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Interview: Address conflict, climate change, disease, to reduce humanitarian need, urges outgoing UN humanitarian chief

18 Jun 2021


Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock meets a group of young volunteers who are helping the Government and humanitarian organizations tackle the recurrent disease outbreaks in Kassala, Sudan (November 2019). © OCHA/Saviano Abreu

When he accepted the offer to become UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator four years ago, Mark Lowcock had hoped the need for aid globally was on the decline. 

But due to protracted and emerging conflicts, the rising impacts of climate change, and the toll of diseases such as Ebola and now, of course, COVID-19 the number of people requiring assistance and protection reached unprecedented levels over this period. 

As he prepares to leave office on Friday, 18 June, Mr. Lowcock sat down with UN News to underline why countries must work harder to address these common challenges: not only for the benefit of millions of vulnerable people worldwide, but also for the humanitarians serving them, far too often at great cost. 

“The good news is the UN, the NGOs, the Red Cross, continue to do a fantastic job in saving lives and reducing suffering, and I think the humanitarian system has really stepped up to the mark in recent years,” he said, speaking from London, adding, “we reach more than 100 million people a year”. 

Listen to the full interview below:


Watch an excerpt here: