Improving Humanitarian Donorship

What is good humanitarian donorship?

The Principles and Good Practice of Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) are a set of 23 principles that were established by the world’s main donor governments in 2003, and subsequently adopted by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD/DAC) in 2005. The GHD principles outline a series of principles and practices for donor governments aimed at improving the quality and effectiveness of their humanitarian assistance, and reinforced the idea that donor governments have a responsibility to ensure their aid facilitates more effective humanitarian action. The adoption of the GHD by donor governments was a major step forward in promoting greater transparency, accountability and improved coordination amongst donors. However, donor governments have had difficulty reflecting the GHD principles in their policies and practices, as evidenced by many evaluations, such as the major evaluation of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Moreover, the GHD lacks specific targets and benchmarks which make it difficult to determine the progress in implementation at the global level and at the level of individual donor governments.

For more information on the origins of the GHD initiative, please see Johan Scharr’s chapter from the HRI 2007, The Birth of Good Humanitarian Donorship, available here.

The Humanitarian Response Index

Created in 2007, the Humanitarian Response Index (HRI) is the world’s only independent tool for measuring the individual performance and commitment of government donors against Good Humanitarian Donorship Principles. The HRI aims to identify and promote good donor practice and contribute to greater transparency, accountability and impact in humanitarian action. By providing an independent assessment and empirical evidence on how individual donor governments perform compared to their peers, the HRI helps civil society and policy makers rank and benchmark the quality of government humanitarian assistance and contributes to efforts to improve the effectiveness, and impact of relief and recovery efforts.

The HRI is not an index on the volume or quantity of funding provided by Western governments for humanitarian assistance. It looks beyond funding to assess critical issues around the quality and effectiveness of aid. The HRI complements other monitoring tools and assessments that are used by the humanitarian community but is an independent exercise that is not funded by any government.

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