International humanitarian spending by public donors fell by $ 284 million (£ 204 million) between 2019 and 2020, and the UK government has cut humanitarian funding from most major Western countries, according to a new report from the independent organization Development Initiatives.

Its annual report on global humanitarian assistance is considered one of the best sources of objective statistics on aid trends and humanitarian needs, and the report highlights the extraordinary pressure currently being placed on humanitarian appeals coordinated by the UN. The UK’s total reduction – estimated at $ 900 million – offsets increases by others. Humanitarian aid can be both multilateral or bilateral, but does not cover all of the overseas aid designed to ensure long-term resilience. The UK has slashed its large aid budget due to an unprecedented reduction in the size of the economy and the focus on managing the impact of Covid in the UK.

The report says the aid cuts came even as the number of people in need rose by 19 million – largely due to Covid-19.

“While the majority of donors increased their humanitarian spending in 2020, this was offset by funding cuts from a few key donors, including the UK, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Germany and the US increased their funding by 27% and 6% respectively, but the UK government cut total humanitarian funding by almost a third (31%), leading to a drop in international humanitarian funding from governments for the second year in a row.

He says the UK’s 31% cut is the biggest drop in any major aid country except Saudi Arabia, which cut funding by 53%

The overall reduction in official humanitarian aid in 2020 was measured at 1.2% (284 million), from $ 24.5 billion in 2019 to $ 24.2 billion in 2020. This follows a decline largest funding of 3.1% ($ 793 million) in 2019.

Volumes of international humanitarian aid continued to increase during the years 2012 to 2018, peaking in 2018 at $ 31.5 billion. Between 2012 and 2018, funding increased by an average of 12% per year.

Overall, UN humanitarian appeals rose 27% in 2020, reaching a record high of $ 38.8 billion. The number of appeals has also increased from 36 to 55, including 17 solely in response to the Covid.

These calls were only 52% funded overall, resulting in the largest funding gap ever of $ 18.8 billion. In this context, the requirements related to Covid-19 are even more insufficient, with only 40% of the required funding provided.

At the same time, the pandemic diverts funding from other urgent humanitarian needs, with the top 20 donors cutting $ 4.5 billion in non-Covid humanitarian funding between 2019 and 2020. Deficits are hitting some of the most vulnerable countries of the world, who are also at the highest risk of the impacts of Covid-19.

More than half of those in need in 2021 lived in just nine countries. Six countries each had more than 10 million people in need living on their territory: Yemen (24.2 million), DRC (23.4 million), Venezuela (14.3 million), Afghanistan (14 million), Syria (11.7 million) and North Korea (10.9 million). million).

The number of internally displaced people has increased for the ninth consecutive year. In 2020, the total number of internally displaced people rose to 82.1 million (an increase of 3.4%). More than half (52%) of displaced people lived in countries at very high or high risk of the impacts of Covid-19. Exposure to the risks of the Covid-19 pandemic is particularly high for displaced people in sub-Saharan Africa, where 99% of displaced people lived in areas at high risk of Covid.

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