International Humanitarian System Must Go From Global to Local - Oxfam
7 February 2012 at 1:36 pm
|Image supplied: Oxfam & SAACID. Photo: Oxfam Novib|
International aid agency Oxfam says that resources must be built up closer to where disasters happen to ensure that people and countries are better prepared to withstand future shocks.
Oxfam warns that the international humanitarian response system will not cope with the expected rise in the number of people exposed to crises unless resources are built up closer to where disasters happen and there is more investment in preventing and reducing the risk of disasters.
In a new report, Crises in a New World Order, Oxfam said that while governments’ and agencies’ response to emergencies has greatly improved it was still ‘too little, too late’ and was often determined by the vagaries of media and political interest rather than the level of human need.
Oxfam Australia emergencies manager Richard Young said that coping with the expected strains on the humanitarian system would mean a shift from global to local.
“We are already seeing the centre of humanitarian action moving away from the Western world to the local and the national but this move needs to accelerate,” he said.
“International aid agencies cannot just pitch up, patch up and push-off, they also have to ensure that people and countries are better prepared to withstand future shocks.
“Having local organisations already on the ground that are primed to go will increase both the speed and the efficiency of the aid effort and ultimately will save more lives.”
Young said the shift was vital as significant demands would be placed on the humanitarian system in the coming years with the expected rise in the number of disasters, and the failure to adequately resolve conflicts and turn round failed states.
“Shifting more money to preventing and reducing the risk of disaster makes eminent sense but it does not mean taking it away from urgent humanitarian response. It is not the case of either or. We will still need the funds to immediately respond to dire human crises,” Young said.
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