Humanitarian Financing

In line with the 2015 – 2018 Strategy, ICVA’s aims to ensure that humanitarian financing meets the needs of populations affected by crises, and NGOS, particularly natinal NGOs, understand, influence and have better access to humanitarian financing.  Humanitarian financing concerns reflect the need for adequate and de-politicised funds that are maximally effective for people affected by crisis. While NGOs are essential actors in effective humanitarian work, international NGOs currently only recieve a small proportion of multilateral funding, and national NGOs even less.  To this end ICVA's efforts are focused on three key areas:

For a further explanation of the different platforms where humanitarian financing is discussed please see the "Overview of Humanitarian Financing Architecture"



1. Influencing policy to strengthen financing mechanisms

ICVA promotes NGO engagment to IASC finance platforms and other funding mechanisms.

ICVA Humanitarian Financing Working Group

ICVA’s Humanitarian Financing Working Group was established in 2013 for ICVA members to advise the ICVA Secretariat on its work related to humanitarian financing.  ICVA’s current goals are to improve NGO understanding of various funding mechanisms, facilitate better NGO engagement in key inter-agency bodies, and promote policies that allow for better NGO access to funds.  For more information contact

IASC Task Team on Humanitarian Financing

ICVA and OCHA co-chair the IASC’s Task Team on Humanitarian Financing.  A 2014-2015 workplan aims to seek ways to make funding more accessible to operational agencies, minimize burdensome donor requirements, bridge relief to development funding, and improve the transparency of aid flows.


Pooled Fund Working Group (PFWG)

Established in 2007, the Pooled Fund Working Group consists of major CBPF stakeholders including donors, UN agencies, NGOs, CERF secretariat, administrative agencies such as OCHA and UNDP (the full list of members is provided in the Terms of Reference). The PFWG is cochaired by two members of the PFWG, OCHA is the permanent co-chair while the donor seat rotates (Ireland is the current co-chair). OCHA’s Funding and Coordination Section functions as Secretariat. ICVA, as co-chair of the IASC HFTT, participates in this group. 


The OCHA-NGO Platform on Country-Based Pooled Funds

The Country-based Pooled Fund (CBPF)-NGO Dialogue Platform is an informal forum for regular dialogue between OCHA and NGOs to inform global policy issues related to the management of CBPFs. It has three main objectives: 1) CBPF global policies reflect the views of diverse NGO stakeholders; 2) CBPF management that is more effective, accountable and transparent; and 3) joint advocacy where appropriate.

High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing

In May 2015, the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, appointed a High-Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing. 

Kristalina Georgieva and Sultan Nazrin Shah are appointed as co-chairs of the Panel. This initiative will bring together distinguished individuals with a wide range of experience and expertise.

The Panel will examine humanitarian financing challenges and will identify ways in which the gap between rising needs and the resources available to meet them can be closed. It will also work on generating solutions around the issues of more timely and predictable funding, as well as ways in which resources can be used more effectively. 

The Grand Bargain on Efficiencies

The ICVA Secretariat serves as a Sherpa member in the ongoing Grand Bargain discussions bringing together 15 donors, 15 agencies, and Turkey to focus on implementing parts of the report of the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing.

Less Paper More Aid

ICVA is very proud to share the results of the Less Paper More Aid Initative, an NGO-led project to improve efficiency in humanitarian action by reducing the burden of donor conditions on NGOs. You can find the study, together with a brief Youtube video on the or download it directly from:

The Less Paper More Aid report, launched Tuesday 17th of May at the occasion of an NGO briefing to Member States in Geneva, examined donor and UN guidance on, and NGOs' perception of reporting, partner capacity assessment and audit conditions attached to grants. Giving voice to NGO staff in the field and comparing existing donor requirements, the study addresses an important knowledge gap showing how aid can be affected by compliance with administrative requirements. 

High volume, complexity and duplication in donor reporting, PCA and audit requirements are amongst the main findings from the report together with higher and more frequent demands from UN agencies.

