The need to review and challenge the current humanitarian system is high, especially when the present method no longer works as efficiently as it should — which is to reach more people and save more lives.
This is what international nongovernmental organization Oxfam wants to address in its latest report, ”Crises in a New World Order.” The report says building local capacity and investing in disaster risk reduction are the ways to go in today’s changing times — although funds for emergencies should not be taken away entirely.
Disasters and conflicts are expected to rise in number, Oxfam notes. And with the current challenges plaguing the humanitarian system, such as sluggish funding from donors, these crises cannot be left for the United Nations and international NGOs to handle on their own. Thus the need to shift from global to local, from making resources more readily available in crisis-affected countries to training local NGOs for a speedy and more efficient aid response.
A greater emphasis on disaster risk reduction is also needed to prevent crises from escalating. Oxfam noted that according to the United Nations, it only cost $1 to save a malnourished child’s life in 2005. Today, with many countries in Africa experiencing a food crisis, costs have gone up to an astounding $80.
Little has been done — and given — to address these cases. In 2009, Oxfam noted that less than 1 percent of total aid spending was allocated for disaster risk reduction. And without media coverage, help becomes “too little, too late.”
Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.