7 November 2014
UN High Commissioner for Refugees: collective responsibility to bridge the gap between current funding and actual needs
The global humanitarian system has reached its limits in dealing with the upward trend in forced displacement due to mounting pressures from conflicts and persecution around the world, the head of the United Nations refugee agency warned, saying it its our ‘collective responsibility’ to bridge the gap.
António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said that at the end of 2013, more than 51 million people were in displacement due to multiplying conflicts, climate change, population growth, urbanization, food insecurity and water scarcity, and events indicate that this number will be even higher by December of this year. ‘The humanitarian community is scrambling to respond, but every new crisis clearly shows that the system has reached its limits’, he said.
Mr. Guterres said that one of the reasons for the system reaching its limits is that humanitarian funding is close to bankruptcy. While funding has increased, the needs have grown much faster, causing the gap to widen. ‘It is in our common interest, and our collective responsibility, to ensure that “bridging the gap” is more than a slogan. But this requires strong political leadership to change the objectives, the priorities, and, above all, the organizational culture of development cooperation’, he stressed.