David Miliband appeals to business to help humanitarian operations in Syria

James Nickerson
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Miliband said NGOs need business ideas for a long-term solution (Source: Getty)

David Miliband, the head of the International Rescue Committee. has called on business to help in finding a long-term solution to humanitarian problems, including the crisis engulfing Syria, its neighbouring countries and spilling into Europe.

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Miliband said in a speech at the Institute of Directors' (IoD) annual conference that the rise in refugees and migration was not a "blip", but a "long-term phenomenon that is not going away", and as such requires different thinking to solve the problem. Miliband added:

We need more aid to deal with more numbers and we need to change. The basis of the humanitarian situation is short term response. But the average refugee is out of their country for 20 years.

He said that as welcome as the writing of cheques was, non governmental organisations need more.

As such, Miliband was appealing to both business' "hearts and heads", having said: "We need your expertise and ideas across a range of issues including the supply chain, procurement, human resources and IT".

But it would also be to the benefit of business to help with a long-term solution, as "it’s a simple truth in a global village if your neighbours house s on fire, yours is. Its been too easy to say its tomorrows problem or somebody else's problem", Miliband said.

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The former Labour front-bencher said that it is through governmental help, business innovation and popular mobilisation that a sustained route to solve the migrant crisis will be found.

In his speech to an audience at the Royal Albert Hall, Miliband also added that the refugee crisis makes the case for an "improved European union. The last thing it argues for is a more fragmented European union. The refugee crisis is not an outlier in calling for this".

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