Opportunity knocks: why non-Western donors enter humanitarianism and how to make the best of it

Non-Western countries such as Saudi Arabia, China, Brazil, and Turkey have all started to take part in global humanitarian action. Their engagement raises a number of fundamental questions: how will the diversification of government donors affect humanitarian activities and principles; and how will it affect the people and governments of crisis-affected countries or humanitarian organizations? This article finds that the rise of non-Western donors involves both risks, such as normative conflicts, and great potential, such as increased access and more resources. It also finds that non-Western humanitarian engagement has become too substantial to ignore and that opportunities can only be seized and risks mitigated if traditional actors actively engage with non-Western donors on a level playing field.

About the authors

Andrea Binder

Andrea Binder, M.A., is Associate Director of the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), an independent think tank based in Berlin, Germany.

Claudia Meier

Claudia Meier, M.A., is Research Associate at GPPi.