national NGOs, such as their proximity and access to affected people; knowledge of the territory; culture; language; social networks and dynamics; understanding of needs; and likeliness to remain on the ground after the emergency.

    • The agenda for humanity

      The World Humanitarian Summit (Istanbul, May 2016) was a pivotal moment for the global community. Ahead of the Summit, the Secretary- General, Ban Ki-moon, put forward a new Agenda for Humanity, calling on global leaders to stand up for our common humanity and reduce human suffering. The Agenda consists of five Core Responsibilities and 24 transformations that are needed to achieve progress to address and reduce humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts User’s guide

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    • “Limitations sources and references”

      This report is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of global humanitarian data and trends. However, there are many gaps and inconsistencies in the information available. There is no single, comprehensive source of humanitarian information and data. There are no widely used standards for measuring humanitarian needs or response, even less so for measuring the longterm effectiveness of assistance. And there are no agreed definitions of humanitarian needs or assistance.

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