As the number of urgent humanitarian challenges grows, there is a clear need for more funding and resources to address crises such as natural disasters, climate change, civil conflicts, and economic insecurity. Millions of people require humanitarian assistance, including food, clean water, shelter, medicine, and protection, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). Despite continuous increases in total funding for global aid, demand far outstrips supply. A 14% decrease in funding between 2019 and 2020 emphasizes the importance of ensuring efficiency and minimizing waste in aid response operations. Without an adequate aid supply chain, aid providers will face ongoing challenges in providing appropriate, timely assistance to those in greatest need.
The impact of unresolved challenges to efficient aid delivery stands out in pandemic and natural disaster responses where aid provisioning is indispensable to saving lives. In emergency humanitarian aid programs, supply chain blind spots and uncoordinated response plans often disrupt aid delivery, making it difficult for aid providers to identify potential or existing problems that require rectification. Along the aid supply chain, problems such as insufficient storage capacity, duplicated distribution, inability to trace deliveries, and lack of representation from local stakeholders all stem from an overall lack of visibility.
“Increasing local representation during the aid provision planning phase is closely linked to the overall improvement of visibility across the supply chain, which empowers providers to minimize wastage and maximize utility for the aid recipients. Ultimately, effective aid provision programs require properly coordinated efforts supported by clear communication between all stakeholders,” noted Niihara Tetsuya, GC Director at Frost & Sullivan. “Furthermore, aid recipients must have a channel through which they can voice their needs and concerns while consistent reporting ensures effective use and correct distribution of resources to the right recipients at the right time and in the right amounts to safeguard health coverage for all.”
NEC acknowledges the many problems different stakeholders face. It continues to improve its efforts at providing increased visibility to aid supply chains through:
- Dialoging with various stakeholders in the supply chain and partners on the ground.
- Gathering and analyzing more empirical data and providing forecasts with higher accuracies using data analytics driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies.
- Providing intuitive, single-pane-of-glass management dashboards to improve coordination efforts and increase local stakeholder involvement.