Doomsday Clock set at 90 seconds to midnight
by Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
The Doomsday Clock was set at 90 seconds to midnight, due largely but not exclusively to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the increased risk of nuclear escalation. The new Clock time was also influenced by continuing threats posed by the climate crisis and the breakdown of global norms and institutions needed to mitigate risks associated with advancing technologies and biological threats such as COVID-19.
Rachel Bronson, PhD, president and CEO, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality. 90 seconds to midnight is the closest the Clock has ever been set to midnight, and it’s a decision our experts do not take lightly. The US government, its NATO allies and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore all of them to their fullest ability to turn back the Clock.”
The Doomsday Clock’s time is set by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board with the support of the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors, which includes 10 Nobel Laureates. Previously, the Doomsday Clock had been set at 100 seconds to midnight since 2020.
The Doomsday Clock statement explains that “Russia’s war on Ukraine has raised profound questions about how states interact, eroding norms of international conduct that underpin successful responses to a variety of global risks. And worst of all, Russia’s thinly veiled threats to use nuclear weapons remind the world that escalation of the conflict—by accident, intention, or miscalculation—is a terrible risk. The possibility that the conflict could spin out of anyone’s control remains high . . .. Russia has also brought its war to the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor sites, violating international protocols and risking widespread release of radioactive materials. Efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency to secure these plants so far have been rebuffed.” The statement has been translated into Ukrainian and Russian.
Mary Robinson, Chair of The Elders and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said:
“The Doomsday Clock is sounding an alarm for the whole of humanity. We are on the brink of a precipice. But our leaders are not acting at sufficient speed or scale to secure a peaceful and liveable planet. From cutting carbon emissions to strengthening arms control treaties and investing in pandemic preparedness, we know what needs to be done. The science is clear, but the political will is lacking. This must change in 2023 if we are to avert catastrophe. We are facing multiple, existential crises. Leaders need a crisis mindset.”
Ban Ki-moon, Deputy Chair of The Elders and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, said:
“Three years ago, I helped unveil the Doomsday Clock when its hands were last moved. Today they are even closer to midnight, showing how much more perilous our world has become in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, extreme weather events and Russia’s outrageous war on Ukraine. Leaders did not heed the Doomsday Clock’s warnings in 2020. We all continue to pay the price. In 2023 it is vital for all our sakes that they act.”
Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former President of Mongolia and member of The Elders, added: “As a former President of a country landlocked between two large powers, I know how important international diplomacy is when it comes to tackling existential threats. Today our world faces multiple crises. A common thread runs through them all: failure of leadership. We need a collective response rooted in the spirit and values of the UN Charter that can put us back on a pathway to peaceful co-existence and sustainable development.”
Sivan Kartha, senior scientist, Stockholm Environmental Institute, lead author for the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report said:
“Dealing with the crisis of climate change requires faith in institutions of multilateral governance and cooperation. The geopolitical fissure opened by the invasion of Ukraine has weakened trust among countries and the global will to cooperate.”
Suzet McKinney, Director of Life Sciences, Sterling Bay, and member, Science and Security Board (SASB), Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said:
“Devastating events like the COVID-19 pandemic can no longer be considered rare, once-a-century occurrences. However, disease-induced disaster can be avoided if countries around the world cooperate on global health strategies.”
Steve Fetter, Dean of the graduate school, University of Maryland, member, National Academy of Sciences Committee on International Security and Arms Control, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said:
“Even if nuclear use is avoided in Ukraine, the war has challenged the nuclear order—the system of agreements and understandings that have been constructed over six decades to limit the dangers of nuclear weapons.”
The 2023 Doomsday Clock statement details other threats and threat multipliers beyond the most immediate risks related to the Russia-Ukraine War.
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One person in 23 will need humanitarian assistance in 2023
by UN News, OCHA, Concern, Oxfam
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the Global Humanitarian Overview 2023:
"2022 has been a year of extremes. Conflict brought misery to millions of people. The war in Ukraine accelerated the global food and energy crises. Diseases from cholera to COVID-19 claimed lives and disrupted economies. And the climate crisis is causing deadly drought and unprecedented floods.
Global hunger reached record levels. As we end the year, famine looms in five separate places around the world. And in every crisis, women and girls are last to eat and first to suffer poverty and hunger.
The United Nations and our humanitarian partners have helped to support and protect 157 million people around the world. We listened to people and communities and worked to tailor our programmes to meet their needs. We provided $2 billion in cash assistance to people in crisis situations to save lives.
