The tenth edition of the DIHAD Conference was held in Dubai from 25 to 27 March 2013 under the theme of Partnerships in Humanitarian Assistance & Development Activities. During the three days, this theme was adequately addressed from various perspectives by all speakers as well as in further discussions.
This report aims at capturing the main points from the official opening, keynote addresses, presentations during the six sessions, two special presentations, and the closing addresses. The Conference was well attended by a large range of humanitarian and development actors, specialists in their field, and by representatives of the organisations and companies participating in the Exhibition.
For ease of reference, this report follows the chronological order of the proceedings and reflects a summary of the individual presentations or addresses pertaining to each session.
In view of the wide interest for the individual presentations, these are available online under
Summary of Presentations
H.E. Mr. Ahmed Humaid Al Mazroui, Chairman of the UAE Red Crescent Authority, spoke on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Representative of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in the Western Region, and President, United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Authority. In the statement he delivered, he referred to Dubai as a city of peace, development and culture, providing a vital platform for creative approaches. He considered the Conference theme as important in view of the many partnerships already existing and UAE’s efforts to promote development in least developed countries. DIHAD helped to strengthen and consolidate partnerships in critical humanitarian aid fields and discuss future programmes. He, therefore, proposed a roadmap for more partnerships in humanitarian and development initiatives.
H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha, Chairman of the Higher Committee of DIHAD and President of the DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board (DISAB), welcomed the adoption by the DISAB of a method to cooperate with agencies and media, and to provide scientific expertise and research to help the Conference. He wished DIHAD success in discussing the theme of sustainable partnerships and pointed out that the UAE is ahead of the world in the relief sector through coordination and partnerships with local and regional organisations.
H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, considered DIHAD as an event of global importance, and the theme of this year to be at the heart of the humanitarian world. He stressed that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) can only be achieved through cooperation and partnerships combined with expertise. In 2012, new violent crises have erupted and old ones continued to create new displacement and hardship for millions of people. Of special concern is the Syrian crisis, which has so far led to more than 600,000 refugees and several thousands fleeing every day, as long as no political solution has been found. Several major global trends, including population growth, urbanization, and hazardous climate change impact, are leading to violent conflict and economic and social challenges in the fight over scarce access to basic needs. Such challenges to the humanitarian and development system can only be addressed through effective partnerships. UNHCR has engaged in such partnerships with governments, with over 750 NGO and Red Cross/Red Crescent partners worldwide, and increasingly with the private sector for innovation through technology for more practical ways of providing assistance. In particular, the capacity building of local partners, national NGOs and community-based organisations is of great importance as they are the first responders and stay behind the longest. Inter-agency coordination within the UN system, and between humanitarian and development actors needs further strengthening to achieve more durable solutions in transition contexts. The aid system is to be accountable to the people it aims to assist through empowerment.
The Vice President of the ICRC, H.E. Ms Christine Beerli, reiterated that partnerships form a key aspect of ICRC’s work, involving the national societies and local partners. A key trend in the current humanitarian landscape is the resurgence of host countries blocking access to affected populations, and more localised humanitarian response with a larger range of actors. A recent development is the auto-assessment by beneficiaries through web-based technologies, making them more considered as partners than as passive victims, requiring active engagement with a wide range of stakeholders. ICRC has embarked on a new project to achieve a safer practice for health care workers through cooperation with key national societies. Cooperation with peacekeeping operations is being promoted through pre-deployment training on humanitarian principles in order to clarify the respective roles and lines of responsibility. Flexible coordination mechanisms are becoming the norm and are increasingly involving the beneficiaries and local actors.
The UK Minister of State for International Development, the Rt. Hon. Alan Duncan MP, mentioned the positive role played by all GCC countries, now recognised as key players in the humanitarian and development arena. Having reached the 0.7 percent of GNI target for development aid, the United Kingdom spends 30 percent of this budget on fragile or conflict affected states. The recent Humanitarian Emergency Response review commissioned by his government has pointed to the need for a more collaborative approach between humanitarian and development actors. It is now becoming increasingly important to establish new partnerships with all actors to establish a universal process for pledges of funding and concrete actions in their follow-up. He also agreed that better results can be achieved through sharing best common practices.
