19 Feb, 2019

Humanitarian agencies’ top priorities in 2019

by Food&Migration

2019 is a challenging year for humanitarian agencies all over the world. Old and new crises make their mission harder to accomplish and their work more precious than ever in areas ravaged by conflicts, forced migration and climate change. High on the list of emergencies there’s food insecurity, one of the most worrying factors behind the humanitarian crisis of our time.

In order to understand the top priorities for the current year, the Thomson Reuters Foundation conducted a survey involving some of the most prominent humanitarian agencies on a global scale.

Matter of shared concern is the gap between the received funding and the estimated needs. The donors coordinated by the United Nations gave around 14,3 billion dollars to finance a wide range of projects. Still, this record amount meets no more than 57% of the financial requirements.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is just one of many NGO’s aiming at protecting migrants, especially women, children and disabled people. Ebhasj As Sy, Secretary General of the IFRC expressed the will to tackle problems related to the main drivers of migrant flows. Community engagement, emergency healthcare, water and sanitation services must be granted if we do not want the next pandemic to cause a huge number of casualties as Ebola did. The same can be said with reference to climate change, a concrete threat undermining agriculture and food security as well as triggering weather hazards.

Yemen is seen as one of the most critical scenarios due to indiscriminate airstrikes, economic sanctions and naval blockades. Daniele Timarco, Humanitarian Director at Save The Children, describes it as a focus of primary concern where around 85,000 children under the age of five may have died of starvation and related disease. Stephen L. Anderson, Country Director for the World Food Program in Yemen, estimates that 8.4 million people are food insecure, or one step from famine. The civil war which broke out in the poorest country of the Arabian Peninsula in 2011 has led to a “man-made disaster”, according to Oxfam humanitarian director Nigel Timmins, who predicts that the conflict could produce the world’s worst famine in 100 years. Oxfam depicts South Sudan as a further field where food insecurity deserves the highest attention: up to 5 million people will be in hunger and 36,000 people will suffer from famine conditions by next March.

Yemen represents a primary source of concern, Corinne Woods, Communication Director, World Food Programme said. Sheemphasizes the efforts to be deployed in the country to defeat malnutrition and undernourishment. Woods also stresses the important role played by digital technology in fighting food insecurity and paving the way for “Zero Hunger World”.

“Zero Hunger” is the Sustainable Development Goal n. 2 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by over 193 countries, members of the United Nations in 2015. Since world hunger is on the rise again after a prolonged decline (from 777 million undernourished people worldwide in 2015 to 815 million in 2016 and 821 million in 2017 according to the last FAO SOFI 2018), to fulfill such objective is a mission more urgent than ever before.