Humanitarian demands are projected to continue increasing next year. In 2023, we forecast some 339 million people will need humanitarian aid and protection — an increase of 65 million since the beginning of 2022.
The 2023 Global Humanitarian Overview calls for life-saving support to 230 million of the most vulnerable people. Funding these lifesaving operations is a source of hope for millions of people in desperate need".
“Humanitarian needs are shockingly high, as this year’s extreme events are spilling into 2023,” said the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths.
“Lethal droughts and floods are wreaking havoc in communities from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa. The war in Ukraine has turned a part of Europe into a battlefield. More than 100 million people are now displaced worldwide. And all of this on top of the devastation left by the pandemic among the world’s poorest.
“For people on the brink, this appeal is a lifeline. For the international community, it is a strategy to make good on the pledge to leave no one behind.”
The 2023 Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO), launched today by the UN in collaboration with nongovernmental organizations and other humanitarian partners, paints a stark picture.
At least 222 million people in 53 countries will face acute food insecurity by the end of 2022. Forty-five million people in 37 countries risk starvation.
The response plans in the GHO detail how aid agencies working together around specific types of aid – including shelter, food, maternal health, child nutrition and protection – can save and support the lives of a combined 230 million people worldwide.
The GHO is a comprehensive and evidence-based assessment of global humanitarian needs. It provides a snapshot of current and future trends in humanitarian action for large-scale resource mobilization efforts".
Joyce Msuya, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator:
"A global pandemic, an escalating climate crisis, a war in Europe, a global cost of living crisis, extreme levels of poverty.
We are in the middle of the largest global food crisis in modern history, a crisis driven by conflict, climactic shock and the looming threat of global recession. As I speak, close to 1 million people are in famine-like conditions.
More people have been forced from their homes than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Today’s wars are more intense and longer lasting than ever. The war in Syria will have soon dragged on for 12 years. The conflict in Yemen nine.
Women and children are bearing the brunt of these forever wars as hospitals, homes and schools are turned into death traps by warring sides who violate the rules of war every single day.
It is also unsurprising that the world’s humanitarian system is now at breaking point, for every year, as needs rise to record levels, the funding gap grows.
It is a deep sadness that, as of today, our 2022 appeal is less than half funded. And yet, despite this huge shortfall, we’ve provided assistance to 157 million people.
Thanks to the grit and determination of our NGO partners, frontline organizations and local communities, we’ve reached displaced people in 46 countries. And we’ve provided emergency healthcare to more than 40 million people in the first half of the year alone.
This is what we can do with less than half of what we need. This is what we can do despite the threat to aid workers, and despite the access challenges thrown up by war, violence and political chaos.
But with proper funding, we could have more than doubled our impact, reaching millions more men, women and children whose lives have been devastated by disaster. Today, we are appealing for funds to help 230 million people in 68 countries. To restore hope for millions of people who simply want a chance to survive.
This is our SOS call for help. Help for the millions of men, women and children whose lives have been shattered by hunger, conflict, disease, and poverty.
Help which will allow committed frontline workers to provide millions with food, education, vaccines, protection, and shelter.
Help which can only come from countries, corporates and individuals who are fortunate enough to be living in peace, safety and prosperity.
If this SOS is heard, then we will have the power not just to alleviate suffering in the short-term but to ensure millions of the world’s most vulnerable people can secure the right to a life of dignity, away from a world of permanent crisis".
One person in 23 will need humanitarian assistance in 2023. (Concern Worldwide)
The last year has been devastating for vulnerable and poorer communities around the world with a 24% increase in the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance.
One person in every 23, a total of 339 million people globally, will require some form of assistance in 2023.
The Irish development and humanitarian organisation, Concern Worldwide, is working in eight of the 10 worst affected countries: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine.
“A number of factors have contributed to the rise in humanitarian needs; the climate crisis, armed conflict, the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, all compounded by the impacts of the conflict in Ukraine on the global economy which has caused inflation and unstable food prices,” said Carol Morgan, International Programmes Director with Concern.
“It’s people living in the world’s poorest countries that are hit hardest. We see this in the communities Concern works in, they are struggling to afford even the most of basic necessities, and many of their coping mechanisms are exhausted. The world must redouble its efforts to support communities living in extreme poverty.”
