The fractured international community is compromising the delivery of humanitarian aid, leaving hundreds of millions of people facing cascading crises of conflict, COVID-19 and climate disasters
The breakdown of trust and cooperation within the international community disappoints people affected by disasters and prevents aid workers from doing their job
International agreements are flouted globally, compromising the ability of the humanitarian system to respond
A landmark study released today by ALNAP, a global network of humanitarian agencies, shows how war, hunger, climate change and the economic impacts of COVID-19 have combined in unprecedented ways to plunge more than 250 million people in crisis by 2021, doubling the number of people in need of help in just 5 years.
A lack of coordinated global leadership encourages several national governments and armed groups to deploy outright physical violence or insidious tactics of threat and obstruction to prevent the delivery of impartial humanitarian assistance. Attacks on aid workers have increased by 54% between 2017 and 2020 and local aid workers regularly face intimidation and threats of physical violence.
The state of the humanitarian system 2022 combines new and existing data to provide a comprehensive overview of humanitarian needs and assistance to people facing crises around the world. It shows that the need for humanitarian aid peaked between 2018 and 2021, peaking in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While funding for humanitarian aid reached an estimated $31.3 billion in 2021, almost double what it was a decade earlier, aid organizations were only able to reach 46% of people identified as needing help.
Conflicts, which have risen from 82 in 2010 to 175 in 2020, are preventing aid workers from doing their work and leading to the highest number of refugees and people fleeing violence ever recorded. Even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, around 80 million people worldwide had been forced to flee their homes due to conflict or climate change, the highest number on record. The majority of them – more than 53 million people – were internally displaced, and although disasters remain the main cause of internal displacement, in 2021 conflict-induced internal displacement has reached its highest level in a decade.
Drawing on surveys and interviews with humanitarian practitioners in countries around the world, the report shows how conflict situations force humanitarians to compromise on their principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and accountability. independence in order to reach those affected by the crisis. As a result, people affected by the crisis in several countries say they are not receiving enough support, and some feel left behind by the international community. There are examples of intelligence officials checking lists of relief recipients and of governments expelling or suspending agencies if they report abuses. Aid workers said they had to choose between providing aid only to people living in territory controlled by specific factions or providing no aid at all.
Speaking at the global launch of the State of the Humanitarian System Report in Nairobi today, Dr Asha Mohammed, Secretary General of the Kenya Red Cross, said:
“With the increase and complexity of humanitarian crises around the world, the importance of increasing the role of local actors in addressing these crises cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, this report shows that we have fallen behind compared to the gains made during COVID-19 when a large part of the humanitarian response was provided by local actors The future of humanitarian work is local and for meaningful change to happen we cannot continue with cosmetic approaches. To reach the last mile and improve cost-effective approaches in a declining funding environment, we need to ensure local players are well positioned and supported.”
Alice Obrecht, co-author and head of research at ALNAP, said:
“We see the humanitarian system being directly threatened in countries around the world, and we cannot take multilateral support for international humanitarian law for granted. In the face of escalating conflict and the impacts of COVID-19 and climate change, crisis is becoming the norm. The world must renew its commitment to the global social contract, with respect for the rights of those affected by crisis at its core.
Sara Pantuliano, chief executive of global think tank ODI, said:
“The past few years have been characterized by global emergencies and this report provides us with the most comprehensive evidence to date of the consequences of a lack of international cooperation. If we continue as we are, the implications for everyone – where whether they are in the world, rich or poor countries – are disastrous; as the fuel supply crisis and the summer heat waves have shown, no one is immune to the impacts. need a new multilateralism to meet our common challenges.The humanitarian effort, while far from being the only source of support for people in crisis, is an example of humanity at its best. not help, but compassion and global solidarity.
Notes to Editors
1. About ALNAP’s State of the Humanitarian System Report
Humanitarian action can be a lifeline for people living through the worst that conflict and disaster can inflict. For those providing assistance and protection, the stakes could not be higher – and so the obligation to learn and improve is paramount.
For more than a decade, ALNAP’s State of the Humanitarian System (SOHS) report has supported this learning by providing a unique, evidence-based understanding of the system and its effectiveness for affected people.
SOHS 2022 examines the period from January 2018 to December 2021, a period that encompassed the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as multiple armed conflicts – and draws comparisons with previous editions to take a long-term view of trends, achievements and challenges in the humanitarian field. system.
Based on a huge body of evidence, including proprietary research with crisis-affected people and practitioners, SOHS addresses key questions about performance and effectiveness in areas such as hunger and death prevention , while giving a complete picture of funding, resource flows, personnel and agencies.
The full text of the 2022 edition will be available here on Wednesday, September 7.
2. About ALNAP
Established in 1997 following an international assessment of the response to the Rwandan genocide, ALNAP is a global network (of NGOs, UN agencies, Red Cross/Red Crescent members, donors , academics, networks and consultants) dedicated to learning how to improve response to humanitarian crises.
3. For further information please contact Rowan Davies on 07754 292920 // [email protected]
4. Additional information:
Recent years have seen major interconnected crises
- Between 2018 and 2021, the number of people identified as in need of humanitarian assistance increased by more than 70%.
- In 2020, only half of humanitarian needs were funded, a record high.
- In September 2020, 51.6 million people were recorded as being directly affected by an overlap of floods, droughts or storms and COVID-19.
The problem of hunger and food insecurity is worsening
- Between 2017 and 2021, the number of people facing acute food insecurity increased by 33%, from 124 million to approximately 161 million.
- The system’s response to food crises is under-resourced and this situation is expected to worsen with the effects of the war in Ukraine.
- In a survey of people affected by the crisis, food emerged as their most important need (cited by 38%), and these communities are also deeply concerned about the diversion of food aid through corruption.
- Climate change alters the shape of hunger crises, making them slower to develop and more cyclical.
COVID-19 has dramatically increased the scale of needs while reducing the economic capacity to meet them
- Economic shocks associated with COVID-19 have pushed an estimated 97 million people below the extreme poverty line.
- In what the WHO chief called a “catastrophic moral failure”, rich countries failed to share COVID-19 vaccines equitably.
- An uncoordinated response shows that there are pressing questions about the ability of global leadership to respond effectively to pandemics in the future.