The Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Mr. Ali Al-Za’tari: “Libya: The Crisis That Should Not Be”


With winter temperatures plunging and funding support for the Libya Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) stagnant, I am increasingly concerned that vulnerable, conflict-affected people in Libya will continue to suffer due to a lack of meaningful and timely support. The gallant efforts of Libyan organizations, public or civic, whether on their own or with external aid, are not enough to meet the demands of the many affected by the conflict.

The HRP for Libya was officially launched in Tunis on 9 December 2015 and appealed for just about US$ 166 million to assist a targeted population of 1.3 million people out of the 2.4 million total affected persons. Crudely put, the provision of life-saving assistance to affected persons by years of a debilitating and destabilising conflict equated to US$ 127 per person over a 15-month period (October 2015-December 2016). Now, more than six weeks after its launch, we find that this urgent appeal has received only US$ 2.1 million, a paltry 1% of the overall amount required. Just two donors have contributed funding.

The international community is currently mobilising itself purposefully and efficiently around the nascent Government of National Accord (GNA) – countries are committing to fund multimillion projects to support the GNA. This should be applauded and encouraged. Vital humanitarian funding, however, is conspicuous by its absence.

The HRP represents a coherent and effective roadmap that the international community can use to channel resources. The Plan plainly asserts what support is needed, where it is needed and by whom. We cannot, therefore, explain or justify why the international community hesitates to provide humanitarian funding to meet needs that are very clear to all. We reiterate that a lack of funding for the humanitarian response will lead to additional miseries and human pain.

Libya has the potential to self-finance the Plan, but the reality today is unfortunately different. The country will soon be back on its own feet, but its unified governmental structure is only just now coming into being. For now, Libya needs international support.

I am appealing today to the international community, on behalf of the most vulnerable in Libya, for a hand up and not a hand out. The humanitarian situation needs to be addressed now.

I am appealing to those who traditionally support Libya to increase their humanitarian funding and shine the spotlight on Libya’s vulnerable. I am also appealing to those who may not traditionally support, to recognize the overwhelming needs in Libya, and to address this grave humanitarian situation with urgently-needed assistance. I appeal to the media to keep Libya’s humanitarian crisis ever present in our conscience. This is a crisis that should not be.

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