UN panel: USD 40 billion needed to aid people in war

Monday, Jan 18, 2016,10:52 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Dubai | An estimated USD 40 billion is needed annually to help the rapidly growing number of people needing humanitarian aid as a result of conflicts and natural disasters and one possibility to help fill the USD 15 billion funding gap is a small voluntary tax on tickets for soccer games and other sports, concerts and entertainment events, airline travel, and gasoline, a UN-appointed panel has said.

The panel’s report on humanitarian financing, launched yesterday by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, says the world is spending around USD 25 billion to provide life-saving assistance to 125 million people devastated by wars and natural disasters more than 12 times the USD 2 billion that was spent in 2000. The nine-member panel calculated that an additional USD 15 billion is needed annually to reduce suffering and save lives.

It warned that if current trends continue, the cost of humanitarian assistance will rise to USD 50 billion by 2030. This is an age of mega-crises, Ban said at the launch event, which was held at a desert site in Dubai that serves as a logistical hub for UN emergency humanitarian supplies and international relief efforts.

The 31-page report said that despite USD 25 billion being spent last year to provide life-saving assistance to people around the world, 1.6 million Syrian refugees had their food rations cut and 750,000 Syrian refugees could not attend school.

While record sums are being given to the noble cause of humanitarian action, generosity has never been so insufficient. We cannot go on like this, Ban said, adding that humanitarian assistance is now the UN’s costliest activity, surpassing peacekeeping missions.

The report focuses on three solutions for how to reform humanitarian aid: mobilising additional funds, particularly from the private sector; shrinking the need for aid through prevention and quicker resolution of problems, and improving the efficiency of assistance to reflect the needs of people rather than the needs of aid organisations.

It calls for donors and aid organisations to come together in a Grand Bargain in which donors provide more cash, long-term, with fewer strings, and aid organisations are more transparent so that everyone can follow the money.

The report says that today’s massive instability and its capacity to cross borders, demonstrated by the flight of people from Syria and other conflict areas to Europe, makes humanitarian aid a global public good.