Building on the momentum created by the Grand Bargain, the study suggests a "Framework for Change" with concrete suggestions for each of the three conditions. The requests align with the principles of harmonisation and simplification, as referred to in the Grand Bargain commitment on donor reporting, crafted by the Sherpas and co-championed by ICVA and Germany.

ICVA stands ready to support the roll–out of this commitment and will continue to engage with UN agencies and donors to promote harmonisation and simplification in their partnership agreements.

We appreciate the contributions to the Less Paper More Aid project made by NRC, CARE, ICMC, NGO VOICE, Plan, INTERSOS, DRC, the CHS Alliance, IRC and Handicap International.  This project was a key component in enabling ICVA to co-champion with Germany the Grand Bargain workstream on simplifying and harmonizing reporting.  This project would not have been possible without the initial support in the pilot phase of the German Humanitarian Assistance.


2. Improve NGO access to funding

ICVA conducts research, analysis and tracks NGO experiences (particularly national NGOs) in accessing humanitarian funding and promotes best practice.

Comparison review of UN project partnership agreements

In late 2014 ICVA commissioned a review and comparison of the various UN project partnership agreesments for NGO implementation of humanitarian projects.  The goal was two-fold: 1) to improve NGO understanding of the different UN agencies' approahces regarding reporting requirements, overhead support cost, partner personnel costs, etc., and 2) to identify best practices to inform future consultations with UN agencies when they update their agreement templates. 

Download the full review (PDF)


NGO challenges to accessing country-based pooled funds

The work plan of the IASC Humanitarian Financing Task Team (HFTT) focuses on improving the availability of adequate and accessible funding for operational aid agencies. To this end, in 2014 OCHA and ICVA carried out a mapping of NGO challenges to accessing country-based pooled funds (CBPFs)i, which contributed to the development of new Global Guidelines for CBPFs issued by OCHA in February 2015 following an extensive consultation process.

Download the summary of findings document (PDF)


Partners capacity assessments of humanitarian NGOS- fit for purpose? 

This study, which was commissioned by the IASC Humanitarian Financing
 Task Team, is a mapping of a variety of partner capacity assessments (PCA) tools and methodologies currently applied by different funders, including multilaterals, bilaterals and INGOs in order to vet the suitability of prospective NGOs to receive and manage humanitarian funds in different contexts. The study is intended to contribute to policy discussions amongst funders and NGOs alike, leading to the establishment of recognized minimum good practices for partner capacity assessments applicable in different humanitarian contexts. Such good practices would be those which are able to strike a pragmatic balance between the need for due diligence, risk management and accountability and the transformative capacities of NGOs to make a long-term difference—especially national NGOs—in their own country settings. 


Review of NGO experiences with the Syria related pooled funds

This review of non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) experiences with the Syria-related pooled funds was conducted within the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA)’s humanitarian financing focal area during the months of November and December 2014.1 Alongside OCHA, ICVA is the co-chair of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s (IASC) Task Team on Humanitarian Financing and member of the Pooled Fund Working Group. 

Download the full report (PDF)


3. Improve NGO understanding of humanitarian financing mechanisms

UNICEF Programme Cooperation Agreements (PCA) training days

UNICEF has launced the UNICEF Procedure for  Transfer of Resources to Civil Society Organizations.  The new procedure, effective as of 1 April 2015, streamlines internal processes, improves CSO partnership management practices and establishes tools to meet needs of the full range of UNICEF country offices, including those engaged in humanitarian action. 

ICVA co-hosted with UNICEF two training workshops on their new PCA.  one in Geneva in , and the other in Amman, Jordan in May 2015. These trainings included NGOs and UNICEF staff, and were an opportunity to improve knowledge regarding UNICEF-NGO partnerships.

See the Agenda and the key takeaways.


Overview of humanitarian financing architecture

Resourcing humanitarian action is one of the key issues for NGOs and all other actors involved in providing humanitarian assistance. This overview  is an attempt to map out existing platforms where humanitarian financing is discussed, information shared and analysis provided to facilitate increased access to funding for NGOs.

Download the overview (PDF)



ICVA’s Humanitarian Financing Learning Events

To advance ICVA’s results framework objective aimed at better NGO understanding of various funding mechanisms, ICVA supports various learning activities.