According to Mr. Matthias Schmale, Under Secretary-General for National Society and Knowledge Development, IFRC, lessons have shown the need for coalitions and successful partnerships with a clear purpose and for the benefit of all partners. As a positive example, the speaker described the Global Road Safety Partnership, involving governments, the private sector and civil society, each of which contributes in their respective area of expertise. Together with the 187 national societies and the ICRC, a code of good partnership has been established, which thus far is adhered to only to a limited extent. An important criterion for good partnership is the respect for dialogue and for other perspectives, and agreement on the overall purpose, i.e. providing the best assistance possible to those in need thereof.
Research by Dr. Khalid Alyahya, Dubai School of Government, had found a lack of insight in overall GCC contributions, estimated at USD 130 billion over 30 years. There was also no information on the motivations for giving, while the degree of trust between the GCC donors and implementing agencies was not clear. There was also no good evaluation or analysis of impact as reports only covered achievements. He, therefore, proposed to establish a unit for such research and to provide guidance on how to improve professionalism and overcome distrust. One way to avoid duplication would be by a manual with key questions to be answered before funding decisions are made.
The Executive Director of the MSF Regional Office, Ms Ghada Hatim, focused on health and in particular on the project “Drugs for Neglected Diseases”, a partnership between seven organisations to address the lack of drugs for killer diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. These diseases affect particularly the poorest populations in remote areas. The partnerships between health agencies and pharmaceutical companies have led to six new treatments in ten years, providing easy, cheap, field adapted and unpatented drugs. She called for more financial support for drug resistant treatments and diagnosis, in particular for tuberculosis.
The Netherlands author and former diplomat, Ms Petra Stienen, addressed the question why a funding campaign for the victims of the Syrian crisis was not gaining interest from her country’s public. She mentioned the limited success of various alternative campaigns (e.g. “adopt a revolution”, the Red Cross initiative “Open your heart for Syria” or OXFAM’s “light a candle”), and proposed further research into the question how to best establish partnerships with the general public.
Mr. Paul Dowling, Customer Operations and “GoHELP” manager, DHL, introduced the GoHELP project, involving some 450 trained volunteers, organised in three regional teams (DRT), working since 2005 in partnership with UNDP and OCHA. Another successful partnership with UNDP is GARD – Get Airports Ready for Disaster – which is built on the DRT experience, and assesses and reports on shortfalls of airports to accommodate surges of VIP, cargo and passenger flights, storage and customs issues. As a result of this partnership, in a number of locations the airport capacity to support such surges post-disaster has greatly benefited.
For Ms. Helena Fraser, Partnerships and Resource Mobilisation Branch, OCHA, partnerships need to be far more inclusive and include innovation and diversity. OCHA’s vision is to build inter-operability, needing alliances and networks at local, national, regional and global levels, and follow a more partners-centred approach. OCHA has started various initiatives for tailored training and humanitarian information portals – such as the arabhum.net – to encourage closer partnerships between humanitarian actors, the private sector and civil society in the Gulf region. The DHL partnership is definitively a win-win arrangement, building also employee motivation and bringing corporate values to the humanitarian sector. Successful partnerships need to be voluntary, based on common vision, values and standards, and be innovative. All partners involved should accept to share risks as well as benefits.
The International Humanitarian City (IHC) was represented by Ms Rania Hammad, who mentioned partnerships having focused on humanitarian operations such as the response to the Haiti earthquake, evacuations of UN staff from crisis-torn countries, facilitation of the Humanitarian Appeal, training with OCHA, hosting the World Humanitarian Day event in Dubai, and issuing the first humanitarian journalism award. The IHC was established in 2003, aimed at providing a platform to build international public and private partnerships to help deliver aid in a more effective manner. It is now the largest logistics hub in the world, hosting and working together with a large range of international humanitarian organisations and commercial enterprises.
The day’s programme was closed with a video-cast message by H.E. Ms Valerie Amos, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, who welcomed the role of partnerships in building a more diverse and more inclusive humanitarian system. The role played by the GCC countries is becoming increasingly recognised, such as the UAE and Oman urban search and rescue teams, which have become integral parts of the humanitarian system. Gulf NGOs and humanitarian organisations can reach areas where the UN and some of its partners have no access. This is in particular relevant in the Syria crisis, where a political solution must be found urgently. She called for better coordination and collaboration, and stressed the value of DIHAD as a platform for the exchange of ideas and the promotion of partnerships for the next ten years and beyond.
