HRI rankings 2008

The HRI 2008 ranking indicates that even the most generous donors have gaps in their humanitarian policies and practices. All donors have room for improvement. There still exists a huge difference between donors and the lowest ranked have a long way to go before they can be ranked alongside the top donors.

This year’s ranking shows that overall there are few differences in the ranking of the rated donor countries compared to 2007. Luxembourg, partly due to the adjustment to the indicators having moved up five places, shows the most change. Germany dropped four positions, mainly due to its scores in Pillars 1 to 4 in comparison to other countries. Canada’s lower ranking is partly due to lower scores regarding funding for forgotten emergencies and crises with low media coverage.

For the 2008 ranking, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Ireland and the European Commission occupy many of the top slots in all five pillars, and do better than their peers in their attempt to adhere to GHD principles. However, there is always room for improvement. The Netherlands, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom also occupy the top third of the group.

Switzerland, Canada, Australia, Finland and New Zealand are part of the mid-range group of donors, alongside Belgium, the United States and Spain.

Japan, Italy, France, Austria, Portugal and Greece are at the bottom of the Index. These countries with scores that are consistently lower than the OECD/DAC average in each of the HRI pillars for reasons such as the size of their humanitarian budgets, and their experience and capacity.

It is important to consider that a high score in any Pillar is not necessarily an indication of excellent performance, but rather shows the ranking of a donor relative to its peers.

Pillar 1: Responding to needs

The results from this Pillar suggest that donors as a whole are still perceived as not always respecting the principles of impartiality, neutrality and independence, nor providing funding based solely on humanitarian needs. Particularly in conflicts and politicized emergencies, this can jeopardize the security and effectiveness of humanitarian action. The results also reflect the gap between available funds and global humanitarian needs. Lastly, donors could do more to fund and improve the quality of needs assessments as well as monitoring how needs evolve over the course of a crisis.

Pillar 2: Supporting local capacity and recovery

Evidence in Pillar 2 reflects many of the longstanding challenges faced by the humanitarian system in achieving a balance between short term needs and laying the foundation for recovery and development. More than just increased funding is required to strengthen local capacity to prepare, mitigate and respond to crisis: efforts should address all levels from the community up, and international tools should be applied to local context.

Pillar 3: Working with humanitarian partners

The results in this Pillar are among the lowest of the Index, meaning that there is significant scope for improvement in donors relationships with their humanitarian partners. Donors need partners for their assistance to reach those in need, and partners rely on donor funding to operate. To improve the overall effectiveness of the delivery of humanitarian aid, donors could collectively invest in ensuring the success of the UN humanitarian reform process.

Pillar 4: Promoting principles and standards

The results reflect that there is a considerable divergence in donor performance in different crisis. In order to respect GHD Principles and ensure humanitarian access in conflict situations, more vigorous support for protection and assistance should be provided, and donors should use their influence with host government and other actors.

Pillar 5: Promoting learning and accountability

Results in Pillar 5 show that donors generally do well in GHD Principles 15, 21, 22 and 23, although there is a considerable gap between the highest and lowest ranked donors meaning it is possible that accountability, learning and best practice are not prioritized equally within the donor group. Donors should work towards reaching a shared understanding about what is good donor practice, as well as monitoring the application of the outcomes of evaluation and learning in their policies while striving for greater accountability.

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