International Humanitarian Action and the Accountability of Official Donors

Briefing papers
December 2002
Sarah Collinson and Margie Buchanan-Smith

Over the past decade, there have been significant changes in the way official donors finance and organise their response to humanitarian crises. These changes have been dubbed the ‘bilateralisation’ of humanitarian response – a catchy, but often misleading, label. This paper reports on one aspect of a larger study of these trends: how donors themselves are held accountable for their performance as humanitarian actors. It describes the changes that have been subsumed under the label of 'bilateralism', identifies their implications, and proposes an agenda for 'good donorship'.

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