Coordination and Support Services (also referred to as ‘Common Services’) is not like many of the other sectors we’re analysing on the site. The role of the Coordination and Support Services sector is to support the humanitarian community through effective coordination, and so it doesn’t have a ‘People in Need’ number, nor a ‘Target’ number like other sectors.
So what does ‘effective coordination’ mean? Quite simply, it just involves making sure that everyone has a common sense of what they want to achieve, and that they have the tools to make that happen. For example, clusters and sectors in different contexts need resources to function (e.g. Coordinators and Information Management Officers) as well as to push changes that matter in that context (e.g. capacity strengthening, localisation etc.). But at the inter-cluster level, this could also mean things that all clusters rely on. This includes safety and security services, work around ensuring humanitarian access, making sure that humanitarian services are accountable to the affected population, conducting needs assessments across the different sectors, producing response plans and monitoring the response.
In short, the sector is an ‘enabler’ of the work of humanitarian organisations.
Another quick caveat. Unlike other sectors, a huge amount of Coordination and Support Services funding is not tagged to any particular response plan. Over half of all funding is outside of response plans.
We’ll be talking about the response plan funding on this page as often we are comparing it to the funding requirement. Funding requirements are only based on particular responses – if we can’t say the funding received went to those responses then we can’t really compare the two numbers. However, we do talk about the full range of funding in the donor and recipients section at the bottom of the page.
How much funding is the Coordination and Support Services sector forecast to receive in 2023?
Funding to the Coordination and Support Services sector is forecast to be between $417m and $579m in 2023. Our central estimate is $486m. For reference, the Coordination and Support Services sector received $476m last year.
This forecast is based on our 95% probability range. In other words, we are 95% sure that funding will be between $417m and $579m. Below are the other forecast ranges for the Coordination sector. As we become less sure about our forecast, the range narrows. So for example, we think there’s a 50% probability that funding will be between $459m and $517m.
But we need to put this into context. What does the forecast mean in terms of reaching the funding that is required for the sector (also known as the funding requirement)? The total funding requirement globally is determined by how much is needed in each context. If you hover over the donut below you’ll be able to see the chances of reaching 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of the funding that is required.
We think that it’s almost certain that the Coordination and Support Services sector will reach at least 50% of funding required, and likely that the sector will reach 75% of its funding requirement.
How does the 2023 forecast compare to previous years?
Our central estimate of $486m for 2023 would be the best year yet for the sector, but it would fall short of the funding requirement which is the highest it has ever been at $611m.
Funding to Coordination and Support Services had been on a downward trend since 2017. Whereas funding hit a high of $351m in 2017, it then reduced by over 45% in three years. However, funding received is now an upward trend since 2020, jumping from $205m in 2020 to $485m in 2022.
In terms of funding requirement, this increased again in 2023 to $611m. The Coordination and Support Services sector has had an unusual trajectory in the terms of the funding required. Many other sectors have had a year-on-year increase in the funding requirement. Yet, the Coordination and Support Services sector has fluctuated in terms of funding requirement.
The sector has diverged from the overall trend across all sectors in this period. One reason for this could be that other sectors’ funding requirements are more intrinsically linked to the number of people in need, and the targeted population. As humanitarian needs have increased over the past five years, we’d expect most sectors to also see increasing funding requirements. Yet, given that Coordination and Support Services isn’t a direct service to affected populations, perhaps it is more decoupled from the overall funding trend in the humanitarian sphere.
To borrow concepts from microeconomics, Coordination and Support Services may resemble the “fixed costs” of the industry, in other words things that aren’t linked with ‘output’ and are really the costs of doing business, or the things we need no matter what. Whereas other sectors such as Food Security or Health resemble “variable costs”, which are more intimately linked to the “output”, which in turn is dependent on the number of people in need.
