Refugee Crisis in Europe Demands Bold Thinking

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Mercy Corps offers blueprint in new report

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It is critical that discussions about funding, delivering and receiving aid are as honest, innovative and farsighted as possible.

The current humanitarian crisis in Europe is further evidence of massive unmet humanitarian needs worldwide and calls into question whether or not today’s international system of governance, development and aid is fit for the task. Mercy Corps believes it is not. According to the global organization, the existing system is unsustainable—both overstretched and underfunded—and there is an urgent need for one that is more cost-effective, less bureaucratic and more nimble.

“The hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Africa arriving in Europe are just some of the 59 million people around the world who’ve been forcibly displaced from their homes,” says Andrea Koppel, Vice President of Global Engagement and Policy at Mercy Corps. “They are all fleeing conflict or the fallout from violence. Mercy Corps believes decisions made in the coming year must address the underlying reasons behind these historic numbers: corruption, economic stagnation and unaddressed grievances.”

A confluence of international initiatives – starting with the United Nations General Assembly in New York this month – provides a unique opportunity to assess and reform how the international community responds to crises affecting millions of people each year. “It is critical that discussions about funding, delivering and receiving aid are as honest, innovative and farsighted as possible,” says Koppel.

Based on its deep experience operating in conflict-affected areas and fragile states around the world, Mercy Corps hopes to stimulate further discussion about such subjects as meeting the needs of people in conflict; addressing the underlying causes of conflict and fragility; tackling long-term protracted crises; and enabling market-based, economic development after a natural disaster as well as in conflicts and fragile states.

“Mercy Corps believes decisions made in the coming year can reshape the lives of millions of vulnerable people around the world, but only if the international community abandons a business-as-usual agenda,” says Koppel.

Mercy Corps’ answer for today’s most difficult humanitarian issues – and its blueprint for international leaders who will be meeting throughout the coming year – is outlined in a new report, “Cracking the Code: Enhancing Emergency Response and Resilience in Complex Crises.”

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Christine Bragale
Mercy Corps
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