Mr. Andreas Wigger, Head, Central Agency for Research and Protection, ICRC, focused on the involvement of governments and non-state actors in protection of civilians in war or other situations of violence. Taking Syria as an example of failure by those in charge of protection, he illustrated the challenge to increase the coping capacity of affected populations, including detainees and IDPs. Protection partnerships should be based on the notion that all parts share a common understanding of minimum standards for protection in situations of violence. For this purpose, a large group of partners has worked out a set of 50 standards to be adhered to. Taking into account the important role of peacekeeping operations, the ICRC has moved towards an integrated approach while yet remaining at an institutionally mandated distance from the military. In summary, a challenge to partnerships in protection is to know who does what, in which sphere, and according to which set of standards.
The regional perspective of protection of refugees in the Middle East and Northern Africa was given by Ms Alia Al-Khatar-Williams, UNHCR. As most partnerships are forged with national and local partners, UNHCR follows a pragmatic yet principled approach to protect the vulnerable from violation of often cultural and religious norms. Most displaced in the region are living in urban settings, many of which are insecure and making the vulnerable even more so. To overcome security barriers, UNHCR in Tripoli worked through local partners, e.g. through neighbourhood wardens. Other examples are the networks of Iraqi women for Syrian refugees as key protection agents. While the local partners’ capacity for operational protection delivery is at acceptable levels, more needs to be done to involve them in the policy protection dialogue. She reiterated that protection can only be effective if done by multiple partners.
Dr. Sara Pantuliano, HPG / ODI, agreed that partnerships with affected communities in protection are largely neglected, leading in turn to the undermining of existing coping mechanisms. (She referred to the HPG publication of the Local to Global Protection (L2GP) initiative in this regard.) Studies in four countries, with a focus on the local communities’ role in their own protection, and involvement of local elders and leaders, have shown the crucial importance of local social, moral and religious values. In crisis situations, dilemmas are faced when individual rights are overruled by community and family needs, risks for livelihood security vs safety and coping strategies to confront the threat to pursue livelihood. As long as the protection efforts of international actors do not take into account and do not try to understand local self-protection activities, their impact is hardly relevant. She stressed that protection should be seen as an important part of humanitarian assistance.
Dr. Stanlake Samkango, Director, Policy and Programme, Operations Services, World Food Programme (WFP), pointed out that food security can only be addressed in partnership with the UN system and NGOs, enabling governments to harness the experience of the respective organisations. Availability, access, utilisation and stability are important pillars in food security, with great focus on access to food by affected populations. As the geography of hunger has changed, with WFP reaching only ten percent of the food needs of the close to one billion who go hungry, the system must adjust to address the food needs of the other 90 percent in different ways. As a large part of the needy are in middle-income countries and in urban areas, different solutions and partnerships are required. These countries must prioritise food assistance in their own budgets, even if this entails seeking external resources. Partnerships with the private sector are relevant for a better understanding of needs and to promote the capacity to improve their way of assisting the local population. He pointed out that WFP’s role has changed into one of a facilitator of intergovernmental linkages.
Mr. Dominique Burgeon, Director, Emergency and Rehabilitation Division, FAO, focused on the importance of partnerships for resilience in protracted crises. The focus includes resilience to shocks and threats, enabling those concerned to adapt to new crisis environments in a timely, efficient and sustainable manner. Advocacy is focused on the pillars of information management, prevention and mitigation, strengthening of governments’ risk analysis, and the capacity to respond of local communities. Responding to questions, he mentioned that by providing women with equal access to land, many millions of people would be relieved from hunger. Inter-agency cooperation can promote better use of limited resources and relevant expertise for appropriate support and tools for local cultivation habits and food needs.
Comments from the floor pointed out that the issues of wastage, over-consumption and over-production were key elements to be addressed in partnership with the private sector and other parts of the civil society to change dietary habits. Furthermore, the international community should be open to the local needs.
Ms Barbara Jackson, Humanitarian Director, Care International, focused on the qualitative aspects of humanitarian trends, including the politicisation of humanitarian aid, climate change, population growth, and the increasing complexity of the humanitarian landscape. These changes call for the focus on the humanitarian dignity of affected populations, emphasising that the needs of women and girls being impacted most by emergencies. New partnerships with countries and communities must be based on trust. She pointed out that resilience and disaster risk reduction (DRR) are important factors and need adequate funding, while in turn timely support can lead to savings in response to disasters at later stages. She highlighted that resilience and longer-term development efforts must be enhanced, while the differential impact of emergencies deserves a more nuanced approach to build on good analysis and data. In summary, she stressed the need to refocus on the human face of individuals, build strong partnerships with a wide range of actors, integrate resilience in emergency response, promote access to the needy and advocate with one voice to reach all in need by building their coping capacity. Last but not least, all partners need to work together to bring appropriate and timely relief to those in need thereof.
