For more details on Methodology click here. For more details on terminology click here.
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Last Updated 7th July 2022.

A quick caveat before going further: Protection here does not include other Protection domains. In addition to ‘General Protection’, there are another four related domains of Protection: Child Protection, Gender Based Violence, Housing Land and Property, and Mine Action. Three of these four have their own pages on this site. To find out more about these, please go to those individual pages. These different domains are called ‘Areas of Responsibility’. The funding analysed on this page is basically everything else that is not one of the four things above.


How much funding is the Protection sector forecast to receive in 2022?

Funding to the Protection sector is forecast to be between $360m and $660m in 2021. Our central estimate is $560m. For reference, the Protection sector received $532m in total last year.

This forecast is based on our 95% probability range. In other words, we are 95% sure that funding will be between $360m and $660m. Below are the other forecast ranges for the Protection 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 $498m and $613m.

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 highly unlikely that the Protection sector will receive 25% of its funding requirement, and there’s a remote chance that the sector will receive 50% of the funding requirement in 2021. This is in part due to the projected large funding requirement in 2022.


How does the 2022 forecast compare to previous years?

The Protection Sector’s funding requirement was broadly stable from 2016 to 2020, starting at $1.15bn in 2016, and ending at $1.31bn in 2020. In 2021, the requirement increased significantly to $2.4bn. We think this is as a result of Protection being more visible in the financial data for Refugee Response Plans (as opposed to any ‘real’ increase in funding needed).

The most striking feature in terms of the funding requirement is the dip in funding in 2018. The funding required declined from $1,187m in 2017 to $964m in 2018, equivalent to a 19% drop in the funding needed (the third lowest growth of any sector in that year). One possible explanation of this could be the growing visibility, and therefore increasing funding requirements, of Child Protection (CP) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) as distinct sectors. In 2017, the CP and GBV sectors only had a combined funding requirement of $5m. The following year, this then exploded to a combined funding requirement of $309m for CP and GBV. So in short, Protection declined by $223m and two Protection AoRs increased by $304m.

Similarly, the Protection sector received less funding in 2018, and this may be due to more funding being received into CP and GBV sectors. The combined funding for these two AoRs in 2017 was $17m, which increased to $128m in 2018. The Protection sector’s funding declined $79m in the same year.

Zooming out from the 2017 and 2018 period for a moment, and we can see that funding increased across the period from $372m in 2016, to $532m in 2021.

But how does this relate to need? The funding gap started to slowly close in 2019 and 2020. But this widened dramatically again in 2021 to a 77% funding gap. This is quite concerning when we think about the Centrality of Protection in Humanitarian Action. A 77% funding gap means that many affected populations are not receiving needed services. Lots of humanitarian crises are protection crises. The high funding gap raises the question: to what extent is Protection actually at the centre of humanitarian action?

We’ve come up with a way of defining what a ‘real humanitarian recession’ is, and we’ve defined it in this story as two consecutive years of a growing funding gap. Protection has already had one year of a growing funding gap – so what is expected to happen in 2022?

We think that it is likely that the Protection sector will experience a year of real negative growth in 2022., and thus go into recession this year. This being said, there is a non-insignificant chance of the sector experiencing real growth (3 in 10 chance).


How does the 2022 forecast compare to other sectors?

The Protection sector is forecast to rank 8th of all humanitarian sectors in terms of funding received, between Education, and Emergency Shelter and NFI. This places Protection firmly in the ‘top-half’ of sectors, which tend to have $400m+ in funding received and $1bn+ funding requirements.


The current state of things

Funding to the Protection sector in 2021 appears to have hit the range that it had in the previous two years (around $530m to $550m). Indeed, the graph shows how 2021 tracked the two previous years very closely throughout the year, suggesting there is a new equilibrium between $500m and $600m.

By the end of June 2022, the sector appears to be following a simliar path to the previous years. In previous years, the sector had received somewhere between $100m and $180m at this point, and the sector has received $126m this year. However, this is unusual when compared to other sectors. Other sectors have experienced substantial uplifts in 2022 – in particular this could be a result of the Ukraine crisis. Yet Protection has not experienced any uplift in Q1 or Q2.

Another interesting feature of the graph is how similar 2020 funding is to other years. 2020 funding tracked the 2019 funding flows for most of the year, and, there’s no noticeable ‘COVID slump’.


Features of the Protection sector in 2021

The average Protection Response received only 29% of the funding requirement in 2021. This isn’t ideal – this means that the average Protection Response lacks roughly 7 out of every 10 dollars that it needs. On the other hand though, this is actually the 6th highest across all sectors, and higher than the average across sectors (24%). Significantly, 13 contexts received over 50% of their requirement, including Northern Ethiopia Response Plan, which received 262% of their funding requirement, and the Afghanistan Flash Appeal (259%). Other contexts receiving a large percentage of their funding ask include Nigeria (98%), Guatemala (93%), El Salvador (91%), and Libya (84%).

However, at the other end of the spectrum there are a lot of contexts receiving very little. 18 contexts received less than 25% of their funding requirement.

The sector as a whole is quite unequal, with some contexts receiving a lot of funding, and some receiving really not much at all. We’ll try to measure just how unequal the sector is in the future with the creation of an ‘Inequity Index’, and to benchmark against other sectors as well. We’ll also try to explain the causes of the inequity. Could it be due to the size of the funding requirement, donor preferences, under reporting, how recent the emergency is, or other factors?

The Protection sector has quite a diverse funding mix, with no one actor dominating the sector. In fact, the top donor only contributes 23% of the total, which is a lot less than some sectors. The top donors to the sector are the US Government (23%), ECHO (13%), the Italian Government (7%), and the Famine Relief Fund (6%). In total, 69 donors contributed to the Protection sector in 2021.

We can measure the diversity of a sector using the Herfindahl Hirschman Index. On a scale of 0 to 10,000, a sector is unconcentrated and competitive with a score under 1,500. The Protection Sector had a HHI score of 879 in 2021. This means the sector is quite diverse.

One of our hypotheses, which we’ve tested in this story here, is that greater diversity in a sector means being better-able to weather shocks. In other words, resilience. The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 was a large external shock to humanitarian sectors, and some experienced declines in funding as a result. The Protection sector increased in funding in 2020, and the diversity of funding sources may have helped the sector to weather the storm.

Turning our attention to those who received funding, UNHCR received over half of the funding (46%). This isn’t that surprising given that UNHCR has cluster lead agency responsibilities for Protection. A range of other international organisations also receive substantial amounts of funding, including Other (10%), IOM (9%), NRC (5%), UNICEF (3%), and DRC (3%).


2021 Forecast

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.

Methodology

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.

For forecast methodology, click here. We’ll be keeping a record of all our forecasts and success over time, which you can find here.

To find out methodology and sources for other things on this page which aren’t the forecast, click here.