2017 is already a year of brutal conflict and escalating humanitarian crises. More than 20 million people in north-east Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are facing the threat of famine over the coming six months. In Iraq, Syria and Yemen, war rages on, with women and children suffering the most.
In this context, where more than 128 million people around the world need assistance, OCHA will undertake ambitious reforms to improve our effectiveness despite a significantly restricted budget.
The global cost to support people in need has increased 12 per cent in 2017 to US$22.2 billion. To effectively coordinate humanitarian response and advocate for people who need it most, OCHA is requesting voluntary contributions of $260 million—a 16 per cent decrease from last year.
Famine risk, Syria conflict
Famine has already been declared in parts of South Sudan, but it can be averted elsewhere, and lives can be saved if the United Nations and its partners immediately scale up response efforts.
In Syria, the crisis has entered its seventh year. “Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed. Almost 5 million people— the majority of them women and children—have fled the grotesque violence and deprivation and are now living as refugees,” said Stephen O’Brien, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“We know the conflict will never end without a genuine political commitment to peace. Yet even if a political agreement were to succeed tomorrow, millions of Syrians will still require critical humanitarian assistance for months and likely years to come.”
Unprecedented global needs, limited humanitarian funding
Despite the funding constraints, OCHA will maintain a dynamic field presence, able to scale up and scale down its operations depending on the changing needs of each crisis. OCHA will begin 2017 with a field presence of 30 country offices, 6 regional offices, 19 humanitarian advisory teams and 3 liaison offices.
Due to increasing needs, OCHA will establish new country offices in Cameroon and Libya, expand operations in Burundi and Nigeria, and strengthen its presence in Syria. In line with critical factors, such as the scale of the crisis, the size of the country, national capacity and presence of humanitarian actors, OCHA will scale back its operations in Colombia, Pakistan, Southern Africa and Ukraine.
OCHA is grateful for the continued support of our diverse set of donors whose generous contributions have allowed us to advocate for and coordinate assistance to the people most in need. OCHA calls on all Member States to consider allocating additional voluntary contributions to the organization.