Reducing humanitarian needs and vulnerabilities in the SDG era

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD) in Addis Ababa in July 2015 will take place against a backdrop of increasing levels and duration of conflict and displacement, more intense and costly natural hazards, and public health emergencies that do not recognize national boundaries. If all countries are to achieve the ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs), the means of implementation and financial architecture will need to include measures to manage the risks of crisis, build resilience, and to reduce the needs of communities affected by protracted humanitarian crises.

In this short paper, experts at NYU’s Center on International Cooperation lay out 3 reasons why forced displacement and humanitarian-development linkages should be considered as part of the issues addressed at the FfD Conference:

1. Achieving the SDGs by 2030 will require governments to reduce all peoples’ vulnerabilities, including reducing the humanitarian needs of groups affected by prolonged crises specifically: these groups will be left behind on core ambitions and outcomes of the SDGs unless specific policies, finances and instruments are identified to include them in SDG implementation.

2. Development and humanitarian actors must work collectively to reduce needs and vulnerabilities. The number of people that depend on humanitarian aid has increased from 26 million to 76 million over the last decade. Development and humanitarian actors must commit to jointly manage crisis and risks through building resilience, productivity and inclusion in development processes of vulnerable, hard-to-reach and long-term displaced populations, and their host communities. Solutions to forced displacement should be introduced as early as possible - the longer displacement lasts, the harder it is to support solutions.

3. Prevention is better than cure. The FfD discussion on minimum floors for social spending and protection, and proposals to develop innovative public and private pooled financing mechanisms all present an opportunity to build the resilience of all national institutions, societies and households. Building resilience helps to reduce the risks of crisis and to shorten recovery time from natural disasters and conflict – along with the associated growing costs of recovery. Getting there will require a development commitment to close the finance gap for social spending in the poorest, most vulnerable and conflict-affected situations.

Read more on the background and proposed solutions here: Non-Paper: Displacement, Humanitarian & Development Linkages and the Financing for Development Summit

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May 14, 2015
Sarah Hearn