Thank you, Minister Cleverly, for your remarks.
This is the third year running that the United Kingdom has hosted this event – a testament to the ongoing commitment of Her Majesty’s Government to humanitarian causes around the world.
I recently travelled to Haiti. The situation there illustrates the pernicious impact that the combination of many of the factors that the minister mentioned: climate hazards, political instability, geological events, disease and destitution has on the life chances of millions of people.
A 7.2-magnitude earthquake in August was swiftly followed by Tropical Storm Grace. Thousands of people lost their lives. The twin disasters came amid a deepening political crisis. All in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, as we launch the 2022 Global Humanitarian Overview, my goal is that this appeal can go some way to restoring a glimmer of hope for the men and women of Haiti and many more like them around the globe.
The UK is a thought leader and convener in the search for solutions to many of today’s drivers of humanitarian need. We count very much on the UK to continue to play this critical role.
From Glasgow to Rome, the UK has demonstrated the results of its commitment through the COP-26 Agreement and the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Crises Compact.
The message of this year’s GHO is urgent.
Humanitarian needs are still rising.
At the beginning of this year, 235 million people needed humanitarian assistance. It looks like that number will rise to 274 million next year. Almost 40 million more.
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 this challenge: if everyone requiring emergency aid lived in one country, it would be the fourth-largest country in the world.
The 2022 GHO includes the world’s largest-ever humanitarian appeal of US$4.47 billion 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, and the economic impact of the pandemic.
Instability worsened in several parts of the world this year, notably Ethiopia,
Myanmar and now Afghanistan, while prolonged conflicts continue without resolution.
The scale of the climate crisis means that no corner of the world is immune from intensifying weather-related shocks.
COVID-19 has already claimed at least 1.9 million lives across the countries included in this GHO, 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 a significant number of the world’s population forcibly displaced, and 45 million people in 43 countries 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, the 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 GHO lays out how we can support 183 million of the world’s most vulnerable, at a cost of $41 billion, which is a 17 per cent increase on last year.
It’s the world’s largest appeal to alleviate 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.
This year, we aimed to reach 153 million people through plans at the country level.
We were able 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.
It helped us fight acute hunger and prevent famine in six countries at-risk: 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 important areas.
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, and that it supported overlooked sectors such as protection and emergency education.
And country teams prioritized efforts to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse in the aid sector, sending a strong system message that this will not be tolerated.
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 must keep up the momentum on all of these issues.
Funding for the GHO is a benchmark of our global solidarity. So, let us restore hope – for the people we serve, and for all of us.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.