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Slow-Onset Crises: Review of Surge Practices

Date added

17 March 2017


This report presents the results of the second tracking mechanism on surge practices for slow-onset crises as part of the Start Network Transforming Surge Capacity Project.

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Slow-onset crises, such as droughts and food insecurity, are expected to increase, owing to multiple factors including climate change and rapid urbanisation. Given the slow and inappropriate responses to recent slow-onset crises, agencies have started to develop tools and mechanisms to ensure more efficient responses to slow-onset crises. Timing, funding, political considerations and integration with existing programmes are seen as key.

All of the agencies surveyed have responded to slow-onset crises in the past two and a half years. Additionally, they have all deployed surge resources (staff, financing, materials) in their responses. Surge resources were most frequently used to respond to slow-onset crises in Africa and the Middle East and North Africa.

All the agencies surveyed stressed the difficultly of financing the surge response to slow-onset crises. Most agencies relied on initial funding (for example US $30,000 – US $40,000) from global emergency funds or existing country-level programme or contingency budgets. There is a need for agencies to leverage this initial funding in order to secure more substantial, on-going funding for the surge response and follow-up to the slow-onset crises. 

Read more about the Transforming Surge Capacity project.

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