International Rescue Committee (IRC)

On the changing nature of conflict

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International Rescue Committee president and CEO David Miliband describes how climate change and other environmental pressures are affecting the world's conflicts and changing the dynamics of humanitarian aid in the 21st century. (September 2013)
A former U.K. foreign secretary, David Miliband joined the IRC on September 3, 2013.  

Video Transcription

There's a whole agenda about the way conflict is changing, because, of course, there are fewer wars than ever before, but more refugees, because of the nature of civil conflict. Secondly, when conflict is combined with resource stress, sometimes driven by climate change, you've got a whole new dynamic. And some of the most intractable problems around the world, not just in the Middle East; remember, you've got 12 of the 15 most water-stressed countries in the world are in the Middle East, but not just there, but in Africa, too. You've got the combination of historic conflicts and resource pressure that is creating a whole new flow of refugees for economic and other reasons.

We've got a unique perspective because we're on the ground, because we've got 14,000 staff around the world.

I've joined the IRC, because I think I can make a difference to a project that is vitally important for the 21st Century. When the IRC talks about humanity, not charity, it's talking about the essential challenge for the world in the 21st Century, which is how to make it, this planet fit for 9 billion people. And IRC isn't going to be helping all those people, but it's going to helping some of the most desperate people.