CEM REPORT, HUMANITARIAN | Conversations have become more intense following rising humanitarian needs across the globe being fueled by climate change, war and domestic violence, economic setbacks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and internal economic mismanagement.
There is a loud call by the United Nations to exercise adequate political will by governments in addressing the underlying factors while at the same time attending to the bloating humanitarian need at hand.
Delivering an address on behalf of the Secretary-General to the Riyadh Humanitarian Forum in Saudi Arabia on Monday, the United Nation Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths said that as humanitarian needs spiral across the world, political will and funding are required to address war, climate change and other drivers, the UN relief chief said on Monday.
The war in Ukraine entering its second year, and the devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria in the last two weeks are further aggravating the number of persons in humanitarian needs now surging more than 350 million and needing almost $54 billion to provide basic needs of the worst affected among them.
“More than 350 million people around the world currently need humanitarian assistance,” he said. “We need almost $54 billion to meet the basic needs of the worst affected among them, but experience shows that we can expect to raise barely half of that amount.”
These numbers continue to rise due to three main reasons: protracted conflict, the climate emergency, and an economic collapse fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
While these “megacrises” mount, resources are not keeping up, he added.
Mr. Griffiths underscored the role humanitarians have in responding to crises, stating that their mandate and mantra is “we don’t give up”. However, he called for practical and tangible help in discharging this mandate.
“To end the wars and conflicts we know and to stop new ones breaking out, we urgently need a surge in diplomatic efforts,” he said.
“We also need to address climate change head on, because every flood, heat wave, drought or super storm leaves a humanitarian crisis in its wake.”
Today, humanitarians need more resources to save lives, said Mr. Griffiths, sharing some of the “heartbreaking statistics.”
Globally, more than 222 million people do not know when they will eat another meal, and 45 million people, mainly women and children, are already on the brink of starvation.
Over the weekend, Secretary-General António Guterres announced an unprecedented $250 million allocation from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).
Mr. Griffiths said the money will enable early action, but he called for donors to scale up their support.
“Humanitarian action cannot stand alone. We need all hands on deck,” he said.
“By working together, with the political will that is your currency to expend, we can stop conflicts, address the climate emergency, fight famines, and be ready for the next emergencies that inevitably lurk around the corner.”