Humanitarian emergency fund: independent review

Independent review of the HEF to assess impacts and possible improvements.

Executive Summary

This independent review of the Scottish Government Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF) was undertaken from June to September 2019 and considered the period since the HEF's establishment in spring 2017 to summer 2019. The review was based on a range of interviews with key stakeholders and sector experts, as well as desk review of HEF documentation and publications from leading agencies, thought leaders and think tanks working on humanitarian assistance.

The report presents the scope and methodology applied, followed by discussion of the HEF's functioning. Issues of focus are then reviewed, and an overview provided of humanitarian assistance trends, policy commitments and good practices relevant to the Fund's work and operation, ahead of final sections comprising reflections, recommendations, future scenarios and a conclusion.

The review concludes that in its first two years of operation, the HEF has achieved a great deal. New systems have been established from scratch and proven supportive in the successful disbursement and reporting of £2.1 million in humanitarian assistance over this period to a number of communities in need in nine different crises spanning three continents.

The Fund's work and processes also respond to a number of good practices and current trends in the sector, not least promoting transparency on localisation and inclusion. HEF Panel members report the positive spirit of collaboration which has facilitated their joint work on the Panel, and attest to the informal benefits of closer relationships and networking among Scottish humanitarian players.

This important progress notwithstanding, the review finds that HEF's work would be strengthened by a number of improvements. Most should not require any sea change in approach, and rather the greater definition and application of existing approaches to strengthen proposal and reporting quality, facilitate decision-making and promote learning. The area where the review recommends most effort be placed is on defining and strengthening systems for external communication; external communications responsibilities have been undefined to date and are unsurprisingly noted as an area of weak performance in relation to the Fund's original objectives.

In addition to a series of recommendations for specific steps, the review concludes by presenting a series of options for Scottish Government's consideration in relation to future policy decisions on the HEF and possible alternative humanitarian funding modalities.



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