The funding gap had also increased year-on-year for the last few years, that is until 2021. The funding gap had expanded to 48% in 2020. But the trend reversed in 2021, and the Coordination and Support Services sector now only has a gap of 11% in 2022 – the lowest of any sector last year.
With the funding gap decreasing last year, that means Coordination and Support Services experienced a couple of years of real humanitarian growth. In this story, we’ve defined real humanitarian growth and a humanitarian recession, with the latter defined as two consecutive years of a growing funding gap. After the success of 2021 and 2022, what are the odds this will continue in 2023 and the sector continue to close the funding gap?
Given the growing funding requirement, we think it is almost certain that the Coordination and Support Services sector will experience real negative growth in 2023 (i.e. the funding gap will widen).
How does the 2023 forecast compare to other sectors?
Our central estimate of $486m for Coordination and Support Services puts the sector in 10th place of all forecasted humanitarian sectors. This is in the bottom half of the table which is notable. Sectors in the top half of the table tend to have $3bn+ funding requirements and $800m+ in funding received, whereas the opposite is true for sectors in the bottom half.
The current state of things
Funding to the Coordination Sector by the end of the 2023 calendar year ($360m) is around the same amount that the sector had received at the same point last year ($376m). Whilst this should be good news, funding isn’t keeping up with the growing funding requirement.
When it comes to the past two years, the graph speaks for itself. By the end of 2022, funding to the sector ($476m) was more than $150m ahead of what it was at the same point last year ($318m), which in turn was over $100m ahead of the 2021 figure.
Features of the Coordination Sector in 2022
It is quite extraordinary that the average (median) Coordination and Support Services sector was 77% funded in 2021. This is actually second highest average of all humanitarian sectors, just behind Logistics (86%), and way beyond the average across sectors (25%).
Around two-thirrds of all contexts reached the 50% mark, which is almost unheard of when looking at the distribution of funding across response plans. And it was a particularly good year for 12 responses which met their funding requirement, and in some cases went well above their requirement, such as: the Kenya Flash Appeal, Pakistan, Haiti, Sudan, Afghanistan, Niger, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Mozambique, the Ukraine Flash Appeal, South Sudan, and CAR.
Despite these unqualified successes, there were also some unqualified failures. Funding wasn’t reported for four responses (including the HRPs in Central America). We hope this is just a reporting issue.
Before diving into the analysis, we should note that the two diagrams above reflect all funding to Coordination and Support Services, not just funding to response plans. We chose to do this to give a more complete picture of the donor and recipient landscape given the amount of funding ‘outside’ of response plans.
The Coordination and Support Services sector is not that diverse when it comes to donors. The US government contributed nearly half of all Coordination funding in 2021 ($503m). This is then followed by three other donors that contributed 6-13% each. These were OCHA (13%), the German Government (8%), and ECHO (6%). These four donors contributed 71% of all Coordination and Support Services funding in 2022.
The diversity of the sector is reflected in its Herfindahl Hirschman Index value. The Herfindahl Hirschman Index measures the extent to which a market is concentrated, with a value between 1,500 and 2,500 meaning that the market is moderately concentrated. Based on sources of funding, the HHI value of the Coordination and Support Services sector is 2,257. The good news, however, is that there were 68 other donors in addition to the ones mentioned above who contributed, which should in theory add to the resilience of the sector.
OCHA received the most Coordination and Support Services funding – no surprise there! OCHA received 46% of all funding to Coordination in 2022. This is then followed WFP, the nebulous category of ‘Other’, IOM and the Red Cross/Red Crescent
The usual health warning: FTS doesn’t capture everything. It is a platform that relies on voluntary reporting by organisations. But it is the most comprehensive source of data for humanitarian funding.
To find out methodology and sources for other things on this page which aren’t the forecast, click here.
Note: Numbers in ‘The current state of things’ graph may differ from elsewhere on the page as the data was extracted on a different date (8th July 2023) than other numbers that also show how much was received (i.e. the column chart).