Finland and Belgium to co-chair group developing humanitarian donorship

Finland and Belgium will co-chair the Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) initiative for the next two years. As co-chair, Finland will have a stronger role in improving good humanitarian donorship practices at a time when the need for humanitarian assistance is higher than ever.

The GHD is one of the most important cooperation forums of collaboration for humanitarian donors. The informal group consists of 42 donor governments and organisations, including the EU, which together contribute over 80 percent of global humanitarian funding.  The GHD upholds the neutral and impartial nature of humanitarian assistance and strives to find best practices for effective and accountable donor policies.

"Humanitarian assistance is a target of increasingly strong demands.   Due to armed conflicts, terrorism and climate change, work in the operating environment has become more and more difficult. Donors have a big responsibility for how the humanitarian system functions and how emergency relief reaches best those in distress. Finland and Belgium have an important and unique role in facilitating these discussions," says Finland's Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari

The GHD’s importance is highlighted in the current humanitarian situation: humanitarian needs have increased considerably, but funding is lagging behind. It is therefore important to constantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of assistance and foster cooperation among donors. 

The members of the GHD initiative have endorsed 24 principles to guide official humanitarian assistance, strengthen accountability towards affected populations, and increase the complementarity and efficiency of donor policies.  The principles emphasise, for example, the needs-based and non-political nature of humanitarian assistance and the role of beneficiaries, strengthen the minimum standards related to humanitarian assistance, and reaffirm the responsibility of donors to provide efficient funding and monitor and evaluate the results.

The Finnish and Belgian co-chairship will strive to find better practices, focusing on disability inclusion, prevention of gender-based violence, and measures to prevent and mitigate the adverse effects of counter-terrorism on principled humanitarian action.  Finland will conduct, for example, a study on how humanitarian organisations should take into account the needs of persons with disabilities both in their budgeting and in their activities. 

The new co-chairs’ term starts in November. The first meetings will focus on systemic changes affecting humanitarian assistance, including the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, power relations between donor governments and local humanitarian actors, and on decreasing the environmental impact of humanitarian assistance.  The environmental theme was also at the heart of Finland’s previous GHD chairship in 2013.


Lauratuulia Lehtinen, Director of the Unit for Humanitarian Assistance and Policy, Ministry for Foreign Affairs, tel. +358 46 921 2030

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