A young Syrian throws a makeshift lifebuoy he’d worn in an overcrowded inflatable boat from Turkey, back into the Aegean sea. (Credit: UNHCR/Achilleas Zavallis)
The Elders welcome the new report on humanitarian funding by the UN High-Level Panel, chaired by Kristalina Georgieva and HRH Sultan Nazrin Shah, as a timely and acute analysis of the global challenges in delivering aid to those in need.
They wholeheartedly endorse the report’s assertions that “receiving lifesaving humanitarian aid is a right, and that providing it is a duty”, and that all actors must ensure their policies and decisions protect the “inviolable core humanitarian principles” of humanity, neutrality, independence and impartiality.
The Elders agree with the report’s emphasis on “shrinking the need” for humanitarian assistance by a concerted resolve to end global conflicts, and by implementing credible policies to tackle climate change – widely acknowledged as one of the key drivers of natural disasters.
If the international community can seriously work for peace in conflicts such as Syria, Ukraine, Iraq and Afghanistan, this would diminish the flow of refugees requiring humanitarian assistance. Equally, leaders must now honour the commitments made at the COP 21 climate summit in Paris in December 2015 and implement sustainable policies to tackle climate change.
Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said:
“It is a challenge and an affront to our common humanity that 125 million people across the world require humanitarian assistance. This report is valuable for its clarity, its robust analysis and its clear moral message. The world’s prosperous nations need to show real ethical leadership to alleviate the suffering of the most vulnerable.”
“The report contains important recommendations for governments, NGOs, aid agencies and the private sector, who must set aside rivalries and suspicions to forge an effective new consensus. I hope they will heed these messages and work together for the common good.”
It is crucial that the recipients of humanitarian assistance are also included in the ongoing debate, so their voices are heard and their rights, dignity and agency are all respected.
The Elders will do their utmost to support the aims and recommendations of this report, and share its hope that the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul will see leaders commit to its implementation.
For media inquiries, please contact William French, Head of International Media at The Elders (+44 7795 693903 or media@theElders.org)