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Our latest analysis, ‘Who funds what? Humanitarian research and innovation funding landscape analysis’ report and accompanying policy brief, launched today, is the first attempt at a rigorous process to track humanitarian research and innovation (HRI) funding allocations within the humanitarian system.

Assessing the volume and coverage of HRI investments can help us understand the impact of these investments on the humanitarian system’s performance. This is why the funding flows analysis is a critical and strategic initiative.

Tracking research and innovation (R&I) investments through the humanitarian databases has been extraordinarily challenging*. The funding flows analysis puts a spotlight on the key considerations to improve how the system spends HRI investment:

  • Significant contributions were made to HRI from outside the traditional humanitarian system.
  • Most of the HRI funding was generated from high income countries (HICs) and was received by actors based in HICs.
  • The available financial tracking systems in use in the humanitarian system do not effectively track spend on R&I. Major gaps in data prevent the development of a robust global overview of HRI funding reported.

This analysis is one part of the Global Prioritisation Exercise (GPE), a mapping exercise to understand the scope of the funding landscape for HRI. Mark Bowden, Chair, GPE Reference Group said:

“The Global Prioritisation Exercise is so important because by investing strategically in research and innovation, we can accelerate the change needed to improve the lives of people affected by crisis. The world’s most vulnerable need an effective and coordinated humanitarian response.”

The GPE aims to improve outcomes for people affected by crisis by amplifying the impact of investments in R&I. In the five years since we published our first Global Mapping Report for R&I (which provided a detailed baseline for the R&I activities, actors, and funders) the humanitarian system has been challenged significantly. The period has witnessed tremendous growth of both humanitarian needs and funding. The global picture has also shifted, and we are at a crossroads. In the context of such a different landscape we need to know how to strengthen coordination between donors, and priority-setting processes to ensure maximum return on investment in R&I.

However, as the funding flows analysis shows there is an extreme dearth of data on the financial value and coverage of current investments, as well as the absence of a mechanism to identify real-time HRI needs. This is hindering the practitioner and the funder communities’ ability to align investments to where the most pressing humanitarian needs are.

Well-coordinated prioritisation amongst key stakeholders would inform and guide the strategic mobilisation and amplify the impact of R&I investments.

*This inquiry analysed data from four development assistance, humanitarian assistance, and R&I funding databases: International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI), Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Creditor Reporting System (CRS) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Financial Tracking Service (FTS).

This report was developed by a team from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut (AUB). This abridged version was developed jointly by the AUB team and Elrha team, led by Ziad Issa, Senior Programme Manager, and Jessica Camburn, Elrha CEO.

The policy brief was written by Ziad Issa and Jessica Camburn

Read the report and the policy brief

Read the report ‘Who funds what? Humanitarian research and innovation funding landscape analysis’ and the accompanying policy brief by visiting our research page.

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