The impacts of natural disasters and complex emergencies have been increasing over recent decades, putting the humanitarian system under considerable pressure. The costs of humanitarian crises are also growing – not only do disasters and complex emergencies result in significant economic losses, but they also require mobilization of large amounts of humanitarian aid from the international community. According to a recent study on funding streams for emergency response, aid from governments reached US$12.4 billion in 2010, the highest figure on record. And yet, despite a rhetoric that has called for reform for the past decade, only 4.2% of official humanitarian aid and 0.7% of non-humanitarian development assistance was invested in disaster risk reduction between 2006 and 2010.
It is widely held that, broadly speaking, investment in early response and/or building the resilience of communities to cope with risk in disaster prone regions is more cost-effective than the ever-mounting humanitarian response. Yet little solid data exists to support this claim, and there is a clear need for a greater evidence base to support reform. As a result, the UK Government commissioned an independent study to contribute to filling these evidence gaps. The study was conducted in two phases: the first in Kenya and Ethiopia in 2012; and the second in Bangladesh, Mozambique, and Niger in 2013.
Anon. The Economics of Early Response and Resilience Series. Two page summary. (2013) 2 pp.