In the margins of the public health and economic crises with which the world has contended through 2020, COVID-19 ultimately looms as a long-term, far-reaching global protection emergency. Where some of the world’s best-resourced countries have tracked a staggering increase in demand for protection services, people in nations with pre-existing humanitarian crises are grappling with unprecedented compound protection threats and even fewer resources to help mitigate them.
Protection Clusters are reporting heightened risks of forced displacement, a rise in xenophobia and stigmatization, a dramatic increase in gender-based violence, and discrimination in access to health, food, water, education, and legal services for vulnerable and marginalized groups. The largest economic shock the world has experienced in decades is not and will not be felt equally; countries, communities, and individuals at greatest risk must have enhanced access to protection services.
Together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Global Protection Cluster, and with support from PHAP, the Norwegian Refugee Council brought together a High-Level Panel that reflected on the state of protection in the COVID-19 era. The event drew on findings from a new NRC-Global Protection Cluster report on the current state of play in protection financing, and brought to a close the Global Protection Forum.
This event presented a critical discussion on the place of protection within humanitarian response and the commitments needed across the humanitarian community to address major needs and challenges in 2021 and beyond.