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World Humanitarian Day 2016 - One Humanity
by United Nations News, OCHA, Reliefweb, agencies
1:49pm 18th Aug, 2016
World Humanitarian Day: UN urges Solidarity with 130 Million People facing ‘Impossible Choices, by Stephen O’Brien.
Two days ago, Rose Lokonyen made history by competing in the 800m heats at the Rio Olympics. Unlike other athletes, she didn’t run under her home country’s flag. 14 years after she made the impossible choice to flee her home and became a refugee in Kenya, she competed under the Olympic flag, as part of the first-ever team of refugee Olympians.
Rose’s Olympic story is unique - but her story of fear and flight is not. Two weeks ago, I visited her home country of South Sudan. I travelled to Wau and Aweil, where thousands of people have congregated, seeking protection from violence or relief from unrelenting hunger. The situation there was much worse than when I last visited in 2015 - more than 2.5 million people have fled in terror of brutal killings and violent rapes and hunger is rife.
In Juba, I spoke to Nyadhial (name changed) who, like many others, had fled there seeking safety for her family. But when she arrived, she found that there was no food. To leave the site was to risk being raped or killed by gangs of armed men; to stay was to risk starvation. Nyadhial chose to feed her children. I admire her extraordinary courage - but I am outraged that she had to make that choice in the first place.
In Aleppo, Syria, nearly two million people across the city are suffering. Fighting is raging around the city, electricity is out, water is scarce, and movement is restricted. Some 275,000 people in the east of the city, who have lived through almost daily attacks that have devastated their neighbourhoods, have now been cut off from vital supplies, including food, for more than a month. These are women, men and children who are confronted with the impossible choice of leaving their homes and risking their lives to find safety, or staying to face indiscriminate attacks, starvation and disease.
Humanitarians working there also face impossible choices. Doctors facing shortages of supplies must decide which patients to treat, even as the hospitals they work in are being attacked. Rescue workers must decide which neighbourhoods to send ever-dwindling crews to after an airstrike or mortar attack destroys yet another home, school or hospital. It is staggering that after five years, such levels of human suffering continue. It is a stain on the moral conscience of the world.
The need is truly immense. The United Nations and our humanitarian partners have supplies ready to roll: food, hospital supplies, ambulances, fuel for generators. To move, however, we need the guns to fall silent. We have urged the parties to agree to 48-hour ceasefires to allow aid in and people out. We will take full advantage of an opportunity to deliver assistance to the most acutely vulnerable communities. However, ultimately the only stop to the suffering is a country-wide ceasefire.
South Sudan and Syria are just two of the unacceptable humanitarian tragedies that are taking place in more than 40 countries around the world. Yet, despite facing the highest levels of humanitarian need in more than 70 years, we are grappling with our biggest funding shortage. More than halfway through the year, the UN and our partners have received less than a third of the US$21.6 billion required to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs in 2016.
Humanitarians do extraordinary work in the face of these difficult circumstances. The World Food Programme delivers food to more than 80 million people in 80 countries. UNICEF vaccinates nearly half of the world’s children, saving three million lives each year.
In Syria we reach millions of people with assistance every month, and since January this year we have reached over 400,000 of the some 590,000 people besieged by conflict. This work is not without significant risk for the brave aid workers who commit their lives to helping those most in need.
Around the world in 2015, 109 aid workers lost their lives, 110 were injured and 68 were kidnapped. More than a fifth of these attacks took place in South Sudan, making it the most dangerous country in the world to be an aid worker. On 11 July, a despicable attack was carried out against aid workers at the Terrain Hotel in Juba, during which an NGO staff member was killed and female aid workers were gang-raped and beaten by armed men in uniform.
This attack is emblematic of the immense risks that humanitarian staff in South Sudan face on a daily basis. Yet, despite these challenges, aid groups have reached more than 2.8 million people with life-saving assistance and protection in South Sudan this year.
