Defining Humanitarian Aid

Within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a committee of 24 members of the Development Assistance Committee (DAC), these being: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States and European institutions.

Under OECD criteria, humanitarian aid has very clear cut-off points. For example,

  • “Disaster preparedness” excludes longer-term work such as prevention of floods or conflicts.
  • Reconstruction relief and rehabilitation” includes repairing pre-existing infrastructure but excludes longer-term activities designed to improve the level of infrastructure.
  • The term “global humanitarian assistance” is used to describe humanitarian response

International humanitarian aid” (or “international humanitarian response”) is used to describe the contributions of:

  • international governments
  • individuals, private foundations, trusts, private companies and corporations.

Private contributions included those raised by humanitarian organizations, including NGOs, the UN and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Source: Global Humanitarian Assistance