Published September 2019
Forecast-based financing: A breakthrough at last for humanitarian financing?
By Lana Zaki Nusseibeh

Ambassador Lana Zaki Nusseibeh is the Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in New York. Ambassador Nusseibeh currently serves as co-chair of the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, and has also previously served as Vice-President of the General Assembly for the 72nd session. She has also served as President of the UN Women Executive Board in 2017, as co-facilitator of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Revitalization of the UN General Assembly for the 71st session of the General Assembly, and as co-facilitator for the overall review of the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in 2015. Prior to her appointment as Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Nusseibeh served in several capacities within the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Humanitarian financing is rarely an uplifting field. Its defining feature is an ever-widening gap between resources and needs, with most global appeals achieving just 50 to 60% of their financing goals. At the same time, evidence mounts that if we could ‘just’ ramp up spending on prevention, we might be able to make a dent in that gap. The ‘US$ 1 spent on prevention saves US$ X in humanitarian response’ adages become more compelling every year. The situation is further complicated by a wide range of barriers to change – public finance shortages, donor regulations that tightly define what is a humanitarian activity and what is a development activity, and, notably, the difficulty in justifying prevention in a world where emergency relief needs already outstrip supply.