Too important to fail—addressing the humanitarian financing gap

UN study paper on the humanitarian financing gap.

"The world today spends around US$ 25 billion to provide life-saving assistance to 125 million people devastated by wars and natural disasters. While this amount is twelve times greater than fifteen years ago, never before has generosity been so insufficient. Over the last years conflicts and natural disasters have led to fast-growing numbers of people in need and a funding gap for humanitarian action of an estimated US$ 15 billion. This is a lot of money, but not out of reach for a world producing US$ 78 trillion of annual GDP.

Closing the humanitarian financing gap would mean no one having to die or live without dignity for the lack of money. It would be a victory for humanity at a time when it is much needed. The UN Secretary-General has appointed a nineperson group of experts (“the panel”) to work on finding solutions about this widening financial gap. The panel identified and examined three important and interdependent aspects of the humanitarian financing challenge: reducing the needs, mobilising additional funds through either traditional or innovative mechanisms, and improving the efficiency of humanitarian assistance.


Given that the vast majority of conflict-affected populations are in Muslim counties, the role of Islamic social finance is particularly important. Work is ongoing to address how waqf, zakat and other instruments such as sukuk bonds can be channelled effectively and efficiently to meet humanitarian needs. The potential certainly exists for Islamic social finance to provide solutions."