BASIC Research Theme Brief

Financing Social Assistance in Crisis Situations

Published on 4 February 2022

Protracted crises are increasing and becoming compounded, but financing solutions for humanitarian and social assistance in fragile and conflict-affected settings (FCAS) are not keeping up. UN consolidated (humanitarian/emergency) appeals have, over the past decade, been around 60 per cent-funded, despite growing exponentially in size. Social protection coverage globally remains limited, with only an estimated 45 per cent of the world’s population having access to any form of social protection. This figure dips below 10 per cent in many low-income countries (Development Initiatives 2020; ILO 2017).

The lack of coverage comes at a time when global extreme poverty increased in 2020 for the first time in decades (World Bank 2020). Indeed, by 2030, 85 per cent of the extreme poor – some 342 million people – will live in FCAS (Samman et al. 2018). Financing assistance in these contexts is complex, often arriving late, and/or is earmarked for certain actors and activities, when what is required is flexible, multipartner programming. This is despite commitments made by the signatories to the Grand Bargain and at the World Humanitarian Summit to improve the timeliness, flexibility, transparency, and efficiency of aid. Solutions to these challenges remain poorly understood or caught in humanitarian or social protection silos.

Cite this publication

Slater, R.; Longhurst, D. and Harvey, P. (2022) Financing Social Assistance in Crisis Situations, BASIC Research Theme Brief, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, DOI: 10.19088/BASIC.2022.021


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published by
Institute of Development Studies


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