Ms Leonor Nieto Leon, Head, Unit for Strategy, Coordination and Intern-Institutional Relations, ECHO, highlighted the perspective of a donor, working in partnerships with governments, the UN, the Red Cross / Red Crescent family, and over 200 International and Non-Governmental Organisations. The shared common vision is contained in the European consensus on humanitarian aid. Trends as seen from the donor perspective agree on the severity of crises and their frequency, compounded by the financial crisis affecting the humanitarian aid budgets, which lead to increased scrutiny and a changing European landscape. She stressed the need for donor coordination, stronger advocacy for respect for humanitarian principles and International Humanitarian Law. ECHO has entered into operational partnerships through a framework of partnership agreements. In close consultation with development partners, the Commission has recently issued a communication “the EU approach to resilience: learning from food security crises”, outlining ten steps to increase such resilience in disaster prone countries.
Imam Qasim Rashid Ahmed, Founder and CEO, Al Khair Foundation, focused on the relevance of education in crisis situations and, having learned from DIHAD 2012 discussions, paying special attention to the needs of women. Since 2009 the Foundation has its own TV channel in the UK, and has moved into post crisis reconstruction of villages and housing, such as after the Pakistan floods and Haiti earthquake of 2010. He had encouraged Muslim Organisations to respond to both disasters as well. He stressed the relevance of good reporting and timely project delivery as well as the need for accountability as key marketing tools for fund raising.
In a following discussion, it was pointed out that increased poverty does not only result from population growth, but rather from “built-in” inequities. The point was raised that donors need to agree on common denominators to simplify donor reporting formats, in which connection the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) for a central financial reporting system and simplified donor reporting requirements was mentioned as a welcome step in that direction.
Mr. Sean Lowrie, Director, Consortium of British Humanitarian Agencies (CBHA), highlighted that the current humanitarian business model is seen as broken and needs to be proactive rather than reactive; civil society organisations deliver some 70 percent of the work with overreliance on expatriate capacity, while having only limited direct access to funding. Most losses occur in small and medium-scale disasters rather than in the mega ones. The new Start Fund, bringing together 18 NGOs, aims at funding the first 30 days after a disaster occurs, with 50 percent for small and low scale crises and to local partners, to be transferred in the first week after a disaster occurs. Loan, grant facilities and insurance mechanisms are the three Start Fund windows. A possible outcome will be creating more resilience of the humanitarian system through innovative funding and collaboration with the private sector.
Mr Ivo Freijsen, Country Director, Care International, Sudan, provided a field perspective on working in chronic emergencies. He pointed out that protracted emergencies are not really forgotten, but may have been consciously put on the back burner or ignored. There are many challenges to continue drawing attention to protracted crises, such as in Darfur, which include the need to agree on the best approach to assist affected communities. These would include the need to engage and / or disengage on purely humanitarian grounds, but keeping in mind that too early disengagement can lead to destabilisation. In particular the challenges facing displaced persons must be addressed, which include peer pressure to return or not, issues of land ownership etc. Root causes must be underscored, but not the deceiving notion that IDPs have better options. It must be understood that camps may not be ideal but that these may be the only workable arrangement. The question arises often whether foreign assistance actually prolongs the conflict. The best way to operate in chronic emergencies will involve flexible and longer term funding cycles. Relative stability by itself should not be the prime reason for disengagement without considering indicators, such as the health status of the population.
Mr Mohammed Abdiker, Director, Department of Operations and Emergencies, International Organization for Migration (IOM), highlighted the human mobility in case of new or longer-lasting emergencies, leaving behind those who cannot afford to move. Now some 72 million migrants exist in response to crises, droughts or food shortages or as part of forced migration to escape from violence. Many pay high prices, in particular from the Horn of Africa, to escape from the cycle of drought and violence. Renewed hope for stability in Somalia may reduce the push for migration, but mobility will continue as long as borders are porous and increase the risk of terrorism. Another issue is maritime border management, as is the land-ownership issue, which must be addressed in close coordination with the government. In Ethiopia more than 240,000 IDPs face challenges such as those caused by climate change affecting pastoralism, making them cross borders and become economic migrants to places such as Yemen, often at great physical risk. Many irregular and regular migrants travel by land at great danger through the desert to reach northern Africa or ultimately southern Europe.
