Three Miss World Australia contestants have stepped out in support of World Vision’s campaign for Peace on Earth this Christmas, after a sobering report on the devastating impact of conflict and violence on children and families worldwide.
Miss World Australia 2017 Esma Voloder (VIC), Miss World Australia 2018 Taylah Cannon (NSW) and 2019 runner-up Jenayah Elliott (WA) are supporting the charity’s inaugural Peace on Earth Pledge, which gives Australians the opportunity to contribute to world peace via an online campaign.
The campaign highlights recommendations from a new World Vision report, Crisis Averted, which has found that the high incidence of conflict globally had fuelled an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis.
The Crisis Averted report found:
- forced displacement of people hit its highest point in recorded history in 2018, with 70.8 million people driven from their homes – half of all refugees are children
- between 2002-2013, the UN found 86 per cent of humanitarian needs were linked to conflict and violence. With the escalation of the Syria conflict, that went as high as 97 per cent in some years since then
- that displacement has led to around 131.7 million people needing humanitarian assistance worldwide, at a cost of $US26.6 billion ($AU39.2 billion)
- despite the generosity of donors, there was a 40 per cent shortfall in humanitarian funding in 2018
The report’s lead author, Caelin Briggs said global conflicts had led to “millions of families going without food, millions of elderly and people with disabilities losing access to medical care, and millions of children missing out on quality education critical to their futures”.
Ms Briggs, who is World Vision’s senior policy advisor on Conflict and Displacement, said the failure to prevent and resolve conflicts had also increased the length of time that people need humanitarian aid, from 5.2 years in 2014, to 9.3 years in 2018.
One of the recommendations of the Crisis Averted report, therefore, is for Australia to boost its annual budget for conflict prevention from $32 million to $93 million within three years.
Ms Briggs said Australia ranked 13th out of 30 countries in the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, and has invested 30 times less than the leading contributor, Germany, and seven times less than Sweden with a gross domestic product half of Australia’s.
“While more humanitarian aid is desperately needed, we also must do more to break this cycle. Conflict prevention and peacebuilding offer valuable ways forward, but the Australian government is falling behind its peers in funding these crucial areas.”
The report has prompted World Vision to launch its Peace on Earth Pledge campaign, which gives Australians the opportunity to contribute to world peace via an online campaign.
The Pledge will give people 10 options to help create a better world, such as buying a toy for a child affected by conflict, donating to a food bank for displaced families in Australia, making peace with a friend or family member or calling on our leaders to make Australia a top-10 peace-builder globally.
The three Miss World contestants are in Canberra today to spread the message of peace among the nation’s politicians, and urge them to sign the Pledge.
Ms Voloder, who was born in a refugee camp after her parents fled the war in Bosnia, said Miss World or Miss Universe contestants have been associated with the broader message of peace on Earth for years, so who better to spread the Peace on Earth Pledge this Christmas than them.
“There’s a lot of talk about peace, but not enough action. We have to have faith in world peace, not just wish for it, but do something about it,” Ms Voloder said. “This Peace Pledge is a tangible action that anyone can do, whether a child or parent, young or old, a CEO or a retiree.
“Some might say that a Miss World Australia winner talking about peace is a cliché. But we live in a time of ugly wars and attitudes, where peace should be the ultimate goal and is needed more than ever. If lending my support to the peace pledge helps draw more attention to world peace, then maybe it’s a cliché we need.
“That’s why we are signing this pledge – doing something real to make it happen, from donating food to a food bank, helping vulnerable children displaced by war.”