This weekend two RefugePoint staff head to Istanbul for the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). As stated in a WHS tagline, the world is witnessing the highest level of human suffering since the Second World War. Global humanitarian budgets have skyrocketed in this millennium, from $2 billion in 2000 to $25 billion in 2014. Despite the record amount raised in 2014, it still left an unfunded gap of some $16 billion. The disparities between needs and resources are expected to increase further, with only an estimated half of the funds needed to respond to global crises raised in 2015.
The WHS on May 23-24 was spawned from the now broad recognition that the humanitarian system is no longer fit for purpose. As the UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned long before asylum-seekers started arriving in Europe in large numbers last summer, the humanitarian system is both broke and broken.
The aim of the WHS is to bring together world leaders, financial institutions, civil society and the private sector to jointly commit to new actions, funding and, importantly, ways of working to retool the system to match the challenges of our time.
Though not limited to refugees and migration issues, these topics are predictably prominent on the WHS agenda given that we’re witnessing the highest level of forced displacement ever recorded. With the seemingly endless layering of new crises on top of decades-old crises, the notion of humanitarian assistance as short-term emergency relief is becoming an anachronism. It is no longer sustainable to view displaced populations as the sole concern of a few specialized agencies that lack access to the considerably larger development coffers.
In the refugee context, this necessitates more support for countries hosting large numbers of refugees and […]