Although not necessarily obvious at first sight, with a crisis now hitting the real economy and virtually all spheres of society, the world as a whole could rapidly become a much more dangerous place to live in. This, in turn, could exacerbate the overall impact of the crisis and hamper recovery plans, feeding back more humanitarian, security and social instability and leading the world into a worrying vicious circle.

This will require concerted action of international scope. Hence, while defining and implementing the financial, economic, trade and other measures to mitigate the crisis, decision-makers will therefore need to pay due attention to its short, medium and long term impact on the world's humanitarian, security and stability situation.

On the humanitarian side, a widely shared view is that it would indeed be unacceptable when so much is being spent to rescue financial institutions not to show the same determination in rescuing the most vulnerable. The fragility of failed states and conflict areas can rapidly deteriorate in the crisis context.

The impact of the crisis on the stability of families, communities and societies could also be severe. As the crisis deepens, social cohesion will be put at test. Migration flows, refugees and internally displaced persons are likely to increase, creating further pressures in receiving and sending countries, with the dangers of a resurgence of discrimination and xenophobia and risks of social unrest. Massive layoffs combined with poor social protection coverage or food prices still at unprecedented high-levels in domestic markets, could lead to situations of despair and frustration. Terrorism, human trafficking and criminal and illicit activities as well as rejection of economic and political systems associated with the crisis could emerge.


Emergency action to protect lives and livelihoods, meeting humanitarian needs and shoring up security and social stability.

In times of crisis, multilateral advocacy and action in support of the voiceless and vulnerable is not only a humanitarian imperative; it is an investment in human security, economic recovery, social stability and peace. Hunger and deprivation can create risks of unrest, migration, cross-border crime, and other threats to security. By preparing for and responding to humanitarian crises and needs, we reduce these risks, while promoting resilience, self-reliance, and recovery. Elements of an emergency action plan should include, inter alia, the following elements:

  • calling on nations to create a human rescue package as part of financial and economic stimulus plans, to support the proposed "Vulnerability Fund", to fulfill their commitments on ODA, and to scale up assistance to meet growing humanitarian needs;
  • sustaining life-saving assistance programs for millions hungry and vulnerable people - mostly women and children, refugees and displaced people, smallholder farmers, rural and urban poor - in urgent need of food and nutrition, safety nets, water, medicines, shelter, protection, and livelihood support;
  • mobilizing full funding for assessed humanitarian needs and the UN and other humanitarian appeals; and
  • ensuring access for humanitarian deliveries and the safety and security of humanitarian workers worldwide.