Erin Hohlfelder and Anu Dathan of the ONE Campaign put together this handy scorecard to show donor spending and commitments for the Ebola crisis. What stands out are all the giant question marks for budget sources and additional budget allocations. What does this mean? There needs to be a standard for reporting and recording donor spending.
This is most clearly illustrated in the case of the US. Based on financial commitments alone, the US appears to have given relatively far less than its peers as a share of its GNI. In reality, of course, American military and other in-kind contributions valued at nearly $1 billion, in addition to conventional financial commitments, mean the US has been leading the response. A holistic view—while still to some degree inevitably ‘apples to oranges’—allows us to make different kinds of judgments.
Completing this data is not some dry accounting exercise. If we don’t know what’s really promised, and if it is not adequately coordinated, no one can adequately match the supply of resources to needs on the ground. That means responses cannot be properly resourced, gaps in supply cannot be easily identified, and time lags will result in more lives lost.