7 issues that will shape the humanitarian agenda in 2018

Highlights of an article by Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC):

Syria enters its seventh year of fighting in 2018. Hunger and disease will affect millions of people in Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Around the world people will flee conflict only to become trapped in misery, as seen in Libya. People will suffer from immediate and long-term effects of conflict and violence, as I witnessed in Central African Republic earlier this month. We believe the following seven key issues will shape the humanitarian agenda in 2018:

  1. The international community’s report card on conflict – The international community’s efforts and successes in addressing conflict will be critical in shaping the political agenda and the humanitarian response in 2018. The international community must offer a fresh perspective for peace – in high-profile and neglected conflicts.
  2. Rebuilding urban battlefields – Fifty million people are bearing the brunt of war in cities around the world. Reconstruction is a vast challenge in populated locations and goes beyond rebuilding streets and houses to include water, sewer and electrical systems.
  3. Transforming humanitarian funding – In protracted conflicts we work on a dual timeline, conducting urgent relief and looking towards the 2030 horizon of long-term needs. Conflicts are not temporary interruptions, they are structural, socio-economic catastrophes, and funding must be allocated accordingly.
  4. International Humanitarian Law – We see violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) on the news every day. But the fact that IHL has changed wartime behavior over the decades is drastically under-reported. In 2018 we must strengthen consensus around the law as a stabilizing force.
  5. Forgotten people – Sixty-five million people have been forced to flee their homes globally, including over 40 million in their own countries, people often neglected and unable to access aid.
  6. Cyber attacks and new weapons of war – New technologies are rapidly giving rise to unprecedented methods of warfare. Innovations that yesterday were science fiction could cause catastrophe tomorrow, including nanotechnologies, combat robots, and laser weapons. Think of the humanitarian consequences of air traffic control systems, oil pipeline systems, or nuclear plants being hacked.
  7. 7. Tech for good – The Fourth Industrial Revolution does not just entail risks; it also brings solutions to humanitarian problems. For example, the ICRC is partnering with Microsoft to use facial recognition technology to help reunite families separated

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