UN launches $46 billion appeal to respond to worsening crises in 2024

© FAO/Luis Tato | When malnutrition is threatening the lives of children in many parts of Africa, UN humanitarians extend their support to those in need.

United Nations, 11 December 2023

As conflicts, climate emergencies and collapsing economies continue to wreak havoc on communities worldwide, the UN on Monday issued an appeal for $46.4 billion for 2024 to help 181 million people facing catastrophic hunger, mass displacement and diseases worldwide.

Launching the Global Humanitarian Overview, Martin Griffiths, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, praised the heroic efforts of humanitarians but emphasized that international support is falling far short of the escalating needs. 

“We thank all donors for their contributions, which amount to $20 billion so far this year – but that is just a third of what was needed,” he stated.

“If we cannot provide more help in 2024, people will pay for it with their lives,” he warned.

Tough decisions

Outlining the objectives that UN humanitarians have set for the coming year, Mr. Griffiths explained that while 300 million people across the world would need assistance, the response would target 181 million of those most in need across 72 countries. 

The figure is a significant reduction compared with $57 billion for 2023, reflecting a greater focus on the most urgent needs. 

“You can imagine what hard work it has been to reduce those numbers,” the UN humanitarian affairs chief said, calling for a focused and a “tough-minded” approach to what agencies are going to be able to achieve. 

Mr. Griffiths made it clear that there are other organizations, notably the Red Cross and the National Red Cross Societies, and the Médecins Sans Frontières, who present their own appeals and have their own responses. 

Drivers of need

The Global Humanitarian Overview identifies three key drivers of need: conflicts, global economic situation, and the worsening climate emergency. 

The world is experiencing more conflicts, which are more entrenched, with devastating consequences for civilians. Almost one child in every five around the world is living in or fleeing from conflict zones. 

In 2023, the eruption of widespread conflict in Sudan and hostilities between Israel and Gaza caused a dramatic spike in civilian deaths. 

In just five weeks the number of civilians killed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory was equivalent to almost 60 per cent of the total global number of civilians killed in 2022, which was itself already the deadliest year since the Rwandan genocide in 1994. 

Devastating consequences

The consequences of funding shortfalls in 2023 have been devastating, as noted by some examples.

In Afghanistan, 10 million people lost access to food assistance between May and November, while Myanmar witnessed over half a million people forced into inadequate living conditions. 

Yemen faces a dire situation, with more than 80 per cent of targeted individuals lacking proper water and sanitation, and in Nigeria, only two per cent of women in need of sexual and reproductive health services and gender-based violence prevention received the necessary aid.

Funding and more

In conclusion, Mr. Griffiths, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, underscored that along with funding, safety for both humanitarians and those they are assisting is critical.

“So, we need money. We need safety. We need humanitarian international law,” he stressed. 

“And we need activism to remind people that actually the humanitarian operations are a sign and a signal and a symptom of the greatest humanity,” he added.

The original article appeared here.

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