COVID-19 Funding: Stuck in Multilateral System

The U.K. government must increase humanitarian funding to front-line NGOs to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, because of politicians and aid leaders insisting that less than 2% of funding committed under the Global Humanitarian Response Plan has so far made it properly and rapidly to NGOs.

Most of the funding is being directed through the United Nations or other multilateral organizations instead of being directly given to NGOs, which slows down the distribution. The funding insufficiency leads to a lack of actions taken by the NGOs, who are trying to give a quick response and fighting to prevent severe outbreaks of COVID-19 among vulnerable communities. Although a lot of that UN money actually ends up going to NGOs, it takes two to three months to get there.

“It’s very clear there is a window where we can be shoring up and making [communities] resilient and indeed preventing outbreaks of COVID-19, particularly in the global south, but that window is closing very, very quickly, if not shutting. So we need to be much more swift in our response in getting that money out to the front line,” said Sarah Champion, member of Parliament and chair of IDC.

We are going through times in which speed of action and efficiency are essential to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in vulnerable communities. It is important to reconsider if the access to resources and funding for NGOs is the appropriate one. It may be helpful to leave unnecessary bureaucracy behind and start thinking about finding more valuable solutions and better ways of resource distribution for those who need it the most.

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