Following news that 235 million people will require humanitarian assistance in 2021, the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) is looking to the Australian Government to do its fair share to help people most in need.
Responding to the publication of the UN’s Global Humanitarian Overview for 2021, ACFID’s CEO, Marc Purcell said:
“This is a very troubling report. COVID-19 has added a layer of adversity to people already in crisis, increasing the number of people who need lifesaving assistance by 40%.
“In 2021, 1 in every 33 people around the world will require humanitarian assistance and as Australians, we cannot turn our backs.
“The Australian Government has acted generously to help our immediate neighbours respond to COVID-19. But we must now extend that generosity and commit our fair share to the UN’s call.
“The Prime Minister has reiterated that Australia will not be a “bystander” in the global system and the Foreign Minister is seeking an “ambitious pursuit” of our priorities in that system.
“We should not leave it to others to shape the world we want to see.”
The UN’s 2021 Global Humanitarian Overview outlines that in 2021 USD $35 billion will be required to help 160 million people most in need across 56 countries.
It found that the highest humanitarian needs remain in countries experiencing protracted crises, including in Yemen, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Afghanistan.
The Australian Government is yet to realise its own 2017 commitment of $500 million in annual humanitarian commitments and ACFID has raised concerns that Australia is walking away from providing multi-year packages to respond to protracted crises – a vital characteristic of a leading donor.
“In a year when Afghanistan saw 42 percent of its population facing emergency levels of food insecurity, Australia decreased its funding to the country by 35 percent. As a partner in Afghanistan’s reconstruction and peace-building, we should be providing ongoing development and humanitarian assistance to help rebuild the country.”
ACFID’s Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Advisor, Jen Clancy, emphasised the impact of Australia’s assistance and its leadership to date:
“Australia’s global humanitarian assistance makes genuine change for communities impacted by crises. Australia is not only a leader in rapid disaster response in the Pacific region, but it is also providing critical humanitarian assistance to protracted crises across the globe. We urge Australia to continue this good work.”
In recent years, the Australian Government and its partners have:
– provided essential support for over 90,000 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, including through the provision of food and nutrition, health-care, and protection for women and girls; and
– contributed to improved food security for up to 5.2 million people within Syria, and contributed to 425,000 Syrian children in Lebanon, and 130,000 Syrian children in Jordan accessing education.