This year, World Humanitarian Day follows on the heels of the World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in May in Istanbul. At the Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon put forward an Agenda for Humanity, a five-point plan that outlines the actions that are needed under five core responsibilities: to prevent and end conflict. To uphold the rules of war. To invest in humanity and in saving lives. To move from delivering aid to ending need. And to leave no one behind in our fight to alleviate suffering, reduce risk and lessen vulnerability on a global scale.
There leaders made over 3,000 commitments to action, in order to achieve the Agenda. These commitments represent progress. But it cannot end there. We must ensure that the commitments are transformed into action that will deliver clear results on the ground.
We must lobby for humanitarian budgets to be filled so that we can deliver on immediate needs. We must also think about how to stop the escalation of crises that we are witnessing today and reduce needs in the future.
As concerned citizens, we must continue to call for strong leadership and action. We must increase efforts to prevent and end the conflicts that take such a devastating toll on civilians. We must push for warring parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.
We must put pressure on global decision makers to take decisive action, and to ensure accountability for violation of these global norms. We must also step up our work to outlaw all forms of violence against women and girls and apply the strongest penalties to perpetrators.
Unless we see change, the unprecedented scale of forced displacement and humanitarian need will not decline. Each one of us can do more to give hope to those who are forced to flee their homes by lobbying our leaders to uphold their responsibility for helping and protecting the tens of millions of people displaced by conflicts and disasters in their own country or across borders. We must ask our leaders to respond to large movements of refugees and migrants in a more humane and dignified way, through increased international cooperation and responsibility sharing, including more resettlement opportunities for refugees and genuine legal pathways for migration. We must fight xenophobia.
People in crises face impossible choices. But our choice is clear. As citizens of the world, we must be outraged. We must demand more of our leaders. We must raise our voices against injustice. We must stand in solidarity with the 130 million people around the world whose lives are caught up in crisis. And we must not rest until Nyadhial and millions of others like her no longer have to make the choices she does.
* Stephen O’Brien is the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs.
Aug 2016
Humanitarian Funding Update August 2016 - United Nations Coordinated Appeals from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
As of 31 August 2016, UN-coordinated appeals and refugee response plans as covered by the Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO) require US$21.7 billion to meet the needs of 95.4 million people affected by humanitarian crises in 40 countries.
Global requirements are adjusted throughout the year as response plans are revised, both upwards and downwards, to reflect up-to-date needs.
The Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements now requests $1.6 billion to respond to the needs of 9.7 million people affected by El Niño. In Afghanistan, there is a $54 million reduction in the overall ask from $393 to $339 million.
The reductions reflect funding constraints impacting the ability to implement programmes and capability to deliver in the coming six months. Humanitarian actors have reached 2.1 million people with aid. The Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen now requires $1.6 billion to respond to the needs of 12.6 million people. Some 6.9 million people have received assistance in 22 Governorates.
Funding for the Syria Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the Syria Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) is at 34 per cent and 47 per cent respectively.
Although the London conference saw significant pledges, disbursements are urgently required to allow organizations to scale up or sustain operations in Syria and the region. With the prioritised Iraq 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan only 53 per cent funded, operational partners have urgently appealed for additional $284 million to prepare for the humanitarian impact of the operation to retake Mosul (ISIL/Daesh).
The 2016 humanitarian response plans (HRPs) for Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon contain components to respond to the Lake Chad Basin crisis and have appealed for $559 million to scale up their operations. The Cadre Harmonisé report for August notes that 65,000 people in North-East Nigeria are experiencing famine, more than 1 million people are in emergency, while about 3.3 million are in crisis.
Additionally, El Nino''s impact on people’s food security and agricultural livelihoods, will continue through the next growing season, with the impact on health, nutrition, water and sanitation likely to grow throughout the year.
Eastern and Southern Africa are the most affected regions with the effects likely to last well into 2017. Some 23 countries have presented costed response plans with total requirements of $5 billion.
On 16 August, the Emergency Relief Coordinator released $50 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for severely underfunded aid operations in Yemen, the Democratic Republic Congo, Chad, Central African Republic, Rwanda and Eritrea. The latest rapid response allocations include aid for Syrian refugees in Jordan and an allocation to Niger. CERF has allocated a total of $291 million in 2016 thus far. The Fund has received $345 million for 2016 as of the end of August, and continues to anticipate a funding gap of $50 million on the $450 million annual funding target.