Measures to deal with those situations of human mobility, in particular into and from northern Africa, include actions against human trafficking which is becoming a serious issue in chronic emergencies; promoting access to information for migrants, and contributing more to the protection of migrants. All extremely vulnerable groups’ needs must be attended to and require a holistic approach within the framework of humanitarian response. Disaster preparedness and early warning systems must be promoted to minimise the loss of life and the destruction of livelihoods.
BGen. Abdulrahman Ibrahim Bin Abdulaziz, UAE Red Crescent Team Leader in several crises, stressed the value of the alliances between East and West and also within the Gulf region. He pointed to the need to establish alliances with the private sector, regional organisations and the UN to better respond to emergencies. The media need to be neutral and present a clear picture of the crisis, and prepare the ground for all international organisations to work freely to reach out to those in need in a neutral environment. Parties in the response effort need to get more training and efforts must be unified in the response. International partnerships lead to building bridges and to the delivery of a better response. Libya as a specific case was presented to illustrate the complementarity and effectiveness of the support provided by the UAE.
Dr. Gilles Carbonnier, Professor, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, focused on partnerships between humanitarian organisations and the private sector, aiming at a better delivery of assistance, the so-called Public Private Partnerships (PPP). Recent surveys conclude that, although being clearly useful, these partnerships are not always fully accepted and their legitimacy is contested by an increasing number of external audiences. Ten years after the launch of the Global Compact (UN GC) in 1998, the WEF and OCHA established ten principles for public private partnerships for humanitarian action. The main “drivers” for companies are primarily to enhance their reputation, access to markets in post crisis countries, and motivation of staff motivation when directly operational through a humanitarian partner. For humanitarian organisations the key purpose is to diversify resources, obtain access to new skills, products and know-how, but to a lesser degree to gain access to additional cash contributions. Both sides can benefit from fruitful cooperation providing corporate contributions on the one hand and insight in the context from humanitarian organisations on the other. A number of NGOs have made blue washing allegations directed at the UN GC, stating that engagements with the private sector may affect the independence of humanitarian organisations. Although the financial impact has not yet been extensively assessed, what has been shown is staff satisfaction, and that a number of times PPP in the humanitarian sector have been mentioned most positively. Research found no negative impact on the safeguarding of humanitarian integrity, but more research needs to be done on the humanitarian impact.
Mr. David Kaatrud, Director of Emergencies, WFP, presented his agency’s approach of increasingly developing partnerships, involving a complex web of relationships. A holistic view is needed to allow for a well-organised response at different levels. Local communities are always the first on the spot to respond and need investment in resilience building as well as in risk and vulnerability reduction. Understanding of “residual risk” for shocks must be created by augmenting national response – promoting the “whole-of-society approach” – including the private sector, line ministries, local NGOs, and increasingly the National Disaster Management Authorities (civil societies and possibly also the military sector). These partnerships are in logistics, telecommunications, and information management related to food-security. Global interactions go beyond standard agreements with Regional Organisations, International Organisations, the Red Cross movement, UN and NGOs, but include also donors and the private sector. The cluster approach is an effective form of partnerships, bringing together multiple actors within a sector. Stand-by partners, such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, can be called upon to provide technical expertise in case of sudden-onset disasters. Every partnership needs nurturing to be optimally effective, and can be entered into at any stage of the response cycle, including post-disaster, to build resilience.
Mr. Mohamed Beavogui, Director, Partnership and Resource Mobilization Office, IFAD, was introduced as a true bridge builder, as IFAD is involved both at the start and at the final phase of the development process, focusing on assisting rural communities to come out of poverty. Partnerships aim to contribute to the reaching of the MDGs, in particular the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1), by helping women and men in improving their food security and income, such as support for smallholder farmers, and local development institutions. He pointed out that the recent financial crisis has brought back attention to the agricultural sector on which 70 percent of the rural poor depend. Strategic partnerships are established with governments, the UN, Regional Development Institutions, NGOs and the private sector.
