North America

The performance of the international humanitarian system has been under the scrutiny of a number of evaluative reports in recent months – particularly in relation to its actions and inactions in Sri Lanka, 2009. Notably, the reports present a steadfast recognition that lessons must be learned within and across organizations.

In the year 2008, for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population was living in urban areas. Cities have become more numerous, more populous, and denser. The complexity and density of urban environments significantly alter the viability of certain humanitarian protection strategies that might work well in rural, more sparsely populated areas.

Presented in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières. Despite the Yemeni Government’s commitment to the 2014 Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan and ongoing efforts toward a sustainable political transition, the country’s humanitarian situation remains dire.

Recent scientific and technological advances have given rise to unprecedented means and methods of warfare.

The Syrian refugee crisis represents one of the greatest humanitarian challenges the international community has faced over recent years, prompting record-high levels of international assistance and programming.

Faith-based humanitarian organizations have played a central role in responding to humanitarian needs for centuries. While deeply rooted in principles of faith and charity, these organizations also represent a community of influential donors. As such, they are uniquely positioned to lead programs in assistance, protection, and advocacy in complex humanitarian environments.

The dynamics of contemporary conflicts have made the way in which international actors understand and support local agencies increasingly important.

It is estimated that half of the world’s population currently resides in urban areas, and this number is expected to rise to 5 billion by 2030, with the largest cities emerging in Africa and Asia. Rapid urbanization has led to increased density, overcrowding, and strain on local infrastructure and public services.

On World Refugee Day this year, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that the number of refugees, asylum-seekers, and internally displaced people worldwide has exceeded 50 million people. Humanitarian organizations are currently struggling to address the needs of these displaced populations, due primarily to protracted armed conflict and other situations of violence.

Recent high-profile attacks on humanitarian professionals in Syria and Iraq call attention to a disturbing trend: humanitarian agencies face growing threats and attacks on their staff.

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