Interview with Philip Tamminga: HRI 2011


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“We urge donors to link policy reviews to practice and renew their commitment to the Good Humanitarian Donorship Principles.”

Almost one month away from the Humanitarian Response Index 2011 presentation, Philip Tamminga talks about initial findings on gender, politicisation and humanitarian reform.

Philip Tamminga is Head of DARA’s Humanitarian Response Index.

Read interview transcript
The Humanitarian Response Index 2011 analysed 70% of global humanitarian funding provided by 23 OECD-DAC donor governments in the following crises: Chad, Kenya, Somalia, occupied Palestinian territories, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Sudan, Colombia and Haiti.

The Humanitarian Response Index 2010 looked at politicisation. What’s new in 2011?

Some of the key issues that we found last year around politicisation of aid were recurring and ongoing, so this is a concern. In particular, we’ve seen places like occupied Palestinian territories and Somalia where many governments’ anti-terrorism regulation is actually hindering humanitarian organisations from having access to populations affected by crisis. And this is a serious issue, it hasn’t gone away, and it requires some urgent attention by governments and policy leaders.

Humanitarian Response Index 2011: Gender

We decided this year with the Humanitarian Response Index to look at the issue of gender because over the last four or five years, we have consistently seen that this is an issue that is not getting enough attention by the humanitarian sector. We looked specifically at whether or not donor government had a particular role to play in promoting more gender sensitivity and gender awareness in the work of humanitarian organisations. And in fact many donor governments talk about this in their policies, but there’s a gap in practice.

Other gaps in donor practice

Donors are collectively failing in the area of investing in preparedness, prevention, capacity-building and the transition from emergency relief to longer-term recovery and development work. Our assessments of the humanitarian situations in Kenya and in Somalia are good examples of where donors working with their humanitarian partners could have taken much earlier action to prepare for and respond more effectively and avoid the scale of the impact of the famine in the Horn of Africa today.

What’s working well?

The efforts to reform and improve the humanitarian system our actually having some positive results. In most of the crises we’ve seen, there are certainly still issues and areas for improvement in areas like coordination, the use of clusters and pooled funds. But over the last four years, we’ve seen steady progress and improvement in general and I think that’s a positive message.

HRI 2011: Message to donors

Many donors have made improvements and have reviewed their policies; that’s a really positive sign. I guess the message for those donors that have undertaken policy reviews is to make sure that the policies link up to practice. We’d like donors to renew their commitments to the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) principles and look for ways to go beyond that for practical measures to help the humanitarian sector work more efficiently and effectively and have a greater impact for people who are exposed to crises.