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Anja Nitzsche, Chief, OCHA Partnerships and Resource Mobilization Branch, remarks at the launch of the 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview, Berlin, 2 December 2021

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Thank you, Marianna, and to you, Mr. Annen, for your warm welcome. And to the German Government for its principled, thoughtful, generous and unfailing support to OCHA and the humanitarian system.

Germany’s support not only helps save the lives of millions of people, but it helps us to do so with dignity. Meine Damen und Herren, liebe Kolleg*Innen,

Erlauben Sie mir hier eine kleine Detour zu machen und ein paar persönliche Gedanken zu teilen. Als ich vor ein paar Tagen auf dem Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg, dem BER, ENDLICH, angekommen bin, bin ich, natürlich, an dem Zitat von Willy Brandt, das das Gebäude schmückt, vorbeigegangen.

Sie kennen es alle, „Wenn ich sagen soll, was mir neben dem Frieden wichtiger sei als alles andere, dann lautet meine Antwort ohne Wenn und Aber: Freiheit.“ Dieses Zitat spricht uns Deutschen, ohne Frage, aus dem Herzen.

Und es geht noch weiter. Und zwar - ich zitiere - : „Die Freiheit für viele, nicht nur für die wenigen. Freiheit des Gewissens und der Meinung... und... Auch Freiheit von Not und von Furcht.“ Ich glaube, dieses Zitat führt uns gut in das Thema unserer heutigen Veranstaltung in.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In June this year, OCHA arranged a virtual field visit for our key donors, including Germany, to north-east Nigeria. During this trip, I met with Fatimah, a 52-year-old internally displaced woman living in a camp in Maiduguri. Fatimah damaged her leg while escaping an attack on her village by armed groups and now is permanently disabled.

“In the camp where I live” – she said – “there are many disabled people. And one of our greatest challenges is the lack of equipment and tools that help us move around. Our movement is so restricted that when there is aid distribution in the camp, we cannot go to get our rations because we can’t move”. I was struck by her testimony, which reminded me of the importance of always keeping in mind those most vulnerable when responding to an emergency.

Of course, crises like the one that led to Fatimah’s pain can only be solved by political solutions. But today, as we launch the 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview, our goal is that this appeal can go some way to restoring a glimmer of hope for Fatimah and many like her.

The message of this year’s Global Humanitarian Overview is urgent. Humanitarian needs are still rising. At the beginning of this year, already 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance. It looks like that number will rise to 274 million next year. Let me repeat that

This marks a doubling of requirements in just four years. And these numbers will inevitably rise further as the year progresses.

To give you some sense of the scale of this challenge: if everyone requiring emergency aid lived in one country, it would be the fourth-largest country in the world.

The 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview includes the world’s largest-ever humanitarian appeal of $4.47 billion US dollars for Afghanistan, followed closely in scale by appeals in Syria and Yemen.

The drivers of these global needs are familiar.

They are conflict and political instability, the growing climate crisis, as you know and the impact of the pandemic.

Instability worsened in several parts of the world this year, notably Ethiopia, Myanmar and now Afghanistan, while prolonged conflicts continue.

The sheer scale of the climate crisis means that no corner of the world is immune from intensifying weather-related shocks.

Ladies and gentlemen,

COVID-19 has already claimed at least 1.9 million lives across the countries included in this Global Humanitarian Overview, while also contributing to a rise in poverty and disrupting economies and basic services.

Countries with humanitarian emergencies remain most vulnerable to a new variant like Omicron because of their lack of vaccines and slow recovery from the shock of 2020.

Combined, these multiple forces have left 1 per cent of the world’s population forcibly displaced, and 45 million people in 43 countries on the edge of famine.

Let me repeat that, 45 million people in 43 countries are on the edge of famine.

In most crises women and girls suffer the most, as pre-existing gender inequalities and protection risks are heightened.

When crises hit, communities themselves are always the first to respond on the front lines.

We in the international community are here to stand by in solidarity with them and to step up when help is needed.

Looking ahead, the 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview lays out how we can support 183 million of the world’s most vulnerable people, at a cost of $41 billion US dollars, which is a 17 per cent increase on last year. It’s the world’s largest appeal to support the response to hunger, killer diseases, gender-based violence and economic collapse.

It lays out detailed plans to meet needs in food security and nutrition; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; gender equality; protection and education; shelter; and other essential items in the hardest-hit countries.

Last year, as the humanitarian system, we aimed to reach 153 million people through plans at the country level. What we were able to do was to reach 107 million of those people, or 70 per cent of our target.

The funding we received enabled us to provide emergency health services to tens of millions of people. In Yemen alone, it enabled us to reach 10 million people with outpatient care.

The funding also helped us fight acute hunger and prevent famine in six at-risk countries: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Niger, South Sudan and Yemen. This included pulling over half a million people from the brink of famine in South Sudan.

And it allowed us to deliver hundreds of millions of dollars in cash assistance to families in need in most emergency settings, including those struck by acute hunger, natural disasters and prolonged conflict.

This year, we also made progress in the way how we work.

We saw improved collaboration between international agencies and local responders on the front lines, which is an area I want to build on.

We ensured that humanitarian assistance targeted the needs of women and girls, and people living with disabilities, such as Fatimah, and that it supported overlooked sectors such as protection and emergency education. We also ensured that, where possible, assistance was provided ahead of an imminent emergency.

And more country teams prioritized protection from sexual exploitation and abuse.

In many places our advocacy and negotiation efforts to secure access paid off, though reaching people in need remains one of our biggest challenges.

We need to keep up the momentum on all of these issues.

Germany’s financial, political support and thoughtful leadership continue to bring efficiency to the humanitarian system. Whether it’s piloting anticipatory approaches or spearheading efforts on partnerships and innovation, Germany is a key partner in our efforts to support all those in need.

Funding for the GHO is a benchmark of our global solidarity. So, let us restore hope and freedom from suffering and from fear, as Willy Brandt said – for the people we serve and for all of us.

Thank you.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.