UNISDR Objects to Classification as Humanitarian Agency in UK Aid Review

Margareta Wahlström, head of the secretariat of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. UNISDR questions why it was classified as a humanitarian agency during the course of the U.K. multilateral aid review. Photo by: John McIlwaine / United Nations

The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction has raised concern on why it was evaluated as a humanitarian organization during the course of the U.K. multilateral aid review. Disaster risk reduction is situated in the field of sustainable development, according to the agency.

UNISDR is one of the four U.N. agencies that will see their U.K. funding withdrawn following the review. The others are the United Nations Human Settlements Program, or UN-HABITAT, International Labor Organization and United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The latter two have earlier provided their reactions to the review, with both protesting the findings. 

>> UK Releases Aid Review Results

>> UK Aid Review: ILO, UNIDO Defend Performance, Eye Future Partnership with UK

Despite the recommendation of U.K. funding cut, UNISDR, in its March 9 response to the review, said it welcomed the process and even lauded it “as an innovative and critical contribution to strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of international cooperation frameworks for the delivery of aid.”

But UNISDR questioned why it was assessed as a humanitarian organization, along with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, World Food Program and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

This “suggests that [UNISDR] is being reviewed with criteria that are not fully suitable for an accurate impact assessment of its work,” the statement said.

UNISDR also said its classification in the review “may contribute to the continued portrayal of DRR [disaster risk reduction] as a humanitarian issue.”

The agency expressed hope that the the British government “will scale up its engagement in a manner that reflects a perspective that is not only humanitarian” and said it looks forward to continued cooperation with the U.K. in bilateral and multilateral contexts.  

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About the author

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    Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.