HRI rankings 2009

This year’s HRI rankings show some interesting changes. Sweden is replaced by Norway at the top of the rankings and falls to second place. Ireland exchanges places with Denmark to take the third slot. Switzerland and the UK also swap eighth- and ninth-place positions from last year, while Australia moves up one place in the rankings, to tenth place. New Zealand climbs three positions to 11th place, while Canada and Belgium both fall three places to 13th and 17th respectively. The US, Spain and Germany all climb one spot in the rankings, to 14th, 15th and 16th places respectively. Austria also shows improvements, climbing to 18th from its 21st place position last year.

In general, the shifts in donor rankings over the past three years show that deliberate and consistent efforts to align national humanitarian policies more closely with internationally recognised principles and standards of good practice do lead to improvements in a donor’s performance over time. In contrast, donors that fail to sustain efforts to improve their policies and practices perform less well.

Regardless of a donor’s position, the HRI donor rankings and scores for this year show once again that there is great room for improvement among all donors in terms of applying the principles of good practices contained in the GHD declaration.

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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