Meanwhile, 18 Member States have contributed $465 million in 2016. OCHA manages 18 Country-based pooled funds (CBPFs) in the world’s worst crises, where these funds have allocated $339 million to aid agencies: 19 per cent to national NGOs; 47 per cent to international NGOs; 34 per cent to UN agencies. They continue to be one of the largest direct sources of funding to local and national frontline responders.
World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to mobilize people to advocate for a more humane world.
This year, World Humanitarian Day follows on from the World Humanitarian Summit, held in May. During the Summit, world leaders declared their collective support for the new Agenda for Humanity and committed to action to reduce suffering and deliver better for the millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
World Humanitarian Day 2016 will continue communications around the World Humanitarian Summit. The #ShareHumanity campaign kicked off last year on 19 August, to drive awareness for the World Humanitarian Summit. In April, the campaign ‘Impossible Choices’ was launched with a call to world leaders to ‘Commit to Action’. The final phase of the campaign will launch on 19 August and run up until the United Nations Secretary-General presents the Summit Report at the UN General Assembly in September.
2016 Theme: One Humanity
Under the theme of ‘One Humanity’, World Humanitarian Day will promote the Agenda for Humanity, and how the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit can help the 130 million people around the world who need humanitarian assistance to survive.
One Humanity speaks to how our shared human experiences bind us across divides, and creates a common responsibility to demand action for the most vulnerable and those at risk of being left behind.
The Solution to the world''s problems: Choose humanity. (World Humanitarian Summit)
These are desperate times. We are witnessing the highest level of humanitarian needs since World War II. The numbers are staggering, with 125 million in dire need of assistance. Over 60 million people have been forcibly displaced, and in the last two decades 218 million people were affected by disasters each year.
More than $20 billion is needed to aid the 37 countries currently affected by these mounting issues. Time and time again it has been said that our world is at a tipping point, but now these words are truer than ever before. Unless immediate action is taken, 62% - nearly two-thirds of our global population - could be living in what is classified as fragile situations by 2030.
We’re coming face to face with refugees from war-torn nations and witnessing first-hand the consequences of global warming in our own backyards. The situation has hit home, and we are slowly beginning to understand that none of us is immune to the ripple effects of armed conflicts.
Now is the time to stand. Now is the time to reverse the rising trend of humanitarian need. Now is the time to create clear, actionable goals for change to be implemented within the next three years that are grounded in our common humanity, the one value that unites us all. This is why the United Nations secretary-general is calling on world leaders to reinforce our collective responsibility to guard humanity.
Leaders are being asked to take action and agree to a core set of actions to chart a course for real change. This foundation for change was not born overnight, however, but rather a direct result of three years of consultations with more than 23,000 people in 153 countries.
The road map for the summit, the secretary-general''s report "One Humanity: Shared Responsibility," outlines a clear vision for global leadership to take swift and collective action toward strengthening the coordination of humanitarian and crisis relief.
As such, the summit is not an end point, but a starting point toward making a real difference in the lives of millions of women, men and children. It’s an opportunity for global leaders to mobilize the political will to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.
The agenda specifies five core responsibilities that the international community must shoulder if we expect to end our shared humanitarian crises. These core responsibilities offer a framework for unified and concentrated action. Once implemented, change will inevitably follow.
1. Prevent and End Conflict: Political leaders (including the U.N. Security Council) must resolve to not only manage crises but also to prevent them. They must analyze conflict risks and utilize all political and economic means necessary to prevent conflict and find solutions, working with their communities – youth, women and faith-based groups – to find the ones that work. The summit presents an opportunity to gain political momentum and commitment from leaders to promote and invest in conflict prevention and mediation in order to reduce the impacts of conflicts, which generate 80% of humanitarian needs.