The harrowing statistics are contained in the United Nations’ Global Humanitarian Overview (GHO). The GHO is an annual assessment of humanitarian needs and the resources required to address them based on data from international organisations and global, national, and local NGOs.
It says US$51.5 billion is needed to fund the most urgent needs of 230 million people in 68 countries in 2023, 25% more than this time last year. Costs for humanitarian responses has increased substantially, with higher operational costs and commodity prices putting further pressure on limited budgets.
Although the 2022 GHO funding appeal received the highest level of funding ever, it is expected it will be only half-funded by the end of the year. The gap between requirements and funding is greater than ever and this gap has seen millions of people affected by climate crisis and conflict not getting the support they needed.
In Afghanistan, Concern has scaled up operations to reach communities facing extreme hunger and to support Afghan partners responding to several serious earthquakes. Through our emergency and development projects, we have reached 216,019 people in 2022. However, in what is one of the most complex emergency settings in the world, millions of people across the country are on the verge of famine. Concern staff members have witnessed parents at the end of their tether selling their children out of sheer desperation, just to put food on the table. A lack of funding has meant that millions of food insecure people did not get support ahead of the lean season.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the majority (73%) of the population live below the US$1.90 poverty line, and DRC is ranked 176 out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index. The humanitarian context in 2022 has continued to deteriorate due to armed conflict and natural disasters with over 260,000 people being displaced since March this year. Concern has provided cash payments to displaced households to purchase food and essential supplies for their families.
Next year’s GHO appeal will set a new record for the highest ever requirements, demonstrating how conflict, climate change, COVID-19, and heightened costs are pushing more and more people into humanitarian emergency.
Global humanitarian needs highest on record. (Oxfam)
Today’s UN 2023 Global Humanitarian Outlook report, reveals that 339 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid - the highest caseload in history - Oxfam Global Humanitarian Director, Marta Valdes Garcia:
“One in every 23 people around the world –the equivalent of nearly half of the entire population of Europe– is now in urgent need of humanitarian aid. This news must be an immediate wake-up call.
“The humanitarian needs are outstripping the aid system’s ability to respond. We have to rethink not only how we try to meet those needs, but what the failures are of global systems that are leading to such rapidly growing inequality in the first place.
“Humanitarian aid is flatlining but, again, we’re seeing the UN appealing for even more resources, from the same pool of donors, to help even more desperate people trying to cope in crisis. Again, those most in need will receive only a token of what they are asking for.
“The global humanitarian system is already overwhelmed. We know that people are being made homeless, hungry and sick by climate change, conflict, poverty and inequality, and economic failures – but these are not isolated issues, they’re the same endemic crisis.
“We must not wait any longer. We need a radical overhaul of how our global systems work, putting the dignity and rights of people in crisis first.
“We must both immediately respond to this unprecedented humanitarian need and find ways to change a runaway global financial system where the few are benefitting at the cost of the many. How can we have hundreds of new food and energy billionaires yet we cannot fund basic humanitarian needs to stop millions of people from starving?
“Donors must immediately meet the UN global humanitarian appeal to help save lives now. Funding to prevent disasters should have no strings attached; and decisions and actions must be led by local communities themselves.
“National governments must also tackle the root causes of poverty and inequality that worsens the blow of disasters on those already suffering. One key way this can be done is by injecting resources into global public goods, from climate adaptation to social protection. There is already much insight into what a new global system could be – at heart, by tackling global inequality, climate change and conflict, and focusing on local leadership. What is needed is the political courage to act.”
* The oil and gas industry realise $2.8 billion per day in profits each year. Less than 18 days of those profits would cover the entire $48.82 billion UN humanitarian appeal for 2022.
http://www.oxfam.org/en/research/hunger-heating-world http://www.care-international.org/resources/breaking-silence-report-ten-humanitarian-crises-didnt-make-headlines-2022 http://www.icrc.org/en/document/humanitarian-crises-world-cant-ignore-2023 http://unocha.exposure.co/11-crises-to-watch-in-2023 http://www.unicef.org/press-releases/urgent-action-needed-acute-malnutrition-threatens-lives-millions-vulnerable-children http://www.unicef.org/emergencies/11-emergencies-need-more-support-2023 http://www.savethechildren.net/news/new-analysis-number-people-facing-extreme-hunger-more-50-3-years-afghanistan-worst-hit http://www.rescue.org/article/top-10-crises-world-cant-ignore-2023 http://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2023/01/03/ten-humanitarian-crises-trends-to-watch
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