Humanitarian and emergency response


Global humanitarian need is on the rise. While women, girls, men, and boys all suffer in a crisis, structural gender inequalities mean women and girls face greater obstacles in reaching their potential and leading safe, healthy, and dignified lives. Disasters kill more women than men, and hit women’s livelihoods hardest.

Supporting women's agency in emergencies

Women also play critical roles in emergency situations – supporting relief and recovery efforts, and taking on increasing responsibilities inside and outside of the house. As gender dynamics shift during crises, Canada and other donors face critical opportunities to support women’s valuable contributions, while building more equitable and self-reliant communities.

Download CARE Canada's Humanitarian policy brief [PDF]


The following recommendations underscore critical pathways by which the Government of Canada can foster real change in the way humanitarian assistance is delivered, while recommitting to the humanitarian principles, international human rights and other frameworks for protecting the most vulnerable in conflict.

  1. The Government of Canada should promote respect for the humanitarian principles, preserve the civilian nature of humanitarian response and provide the political support and leadership to negotiate improved humanitarian access. 

  2. The Government of Canada should allocate multi-year humanitarian funding, including through predictable budget allocations to Global Affairs Canada’s International Humanitarian Assistance (IHA) Directorate

  3. The Government of Canada’s new international assistance policy should include clear guidelines around the timeliness of humanitarian funding.

  4. The Government of Canada should promote innovative humanitarian approaches by increasing its un-earmarked investments in NGO partners, and scaling up the successful Canadian Humanitarian Assistance Fund (CHAF) model. 

  5. The Government of Canada should ensure that its humanitarian assistance is delivered in a manner that is transparent and accountable to beneficiaries, without imposing additional transaction costs.

  6. The Government of Canada should adopt humanitarian assistance mechanisms capable of supporting both immediate responses in emergencies, as well as longer-term resilience programming, while ensuring organizations are able to pivot between activities as the operating context evolves.

  7. The Government of Canada should invest in disaster risk reduction and resilience-building programs in line with commitments made under the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

  8. The Government of Canada should only fund proposals that are at minimum marked ‘Gender Sensitive’ on the IASC tool.

  9. The Government of Canada should open a call for "feminist response" proposals focused on stand-alone gender-in-emergencies programming.

  10. The Government of Canada should promote capacity building for civil society and partnerships as a separate, critical component of humanitarian programs and outputs.