Trends driving humanitarian crises in 2023 (and what to do about them)


The impacts of colonial powers and policies. Soaring public debt. A rise in gender-based violence. Record hunger, yet again. Here are some of the issues likely to drive humanitarian needs over the next year – and some ideas on what governments, aid groups, policymakers, communities, or individuals might begin to do differently so 2024 or 2025 could look just a little bit better.

No, we don’t have a crystal ball. But we did report from more than 60 countries in 2022. This list is informed by our coverage from humanitarian hotspots around the globe and by our editors’ research and discussions with analysts, aid workers, and individuals whose lives have been upturned by conflict and disasters.

Many of these trends cut across geographic boundaries. Some intersect, ready to deal a double or triple or worse blow in 2023 to people who were likely already vulnerable. They live in places where drought has sucked dry livelihoods; conflict has ravaged homes, schools, and hospitals; and far away wars or stumbling governments closer to home have stymied their ability to feed their families.

A few bright spots do shine through in efforts, or at least ideas, to address the impacts or root causes of these issues. Among them: Calls to reform a global governance system that is struggling to respond to mounting needs appear to be coming faster and louder, with some indications they are actually being heard. Or consider the EU’s response to Ukrainian refugees: When the political will exists, countries can mobilise a humane and dignified response to mass displacement and migration. Neither of these examples are solutions, of course. But they do begin to suggest that there’s a way forward, step by step. Which isn’t a bad way to enter the new year.

Source: The New Humanitarian