Oxfam and other aid agencies are warning that rival groups in South Sudan are regrouping ready to resume violence once the rainy season ends this month. An upsurge in fighting would exacerbate what is already the world's worst food crisis and could lead to famine. The number of people facing dangerous levels of hunger is expected to increase by one million between January and March.
This is not just a humanitarian imperative; it is in all our interests to act. In the globalised 21st Century conflicts are not easily contained by borders. As the Stern Review made clear, tackling climate change will ultimately be cheaper than allowing it to proceed unchecked. But it is the human cost of these crises, the children of Gaza, the homeless Philippines and the South Sudanese families who do not know where their next meal is coming from that really demand our action. The UK public have shown they are up to the task; it is time for world leaders to do likewise.
This summit, attended by Heads of State, ministers and experts from all over the world is an opportunity to do so. While I am there, I will be thinking of women like Aliah from Yemen, who tried to run away from her new 30-year-old husband when she was 16, only to have her family beat her and force her back. Years later, those same widespread beliefs and traditions held in her community then forced her to marry off her own 16-year-old daughter. As we gather at the summit we must remember stories like these. These practices violate the fundamental rights of women and girls. Making child marriage and FGM illegal is critical. But it's not enough if nothing is done to challenge strong-held beliefs passed down through generations.
Myself and my regional team are joining thousands of people across the world by taking part in the Live Below the Line Challenge. For 5 days, we will be living on £1 a day for food and drink, with the aim of raising funds for Oxfam, to help improve the lives of the world's poorest, at home and abroad...
The tweet highlighting this real human suffering, which prompted Conor Burns MP to complain to the charity commission, was not part of an advertising campaign or series of billboard posters as has been reported in some quarters... As a resolutely non-partisan organisation, we emphatically reject the charge that it favoured one political party over another. Rather it relayed what we know about the factors behind people needing food aid.
If you asked the general public whether they believed in charity the overwhelming response would be yes. Of course charities do good work; no one can deny that charities help tens of thousands of vulnerable people in all manner of difficult situations. However, most of the mainstream charities and NGOs have become corporatised, choosing relationships with corporates and government instead of grassroots social change movements.