The number of people affected by humanitarian crises has almost doubled in the past decade. The United Nations and its partners continue to respond to humanitarian needs and emergencies resulting from conflict and/or global challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation.
The UN system is currently responding to four 'L3' emergencies. They are: in Iraq, where the surge in violence between armed groups and government forces has resulted in an estimated 1.9 million internally displaced people across Iraq and left hundreds of thousands of people in need of assistance; in Syria, where millions of people are in need of humanitarian assistance, where many are trapped in hard to reach areas and more than US$ 5 billion is still needed in 2014 to meet the most urgent needs; in the Central African Republic, where over the past year, the country has experienced a major political crisis which has resulted in a violent conflict that has affected nearly the entire population and has left some 2.5 million people, over half the population, in dire need of assistance; and in South Sudan, where 1.7 million people have been displaced and around 4 million face alarming food insecurity as a result of the fighting that started in December 2013.
Other critical concentration areas include Burundi political crises, Nepal Earthquake, West Africa Ebola outbreak, Somalia and Central American drought.
Nearly 85 percent of the world’s young people live in developing countries, where most humanitarian crises occur. However, the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) needs of these young people are widely unmet. Natural and man-made emergencies can disrupt the family, social, and economic structures that young people depend on, placing them at risk of poverty, violence, and sexual exploitation and abuse. In situations where education and health services are lacking or have been suspended, young people are left without access to SRH information and services and at the same time face higher SRH risks, such as substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV infection, unwanted pregnancy, and unsafe abortion.
In response to these crises, new actors have taken a larger part in humanitarian action and various partnership models have arisen, including cash-transfer programmes and remote management of operations by using local organizations and partners to deliver assistance. The rising scale of needs, the persistence of protracted crises and the interplay of new risks have led to a continued global deficit in the capacity of Governments and humanitarian organizations to respond, suggesting a need for a shift in the way in which Member States and the United Nations and its partners prepare for and respond to humanitarian crises towards a more anticipatory approach.
Young people are often seriously affected when disasters strikes and can face severe difficulties in coping with unexpected and traumatic interruptions to their lives. But despite this, the world’s youth are also the very people who can teach their communities - and the wider world - how to reduce the risks and impact of disasters. Young people are unmatched by any other demographic group in their ability to bring about meaningful change in social behaviour and attitudes. We must not underestimate their potential to make a real difference in the time of disasters.
Young people must be their unique role and the value they can provide as innovators, inter-cultural ambassadors, peer-to-peer facilitators, community mobilizers, and advocates for vulnerable people.
A call to be committed to working on disaster preparedness, response and recovery, including innovative solutions in areas such as psychosocial support, advocacy for climate change adaptation, food security, and access to safe and clean water.
Youth networks are to play critical roles to raise awareness amongst children and young people about the problems caused by climate change, provided them with necessary training, and mobilized them as agents of change in building the resilience of the communities to recurring drought and famine.
These are just some examples of what can be achieved when children and young people become aware of their responsibilities and potential to take an active part in the global efforts to resolve serious problems faced by humanity.
Each humanitarian disaster has its own set of challenges, and must be responded to accordingly. Phenomena such as unplanned urbanization, under-development, poverty and climate change are all factors that can make humanitarian emergencies more complex, frequent and/or severe.
As the international community prepares for post-2015 development and disaster risk reduction frameworks and the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, it will be important to recognize that development cannot be sustainable unless the risk of crises is addressed proactively as a joint priority.
Global challenges, such as climate change, environmental degradation, rapid population growth and unplanned urbanization, are all contributing to people's increasing vulnerability to natural disasters. These trends will alter the landscape of future environmental disasters and humanitarian crises. There is a critical need to help countries and communities to better adapt and quickly recover when such emergencies occur. 2015 marks the launch of post-2015 global agreement on sustainable development, disaster risk reduction and climate change. In 2016, the World Humanitarian Summit will develop the outcomes of these processes, exploring how humanitarian needs can be tackled in a fast-changing world