In delivering assistance, we work closely with UN agencies, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs to save lives and deliver essential supplies and assistance during emergencies.
Ireland provided over €190 million in humanitarian funding in 2016, helping to save lives and alleviate suffering in crisis.
Support for UN agencies
Much of our humanitarian funding is channelled through UN agencies to enable effective and co-ordinated responses to emergencies and to meet the needs of crisis and conflict affected populations.
We support better international co-ordination during a crisis though our funding to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). OCHA also manages funds at country level, usually known as Common Humanitarian Funds. Ireland provided over €28 million to twelve of these funds in 2016, making us the seventh-largest donor. These funds are available to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including local NGOs, and are a very important way of ensuring that assistance can reach all those in need quickly.
We work closely with the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR, to help meet the needs of the over 65 million people (over thirteen times the population of Ireland) that have been displaced as a result of conflict, violence or human rights abuses. As part of our engagement with the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), we provide funding to, the UN Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNWRA).
Ireland is the eighth largest donor to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is managed by the United Nations. Ireland contributed €13 million to the CERF for its activities in 2017. The aim of the CERF is to provide equitable, timely and reliable assistance where it is needed, including to emergencies that might otherwise not get enough funding.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement
The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is the world's largest humanitarian network, and provides protection and assistance to people affected by disasters and conflicts. Our strong partnership with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), one of main components of the Movement, allows us to promote our shared humanitarian values and support the activities of local Red Cross/Red Crescent branches throughout the world in assisting those in need. The IFRC comprises 190 national Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, including the Irish Red Cross, whose overseas activities we also support.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), another component organisation within the Movement, is also a key humanitarian partner for Ireland. The ICRC provides humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence and is often best placed to provide assistance in conflict situations and where other organisations cannot operate. The Committee also plays an important role as the custodian of the Geneva Conventions which protect victims of war.
In 2016, we provided almost €17 million to the Movement as a whole.
Our partnership with the Movement allows us to target our humanitarian assistance where needs are greatest, such as in South Sudan, Syria and Nigeria, and to focus on the sometimes neglected West and Central Africa regions in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad and Niger. Ireland also supports protection programmes through our partnership agreements with the IFRC and the ICRC.
Support for Irish and international NGOs
Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are key partners for us in the delivery of aid in emergency crisis situations. They know the local situation or have partners on the ground, have long years of experience, understand what is required and can act quickly.
NGOs are key partners for us in the delivery of aid in crisis situations
Irish Aid provides predictable and coordinated funding to six key NGO partners – Concern Worldwide, Plan International Ireland, Trócaire, World Vision Ireland, Oxfam Ireland, and Christian Aid Ireland – through our Humanitarian Programme Plan (HPP), which is designed for humanitarian interventions in situations of protracted and recurring crises. We have also established the Emergency Response Fund Scheme (ERFS) to promote early action and response by our key NGO partners, in order to reduce loss of life in sudden onset or deteriorating humanitarian crises.
Irish Aid proactively initiates a ‘Call for Proposals’ to NGO partners to respond rapidly and effectively to sudden onset disasters or deteriorations in protracted emergency situations. This mechanism has opened funding to additional NGO partners like Tearfund Ireland, Action Aid Ireland and Haven.
Additional humanitarian funding is channelled through the Start Fund, a humanitarian pooled fund for NGOs to access emergency funding to respond quickly to 'under the radar' emergencies, such as landslides or localised flooding, and to facilitate earlier and faster decision-making in protracted crises.
We also have strategic partnerships with NGOs which have specialised expertise in thematic areas which are policy priorities for Irish Aid, notably gender-based violence in emergencies, mine action and research and standards for humanitarian action.
Irish Aid supports mine clearance programmes, including weapons and ammunition disposal, and partners with the HALO Trust, the largest independent humanitarian demining operator in the world, to clear mines and to conduct mine risk education in mine affected communities.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC)
The IRC is an important humanitarian partner for Ireland due to its longstanding history of working in humanitarian crises and its lead role in the protection of women and girls, who are disproportionately affected. Ireland has been supporting the IRC for over 15 years, predominantly focussed on the wellbeing of women and girls, their empowerment, and their protection from gender-based violence (GBV). In 2019, Ireland and the IRC embarked on a new three-year Strategic Partnership focussed on GBV. This partnership will deliver life-saving services for women and girl survivors of GBV in five of the most protracted, underfunded humanitarian settings around the world. Alongside this sits emergency response funding which will enable the IRC to rapidly put GBV services in place during the very earliest phase of an emergency.The partnership has consistently contributed to the delivery of our priority of promoting gender equality and the rights of women and girls as committed to through our International Development Policy, A Better World, the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security, the Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, the SDGs "leave no one behind" agenda, and the World Humanitarian Summit.
Read more about our emergency response
Learn how we are responding to current humanitarian crises.
Irish Aid Humanitarian Assistance Policy
Download our Humanitarian Assistance Policy 2015
Guidelines for NGO Professional Safety & Security
Download our Best Practice Guidelines for NGO Professional Safety and Security here.
Our Emergency and Recovery funding
Learn more about our Emergency and Recovery funding schemes and how they support poor people in times of crises.