The rising scale of needs, our collective inability to resolve protracted crises, and the interplay of new risks have led to a global deficit in the operational and financial capacity of governments and humanitarian organizations to respond. This deficit has highlighted the need for a change in the way we look at humanitarian crises.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 2013

FHF is convened on behalf of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) task team on humanitarian financing and is led by a steering group comprising CAFOD, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Vision and funded by the German government.[i]

The purpose of the FHF initiative is to discuss the potential of new and emerging approaches to financing and investigate how these might support both a more open and adaptive humanitarian endeavour as well as new business models fit to meet the changing nature and scope of humanitarian crises.

The FHF initiative will follow a multi-stakeholder exploration of the potential and implications of financing approaches used outside, and at the margins of, the humanitarian sector – including the opportunities and risks these pose to the key actors and current modes of humanitarian response.

Dialogue events are being held in London and key centres of regional humanitarian coordination including Jordan, Dakar and Bangkok, with a final synthesis dialogue in Geneva in January 2014. Each dialogue event contributes to the overall outcomes of the FHF initiative, with participation and discussions tailored at each event to explore a wide remit of potential financing approaches.

Expected outcomes of the FHF initiative include:

  • a more robust understanding within the humanitarian community of the characteristics and comparative advantages of alternative financing approaches – and their potential to address humanitarian needs
  • a set of recommendations for the IASC Principals and members that will constitute an agenda for research, experimentation, adaptation and engagement with emerging financing approaches as well as linked recommendations proposing adjustments to existing financing approaches.
  • the beginnings of an expanded collaborative network of humanitarian financing actors, which may be developed and sustained beyond the lifetime of the FHF initiative.

The FHF outcomes also complement and feed into the humanitarian effectiveness workstream of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) consultation process.

Box 1: The World Humanitarian Summit The WHS is an initiative by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to improve humanitarian action. It aims to build a more inclusive and diverse humanitarian system by bringing all key stakeholders together to share best practices and find innovative ways to make humanitarian action more effective. The process is being managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and includes a two-year consultation process, which will culminate in a global summit in 2016.

[i] The IASC is the primary global mechanism for inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance and includes leading UN and non-UN humanitarian partners.


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