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Thursday, February 23, 2017
- As the global humanitarian crisis continues to devastate civilian lives in conflict zones, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to the international community to ensure “no-one in conflict, no-one in chronic poverty, and no-one living with the risk of natural hazards and rising sea levels, is left behind.”
Speaking to delegates during the launch of a new report, he said the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit is “the moment for us to come together to renew our commitment to humanity.”
The report, “One Humanity: Shared responsibility“, was released Tuesday three months ahead of the summit meeting of world leaders scheduled to take place in Istanbul, Turkey, on May 23-24.
The United Nations says it needs more than 20 billion dollars to feed and care for over 60 million people who are either displaced internally or who have fled their home countries becoming refugees virtually overnight.
And there are about 40 countries – out of the 193 UN member states – which are engulfed in “high-level, medium-level and low-level crises and violence,” according to Ban
“Given the current crises in our global political economy, along with climate change”, Ban warned, violent extremism, terrorism, transnational crime and persistent brutal conflicts are devastating the lives of millions of people and destabilizing entire regions.
“Today’s complex challenges cross borders and surpass the capacity of any single country or institution to cope,” the Secretary-General said.
“We need to restore trust in our global world order and in the capacities of our national and regional institutions to confront these challenges effectively.”
According to a senior U.N. official, who provided a background briefing last week, the report contains a personal plea from the Secretary-General to “restore humanity”, while guaranteeing dignity and safety to all people, in accordance with the U.N. Universal Declaration of Rights and the 2030 Agenda.
As part of Ban’s five-year plan, the WHS will appeal to the international community to come together to re-discover “global unity and solidarity” and end human suffering and inequality, according to the official.
“Funding figures for humanitarians have totally mushroomed up to over 600 percent of what we required ten years ago… and almost 80 percent of humanitarian staff, but also peace-keepers, and staff of special political missions are now deployed in these protracted situations” the U.N. official remarked, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, along with civil society, showed their positive response to Ban’s initiative.
Oxfam’s Humanitarian Representative, Charlotte Stemmer, said: “The humanitarian system is overwhelmed with the amount of rising needs in a world racked by crises. […] (World leaders) should not pay lip service to this, as concrete action is urgently needed. The World Humanitarian Summit’s greatest legacy would be a real commitment to change this.”
According to the new report, “the international community is increasing its response to crises while struggling to find sustainable political and security solutions to end them.”
In 2014, the economic and financial cost of conflicts was estimated to be around 14.3 trillion dollars (13.4 percent of the global economy).
The five core shared responsibilities are: One, political leadership to prevent and end conflicts. Rather than investing in humanitarian assistance, the international community should prioritize political solutions, unity, and create peaceful societies.
Two, enforcing and abiding to international laws in order to protect civilians, respect human rights, restrict the use and transfer of certain arms and ammunition, halt bombings and strengthen the global justice system.
Three, “leaving no one behind” — which is also the central theme of the U.N.’s 2030 Development agenda – and reaching out to the poorest and the most vulnerable men, women and children in war-torn areas or in case of natural disasters. It also includes the protection of women and girls and focuses on the right to education for all.
Data from the report highlights that in 2014, conflicts and violence forced around 42.500 people to flee their homes daily. This resulted in 60 million internally displaced peoples, refugees and asylum-seekers by the first half of 2015.
About half of the world’s refugee children are missing out on primary education and three quarters do not have access to secondary education, according to a UN report.
Four, changing people’s lives. Currently, nearly 1.4 billion people live in fragile situations, and figures are estimated to grow up to 1.9 billion by 2030, says the report.
Therefore, it is fundamental to develop coordinated actions to anticipate crises, reinforce local institutions and governments, build community resilience, and invest in data and risk analysis.
Five, investing in humanity. Ban highlighted the concept of “grand bargain” urging donors and national authorities to change their mindset “from funding to financing” local actors and local institutions, while increasing cost-efficiency and transparency.
Organised by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Relief (OCHA) the WHS summit offers for the first time the opportunity to reflect on a new humanitarian aid framework – explained Ban.
The summit also aims at bringing together the international community –- civil society, world leaders, private sector, peace-builders representatives, peace-keepers, and NGOs — to design new policies and set new strategies for humanitarian assistance and relief in affected countries.
In a preface to the report, Ban wrote: “I ask global leaders to come to the World Humanitarian Summit prepared to assume their responsibilities for a new era of international relations; one in which safeguarding humanity and promoting human progress drives our decision-making and collective actions.”