Year on year, we’ve witnessed an increase in the frequency and ferocity of natural, man-made and complex crises and disasters. The trend is set to continue in 2017, with an estimated 100 million people likely to be in need of aid. The United Nations has just released its largest ever funding appeal, seeking over $22 billion across 33 countries.
Half of the 65.3 million forcibly displaced people in the world — the highest number since World War II — are children; children in conflict-affected countries are more than twice as likely to be out of school as those in other countries; in emergency situations, instances of sexual violence increase, yet the reported figures are just the tip of the iceberg — practitioners estimate that for each rape reported in connection with a conflict, 10 to 20 cases go undocumented.
In the face of competing crises and dwindling resources, the EU is making deliberate choices about which crises and conflicts it directs its funds toward. Humanitarian aid is supposed to be based on the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. But, increasingly, it is being repurposed to meet political objectives, based more on the self-interest of EU member states than on these humanitarian principles. Halting migration to Europe is apparently the number one aim.
It begs the question: how have countries been prioritized and funds allocated? The underlying and fundamental principle that humanitarian aid is needs-based is, it seems, no more.
[Read full Devex article]