Government Responsibility

At least one charity is figuring out the impediment that is government involvement in what is, at bottom, an individual responsibility.

Andrea Koppel, Mercy Corps’ Vice President of Global Engagement and Strategy, wants the UN’s involvement in the current Middle East refugee crisis severely downsized. Her focus is on the UN as a quasi-government, but she’s also moving further and wanting sovereign government roles downsized, too.

The better idea, Mercy argues, would be to sweep away the old institutions where they are not likely to be effective and place greater reliance on new combinations of private-sector organizations, civil society groups and different levels of government. This, the report says, would allow humanitarian organizations to take bigger risks to support local victims regardless of government response, and work faster and more easily with local communities when national governments are virtually non-existent.

It’s not an explicit call for government(s) to be the last resort rather than the first, but it’s a move in that direction.

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