Below are a number of platforms and forums, public as well as philanthropic, which have made disaster relief, prevention and study their business
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) brings together 15 leading UK aid charities, who specialise in different areas of disaster response, to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas. Members, who include Oxfam, Care, Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee, fund the DEC’s running costs and the organisation then refunds them from money it raises in appeals. Its board comprises the CEOs of the 15 member charities, with six other independent trustees. It also has a Rapid Response Network of media and corporate partners who help publicise crises. Recent campaigns include the Pakistan Floods Appeal, the Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal and the Afghanistan Crisis Appeal. Since 1996, the DEC has run 74 appeals and raised over $l.5 billion.
Since 2010, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) has been helping individuals, foundations and corporations increase the effectiveness of their philanthropic response to disasters and humanitarian crises. Emphasising medium- and long-term recovery and equity-focused disaster giving, it offers donors direct financial and technical support. It provides advice from professionals with deep disaster planning, response and preparedness expertise, and experience as philanthropists, and offers educational resources so donors can make informed decisions about where and when to give. Among its resources is a Disaster Philanthropy Playbook, a ‘collection of innovative philanthropic strategies, practices, case studies and toolkits that help communities prepare for and equitably recover from disasters’. Its funds range from the particular (Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Recovery Fund, Colorado Wildfires Recovery Fund) to the more widespread (Global Hunger Crisis Fund, Covid-19 Response Fund).
ODI is a global affairs think-tank which aims to inspire people to act on injustice and inequality. It focuses on shaping future global cooperation, advancing human rights, tackling the climate, environment and biodiversity crisis, digitalisation, and fostering a more equitable and sustainable global economic order. Bi- and multilateral funders include the UK’s DfID (the largest financial supporter), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and UN Women, the Gates and IKEA Foundations and NGOs such as Oxfam UK and the British Red Cross. Managed by the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI, the Humanitarian Practice Network provides an independent forum for policymakers, practitioners and others working in the humanitarian sector to share and disseminate information, analysis and experience through its Humanitarian Exchange magazine, Network Papers and Good Practice Reviews.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 is intended to provide UN member states with concrete actions to protect development gains from the risk of disaster. It is meant to dovetail with other 2030 Agenda agreements, including the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the New Urban Agenda, and ultimately the Sustainable Development Goals. Its aim is ‘the substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries’. The main forum for its implementation is the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
In addition to specialist crisis funding networks and organisations, other giving platforms play a big part in raising funds for crisis relief. GlobalGiving, for example, a non-profit that supports other non-profits by connecting them to donors and companies, has current campaigns on the Ukraine crisis, the East African Hunger crisis, Afghanistan and the floods in Pakistan.
Afghanaid is a British humanitarian and development organisation which has been working in Afghanistan for nearly 40 years. Activities include building basic services, improving livelihoods and strengthening the rights of women and children. It also helps communities protect themselves and recover from natural disasters and adapt to climate change, as well as responding to humanitarian emergencies. Funding partners include the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Give2Asia and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
As part of its global development sector of work, the Gates Foundation has a dedicated emergency response programme, which provides grants to partners to assist with three types of emergency: rapid-onset (high-impact disasters, which account for the bulk of funding – an example: Typhoon Haiyan which struck the Philippines in November 2013), complex (often violent civil conflict where national systems are disrupted – the Central African Republic) and slow-onset (such as drought and famine – Horn of Africa and the Sahel).
Like the Gates Foundation, IKEA also has a programme dedicated to emergency response, under which it gives unrestricted emergency funding to selected partner organisations, who work mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. These grants also enable their partners to respond to ‘unseen’ emergencies, which the media has either overlooked or forgotten. IKEA’s programme places emphasis on working with partners who understand the need to help communities prepare for disasters before they happen, and to cope before the international response arrives on the scene. The foundation also invests in new ideas and research on climate action and support for vulnerable families to create sustainable livelihoods.
While it has no specific disaster grantmaking programme, the Global Fund for Community Foundations acts as a mouthpiece and showcase for community philanthropy organisations who, as this special feature points out, are at the forefront of responding to disasters and of rebuilding, both materially and morally, afterwards. In this regard, its website currently has an open letter to international donors and NGOs ‘who want to genuinely help Ukraine’ with some 140 signatories, not only from the Ukraine but globally.
A comparatively recent addition to the pantheon of platforms for emergency responses is the Climate Emergency Collaboration Group (CECG), a pooled fund that uses its convening and philanthropic power to facilitate stronger collaboration, coordination, and campaigning from the global climate movement in pursuit of increased climate action around the UN climate talks. Based in New York, the CECG is fiscally sponsored by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors.
Though its aims and scope have changed, INGO Oxfam was born out of a crisis. The name ‘Oxfam’ is an abbreviation of the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief, founded in Britain in 1942. The group campaigned for food supplies to be sent through an allied naval blockade to starving women and children in enemy-occupied Greece during the Second World War. Its successor, Oxfam International continues, among other things, its work of disaster relief and is active in about 70 countries, with 21 member organisations of the Oxfam International confederation, stretched across the world from New Zealand to Latin America.
Founded in 2006 by the Bush Administration, the Disaster Assistance Improvement Program’s (DAIP) mission is to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts. Though a US federal government agency, it works with federal, tribal, state, local and private sector partners. In 2008, DAIP launched a website called DisasterAssistance.gov which allows users to find and apply for disaster assistance online as well as getting help with housing and food and nutrition needs. Disasters currently listed on the homepage include Hurricanes Ian and Fiona, and severe storms, flooding and landslides in Alaska.