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Global Protection Funding: Where do we stand mid-year 2022? A spotlight on operational access for protection

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Protection Cluster
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For the second year in a row, the Global Protection Cluster has led analysis on a mid-year stocktake of Protection Funding of its field operations.

Protection risks continued unabated with 151 million people in need of protection. This is 38 million more than 2021 – the highest increase in one year we have seen in a long while. This is largely driven by the worsening situations in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Sudan, Myanmar as well as continued high levels of needs in Yemen, Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Protection partners are increasingly trusted and resourced to deliver frontline protection services. This year, we recorded a doubling in funding reported at mid-year, which stands at $833 million. This should encourage current and new donors and agencies to continue investing in protection until the end of the year.

Local actors are recognised as the frontline driving force of protection and receiving increasing levels of resources. 17 per cent of the total $833 million were operated by local partners. This represents a tripling in the amount of funding recorded compared to last year and a doubling in proportion of funding going to NNGOs, putting the protection cluster on the right track to meet the Grand Bargain commitment of 25 per cent funding to local actors by the end of 2022. However, as of mid-2022, only 28 per cent of life-saving protection activities have been funded, with most of our operations still recording less than 50 per cent of required funding. This implies unavoidable compromises and prioritisation, leaving approximately 110 million people without any chance of receiving holistic protection support. Gender-Based Violence, including towards children, is the least funded area of protection and requires particular support. Every operation reports Gender-Based Violence including sexual violence as a priority risk and 95 per cent describe it as severe or extreme.

Resources allocated for specialised areas of protection that do not have an established Area of Responsibility are difficult to track but also require attention and support. This includes addressing the protection needs of youth, elderly and persons with disability, countering trafficking in persons, providing legal support and improving laws and policies, advocating for the protection of civilians, addressing trauma, mental-health and providing psychosocial support. In the next 6 months, donors and agencies should support the following priority needs.

Continue to support operations that have shown progress and where additional funding will lead to effective protection outcomes.

Boosting funds to operations where unaddressed needs remain starkly visible, especially Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, the Sahel, Chad, and Mozambique.

Boosting diplomatic and political efforts to gain more ‘access that protects’ in Ethiopia, Myanmar, Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria and CAR through advocacy and influencing behaviour changes.

As we approach the 2023 Humanitarian Planning Cycle, we need to scale up our ambitions beyond the current 45 per cent coverage targeting of people in need so as to reflect and address the rising needs through localisation and improving access that protects. This will require a collective effort not to cap or limit protection planning processes as the funding request will increase according to rising needs.

Access to funding is only one part of the picture. Diplomatic efforts and political support are paramount to promote timely and principled access to people in need of protection. Amidst areas of real progress in strengthening protection response and outcomes, access for protection purposes remains challenging.