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. Around two-thirds 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 $1bn 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 2022?
Funding to the Coordination and Support Services sector is forecast to be between $540m and $711m in 2021. Our central estimate is $614m. For reference, the Coordination and Support Services sector received $336m last year.
This forecast is based on our 95% probability range. In other words, we are 95% sure that funding will be between $540m and $711m. 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 $584m and $647m.
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. Given that we don’t have the information yet we have projected the funding required for 2022 and compared that to the funding forecast. 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 75% of funding required, and it’s almost certain the sector will actually reach 100% of its funding requirement.
How does the 2021 forecast compare to previous years?
Our central estimate of $614m funding received for 2022 would be the best year yet for the sector, and just slightly surpassing the funding requirement, which is $535m.
Funding to Coordination and Support Services had been on a downward trend since 2017. Whereas funding hit a high of $352m in 2017, it then reduced by over 45% in three years. However, funding received has recovered again and last year reached near 2016 and 2017 levels.
In terms of funding requirement, this increased in 2021 to $534m. 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. The graph below shows how all humanitarian funding has had an increasing funding requirement over the past five years. Yet, the Coordination and Support Services sector has fluctuated between $304m and $528m in terms of funding requirement. It started at a high of $506m in 2016, reducing to $304m by 2018, and then increasing again to $528m in 2021.
The graph above (red and dark green line) shows how 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 last year. 2017 was a good year not just in absolute terms, but also in terms of the funding gap. The sector only had a 20% funding gap in 2017. Three years later, and this had expanded to 51%. Whilst this is by no means the worst funding gap across sectors (many other sectors have much worse), the increase has been quite dramatic. But the trend reversed in 2021, and the Coordination and Support Services sector ‘only’ had a funding gap of 37%.
With the funding gap decreasing last year, that means Coordination and Support Services experienced a year 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 relative success of 2021, what are the odds this will continue in 2022 and the sector continue to close the funding gap?
We think that it’s almost certain that Coordination and Support Services will experience real growth in 2022, and there’s only a remote chance that the sector experiencing real negative growth.
How does the 2022 forecast compare to other sectors?
Our central estimate of $614m for Coordination and Support Services puts the sector in 9th 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 $1bn+ funding requirements and $400m+ in funding received, whereas the opposite is true for sectors in the bottom half. Yet, Coordination and Support Services might be the exception to this
rule rough guideline as they have already received in excess of $400m in 2022.
The current state of things
The graph speaks for itself here. By the end of December 2022, funding to the sector ($519m) is more than $150m ahead of what it was at the same point last year ($336m). The most obvious reason that could explain this sudden jump in funding is the war in Ukraine. Could it be that funding to the sector has been front-loaded due to the war? If we look at the timing of the funding, the real gap between this year and last year starts starts in April and continues to June – the same period that the war in Ukraine occured.
As for 2021, you could be forgiven for thinking at the start of the year that it would be similar to the previous three and land in the $200m – $250m range. Yet, by June and in particular in the last quarter the gap began to grow between 2021 and the previous years. The big question is whether this new height of $333m is a new equilibrium?
This is an important question given that funding to the sector between 2018 to 2020 appears to have settled in an equilibrium around the $200m – $250m range. Yet with $189m already received this year, it would suggest that there is a new higher equilibrium for the sector.
Features of the Coordination Sector in 2021
It is quite extraordinary that the average (median) Coordination and Support Services sector was 62% funded in 2021. Though this might not seem that good in isolation, it is actually the highest average of all humanitarian sectors.
Just over half of 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 seven responses which met their funding requirement, and in some cases went well above their requirement, such as: the Kenya Flash Appeal (3089%), Haiti Flash Appeal (924%), Northern Ethiopia Response Plan (309%), Afghanistan HRP and Flash Appeal (252% and 142%, respectively), Burkina Faso (150%), Burundi (140%), and the Central African Republic (115%).
Despite these unqualified successes, there were also some unqualified failures. Funding wasn’t reported for five responses (including all the new HRPs in Central America), and other non-HRP plans, such as: the Interim ERP in Myanmar, and the oPt Flash Appeal. 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 ($478m). This is then followed by four other donors that contributed 4-9% each. These were the German Government (9%), the UK Government (6%), ECHO (6%), and the Swedish Government (4%). These five donors contributed 70% of all Coordination and Support Services funding in 2021.
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 2,336. The good news, however, is that there were 74 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! This is then followed by the nebulous category of ‘Other’. We wish we could tell you who these ‘Others’ are, but this information isn’t available unfortunately due to the reporting of the data. UN agencies that have cluster lead agency or humanitarian coordination responsibilities then rank next highest. These include: WFP, UNHCR, and UNICEF.
Last year’s forecast can’t yet be judged against what the reality was as the 2021 numbers aren’t ‘final’ yet, despite it being 2022 already. It varies year-to-year, but there is still a non-trivial amount of funding that is logged after the end of the year. Therefore, we can’t really judge last year’s forecast until some point later in 2022. It’s at this point that we’ll do a post-mortem on our 2021 forecasts and see how well we did.
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 (13th January 2022) than other numbers that also show how much was received in 2022 (e.g. the column chart).