New York, US - A UN report says rising scale of needs, a collective inability to resolve protracted crises, and the interplay of new factors such as climate change, are making it harder for governments and aid workers to effectively respond to humanitarian challenges. A UN statement on report on Saturday, therefore stressed that development aid must contribute to managing crisis risk.
The report, entitled: 'World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2013', authored by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), highlighted major trends in the nature of humanitarian crises, the underlying causes and drivers and the actors that participate in crises prevention, response and recovery.
It stated: 'Climate change, population growth, rapid and unplanned urbanization, and food and water insecurity are leaving more and more people at risk of crisis'.
Among other trends, the report shows that today’s major humanitarian crises are protracted 'with few signs of improvements over the long term'.
Of countries that had an inter-agency appeal in 2012, eight had an appeal in eight or more of the previous ten years, including in Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Somalia.
'When not protracted, the crises are often recurrent, occurring as a result of shocks – climate, conflict, price – to chronically vulnerable people,' the statement quoted the report as saying.
It also said: 'Humanitarian assistance is still overwhelmingly focused on response and development aid often fails to target the most vulnerable'.
'Less than five per cent of humanitarian funding and less than one per cent of development funding is spent on crisis preparedness and prevention,' it noted.
Building on lessons learned in the 2011 crisis in the Horn of Africa and in Sahel in 2012, the report sums that both humanitarian and development aid must contribute to managing crisis risk.
UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Kyung-wha Kang, said: 'The report is an effort by OCHA to strengthen the evidence base for humanitarian assistance in the hope that researchers and policy makers will have a common baseline to inform their work'.
She noted that the report also aggregates information from different sources and over time, providing a comprehensive reference point for policy makers, researchers and humanitarian workers.
She added that OCHA is also working with partners to create a humanitarian community data platform.