End the neglect: a study of humanitarian financing for older people

End the neglect: a study of humanitarian financing for older people

As the scale of humanitarian needs around the world is greater than ever before, the financing of humanitarian response is coming under increasing scrutiny. Data from the latest Global humanitarian assistance report show that in 2014, international humanitarian funding rose for a second consecutive year, reaching a record high of US$24.5 billion – 19 per cent up on the previous year. Yet the data also reveal a growing gap between funding and needs. In 2014, while US$12 billion was allocated to UN-coordinated appeals, US$7.5 billion of requirements (38 per cent) were unmet.

At a global level, discussions of humanitarian financing, such as those reported on by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel, are addressing three critical questions: how to reduce humanitarian needs by addressing the root causes of crises; how to increase the resource base for the response; and how to improve the way aid is delivered while at the same time using it more effectively. The question of whether existing funding actually reaches the people most in need – a crucial one for all those concerned with the impartiality of humanitarian response – receives less attention.

Since 2010 HelpAge International has conducted an annual analysis, using humanitarian funding as a proxy indicator, to quantify the degree to which the specific needs of older people are reflected in humanitarian programming. In the absence of full reporting of humanitarian spending, HelpAge uses the United Nations (UN) Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) as a proxy for humanitarian funding (for further details see the Methodology section). HelpAge analysis in 2010 and 2011 found that fewer than 1 per cent of projects reviewed included activities targeting older people – a figure that rose only marginally to 2.1 per cent in 2012.

This report is the most recent study in the series. It provides new data on funding allocations in 2013 and 2014, and gives a longitudinal analysis of the extent to which humanitarian response is meeting older people’s needs.