Over the past two decades, the Gulf states have emerged as leading humanitarian actors both regionally and globally. This paper charts the evolution of four of the six Gulf states–Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, and Qatar–as humanitarian donors and actors. It analyses the evolving humanitarian sectors of the Gulf states, focussing on trends in humanitarian funding, the increasing centralisation of humanitarian governance, and growing capacities in logistics and operations. It then considers the dynamics of politicisation and securitisation of Gulf state humanitarian donors and the potential of and limits to humanitarian coordination and partnership between Gulf and international humanitarian donors. In sum, the study charts the rise and transformation of the Gulf states from merely funding humanitarian efforts to becoming multifaceted humanitarian actors playing diverse roles in the regional and international humanitarian systems.

To cite this article:

Ghassan Elkahlout & Sansom Milton (2023) The evolution of the Gulf states as humanitarian donors, Third World Quarterly, DOI: 10.1080/01436597.2023.2229742