Ouch. Barnett and Walker’s “Regime change for humanitarian aid: how to make relief more accountable” is harsh on the humanitarian industry. It criticizes the Western-led ‘humanitarian club’ [yes, finger-pointing at UN agencies as members of that club as well] for their lack of accountability. It highlights the forces shaking the established system: the growing number of donors outside the club (Brazil, China, Turkey, and Gulf States), technology, diaspora groups, and local NGOs. It calls for a regime change and offers recommendations [which may not add up to an actual revolution] such as “reward evidence-based results”, “train workers and agencies in places likely to struggle in the face of an emergency”, “equal working relationships with local groups”, “a change in attitude […] to listen to those they aspire to serve”. In short: several valid points worth pondering over en route to the World Humanitarian Summit.
There are daily headlines and stories about refugees. But I give a thumb up to The Guardian’s Patrick Kingsley for great storytelling in “The Journey”, a recount of Hashem Alsouki’s journey from Syria to Sweden.
My map of the week is the 2015 Global Peace Index (GPI) map. Click and play: you can select countries, types of violence, and look at trends by moving the time scale. The GPI report is full of brutal stats such as: 1% of the world’s population is forcibly displaced, the number of IDPs grew by 131% in less than a decade, and the 2014 violence price tag is $14.3 trillion (that’s 13.4% of global GDP!). The report also unpacks the trends which have made the world less peaceful since 2008.
My quote of the week is from Pope Francis’s Encyclical Laudato Si’ “Care for our Common Home”: “The twenty-first century, while maintaining systems of governance inherited from the past, is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tends to prevail over the political. [para. 175]”