With 125 million people around the world in need of humanitarian aid, the international community needs to reconfigure humanitarian financing by focusing on development and using money more efficiently, a UN panel said in a report presented Sunday.

The nine-member high-level panel was appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to look for systemic solutions to close the ever-widening humanitarian funding gap, which currently stands at 15 billion dollars.

The report notes that the international community now spends 25 billion dollars a year on humanitarian aid, which is a 12-fold increase from 2000.

However, due to the growing number of conflicts and natural disasters, the need for aid keeps growing.

Kristalina Georgieva, vice president for budget and human resources at the European Commission and a co-chair of the panel, said that while the needs are high, today's world economy, which produces 78 trillion dollars of gross domestic product (GDP) annually, ought to be able to mobilize the funding.

"In this rich world of ours, nobody should die or have their dignity destroyed just because of lack of money," Georgieva told reporters.

"This is one problem that, if we are to muster the political will, we can solve."

She pointed out that helping people in need is not only morally right, but it is also in countries' self interest as instability in one region can have global impacts.

The panel made three sets of recommendations - shrink the needs by focusing on resilience building and long-term planning; deepen the resource base by creating a global fundraising model instead of relying on a small number of donors; and improve the efficiency and transparency of aid organizations.

The panel has also discussed the possibility of a "solidarity levy" where an extra tax going directly toward humanitarian funding would be put on certain services - especially luxury goods. An example of this is a micro-levy put on airline tickets by 10 countries that raised 1.6 billion dollars between 2006 and 2011.

However, the panel was unable to come to a consensus on the specificities of what such a levy should look like, Georgieva said, noting that any good or service that involves mass volume transactions could be considered.

The panel also noted that because a majority of conflicts are in Muslim countries, Islamic social finance, including zakat, the mandatory alms-giving, could play an important role. Georgieva said such financing could bring in 2 billion to 3 billion dollars to address the funding gap.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.