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Country-based Pooled Funds: $836M allocated to 1,455 humanitarian projects in 2018

03 Jul 2019


In 2017, Khaled was displaced with his family from Palmyra. Last year, he told UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock how happy he was to finally be able to go to school. In Syria, the humanitarian fund improved the delivery of humanitarian aid and essential services in many hard-to-reach areas by providing direct funding to Syrian NGOs with reliable access inside the country. Credit: OCHA/G.Seifo

In 2018, the humanitarian community was challenged by unprecedented levels of humanitarian suffering that left 133 million people needing emergency assistance. Of the $25 billion required to provide aid, donors contributed $15 billion to UN-coordinated appeals. A record $950 million of that amount was channelled through the OCHA-managed Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) in support of emergency responses. 

CBPFs allow donors to pool their contributions into single, unearmarked funds to support local humanitarian efforts. This enables humanitarian partners in crisis-affected countries to deliver timely, coordinated and principled assistance.

While in 2018 allocations from CBPFs constituted a relatively small portion of global humanitarian funding during the year, their strategic value and focus on the most urgent needs of crisis-affected people meant that they were critical to the delivery of timely, coordinated and principled assistance. During the year, 17 CBPFs ensured that funding went to locally prioritized programmes for maximum impact.

The funds allocated $836 million to 1,455 humanitarian projects providing millions of people with health care, food aid, clean water, shelter and other assistance, allowing Humanitarian Coordinators (HCs) to directly support and drive the most critical components of humanitarian responses, including activities that improve the ability of actors on the ground to deliver more effectively.

The Iraq Humanitarian Fund supported common services such as a call centre for displaced people to connect with, and inform, humanitarian services. Credit: OCHA/E.Bahaa

"2018 was the most impactful year ever for the OCHA-managed Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs)", said UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock. "A record US$950 million was raised for life-saving action in 17 of the world’s most severe and complex humanitarian emergencies. Under the leadership of Humanitarian Coordinators, CBPFs support essential components of humanitarian response to save lives and provide protection services to the most vulnerable people affected by crises. Every dollar committed though a CBPF helps to maximize the impact of humanitarian assistance, by empowering humanitarian leadership and a local response and ensuring the most strategic and effective use of limited resources. My thanks to all CBPF donors – your contributions are truly life-saving."

In Yemen, timely allocations helped humanitarian partners preposition life-saving aid, including food, medical supplies and shelter materials, before conflict escalated in Al Hudaydah in June. Credit: OCHA/G.Clarke

With allocations to 686 relief organizations, CBPFs ensured greater inclusivity by involving a broad range of partners in prioritization and programming processes. In 2018, 25 per cent of allocations ($208 million) went directly to national NGOs, leveraging their proximity and access to affected people and making better use of their local knowledge and social networks to deliver to the most vulnerable communities. Access to CBPF funding allowed humanitarian organizations on the ground to adapt and tailor solutions to emerging challenges, including with immediate response and prevention activities after a cholera epidemic broke out in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and by mobilizing a comprehensive response to the devastation caused by Cyclone Sagar in Somalia.

CBPFs were invaluable in volatile contexts with rapidly shifting situations, including in northern Nigeria, where funding for the UN Humanitarian Air Service helped humanitarian organizations to reach and rapidly scale up aid and protection support for people fleeing violence.

CBPF funding also helped humanitarian partners to better time, plan and adjust humanitarian responses in 2018.