The Director of Operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is appealing for millions of dollars of extra funding for 2016, to deal with the humanitarian consequences of conflicts around the world. Dominik Stillhart said there was a "disturbing slide into intractability by many newer conflicts and a devastating failure to resolve old ones."
Almost 70% of the ICRC's humanitarian spending, some 1.1 billion US dollars (1.1 billion Swiss francs), now goes to help people engulfed in protracted conflicts. These are characterized by their length, intractability and complexity.
"These conflicts keep countries at constant breaking point year-on-year, ruining support systems vital to the lives of the general public," said Mr Stillhart as he launched the call to donors for additional cash to fill unmet 2016 needs, totalling 115 million dollars (113 million francs).
Seven of the organization's ten most underfunded operations, including Israel and the occupied territories, Iraq, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colombia and Somalia, are mired in crises lasting decades or more.
"Challenges are particularly acute in cities, where essential services take a battering from years of war. People see water and electricity systems, schools and hospitals destroyed or badly damaged by years of fighting.
"That damage can happen quickly, like in Fallujah, or over a longer period, like in Mogadishu, where cumulative damage and neglect undermine these systems until they can no longer cope. The result is the same, either way: we are there to prop up these systems for decades at a time, to stop people from plunging further into poverty and vulnerability," said Mr Stillhart.
Mr Stillhart also said money should be distributed in a more predictable fashion, as multi-year funding packages, and free of strings tying its use to a specific country. This would allow the ICRC to respond with emergency relief as well as to long-term needs in parallel.
The call coincides with the launch of a new ICRC report on protracted conflicts, which provides insights into humanitarian work in some of today's most devastating and intractable conflicts, based on examples drawn from the ICRC's long operational experience.
Read the protracted conflicts report (English only, other languages forthcoming): https://www.icrc.org/en/document/protracted-conflict-and-humanitarian-ac...
For further information, please contact:
Iolanda Jaquemet, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 227 30 2729, mobile: +41 79 217 3287