Learning Stream on Humanitarian Financing: Bilateral funding – trends, challenges and opportunities for NGOs

Funding agreements between implementing organizations and donors can significantly reduce transfer and administrative costs, but such direct funding relationships can also lead to challenges and additional burdens for NGOs. Different rules and processes between donors, pre-qualification requirements, delayed disbursements, and overly restrictive budget lines have long been common issues faced by NGOs. While there are initiatives to improve this situation, notably through the "Grand Bargain," the donor landscape has become more complex with the growing importance of so-called "emerging donors" for humanitarian work.

The fourth session of the learning stream on humanitarian financing, organized by ICVA and PHAP, aimed to provide a clearer understanding of the changing context for NGOs and bilateral funding. Join this event to hear from speakers from the European Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), as well as from NGOs with experience of working bilaterally with these two donors.

Read the answers by Susan Kyle, Walter Brill, and Magali Mourlon to the follow-up questions

Session recording (Adobe Connect - higher quality)

Session recording (YouTube - faster loading time)

Closed captions available in English

Sous-titré en français

الترجمات متوفرة باللغة العربية

Session recording (audio podcast)

Briefing paper

ICVA has prepared a briefing paper based on the discussions during the event. You can access the document in English. The briefing paper will be soon available in also French and Arabic.

For additional resources on this topic, you can go here.

Introductory whiteboard video

Learning objectives

  • Understanding of the concept of bilateral funding
  • Knowledge of the overall size, flows, and forms of bilateral funding and the main donors and recipients
  • Awareness of the main trends, challenges, and opportunities for NGOs trying to access funding from bi-lateral donors
  • Knowledge of the different sources of information on bilateral funding

Target audience

The stream specifically targets NGO staff, including field, policy and HQ staff, but all live sessions are open to anyone interested in improving their understanding of humanitarian financing.

Recommended resources

During the event the following resources were mentioned by speakers and participants:


Susan Kyle

Attaché, Humanitarian Affairs, U.S. Mission to UN in Geneva

Alberto Garralon Perez

Deputy Head, Budget, Finance and Control Unit, DG ECHO, European Commission

Walter Brill

Director of Operations, International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC)

Magali Mourlon

Program Coordinator, NGO VOICE


Angharad Laing

Executive Director, PHAP

Melissa Pitotti

Head of Policy, ICVA


PHAP Credentialing Program

Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem
This event will help you prepare for the PHAP Credentialing Program certification in Understanding the Humanitarian Ecosystem.

In particular, the event will address segment 2.6 of the certification assessment outline. It will also address some aspects of segments 1.5 and 1.7.

Read more about the PHAP Credentialing Program

Learning stream on humanitarian financing

As part of the learning stream on humanitarian financing, this event was the fourth of six live interactive online learning sessions that ICVA and PHAP have organized between September 2016 and March 2017 with the purpose of providing NGOs and humanitarian workers with a stronger understanding of the humanitarian financing system.

Geneva Humanitarian Connector

This event was made possible by ICVA and through the Geneva Humanitarian Connector, an initiative of PHAP supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

December 6th, 2016 10:30 AM   through   12:00 PM

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