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In 2023, 339 million people will be in need of humanitarian assistance
by UN News, Office of Humanitarian Affairs
Dec. 2022
UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the launch of 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 $51.5 billion to bring 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.
This year, humanitarian organizations have delivered assistance to stave off the most urgent needs of 157 million people. This includes food assistance for 127 million people; sufficient safe water for nearly 26 million people; livelihood assistance for 24 million people; psychosocial support for 13 million children and caregivers; maternal health consultations for 5.2 million mothers; and health-care services for 5.8 million refugees and asylum-seekers.
Humanitarians have painstakingly negotiated access to communities in need to deliver water and food rations. National and local organizations are members of 80 per cent of all Humanitarian Country Teams, providing essential guidance and leadership. And from Afghanistan to the Central African Republic, local organizations are engaged in humanitarian planning and programming.
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.
The GHO 2023 includes country-specific Humanitarian Response Plans for Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mali, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Yemen.
The GHO includes Flash Appeals and other plans for Kenya, Lebanon, Madagascar and Pakistan.
Regional inter-agency plans for neighbouring countries are also included for the crises in Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Horn of Africa and Yemen, Rohingya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela.
Joyce Msuya, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator media briefing:
"The idea that we have entered an age of permanent crisis, that humanity is lurching from one global disaster to another without drawing breath, is rapidly gaining ground.
Indeed, the word “perma-crisis” was named 2022’s English word of the year. And it’s not hard to see why. 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.
Never have so many people needed aid just to survive – six times more than a decade ago. Given these giant, interconnected crises, it is unsurprising that the word “perma-crisis” is increasingly being used to describe the times in which we live.
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 $51.5 billion to help 230 million people in 68 countries. This is a big figure - more than we’ve ever asked for. But unless we secure this finance, the scale of human suffering will continue to rocket. Needs will continue to rise. The world’s mega-crises will continue to outpace our ability to respond.
And the hopes of millions of people who simply want a chance to survive and adapt, a chance to see their communities transformed in response to disaster, will continue to be dashed.
But it’s not just about how much money we raise – it’s also about what we do with this money. And that’s where I’m filled with hope.
Over the past decade or so, the humanitarian system has undergone profound change. This transformation is now bearing real fruit. We’re now better placed than ever to prevent and alleviate human suffering, and to protect life and health in a way that grants people the safety and dignity they need to thrive.
Firstly, the humanitarian system has grown more adept at anticipating crisis and risk, learning from communities themselves even as we help them better prepare for and respond to disaster before it strikes. This hasn’t just protected lives – it has also reduced the financial cost of humanitarian action.
Secondly, we’re finding innovative ways to build longer term resilience even while we meet immediate, lifesaving needs. Thirdly, international aid now strengthens rather than replaces national and local organizations. Eighty per cent of our humanitarian response teams are now guided by leaders from national and local organizations.
Alongside our ability to deliver funds to local organizations in the world’s most fragile places, this means that our humanitarian response is now informed by the real needs of people on the frontlines of the world’s disasters.
These changes to the way the humanitarian system operates mean that we’re no longer just delivering aid – we’re working to end the need for it. That’s why the $51.5 billion we’re asking for today isn’t just a band-aid for the world’s growing crises – it’s the most important investment we can make in humanity.
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. I can think of no greater investment".
* UN WebTV: Lauch of 2023 Global Humanitarian Overview:

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50 of the poorest developing countries are in danger of defaulting on their debt
by C20, Oxfam, UNDP, IIED, Debt Justice, agencies
Nov. 2022
C20 recommendations to Indonesian G20 Summit. (C20 Indonesia 2022)
(The G20 Summit takes place in Bali, Indonesia on the 15-16 November 2022. C20 represents the views of Civil Society Organisations and is the official input channel to G20 processes. The 86 page C20 policy briefing (Pack) offered below has been led by Indonesian Civil Society agencies with input from over 200 groups from 65 countries).
