From Stockholm to Ottawa: a progress review of the Good Humanitarian Donorship initiative

Briefing papers
October 2004
Adele Harmer, Lin Cotterrell and Abby Stoddard

Until a year ago, there was no consensus regarding how donor governments could and should use their influence and harmonise their procedures to improve humanitarian response. Driven by political interests rather than according to need, funding allocations were often inequitable, unpredictable and untimely in responding to crises. Overall, there were weak accountability mechanisms and transparency in relation to donor action. In June 2003, donor governments met in Stockholm to address these concerns. There, donors identified what constitutes ‘good donorship’ in the humanitarian sector, and committed to a series of Principles and Good Practice measures. This paper provides an overview of what has become known as the ‘Good Humanitarian Donorship’ (GHD) initiative. It is based on interviews with representatives of donor governments and stakeholders, as well as documentation emerging from the process. It highlights the main accomplishments to date, and the challenges donor governments have faced in advancing the initiative.

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