Syrian Arab Republic UNICEF/NYHQ2012-1293/Romenzi A girl, carrying jerrycans of water, walks past a pile of debris, on a street in Aleppo, capital of the north-western Aleppo Governorate, Syrian Arab Republic.

Overall funding trends

In 2012, humanitarian funding followed patterns similar to those of prior years, with the majority of income concentrated in a few high-profile emergencies, some encompassing several countries.

In 2012, UNICEF’s funding requirements for humanitarian action totaled almost US$1.5 billion. This included the requirements presented in the 43 country, regional and headquarters offices outlined in Humanitarian Action for Children 2012, in addition to one inter-agency flash appeal.

As of 31 October, UNICEF had mobilized US$664 million against total appeal requirements from various donor governments, private institutions and individuals. An additional US$19 million outside these appeals from CERF and other funding sources1 brought the provisional humanitarian income to US$684 million. Although overall, the proportion of funds received compared to the amount requested was, at 45 per cent, relatively low, the proportion varied significantly from country to country, with some receiving more than the requested amount, half receiving less than 40 per cent and some receiving less than 10 per cent. Funding varied not only between countries, but also between sectors, forcing many components of a comprehensive response to the needs of children and women to go unfunded.

Again, much of the humanitarian contributions went to addressing the food and nutrition crises in Africa. Nearly 40 per cent of 2012 humanitarian funding was contributed to the Sahel crisis (US$146 million across nine countries and the regional office) and the Horn of Africa response (US$125 million), with the remaining 60 per cent directed towards UNICEF’s other emergency operations.

The initial Humanitarian Action for Children 2012 had a budget of almost US$1.3 billion that was later revised to almost US$1.5 billion. As shown in Figure 1.5, only Niger and the State of Palestine were fully funded in 2012. Most countries experienced funding shortfalls, with half of offices receiving less than 40 per cent of requirements. UNICEF country offices in Madagascar and Sri Lanka and regional offices for East Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean each received less than 10 per cent of their humanitarian funding requirements. In some cases, where funds were available, as in Afghanistan, their late receipt severely curtailed implementation time. And where limited funding was overcome to reach children and women, the assistance was not always sustainable. For example, in education and child protection, most of the children reached were reached through temporary learning structures and child-friendly spaces, while efforts to support durable structures and systems were limited by lack of resources.

Figire 1.1: Emergency funding trend, 1999-2012

All of these results were made possible by generous support from public and private sector donors, whose contributions enabled UNICEF to address the critical needs of children and vulnerable populations affected by humanitarian crises throughout the world. The largest proportion of humanitarian funding was received directly from government donors (53 per cent), while government funding via pooled funding mechanisms such as the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), Common Humanitarian Funds (CHFs) and Emergency Response Funds (ERFs) provided 23 per cent of the total humanitarian contributions. National Committees for UNICEF provided 9 per cent of the funding – and their joint effort in social media helped focus attention on the looming crisis in the Sahel early in the year – while inter-governmental organizations such as the European Commission provided 15 per cent. Local fundraising through UNICEF field offices accounted for the remaining percentage (less than 0.5 per cent of the total funding received).

As of the end of October 2012, the Government of Japan was the largest source of UNICEF’s humanitarian funding, with a total contribution of US$117.3 million. CERF was the second largest source, providing US$116.2 million of humanitarian funding, and the European Commission was the third largest, providing US$104.4 million. As of the end of October, the top 10 donors of humanitarian funding (shown in the chart below) accounted for approximately 79 per cent of the contributions received by UNICEF for emergency operations.


2012 thematic humanitarian funds

In order to respond quickly and most effectively to humanitarian crises, UNICEF seeks flexible, unearmarked resources to allocate to the areas of highest priority. Only 9 per cent of donor contributions for humanitarian action, or US$63 million of the US$684 million received by the end of October 2012, was provided in the form of ‘thematic’, or unearmarked, funding. Because it allows UNICEF the flexibility to respond where needs are greatest, thematic humanitarian funding is particularly crucial for large-scale emergencies that require sustained funding over a long period of time and/or that cover several countries – such as the Sahel and Horn of Africa responses – or that are consistently underfunded ‘silent emergencies’. Flexible resources also allow UNICEF to apply innovative solutions to complex situations and integrate early recovery. Thematic funding further supports UNICEF in meeting its commitments to humanitarian reform by upholding its leadership responsibilities under the cluster approach.The proportion of overall humanitarian funding for 2012 represented by thematic humanitarian funding (9 per cent through the end of October) was significantly lower than it was in 2011, when it stood at 19 per cent for the year. It should be noted that two thirds (US$122 million) of the thematic humanitarian funds received in 2011 were for the Horn of Africa response, while the remaining US$65 million was provided for other emergencies.

The decline in thematic funding becomes even more evident when looking at the figures for 2010, when US$332 million (or 32 per cent of humanitarian income) was received as thematic humanitarian funds. In that year, the majority of the thematic funding came in response to the crises in Haiti and Pakistan, showing the significant impact that media attention to large-scale emergencies has on raising flexible funding. It is evident that donors recognize the benefits of flexible funding for large-scale emergencies, and UNICEF would like to encourage them to consider contributing thematic humanitarian funds to other emergencies to provide the flexibility that is so crucial to effective humanitarian action.

Figure 1.2: Top 10 sources of humanitarian funds, 2012

The decline in thematic funding becomes even more evident when looking at the figures for 2010, when US$332 million (or 32 per cent of humanitarian income) was received as thematic humanitarian funds. In that year, the majority of the thematic funding came in response to the crises in Haiti and Pakistan, showing the significant impact that media attention to large-scale emergencies has on raising flexible funding. It is evident that donors recognize the benefits of flexible funding for large-scale emergencies, and UNICEF would like to encourage them to consider contributing thematic humanitarian funds to other emergencies to provide the flexibility that is so crucial to effective humanitarian action.

In 2012, the top thematic donor was the German Committee for UNICEF, followed by the Japan Committee for UNICEF and the United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF. UNICEF would like to acknowledge all donors who provide thematic funding – particularly its national committee partners, who provided 76 per cent of the thematic funding received for 2012.

UNICEF continues to urge its donors to provide flexible humanitarian funding for all countries and at the global level. Next to regular resources, global thematic humanitarian funding is UNICEF’s preferred funding modality. The amount received as global thematic humanitarian funding by the end of October (US$1.5 million) represents only 2 per cent of the total thematic humanitarian funds received in 2012. Global thematic humanitarian funds allow the organization to prioritize and respond strategically to the needs of children worldwide. Using these funds, UNICEF can invest efficiently in new initiatives; meet its commitments to humanitarian reform, particularly its cluster leadership responsibilities; prioritize underfunded crises; and build capacity. These are undertaken with a focus on outcomes and sustainable results for children.

Fig 1.3: Top 10 donors - 2012 thematic humanitarian funds

Figure 1.4: Contribution receieved in US$

Figure 1.5: Funding shortfalls against requirements in percentage

1 Funding received for emergencies outside the HAC 2012 appeal (mainly through the Central Emergency Response Fund) were for Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Congo, Ghana, Myanmar, Nepal, Paraguay, Peru, Sierra Leone and Uganda.