"During bad circumstances, which is the human inheritance, you must decide not to be reduced. You have your humanity, and you must not allow anything to reduce that. We are obliged to know we are global citizens. Disasters remind us we are world citizens, whether we like it or not.” – Maya Angelou
C20 calls on all leaders of the G20 to make greater efforts to solving the current global situation. Millions of people have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The negative impacts of the pandemic have been compounded by the multiple crises in the food, energy and financial sectors caused by the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Our humanity is at stake and governments, the business and civil society organizations must be committed to promote world peace and uplifting humanity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted global development and has caused misery to millions of people, especially those in developing countries. Equal access to COVID-19 vaccines across nations has yet to be achieved. As of August 2022 only 20.3% of the population on the African continent have been fully vaccinated; meanwhile half of the countries in Europe have achieved more than an 85% vaccination rate and have already initiated booster shots. The world has barely recovered from the pandemic when new waves of crises mercilessly struck.
The energy, food and financial crises have been exacerbated by the Ukraine-Russia war. The war has already had an impact on the global economy and its social impacts are having profound ripple effects on inequality. We must also remember that due to the war there is a surging number of refugees, displaced persons and more people with physical and psychosocial disabilities.
Recover together, Recover stronger is the commitment of G20 under Indonesia’s Presidency as a principle to navigate policy solutions to the world’s problems. However, it can only be achieved if G20 collaborates with other countries that have the same common goals, are committed to a concerted effort to recover from the pandemic, leaving no one behind, with input and support from civil society organizations.
C20 therefore prioritizes four issues that reflect this principle: Just and Inclusive Global Health Architecture, Climate Justice and Just Energy Transition, Tax Justice and Inclusive Sustainable Finance, Inclusive Digital Transformation. Taking into account the urgency of gender equality, persons with disabilities, humanitarian action, civic space and anti-corruption, the C20 addresses them as cross-cutting issues.
It is with grave concern that we observe how multi-dimensional crises: food, energy, humanitarian, climate change and financial are evolving around us. The much needed global economic recovery from the pandemic has been disrupted. Currently, the world oil benchmark price has risen sharply, economic growth is predicted to fall and various commodity prices have also been significantly affected. Millions of innocent people’s lives have been affected by the invasion of Ukraine.
These crises not only obstruct the development agenda but could potentially foil various goals and targets of global agendas such as SDGs and the Paris Agreement, thus hampering the G20’s efforts to promote strong, sustainable, equal and inclusive global economic growth. C20 therefore calls on the G20 to put aside their differences and prioritize crisis resolution.
This Policy Pack is a product of the C20 which comprises 280 organizations, representing the view of Civil Society Organizations in 65 countries across the 5 continents. C20 has 7 working groups: (i) Vaccine Access and Global Health; (ii) Gender Equality and Disability; (iii) Taxation and Sustainable Finance; (iv) Environment, Climate Justice and Energy Transition; (v) SDGs and Humanitarian Assistance; (vi) Education, Digitalization, and Civic Space and; (vii) Anti-Corruption.
Nov. 2022
G20 must tackle the “cost of profit” crisis causing chaos worldwide, says Oxfam.
G20 countries are receiving US$136 million every day in debt repayments from the world’s poorest countries at a time when up to 828 million people are facing hunger.
The “cost of living” crisis is more accurately a “cost of profit” crisis – of rising billionaire wealth and corporate mega-profits – that is driving up poverty, hunger, indebtedness and deprivation around the world, Oxfam says, as the G20 Summit begins in Bali.
“If the G20 are serious about tackling this looming global economic catastrophe they need to put their own houses in order. That’s where the real cause of this crisis lies,” said Oxfam’s G20 Lead Joern Kalinski.
“In reality we are facing a ‘cost of profit’ crisis. The richest are getting richer, while ordinary families and the poorest countries are being squeezed dry,” said Kalinski.
Since the start of the pandemic, poor countries have had to shell out US$113 billion to their rich G20 country creditors, during a time that four times more people died of Covid in poorer nations than in rich ones.
In 2021, on average, poor countries were forced to spend 27.5 percent of their budgets on debt repayment – four times more than on health and 12 times more than on social protection. Even the public climate finance they are getting from rich nations, including many in the G20, are 71 percent loans.
Meanwhile the G20’s biggest corporations are making record profits. Nine out of ten of the biggest fossil fuel companies are headquartered in G20 countries. US corporations are seeing their biggest profit margins since 1950 and have been accused of ‘greedflation’; driving higher inflation through price hikes.
The G20 is home now to 89 percent of all the billionaire wealth in the world – at around US$10 trillion. This has grown by US$1.88 trillion, creating 287 newly-minted pandemic billionaires, since 2020. Energy and food billionaires are currently getting richer by a half-a-billion dollars a day.
