In 2020, nearly 168 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This represents 1 in about 45 people in the world and is the highest figure in decades. The United Nations and partner organizations aim to assist nearly 109 million of the most vulnerable people. This will require funding of $28.8 billion.
The situation will keep getting worse unless climate change and the root causes of conflict are better addressed. On current trends, projections show that more than 200 million people could be in need of assistance by 2022.
The humanitarian system is more effective, better prioritized, more innovative and more inclusive than ever. In the first nine months of 2019, humanitarian organizations reached 64 percent of people targeted to receive aid through Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs).
Globally, at the start of 2019 some 821 million people were undernourished, including 113 million who suffered from acute hunger. Conflict is the key driver of hunger. By the beginning of 2019, armed conflicts and persecution had driven a record number of nearly 71 million people from their homes.
Climate change is increasing people’s vulnerability to humanitarian crises. The world’s eight worst food crises are all linked to both conflict and climate shocks.
Infectious diseases are becoming more prevalent and harder to control, because of conflict, weak health systems, poor water and sanitation, and lack of access to vaccinations.
In 2019, 33 low-income countries were in, or at risk of, debt distress. Of these, 12 countries with humanitarian appeals are home to 40 percent of the people in need of humanitarian assistance. A global economic slowdown could further increase vulnerability in countries already experiencing economic stress and debt problems.
Such challenges require a unified vision. In a globalized world, this vision needs to be inclusive and universal and to bring people, communities, and countries together, while recognizing and transcending cultural, religious or political differences. It needs to be grounded in mutual benefit, where all stand to gain. At a time when many are expressing doubt in the ability of the international community to live up to the promises of the Charter of the United Nations to end wars or to confront global challenges, we need, more than ever, to reaffirm the values that connect us. Our vision for change must, therefore, be grounded in the value that unites us: our common humanity.
This common humanity has many different ethnic and national identities, religious beliefs and cultural customs. Yet, it connects in the universal principle that there are inherent dignity and worth in every individual that must be protected, respected and given the opportunity and conditions to flourish. I have seen this reaffirmed across the world. People are calling for safety, dignity and an opportunity to thrive.