Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak at this launch. Before I start I just want to say how clear Samantha Power’s remarks were.
I totally agree that we cannot continue to exponentially increase the budget and the humanitarian aid footprint. In fact, I had a very useful meeting with the World Bank in the last hour looking specifically at these issues.
So I think Samantha has given us some important and central instruction on the things we need to look at over the coming year and beyond.
I would like to start with a story that I have already told. A few weeks ago, I was in Mekelle in Tigray in northern Ethiopia. I met a group of women, survivors of sexual assault, in a safe house Natalia [Kanem] funded by your excellent agency [UNFPA].
It was an extraordinarily difficult and moving meeting. I must admit that sometimes during this meeting I felt the need to leave, to stop the difficulty of the meeting. I have the impression that we have all been in these circumstances. I felt so bad for the women – about 25 of those women with their kids running around – who were forced to talk to us.
Of course, the tragedy was that they could barely speak to us with clarity due to the trauma that had yet to be taken away from the terrible things that had happened to them in the previous months.
As I have said elsewhere, what struck me most, what summed up the real tragedy of this situation, was their reaction when we asked them what they wanted for the future of their children. They did not talk about education for their children, nor about the future safety and security of their families. Their concern was food – the food of today. They had neither horizon nor hope for the future. They just needed to survive.
I think that was perhaps the most tragic aspect of this meeting.
This type of experience is not limited to particular countries. This is a situation that we know happens so often in so many parts of the world.
I echo Samantha’s remarks on the need to put the needs and voices of women and girls at the center of how we do business.
Crises like the one that caused their pain that day, which has been painful to them for months, as Samantha says, can only be resolved through political solutions.
I honor Jeff Feltman and others who are doing their best under very difficult circumstances.
But today, as we launch this Global Humanitarian Snapshot 2022, my goal is that this appeal can at least help restore a glimmer of hope to these women and many others like them around the world.
The message is urgent.
Humanitarian needs continue to increase. As we heard earlier this year, 235 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance. Now that is increasing in 2022 to reach 274 million.
It is an astonishing number. And that’s a doubling of the needs over the past four years.
To give you an idea of the magnitude of this challenge: If everyone in need of emergency assistance lived in one country, it would be the fourth most populous country in the world.
It is a shame for us.
In most of these crises, women and girls suffer the most, as pre-existing gender inequalities and protection risks are heightened.
A frightening statistic that struck me in my recent reading is that every three months in lockdown we see an increase of 15 million incidents of gender-based violence. It tells us something deeply sad and mean about humanity.
This tells us something extraordinarily important about who should be our aid priority.
And that tells us something about the need to tackle power inequalities in a very central way. And [this goes] beyond the management of the humanitarian community.
This global snapshot for 2022 includes the world’s largest humanitarian appeal of $ 4.47 billion for Afghanistan, closely followed by appeals in Syria and Yemen.
As Samantha said, the drivers of these calls are quite familiar.
Mainly conflicts and the political instability that goes with it, the growing climate crisis and the impact of the pandemic.
Instability has worsened in several parts of the world this year, notably in Ethiopia,
Myanmar and now Afghanistan, while those protracted conflicts Samantha referred to continue to elude all efforts to resolve.
The scale of the climate crisis means that no corner of the world is immune to intensifying shocks and therefore the need for assistance either.
I join others in congratulating Samantha and her team at USAID for joining the Climate Charter, which is clear, succinct and important.
COVID-19 has already killed nearly 2 million people in the countries included in this GHO, while also contributing to an increase in poverty. I think the World Bank estimates that 20 million more people have fallen into poverty as a result of the pandemic.
And as we have known for a few days, the pandemic has not left us yet.
These multiple forces – pandemic, climate, conflicts, disasters – have forced 1% of the world’s population to forcibly relocate.
Forty-five million people in 43 countries are on the brink of famine. And of course, several million more are approaching this appalling situation.
It should be remembered – I had the privilege to see it and I imagine many others here as well – that when crises arise, it is the communities themselves who are always the first to react. They are the first responders to the needs of people affected by the crisis.
And their help, without for a moment disparaging the generosity of many countries and the United States here in Washington, but their generosity often shames the rest of us. I saw it very clearly, especially this year in northern Ethiopia and Syria.
So we have to stand here in solidarity with them. For the generosity of the inhabitants who help those they see by their side.
Going forward, the 2022 GHO explains how we can support 183 million of the world’s most vulnerable people – a lower priority from 274 million, at a cost of $ 41 billion, a 17% increase from compared to last year.
Not surprisingly, this is the largest ever appeal for humanitarian aid in the world.
It sets out detailed plans on which our colleagues from these countries have been working for months in the agencies which know their business so well. These are detailed plans, based on objective assessments, to meet food security and nutrition needs; health; water, sanitation and hygiene; gender equality; protection and education – often the orphans of these calls – shelter; and other essentials.
This year, we were aiming to reach 153 million people through country-level plans.
Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we were able to reach 107 million of these people.
It is an astonishing achievement. Seventy percent of our goal was achieved with some kind of assistance.
Emergency health services, sanitation, outpatient care.
In Yemen alone, we have been able to reach 10 million people with outpatient care. I know Yemen and I know how difficult this environment is to exploit.
2.4 million women and girls in 39 countries have received the services they need to tackle gender-based violence, and it’s never enough like I saw that day in Mekelle.
He helped us fight acute hunger in six countries threatened by famine: Burkina Faso,
Ethiopia, southern Madagascar, northeast Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen. This included the withdrawal of half a million people on the brink of famine in South Sudan.
This year we have also made progress in the way we do business in important areas.
Collaboration has improved between international agencies and local frontline responders.
But we still forget them. We still don’t see them clearly as the first responders. And we still don’t support, strengthen their capabilities, or extend their footprint beyond our own. [This is important] partly for respect, but also for efficiency.
We have ensured that humanitarian aid targets the needs of women, girls and people with disabilities, and that it supports neglected sectors such as protection and emergency education.
There was more prioritization of work on sexual exploitation and abuse, a duty of care to our staff and to those with whom our staff are in contact.
I would like to thank Natalia Kanem who was the champion this year, trying to get us in international agencies to put this issue at the top of our agenda because it is a duty of diligence. It has to come first to those of us who have these responsibilities.
And finally, I want to repeat what I said earlier, namely that funding is a mark of solidarity. But let’s not forget that the first palpable and perceptible solidarity for people in crisis is their neighbors.
I want to tell a story of my stay in Gaziantep, on the Turkish border with Syria, at the end of August. Gaziantep is a city that has been inundated with Syrian refugees and has hosted so many of them for so many years. I met in a local community center with young students in their early teens. On one side of the room were Turks, on the other Syrians, all living together in this community, helped by this center.
I asked a young woman on the Turkish side: “You saw these people come to your town and take over your services and turn some of your people away for treatment in clinics and hospitals: how did it go? She said it was an opportunity to show our solidarity.
She was a young teenager from Gaziantep. And the question was not prepared.
She was the one talking, and she was talking to all of us.
Thank you so much.