In March 2020, the UN Secretary General released the COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) to fight the virus in countries with ongoing humanitarian crises, and address the needs of the most vulnerable people, especially children and youth, women, older people, and those with disabilities or chronic illness.
Populations living in fragile, conflict and disaster-affected contexts are acutely vulnerable to the direct and secondary impacts of COVID-19. Refugees and displaced populations are especially exposed during this pandemic. Coordinated by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the GHRP brings together appeals from the World Health Organization and other UN humanitarian agencies.
Taking into account the evolution of the pandemic, its impact and the vast unmet needs, the UN today issued a revision to the GHRP. The overall funding requirement has increased significantly from USD$2billion to US$6.7 billion The number of countries has also been increased from 54 to 63.
The world must now come together and tackle the COVID-19 pandemic
Plan International welcomes the revision of Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) to combat COVID-19 which is devastating lives and economies across the world. The revision of the global funding target and inclusion of additional countries will help scale up the humanitarian effort to include millions more vulnerable people that are in desperate need of assistance. The world must now come together and tackle this pandemic as a collective global effort. This means that donors must significantly step up their financial and political support to the GHRP in line with its increased ambition and ensure that funding reaches at-risk communities as quickly as possible. Failure to do so means risking a global humanitarian crisis on a scale never seen before. Plan International is also urging donors to ensure funding for pre-existing humanitarian programming is preserved. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, humanitarian needs outstripped available funding and it is critical that resources are not diverted from programmes essential to the health, safety and wellbeing of children, girls and young women. We are pleased to see the inclusion of Zimbabwe and Mozambique in the revised GHRP. Both countries are currently in the midst of a food insecurity crisis and the compounding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could make an already alarming situation catastrophic.
Girls are highly vulnerable to secondary impacts of COVID-19
The organisation strongly supports the enhanced focus in the GHRP on addressing the diverse effects of COVID-19 on different groups, particularly the worsening risks for girls, including impacts on their education. The COVID-19 pandemic is deeply affecting the environment in which girls and all children grow and develop, undermining their immediate protection and longer-term wellbeing and resilience. Plan International has been urging governments to recognise that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting girls and boys, women and men differently. Girls living in crisis situations, especially those from marginalised communities and with disabilities, may be particularly affected by the secondary impacts of the outbreak due to their age, gender and other exclusion factors.
NGOs play a critical role in the humanitarian response to the crisis
The organisation also welcomes the increased emphasis on the role of NGOs in the humanitarian response to COVID-19. Local, national and international NGOs are critical actors in the response to COVID-19, and as direct implementing partners on the ground are essential to deal the pandemic and save lives. NGOs worldwide are working with UN and government agencies and scaling up efforts to ensure continuity of essential services and compliance with health measures. They are also poised to step up operations to meet escalating needs. In order for them to do this it is essential that NGOs at all levels are able to quickly access flexible and increased funding as directly as possible, that also enables them to cover the costs of operating safely and ensure a duty of care to staff and partners. With grassroots presence and strong trust from communities, humanitarian organisations like Plan International, can deliver lifesaving aid to some of the most vulnerable populations and play a huge role in global efforts to fight the virus.