Make or break – the implications of Covid-19 for crisis financing

Published 28. Jul 2020
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) commissioned this study to reflect on what the Covid-19 pandemic response tells us about the fitness of the international crisis financing system. Crises provide moments of opportunity for policymakers. Ideas that were once politically inconceivable become mainstream, forgotten policy proposals are revisited and neglected issues are suddenly prioritised.

It is also important, however, to heed the policy environment. The world is already much changed from the pre-pandemic era, and major economic and political transformations are underway. These include trends expected to be regressive in terms of aid and multilateral responses to shared challenges.

The challenges facing the international crisis financing system have rarely if ever been greater. The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates that we should be prepared for a new order of crises and an era in which large-scale systemic risks and shocks may overlay and aggravate existing risks and significant long-standing humanitarian needs. 

Incremental reforms will not deliver a system fit to respond effectively to this type and volume of demand. A fundamental rethink of how we prepare and respond is needed, and it must go beyond the humanitarian community because the solutions require far greater resources, expertise and networks.

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