Oxfam urges the G20 to acknowledge the consequences that this shocking inequality is visiting on ordinary citizens the world over in the form of mass hunger, death and worsening poverty.
In Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya historic levels of drought mean that one person will likely die of hunger every 36 seconds between now and the end of the year as the worst-hit areas hurtle towards famine. Women and girls, who are often the main food producers, primary caregivers, and stewards of household nutrition, are at higher risk of hunger.
The Ukraine war is an additional layer to existing problems. While 828 million people face hunger, the world’s main food traders made record profits and food and agribusiness billionaires increased their collective wealth by US$382 billion (45 percent) over the past two years. The United Nations has appealed for US$17.1 billion in humanitarian food security assistance for 2022 but so far donors have only given US$7 billion.
Globally progress in fighting poverty has halted, according to the World Bank, with poverty increasing during COVID-19 for the first time in decades. Inequality has grown too; with the poorest seeing their incomes decline twice as much as the richest.
“Austerity is the exact wrong reaction – a textbook blunder – that is ripping away social safety nets and beating people down into poverty,” Kalinski said.
Recent Oxfam research on inequality shows that despite the worst health crisis in a century, half of all poor countries have cut their share of health spending. Almost half of all countries cut their budget share going to social protection, 70 percent cut their share going to education and two-thirds failed to raise their minimum wage in line with economic growth. Over the next five years, three-quarters of all countries globally are planning further cuts totaling US$7.8 trillion dollars.
143 of 161 countries Oxfam surveyed froze tax rates on their richest citizens, and 11 countries even lowered them. Corporate tax dodging also continues on an industrial scale with an estimated one trillion dollars of corporate profits shifted to tax havens in 2019 alone.
The G20 must tackle the root causes of hunger: extreme inequality and poverty, human rights violations, conflict, climate change and food and energy price inflation. Oxfam says the G20 must develop an economic and social rescue plan that protects the rights of the poorest people and tackles extreme inequality. This means:
Championing systematic strategies to tackle inequality and monitoring progress by rejecting austerity, boosting inequality-busting public spending, making tax more progressive, and increasing workers’ rights and pay.
Widescale debt relief and significant debt cancellation for the poorest countries. Increasing taxes on windfall profits, wealth and corporations. Issuing more Special Drawing Rights, and allocating more to the poorest countries.
Boosting inequality-busting aid. Delivering on climate finance, especially for the most vulnerable countries. Committing to enhancing pandemic preparedness and building more resilient systems.
To halt the worsening hunger crises the G20 must:
Urgently mobilise financial resources into humanitarian emergencies. Address the root causes of hunger crises including climate change, conflict, poverty and inequality, human rights violations and food price inflation.
Ensure that blockades, economic sanctions and military activities in all countries do not hinder the free, safe and reliable transport of food and agricultural supplies, especially in conflict-affected areas. Rebalance the power in food supply chains to create a more sustainable and just food system.
Nov. 2022
UNDP: 50 of the poorest developing countries are in danger of defaulting on their debt.
More than 50 of the poorest developing countries are in danger of defaulting on their debt and becoming effectively bankrupt unless the rich world offers urgent assistance, the head of the UN Development Programme has warned.
Inflation, the energy crisis and rising interest rates are creating conditions where an increasing number of countries are in danger of default, with potentially disastrous impacts on their people, according to Achim Steiner, the UN’s global development chief.
“There are currently 54 countries on our list [of those likely to default] and if we have more shocks – interest rates go up further, borrowing becomes more expensive, energy prices, food prices – it becomes almost inevitable that we will see a number of these economies unable to pay,” he said. “And that creates a catastrophic scenario, with all the social and economic and political implications this carries with it.”
Speaking at the Cop27 UN climate summit, Steiner said any such default would create further problems for solving the climate crisis. “It certainly will not help climate action,” he said. Without measures to help them with debt, he warned, poor countries could not get to grips with the climate crisis.
“The issue of debt has now become such a big problem for so many developing economies that dealing with the debt crisis becomes a precondition for actually accelerating climate action,” he said. “We need to inject targeted liquidity into countries to be able to invest in energy transitions, and adaptation to the impacts of extreme weather.”
The climate crisis is further compounding the problem, he warned, as countries are facing increasing effects from extreme weather. Poor countries are not receiving the funding they were promised from the rich world, yet are facing a growing danger of storms, floods, droughts and heatwaves.
