Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to launch the 2021 Global Humanitarian Overview, held today:
This year, 2020, has been a year like no other. Conflict, climate change and COVID-19 have created the greatest humanitarian challenge since the Second World War. The number of people at risk of starvation has doubled. Hundreds of millions of children are out of school. Levels of extreme poverty have risen for the first time in 22 years.
The humanitarian system again proved its worth in 2020, delivering food, medicines, shelter, education and other essentials to tens of millions of people. But, the crisis is far from over. Humanitarian aid budgets face dire shortfalls as the impact of the global pandemic continues to worsen.
Today we launch the 2021 Global Humanitarian Overview — our most comprehensive assessment of humanitarian needs around the world. We must mobilize to support those at greatest risk in these unprecedented times. We need $35 billion to get life‑saving aid to 160 million of the most vulnerable people.
We must also continue to address the root causes driving humanitarian needs, starting with conflict. I urge all parties to conflict, and those with influence over them, to support my call for a global ceasefire by the end of 2020.
I thank all donors who generously support global humanitarian efforts. Together, we must mobilize resources and stand in solidary with people in their darkest hour of need. Thank you.