Commentary: An overwhelming number of crises means the international community cannot respond well.
WASHINGTON — Humanitarian crises in the world today — Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, South Sudan and now Gaza — all demand immediate and massive humanitarian response.
The crises are not only large-scale, affecting millions, but the conflicts also are complex, each with unique political realities and on-the-ground difficulties.
They are not alone among crises competing for our attention. They are simply the biggest, pushing off the front pages other crises where human needs remain urgent: Darfur, Central America, Pakistan, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia.
It’s not only the number and the scale that challenge the humanitarian community, but the proliferation of humanitarian actors, the politicization of humanitarian responses and the insecurity that confronts humanitarian workers.
Phi Beta Iota: In the 1970’s and then again in the 1990’s, holistic thinkers repeatedly pointed out that absent responsible governance there would be a proliferation of humanitarians crises. And so it has come to pass. Worse, the international aid system is corrupt and inept as well, delivering generally 10-20% of donated funds to the intended recipients, and generally in poorly executed and often unusable form. Data-driven hybrid governance and “peaceful preventive measures” are essential. The costs of these crises will double over the next decade. Pay now or pay more later.