To quote the UN Secretary-General, “conflict, climate change and COVID-19 have created the greatest humanitarian challenge since the Second World War…together we must mobilise resources and stand in solidarity with people in their darkest hour of need.”
In 2021, 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This number has risen to 1 in 33 people worldwide - a significant increase from 1 in 45 in 2020 which was already the highest figure in decades. The UN and partner organisations aim to assist 160 million people most in need across 56 countries and will require a total of $35 billion to do so.
Published by OCHA, the Global Humanitarian Overview 2021 looks more holistically at the effects of COVID-19. Amid ongoing violent conflict, rising hunger and the effects of climate change, the pandemic will continue to have an impact in 2021. As the health and non-health effects of COVID-19 merge with other shocks, humanitarian programming is also adjusting to treat it in a more integrated manner.
The combination of the scale of existing humanitarian needs allied to the overwhelming requirements presented by the COVID-19 response are fast outpacing the ability of traditional actors to respond. Given this, it is important to engage the private in sector in a timely fashion in humanitarian action in order to optimise the delivery of innovative and efficient solutions.
In 2020, the GHAEA immersed itself in engaging with the UN in support of their response to COVID-19 (see past activities). The private sector has played a crucial role in helping to mend broken supply chains, develop new fundraising platforms, and utilise technology to track and respond to specific requirements.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates how interconnected we are. It has also shown how adaptable we can be. We have also seen the immense power of partnerships to respond where other efforts have failed. Global cooperation has helped to provide unprecedented amounts of humanitarian aid, rebuild economies, develop and distribute vaccines. Now is the time to harness the power of partnerships to address urgent humanitarian needs. Climate change threatens lives and livelihoods through increasing numbers of storms, floods, wildfires and droughts.
1 in 33 people require humanitarian assistance and protection. 1 in 33 people. The world is indeed facing it’s darkest hour in 75years.
Out of the darkness there can be light.
Businesses, governments and civil society must work together to encourage that light to shine and respond to the unprecedented humanitarian challenges of 235million people.
Dr. Al Meraikhi, Chair of the GHAEA, speaking to journalist Ed Giradet on the importance of bringing the expertise of varying actors to collaborate on tackling global humanitarian issues.