As international humanitarian aid contributions rose to a record $22 billion in 2013, Qatar’s participation has fallen sharply during the same time period, a new report has found.
According to the 2014 Global Humanitarian Assistance report, which tracks international humanitarian financing, giving went up worldwide because of the sharp uptick in need last year:
“In a stark change from 2012 (which saw no major new disasters and a slight decrease in funding), 2013 saw millions of people affected by three very different crises – in Syria, Central African Republic (CAR) and the Philippines – each designated as the highest level emergency by the UN. Individually and combined with other crises, these placed unique demands on humanitarian responders and donors.”
The report defined humanitarian assistance as aid and action designed to save lives, alleviate suffering and maintain and protect human dignity during and in the aftermath of emergencies.
Two Gulf countries were among the top 20 government contributors of international humanitarian assistance in 2013: Kuwait, with $327 million; and Saudi Arabia, with $109 million.
Kuwait was also among the countries that increased its donations most significantly in 2013, while Qatar was among the top 10 nations whose government donations fell the sharpest – by some 36 percent, to $35 million.
However, local business publication bqdoha points out that despite Qatar’s donation drop, the country has still contributed a great deal in terms of non-government donations:
“The Qatar Red Crescent, for instance, saw its annual international budget jump from less than USD 250,000 to more than USD 45 million in the last decade.
And in a time when a shift away from government donations and international bodies and towards private funds is experienced, four of the top five private humanitarian donors between 2009 and 2013 were from the Gulf with Qatar Charity ranking second with $44,679,236, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Qatar Charity listed just after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation with $51,370,153.”
Despite the overall growth in worldwide donations, one-third of the United Nations’ appeals for funding, or $4.6 billion, went unmet last year, according to the report, which is expected to be released in full next month.
The top 10 recipients of international humanitarian response in 2012 included Syria ($1.5 billion); South Sudan ($865 million), the West Bank and Gaza Strip ($654 million) and Somalia ($627 million).