Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Ursula Mueller, Presentation of the Global Humanitarian Overview Status Report, June 2018

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 19 Jun 2018

‘Trends in humanitarian funding: where are we now and what lies ahead’ at the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment

Conference Room 12, United Nations, New York, 08:30 a.m. 19 June 2018

As delivered

Excellencies, distinguished guests,

Having heard from Development Initiatives about funding trends through 2017, I am pleased to present the mid-year Global Humanitarian Overview Status Report.

The Global Humanitarian Overview for 2018 was launched last December. The GHO Status Report provides an update six months on, looking at crisis contexts, funding received, and unmet requirements.

In the past six months, donors have generously contributed and invested US$8.3 billion in humanitarian response by the United Nations and partners. This compares to $6.2 billion at the same time last year, and reflects earlier funding to some of the top crises, including Yemen.

First, I would like to acknowledge our gratitude for this immense sum, and second I want to explain why we need to increase this level of humanitarian funding even further.

Today’s global, UN-coordinated, inter-agency humanitarian appeal calls for a record $25.4 billion to meet the needs of almost 100 million individuals who depend on our support. Ten years ago, combined appeals totalled $7.2 billion, less than one third of today’s requirements. Aside from 2011 and 2012 when requirements dropped, we have witnessed a steep increase in need. Thanks to continued support, humanitarian partners are doing more, doing it better, and continue to save lives.

Although GHO response plans are coordinated by the United Nations, around 800 different humanitarian organizations are involved in response operations. These are mostly national NGOs, which we increasingly partner with and they carry out humanitarian action.

The GHO covers 21 humanitarian response plans, four regional refugee response plans and one regional refugee and resilience plan. In all, 40 countries will benefit.

Since the GHO was launched last December, increased needs in some countries and new requirements in others have brought global financial requirements to $25.4 billion. This was principally due to appeals for South Sudan, Syria and the region, and Yemen, which together make up over half of GHO requirements as of June 2018.

All these changes are clearly detailed in the June Global Humanitarian Overview Status Report, available in this room and online today.

As we reach mid-year 2018, 156 million vulnerable people in these 40 countries need assistance. These people need health interventions, nutrition, food security, education, protection, shelter, clean water and sanitation services. Some depend on our support for their very survival. Others, if unassisted, will continue living in extremely difficult circumstances, or will flee their homes or countries and face an additional new set of problems.

In addition to the severe situations in South Sudan, Syria Region, and Yemen, I would like to mention two significant crises that have seen critical changes since the start of the year, being Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

From 2017 to 2018, humanitarian requirements in Afghanistan decreased, as recurring needs were planned under the One UN development framework, which brings together sustainable development and peace and security goals. But now drought is affecting two thirds of Afghanistan’s provinces, and more than two million people are projected to be severely food insecure over the next six months. To address this critical situation, the Afghanistan appeal was increased by $117 million to assist 4.2 million people.

On Bangladesh: in March, the 2018 Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis was increased by 119 per cent when UN agencies and NGO partners released an appeal that amounts to $951 million just for this year. This targeted 1.3 million people, including more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar since August last year. This is now known as the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. The ongoing emergency is also compounded by the arrival of the monsoon season. 

The best-funded appeals in proportion to requirements are those for Yemen, Nigeria and Iraq. With Yemen funded at just over 50 per cent, and Iraq and Nigeria at 50 percent and 46 percent, respectively, much has been accomplished, but nevertheless these appeals require $5 billion to close the remaining gap.

I would also like to draw your attention to the five least funded appeals as of June 2018. These are for Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, the occupied Palestinian territory, and Ukraine. It is critical that donors consider the consequences to individuals and families if humanitarian operations are not funded over the next six months. Underfunding means medical facilities close, food rations are cut back and children are denied an education.

This translates in less protection and lives lost, and we cannot afford to wait for the media to place a spotlight on these crises before stepping up our response.

Also, largely outside the media spotlight, are the nearly six million people across the Sahel region, who cannot access adequate food. We have seen evidence of rapid health deterioration in recent months in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal.

In Ethiopia, at least 7.9 million people need humanitarian assistance because of drought, disease outbreaks, loss of livestock and displacement caused by an upsurge of violence along the border between Oromia and Somali regions. The Government and humanitarian partners have asked for $280 million over the next six months to help the worst-affected people, through the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan.

I recently visited the Central African Republic, where I witnessed first-hand the effects of renewed, large-scale violence, which has led to one of the highest humanitarian caseloads per capita in the world. While this crisis has faded from the headlines in 2018, the number of internally displaced people has nearly doubled over the last 12 months and growing numbers of Central Africans are seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. The humanitarian response for CAR is severely underfunded this year again, with contributions at just 21 per cent of what is required. People I met with were running out of hope.

In the last six months the UN and humanitarian partners have worked together to ensure aid reaches the most vulnerable people in a timely, inclusive, accountable, flexible and efficient manner. The UN alongside regional and national partners have held funding events for the DRC, Somalia, Syria and the region, and Yemen for 2018, raising over $7 billion for this year and nearly $3.5 billion for humanitarian action in 2019 and beyond. I would like to thank all the generous donors who pledged funds to these crises, and including those who contributed to the Central Emergency Response Fund.

This year, CERF has allocated $118 million to these countries, Syria, and Yemen, which is 41 per cent of all CERF allocations in 2018. The second CERF under-funded round will be announced in July. Your support to the 18 country-based pooled funds complements this CERF funding so that Humanitarian Coordinators can fill critical response gaps. Core, unearmarked funding – much of it granted on a multi-year basis – enables aid agencies to allocate funding where it is most needed and at critical periods throughout the year when it is most needed.

Let me make it clear. Insufficient funding for humanitarian operations costs lives. 100 million people are looking to us for their hope and survival. We cannot to let them down.

Thank you.

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