Financial flows mapping: the potential for a risk finance facility for civil society

Working and discussion papers
December 2019

The Start Network is embarking on an ambitious design process for the Start Financing Facility (SFF); envisaged as the future financial infrastructure for the network. The goal of all financing mechanisms within the Start Network is to move the international humanitarian sector from the 'begging bowl' model to one where financing is based on humanitarian need and can better serve communities affected by crisis. The Start Network commissioned the Overseas Development Institute to conduct a mapping of global disaster risk financing and humanitarian funding streams - along with past Start Fund alerts and activations - to expose and quantify the gaps in the financing landscape, and identify how and from what sources funding may flow into the facility.

This resulted in a series of three papers summarised in a briefing note, which extracts the most relevant findings from this work and lays out some of the potential implications for the design of the SFF. Findings are preliminary and will be complemented by country-level analysis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan and the Philippines to surface field-level consultations and members’ perspectives on the needs and niche of the SFF.

  • Paper 1: What funding streams exist that are relevant to the Start Financing Facility? 

  • Paper 2: What are the significant gaps in the humanitarian financing landscape (that could be met by the Start Financing Facility)?

  • Paper 3: How does the Start fund case-load compare with the wider humanitarian financing landscape?

These papers provide some initial quantification of the challenges with the humanitarian financing system that the SFF seeks to address. It highlights important gaps in the financing landscape, indicating that funding is reactive and not pre-planned, dominated by post-event response and not sufficiently meeting the needs of people affected by under-the-radar crises. These are gaps that the Start Network, through the SFF, could provide solutions to address. The analysis sets some useful themes to explore in global field-level consultations. Important considerations here include:

  1. generating a better understanding of the potential for action and related funding requirements for different windows of opportunity for various hazards in diverse contexts where the SFF would operate
  2. balancing the needs of people in smaller and under-the-radar crises with the needs of people impacted by larger-scale events
  3. identifying creative funding opportunities for the SFF.