UAE ranked as Gulf’s top humanitarian donor

The UAE was ranked 18th largest government donor worldwide over a five-year period, with Saudi Arabia the second largest Gulf donor

The UAE was the largest humanitarian donor in the Gulf region between 2009 and 2013, having provided $809m in humanitarian assistance, according to a new study.

Over the five-year period, the country was ranked 18th largest government donor worldwide. Saudi Arabia was the second largest Gulf donor, giving $709m over the same period, according to the Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) Report 2014.

Combined contributions from Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounted for 3 per cent of total humanitarian assistance from government donors worldwide in the five-year period. The Gulf states have typically accounted for a significant amount of aid from non-DAC donors – countries outside the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – accounting for some 35 per cent of all non-DAC humanitarian contributions.

The GHA report, which looks into global aid spending levels, found international humanitarian spending rose to a record $22bn in 2013, up from $17.3bn in 2012. Last year saw three crises trigger the UN’s highest level of emergency – level 3 – in Syria, the Philippines and the Central African Republic.

Public sources of funding increased in 2013, according to the report. Government contributions reached $16.4bn, up 24 per cent on 2012 figures, accounting for three-quarters of all international aid. The top five donors last year were the US, UK, Turkey, Japan and Germany. The US contributed by far the most at $4.7bn last year; the UK placed second with $1.8bn.

Aid from private sources – individuals, trusts, foundations and businesses – also rose last year. Private donations soared 35 per cent from 2012 levels to reach an estimated $5.6bn in 2013.

Nevertheless, last year’s increase in aid did not manage to keep pace with need. The study found that some 35 per cent of the UN’s coordinated appeals for 2013 went unfunded. The report also warned that needs are continuing to rise: by the end of July this year, UN appeals had reached a record $16.9bn, the highest level of requests ever, with $6bn of this for Syria alone.