World

The Changing Face of Humanitarian Crises

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The scale and cadence of crises that demand international humanitarian response is increasing. The cumulative frequency and severity of climate change on large populations, rapid and unsustainable urbanization, decreasing biodiversity, and the impending realities of resource scarcities and the armed conflicts they might catalyze are only some of the challenges that loom ahead. It is ironic that while human civilization today possesses the most advanced technologies, global prosperity, and abundance, we face the greatest absolute number of people lacking access to clean water, food, shelter, and basic healthcare. Worldwide standards of living show that health status, life expectancy, child survival, democratization and political participation, literacy and matriculation, and gender equality are at their best while the incidence of armed conflicts is at the lowest level in human history. Yet despite the improvement in global standards, the shortcomings in worldwide accessibility to basic needs make the preparation of the humanitarian complex even more urgent in the face of emerging crises.