Wonderful Work

Globalizing the ethics of humanitarian action

Authored by: Hugo Slim

The Routledge Companion to Humanitarian Action

Print publication date:  March  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415844420
eBook ISBN: 9780203753422
Adobe ISBN: 9781135013936


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It is a wonderful development that there is now a global system of humanitarian action that can reach people suffering from armed conflict and disaster in any part of the world. The system does not reach everyone in need but it does succeed in reaching millions of people every year, delivering $18 billion of aid in 2013, and in monitoring the predicament of those it does not reach (Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) 2013). The humanitarian system is spearheaded by United Nations (UN) agencies, the Red Cross Movement and major non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that fit into, or alongside, national governments and local civil society as operational partners or additional capacity. The vast majority of humanitarian financing that drives the system currently comes from OECD governments, but over a quarter comes from private individuals who give regularly to NGOs or respond generously to emergency appeals (Stirk 2014). Alongside these strictly humanitarian agencies, human rights agencies and conflict resolution organizations act as outriders to the system. The former report human rights violations and the latter try to initiate peace negotiations to reduce the violence that is causing so much devastation.

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