Browse by Theme: Aid Effectiveness

Today’s London Conference on Afghanistan arrives at a critical juncture for Afghanistan. With violent conflict increasing in many parts of the country and aid fatigue creating cuts in food rations for one million Afghans, it is a vital moment to remind the world not to abandon Afghanistan.

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In 2011, it took 16 official warnings of a food security crisis before famine was finally declared in Somalia. The human cost of this was at least 260,000 lives, half of which belonged to young children. The financial cost of this was at least three times more than it would have been had early preventive action been taken. The Guardian dubbed it ‘the avoidable disaster’ and NGOs, donors and the international community at large swore it would never happen again. Yet three years later, we find ourselves in uncomfortably familiar territory.

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The World Bank is starting to put the money behind its thinking on Fragile States. However, as a 10-year evaluation of its work in fragile and conflict affected states shows, getting the finance might have been the easy part.

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Today, the United Nations and aid agencies like CARE launched a new regional response plan and funding appeal for the Syrian crisis. The needs are vast. Over one third of the population in Syria has been forced to leave their homes. One in three children has lost or become separated from their fathers.

The appeal seeks to assist 660,000 refugees in camps, 3.44 million refugees in urban and rural areas, and 2.7 million people in host communities. It calls for US$6.5 billion. That is US$2 billion more than the current plan, which was only 69 per cent met.

Sadly, seemingly intractable crises like the Syrian conflict attract less funding than major natural disasters like the Asian tsunami or the recent typhoon in the Philippines. Most worryingly, we have heard rumours that some donor nations have hit the ceiling on their projected contributions to the crisis. Wealthy nations need to break this pattern for the sake of the many millions affected by the horrific war in Syria.

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