The world is transforming and faces enormous challenges, from global pandemics, violent extremism and weather disasters to protracted conflicts and growing instability. The need for humanitarian financing is at its highest level in decades, and is growing every day.
Meanwhile, the requirement for long-term sustainable development is just as huge. Nearly 800 million people still live in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 a day—and it is estimated that by 2018 more than half of those living in extreme poverty will be in fragile states.
For instance, the EU set aside money for poverty-eradication programmes in its 7-year budget back in 2013, but this planned funding could not have foreseen the additional resources that are needed today and is therefore insufficient.
Over the coming weeks and months, EU institutions’ representatives will need to agree on the budget for 2017. Negotiations are known to be passionate, to say the least. However, EU leaders must recognise that the EU budget limits, defined in 2013, do not match today’s requirements and are not suitable to address new and old challenges. An ambitious increase will be required for the EU to be able to respond to the refugee crisis and still fulfil its commitment to end extreme poverty by 2030. This is why ONE recently launched a campaign urging European leaders to increase the aid budget beyond the limits agreed in 2013.
The EU should remain a safe haven for refugees and must continue to allocate additional resources to support their needs, but this cannot come at the expense of the world’s poorest. While media show the severe impact of the refugee crisis in Europe, it is at the same time important to remember that developing countries host the largest proportion of refugees in the world, an astonishing 86%. Despite this unequal distribution, the so-called “Least Developed Countries” – many of which struggle to provide even basic services to their own populations – are seeing their share of aid shrinking, receiving now only a quarter of all development funds, down from 27% last year.
At this rate, these poorest countries will be hard pressed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, which celebrated their first anniversary just a few days ago. It is now time for world leaders to make sure those ambitious Goals become more than words on paper. But to do this, long-term solutions to end the injustice of extreme poverty, paired with an ambitious new level of funding, should become the guiding principle for current and future political agendas.