Mr Andrew MacLeod, General Manager, Communities, Communications and External Relations, Rio Tinto Copper, explained the end goal of his and other companies as the development through effective partnerships. One of the prerequisites is respect for cultural perspectives and shared values, investing in community development and involving the private sector. Companies such as Rio Tinto Copper are experienced actors in scrutinising for efficiency and effectiveness and, therefore, are valuable partners. They should be considered as development actors with corporate social responsibility (CSR) and investment in employment as important components. In Peru, multi-corporate partnerships are being developed to bring about change for the community. The Private Sector is to be seen as the key driver in development and its contribution to global developmental investment goes far beyond that provided by the OECD countries.
Ms Degan Ali, Executive Director, African Development Solutions (ADESO), Kenya, looked at partnerships themselves and questioned the existing paradigms from a perspective of the “South”. While the final goal of partnerships is progress in including various stakeholders in decision-making, the definition should also consider power dynamics and different approaches to reality. So far it is not always clear that partnerships are truly equal, with each party having a voice, and bearing in mind what power of influence the governments and communities have. Non-western, non-traditional, southern founded NGOs are increasing in number and have better access to local communities than traditional western-based NGOs. Change will take place, with or without mainstream traditional parties being “on board”.
The session concluded that three critical elements for setting-up effective partnerships are to share a common goal; build trust; and be clear on deliverables. Net investments, weighed against future revenue stream as well as social and environmental risk, are important elements of a corporate perspective of partnerships. Leadership at country level is critical in achieving clearly defined development goals, around which partnerships can be built.
Mr. John Damerell, Project Manager, Sphere Project, introduced the common principles and minimum standards in humanitarian response as formalised under the scope of the project, aimed at improving the quality of assistance to the affected population in conflicts and disasters. It is also a means of accountability for agencies to donors and beneficiaries on the quality of aid provided. The Sphere Handbook reflects the humanitarian norms and best practices for a rights-based approach to dignity, protection and security, and the receipt of humanitarian assistance. They are considered the “gold“ standards for humanitarian assistance and are followed by a wide range of humanitarian actors. For example, the Standard for water is that it be safe, while the indicator is at least 15 litre/person/day, with the maximum distance to a water point being 500 meter.
By using the legacy of getting London being selected as the site for the Olympic and Para-Olympic games 2012 by promising a special programme for disadvantaged youths, Mr. Andy Hansen, Corporate Lead, Partnerships and Business Development, British Council, set out the requisites for such a positive result: clear vision and outcome, scope, method of governance, partnerships with government(s), trust and transparency, linking global and national organisations, a master plan and a national country-based plan. The partners involved in delivering on the promise worked in close harmony and adapted country-based operational matrices to the different settings.
Mr. Khalid Abdullah Al-Fawaz, Chairman, Al Muntada Alislami Trust, provided a summary of the major categories of projects provided by the Trust, focusing on the “Little Hearts” in Sudan, health care projects – including cardiac surgery – for deprived children in a worldwide campaign. The NGO works in partnership with a variety of health and education / training NGO partners. He stressed the need for clear common goals and organisational structure, trust and honesty between partners, effective and clear leadership, the sharing of information and resources, the exchange of skills and knowledge as well as risks and rewards, for multi-partner activities to be successful. The programme is considered as a successful model for effective partnerships involving partners from various cultural and national backgrounds.
H.E. Mr. Filippo Grandi, Commissioner-General, UNRWA, saw the discussions in the Conference as applicable to his Organisation’s activities on behalf of the Palestinian refugee population. In particular, inter-agency cooperation is critical for effective operational capacity. A partnership of increasing importance is the one with the communities UNRWA aims to serve throughout the Near East, especially through the dialogue with the young people. They are the main partners and no longer just the beneficiaries. Partnerships in the Gulf Region can be applicable for other organisations and have moved from donor – agency relationships to true partnerships, involving joint strategic and long-term planning, to address obstacles and promoting reconstruction. Such partnerships require mutual trust, and guarantees of impartiality and effectiveness. Partnerships between East and West and between North and South are indispensable as more humanitarian action and actors are needed to respond to new and ongoing crises.
With regard to the Syria crisis, aspirations are to support the over 500,000 Palestinian refugees in Syria who have become displaced for a second time. The impact of the Syrian conflict does no longer make it possible for the humanitarian actors to work in isolation, but requires all available partners to work together to multiply efforts to assist those affected by war. Partnerships are indispensable to bring relief and support development.