During the aftermath of disasters, public donations of funds, material and human resources play a key role in supporting recovery efforts. However, providing appropriately targeted donations based on the carefully assessed needs of disaster affected communities is essential to ensure that assistance is provided in accordance with basic principles of humanitarian and disaster relief efforts. Most times, well intended donations that are not based on the assessed needs of the affected communities go to waste, and in some circumstances may even create disruptions in the flow of humanitarian assistance.
In 2014, at the APEC High Level Policy Dialogue on Disaster Resiliency, APEC Leaders committed to “educate the public, business and government leaders on best practices for effective and appropriate donations to minimize the disruptions that unsolicited donations can have on disaster response efforts”. In 2014, APEC adopted the ‘Guidelines for Appropriate Donations’ to support effective public donations practices, efficient supply chain and relief operations, and speedier economic recovery in disaster-affected areas.
To ensure the effective operationalization of the APEC Guidelines throughout the APEC region through increased awareness, in 2015, the United States developed a Communications Toolkit which is designed as a practical tool to improve public outreach to increase awareness of appropriate donations in the APEC region. In addition to this, and to further inform APEC’s work in this area, the United States also undertook a study to collate and analyze the different approaches and strategies adopted by economies to better manage and promote appropriate donations in the wake of natural disasters. This study examines a series of case studies from APEC economies; including China, Mexico, the Philippines and the United States.
In 2016 an APEC-wide workshop will be conducted to discuss the Communications Toolkit and lessons learned from the case study analysis, with the aim of further improving members’ knowledge of best practices on donation coordination in the APEC region and operationalizing the guidelines effectively across the APEC region.