‘Human Suffering Has Reached Staggering Levels’ | Inter Press Service
ROME, May 17 2016 (IPS) - “Human suffering from the impacts of armed conflicts and disasters has reached staggering levels.”
With these one dozen or few words, the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, briefly but sharply portrayed the current humanitarian drama, explaining why the UN has decided to hold the first ever World Humanitarian Summit on May 23-24 this year in Istanbul, Turkey.
Secretary General Ban documented his statement with specific figures: nearly 60 million people, half of them children, have been forced from their homes due to conflict and violence.
“Every humanitarian crisis is inherently unique and context-specific,” O’Brien responded to IPS in an interview. “However, taken together, there are 125 million people in need of aid in the world today as a result of conflicts and natural disasters and over 60 million people have been forcibly displaced. These are the highest numbers we have on record since WWII.”
According to O’Brien, it is clear that the landscape of humanitarian action has changed significantly over the past years and “collectively we have not been able to adequately keep up with and respond to contemporary challenges.”
The UN Under Secretary General then explains to IPS that it is not about one humanitarian crisis, but multiple crises happening at the same time, from the crisis in Syria and the region to the impact of El Niño, which currently affects 60 million people in the world.
And that the humanitarian needs have grown exponentially while the resources have not been able to follow suit which has created an ever-widening gap.
“A core aim of the summit is the reinvigoration of political will and commitment to take forward the Agenda for Humanity.” And adds “The Summit is a launch pad at the highest level: but what is even more important will be a commitment to follow up and make these actions a reality.”
He also says that UN member States and other stakeholders making commitments during the Summit will be asked to update on progress against their implementation. “Follow-up at the inter-governmental level will begin with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Humanitarian Affairs Segment.
O’Brien adds that the UN Secretary-General’s report to the General Assembly will address how each of the core responsibilities will be carried forward and will define the vehicles for assessing progress.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.