2. Respect Rules of War: Most states have signed and implemented international humanitarian and human rights laws, but, sadly, few are respected or monitored. Unless violators are held accountable each time they break these laws, civilians will continue to make up the vast majority of those killed in conflict -- roughly 90%. Hospitals, schools and homes will continue to be obliterated, and aid workers will continue to be barred access from injured parties. The summit allows a forum at which leadership can promote the protection of civilians and respect for basic human rights.
3. Leave No One Behind: Imagine being forcibly displaced from your home, being stateless or targeted because of your race, religion or nationality. Now, imagine that development programs are put in place for the world''s poorest, world leaders are working to diminish displacement, women and girls are empowered and protected, and all children - whether in conflict zones or not - are able to attend school. Imagine a world that refuses to leave you behind. This world could become our reality. At the summit, the secretary-general will call on world leaders to commit to reducing internal displacement by 50% before 2030.
4. Working Differently to End Need: While sudden natural disasters often take us by surprise, many crises we respond to are predictable. It is time to commit to a better way of working hand-in-hand with local systems and development partners to meet the basic needs of at-risk communities and help them prepare for and become less vulnerable to disaster and catastrophe. Both better data collection on crisis risk and the call to act early are needed and required to reduce risk and vulnerability on a global scale. The summit will provide the necessary platform for commitment to new ways of working together toward a common goal -- humanity.
5. Invest in Humanity: If we really want to act on our responsibility toward vulnerable people, we need to invest in them politically and financially, by supporting collective goals rather than individual projects. This means increasing funding not only to responses, but also to crisis preparedness, peace-building and mediation efforts. It requires donors to be more flexible in the way they finance crises (i.e., longer-term funding) and aid agencies to be as efficient and transparent as possible about how they are spending money.
Our world is at a tipping point. The World Humanitarian Summit and its Agenda for Humanity are necessary more today than ever before in history. We, as global citizens, must urge our global leadership to come together to commit to action to reduce human suffering, choose humanity and help make impossible choices a thing of the past.
125 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, by Ban Ki-moon
The United Nations Secretary-General has stressed how current stories were serving to compel the international community into agreeing to align major global commitments to support the world’s most vulnerable people.
Stressing the need for solidarity with and heightened support for migrants fleeing war and persecution, he added a call to ensure that humanitarian personnel have the security they need to carry out their vital work.
He said the World Humanitarian Summit is a key element of the new global agenda for change and action, alongside the sustainable development goals and the Climate agreement reached in Paris.
“We look to the World Humanitarian Summit to generate strong global support for bold changes in humanitarian action,” he said. “This is the only way we will meet the enormous challenges we face in the coming years and decades. The world is changing, and we need to make sure we change with it to meet the needs of those affected by crisis in a timely and effective manner.”
Stressing the huge input of humanitarian action to saving lives worldwide every day, he also acknowledged the huge challenges such action faced, including urbanization, population growth, environmental degradation, conflict, climate change and resource scarcity, which were particularly powerful in areas of underdevelopment, poverty and inequality, leaving people more and more vulnerable.
“The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance around the world has doubled in just ten years,” Mr. Ban noted. “More people are displaced by conflict than at any time since 1945. That figure stands at over 60 million. People displaced within their countries because of conflict are now displaced for an average of 17 years. Millions of children are out of school, sometimes for years. And the situation is getting worse. 125 million people in need of humanitarian assistance continues to demand urgent attention”.
He said that a billion people could be displaced because of climate change by 2050, with more than 40 per cent of the global population living in areas of severe water stress. Additionally, economic losses from natural disasters were likely to increase dramatically from the $300 billion currently lost annually.
‘Our challenge is clear: we must act now to strengthen our efforts,” he said. “The World Humanitarian Summit aims to build a more inclusive, diverse and truly global humanitarian system.”
Change must be made at the global, regional and national levels to reaffirm the principles that guide humanitarian work. The Summit would focus the world’s attention on people caught in crisis, especially those that may have receded from the spotlight but where suffering remains acute.
“We have the skills, resources, tools and technology,” he said. “Together, we can create a world where human suffering from crises is vastly reduced.”
* Secretary-general''s report One Humanity: Shared Responsibility: Follow more news at #ShareHumanity via the link below.

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