Steiner warned that some developing countries were in danger of giving up on the UN climate talks if developed country governments failed to fulfil a longstanding promise to poor nations of $100bn a year in assistance, to help them cut greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of extreme weather.
One of the major issues at the Cop27 talks is loss and damage, referring to the most devastating impacts of extreme weather, which countries cannot protect themselves against.
Steiner said the issue was often misunderstood. “It’s building on something that in many of our countries is an established practice. When extraordinary floods take place, the Government, the taxpayer essentially steps in with support for the damage that has not been recoverable from insurance companies,” he said.
“We have an established practice that the common purse steps in where a catastrophic event happens. But when a Caribbean island has a third of its GDP wiped out in 12 hours through a hurricane, there’s nobody to turn to.”
That was why a loss and damage fund was needed, he said. “That’s where the injustice of climate change becomes so egregious in the view of many developing countries. Not having been even remotely a principal causal factor in the climate crisis, they are now paying an extraordinary price through the damage they suffer.”
Rich countries have the resources to end the debt crisis, which has deteriorated rapidly in part as a consequence of their own domestic policies. These policies have sent interest rates in developing economies skyrocketing and investors fleeing. This is happening while developing economies have large financing shortfalls for fighting climate change. The 54 most debt-vulnerable countries include 28 of the world’s top-50 most climate vulnerable nations.
Oct. 2022
Lower income country borrowing costs rise at three times rate of the US, by Debt Justice.
From the early months of this year, the U.S. Federal Reserve has been raising US interest rates aggressively to combat inflation. The dollar has soared on the world’s currency markets. Since 90% of emerging market debt is denominated in dollars, a stronger US currency makes repayments punitively expensive. Borrowing costs for highly indebted countries have shot up.
New analysis by Debt Justice finds that average interest rates on new borrowing by lower income countries have increased by 5.7 percentage points this year, almost three times the rate of increase in US government borrowing costs. Furthermore, for two-thirds of lower income countries where there is data, interest rates are so high they are probably unable to take out new loans from external private lenders.
The worsening of financial conditions, alongside the climate emergency, is intensifying debt crises in many lower income countries. The number of countries defaulting on or restructuring debt could rapidly increase.
Heidi Chow, Executive Director of Debt Justice, said:
“Many countries were already cutting essential spending to cope with the debt crisis, before rising interest rates made an alarming situation even worse. Countries like Pakistan are also facing colossal costs from widespread devastation caused by the climate emergency. We urgently need mechanisms to quickly cancel debts for countries in need, especially high interest loans from private lenders.”
Bhumika Muchhala, Senior Advisor on Global Economic Governance, Third World Network, said:
“While the US Federal Reserve has repeatedly raised its interest rate in response to the global inflation spike, there is little to no regard of the adverse spillovers imposed on developing countries across the world. These findings are an urgent call for a multilateral debt restructuring mechanism where all creditors – private, government and multilateral – participate, as well as a rethink of exchange rate liberalization and domestic monetary tightening as a strategy to secure market confidence in developing countries.”
Of the 27 lower income governments with public information available on their foreign currency bonds, Debt Justice finds that nine have yields over 20%: El Salvador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Ukraine and Zambia. A further ten have yields between 10% and 20%: Angola, Cameroon, Egypt, Honduras, Kenya, Mongolia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda and Tajikistan.
The yield is a measure of what the interest rate would be on new loans from the private sector, though yields of over 10% suggest borrowing will not be possible.
As well as the rise in borrowing costs, the analysis finds that for the 27 countries covered in the study, the dollar has increased in value by an average of 14% compared to local currencies. Because external debts tend to be owed in foreign currencies, especially the dollar, this immediately increases the relative size of debt payments in local currencies.
The lack of an effective debt relief scheme is forcing the world’s poorest countries to cut public spending to keep up payments to their creditors, despite the need to counter the impact of spiralling food and energy prices. Currency depreciations also add to the costs of importing food and energy supplies further undermining public revenues.
Tackling the debt, climate and nature crises together. (International Institute for Environment & Development)
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, urgent debt relief is needed. This is an opportunity to change how debt relief is addressed and delivered. IIED is working to have creditors and receiving countries take up climate and nature programme swaps – a system that makes it possible to tackle the debt, climate change and nature emergencies together, in order to reduce poverty and better ensure an inclusive and sustainable post-COVID recovery.


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