2020 has been a year like no other.
Many have tragically died and fallen ill as a result of COVID-19 and the virus has triggered a global recession not seen since the 1930s. We risk losing decades of human progress. Extreme poverty is rising for the first time in over 20 years.
And, as the UN’s Global Humanitarian Needs Overview for 2021 laid out in stark terms, 235 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. That’s 1 in 33 people across the globe.
But the story of 2020 is not just about COVID-19. The main drivers of humanitarian crises have not gone away.
Conflict continues to take a heavy toll on civilians and violence against humanitarian workers remains rife. The impact of climate change and weather-related disasters continues to grow. The most vulnerable, including women and girls, are being hit hardest.
As a result, we are now facing the daunting prospect of famine and acute food insecurity in multiple contexts. The UK is particularly worried about the risks in Burkina Faso, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen.
As we look ahead to 2021, how do we meet the humanitarian needs of 235 million people? How can we slow increasing funding requirements? And how can we support humanitarians in field?
The UK remains committed to the global humanitarian cause. In September we appointed our first Special Envoy on Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs. His immediate focus is building the necessary alliances to drive up levels of humanitarian funding and to develop political