The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is launching Watchlist 2021 as a call to action for global leaders and the general public. Historically, the annual Watchlist was a humanitarian planning tool to inform operational preparedness. By identifying the 20 countries at greatest risk of a major new—or significantly worsened—humanitarian crisis over the year ahead, the IRC could better focus our own planning and preparedness efforts. However, humanitarian planning and preparedness on their own are insufficient to meet the scale of challenges we expect in 2021.
Watchlist 2021 reveals that the world is facing both unprecedented humanitarian emergencies as well as a political crisis of inaction and global retreat from humanitarian obligations. The international community must take action now, before decades of hard-won progress on reducing poverty, hunger and disease is lost or even reversed.