Analysis: as need outstrips funding, experts are making the case for overhauling ‘old-fashioned’ donor-recipient narratives

This year one in every 33 people across the world will need humanitarian assistance. That is a rise of 40% from last year, according to the UN. More than half of the countries requiring aid to help deal with the coronavirus pandemic are already in protracted crises, coping with conflict or natural disasters.

Even before Covid-19 threw decades of progress on extreme poverty, healthcare and education into reverse, aid budgets were heading in the wrong direction. In 2020, the UN had just 48% of its $38.5bn (£28bn) in funding appeals met, compared with 63% of $29bn sought in 2019.

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