Emerging Powers, Emerging Donors
February 14, 2011
With China, Brazil, and Russia now among the top 10 economies in the world and the continued second-tier growth of still other nations, most notably India, Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, and South Africa, the term “emerging powers” is on the lips of policymakers everywhere. One area of particular interest is the role of these dynamic new economies in international humanitarian giving, an area that until recently was the near exclusive purview of countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). With the increasing presence of emerging powers on the donor scene over the last years, policymakers are keen to know how committed these nations are to the humanitarian agenda, to which causes they are giving, and whether one can discern any patterns of behavior from their nascent actions.
In an effort to develop a baseline of knowledge around the subject, this report will offer an initial analysis of the role of emerging powers as humanitarian donors through a quantitative study of natural disaster response donations over the last six years. Using the Indian Ocean tsunami as a starting point (it was, after all, the global event that brought China and so many other nontraditional donors into the fold of humanitarian giving), it will study the recorded contributions of emerging powers to the largest natural disasters since 2004. Included in the analysis are the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004), the Kashmir earthquake (2005), Cyclone Nargis (2008), the Sichuan earthquake (2008), the Haitian earthquake (2010), and the Pakistan floods (2010). Hurricane Katrina has been omitted from the analysis because the U.S. government did not accept international contributions to its 2005 response efforts. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait do not feature in the analysis as donors for reasons of scope, although the humanitarian contributions of these non-OECD nations are increasingly significant.