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Emerging humanitarian donors
March - July 2009

Groupe URD conducted a study on the practices of new humanitarian donors. After broaching the issue from a global perspective, the decision was made to concentrate on the Gulf States in order to conduct a more detailed analysis of a geographically and culturally coherent region.

The objective of this study was to analyse how the emerging donors participate in international humanitarian and reconstruction efforts (organisations, figures, trends), the funding mechanisms which they use, the main channels this aid travels through (types of NGO, UN partners, national authorities, etc.), their integration into the international aid system and coordination mechanisms (for exemple the CERF), etc. and also the opportunities, blockages and difficulties which exist.

The funds allocated to humanitarian aid by the Gulf States and their participation in international debates show that they are very interested in this issues, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These countries have become very active in this area, creating governmental bodies for emergency assistance, encouraging the implementation of aid through, for example, the creation of the Humanitarian City in Dubai, but also by encouraging debate about humanitarian aid, increasing their contributions to United Nations’ agencies and hosting international conferences like the DIHAD. In 2008, Saudi Arabia became the third biggest humanitarian donor after the United States and the European Commission.

Yet, the recent crises, such as the crisis in Lebanon in 2006 revealed a lack of intergration of the Arab donors in international coordination mechanisms. More generally, the international aid system is dominated by Western thinking and Western organisations, despite the fact that it purports to have universal values. _ It is therefore crucial to improve our understanding of the role, values and specific characteristics of these donors in order to integrate them more in coordination mechanisms.

This study was commissioned by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read more

Report: "Emerging humanitarian donors", November 2009, in French

Article in the review Humanitarian Aid on the Move n°3: « Emerging humanitarian donors: the Gulf States »

Bibliography in the review Humanitarian Aid on the Move n°3: « The new humanitarian donors »