24th – 26th March 2015
Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability: The Humanitarian Aid and Development Perspectives
DIHAD had been an important step to mobilise support for malnutrition and poor health and other needs of poor societies. While some progress had been made against the MDGs since the year 2000, such as cutting malnutrition and hunger among the poor by half by 2015, millions of people were still living with hunger and in dire conditions, despite the development aid of the last 50 years.
H.R.H. Princess Haya introduced as the next speaker her favourite uncle, who had given her expert guidance throughout the years. (Download Speech)
H.R.H. Prince Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan had last been in Dubai in 1966, and was overwhelmed by the “wonders of Dubai”. He gave an inspiring statement, referring to past history and future challenges for Jordan and the wider region. The camps for Palestinian refugees, which Jordan had set up in 1948 on aquifers, were intended to be temporary only, but in 1991 Jordan received 1.5 million refugees from the war zone. He had tried to develop an ecological system in the region that received 300.000 Iraqi refugees. Of the Syrian refugees, 47.7% are adults, with just over 20% men. Refugees don’t want handouts but to be enabled and empowered in law. Caritas takes care of 6,000 Iraqi Christians in Jordan, and there are still hundreds of refugees living in churches. With the many Syrian refugees housed in Jordan, every Syrian has now become an additional statistic to the hosting country.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region was in need of a capability for the whole region, going beyond national and sovereign concerns relating to human security, and water shared from limited resources. Time has come to recognise the need to stop turf wars, to be concerned about destiny, and use DIHAD to stop talking about individual locations and start talking about a true region. The Gulf is also a Hindustani Gulf. He underlined the need for institutional self-determination for the people in the region, such as a regional development bank rather than being part of the ADB, and social cohesion, a conscience in terms of human security in the region. People are the vectors of good and bad, and out of the more than 300 million Muslims in the region there are those few who have chosen an alternative economy, spending trillions on weapons, drugs, or money laundering. A Global National Happiness (GNH) rather than GDP index was needed to rank countries according to environmental wellness. He welcomed the eco-social discipline such as in Sweden, with focus on the human environment as well as physical and mental welfare. Despite the many good intentions and calls for a new international humanitarian order, there was no progress in the lives of refugees. The tragedy is that all countries play the game of TIM – territory, integrity and mobility.
Wanting an incremental approach, he questioned whether the refugee issue can be fitted in to a New Berlin congress, and what was needed to stabilise the region, without a strictly thematic approach, e.g. water and energy for human environment. The Blue Peace project reflects almost 40 incidents in the Middle East where water was used as a target, and while a UN Peace-Keeping force for water was proposed, he wanted peace waging, to get the peace desired with democracy, citizenship, and a future based on human dignity. He stressed that Zakat does not concern Muslims alone, it is global and universal, and should not be a conditional Zakat. It should be accountable and transparent, enabling in civil and religious law for people deserving our support. Destiny cannot be reached without foreign assistance. He did not believe in the end being near, and referred to the need, if the day of justice comes, to “plant the fruit-bearing seedling”. It is one more modest step for hope for those who deserve it.
H.E. Sheikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, UAE, elaborated on the 2015 Conference theme as it will enable Expo 2020 and feed into the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, aiming to set a new agenda for humanitarian action.
Opportunities were provided by the recent upsurge in the region’s foreign aid, not just generosity, but a combination of opportunity plus impact is needed. As a result, for the UAE the opportunity to improve the impact to respond requires its foreign aid to be regularised for it to be effective and achieve its maximum impact. Mobility was seen in the willingness and ability to respond to sudden onset emergencies and protracted crises, and early warning and collective mobilisation were essential for better use of resources and to increase the impact of aid. The Syrian conflict and the Ebola crisis posed serious threats to the world at large. Sustainability was the backbone of developing an effective response. Where aid communities were facing a common problem in reaching beneficiaries despite difficult access, innovation was to be a way forward, although it is an overused term. It is inherently important and should benefit from an environment enabling development. The UAE was advancing in tackling climate change, e.g. Masdar impulse 2 – solar energy in emergency operations, refugee camps and hospitals. It was key to find solutions to address today’s most pressing humanitarian and development challenges (Download Presentation)
H.E. Dr. Hamdan Musallam al Mazrouie spoke on behalf of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayad Al Nahyan, Representative of the Ruler of Abu Dhabi in the western region, and President, UAE Red Crescent Authority. He was in 1992 a student in Jordan and was impressed by H.R.H. Prince Hassan’s wisdom. The Conference agenda and discussions should lead to a better response to humanitarian crises and the fate of increasing numbers of women and children as victims. Both humanitarian and development level attention to the common problems was needed in order to create added value for the victims of war, natural disasters and epidemics, especially in Africa, Asia and the Middle East region. There was a need to work together to increase impact, improve human rights, and work with international organisations in the humanitarian field on challenges in our societies. Interactive cooperation between professionals in the MENA region was needed to build successful partnerships to reach constructive solutions and adopt initiatives to unify efforts to curb crises and disasters at regional and international levels. Building on social awareness to create a balance in our societies where all were facing the same destinies and problems and contribute in humanitarian programmes aimed at curbing humanitarian sufferings, and to contribute to peace and security in the region.
H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha, Humanitarian Advisor of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman, DIHAD Higher Committee, and President, DISAB, referred to the theme of the Conference, and stressed the need to develop mobility and sustainability. UAE’s leaders were keen to respond rapidly to victims of crises and the country is one of the leading ones in the world in this respect. Dubai is the humanitarian capital of the world in terms of humanitarian aid, but efforts must be united to alleviate the fate of victims of crises. He looked forward to the recommendations of the Conference and impact for the benefit for those in need.
H.E. Mr. Elhadj As Sy, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), was welcomed as representing the world’s largest humanitarian organisation. IFRC bases its logistical operations in the region in Dubai and welcomes a true partnership to share wisdom in this strategic location. New commitments and social contracts were entered into to meet new challenges for global humanitarian communities for smarter impact to try and meet increasing needs. In 2015 commitments had to be made to shape future action, such as the new Sendai framework, the new global climate agreement, preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit, and the successors of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Working together it is possible to make great strides in terms of aid and development, e.g. making settlements into safe, sustainable, peaceful and inclusive societies. To protect lives, enable health, promote social inclusion are the three goals of the IFRC, which required looking forward to driving a more inclusive agenda, with both developing and developed nations. The protracted nature of crises makes lines between emergency and development more blurred, so a paradigm shift is needed to have to serve less communities and people in need by working effectively, and give them their dignity back. An enabling environmental for all in need to thrive had to be created. Living in an era of greater responsibility required a search for greater transparency. The OECD has acknowledged the UAE as a leading humanitarian actor. Humanitarian space is shrinking, battlegrounds have moved to schools, mosques and churches, and the interests of the vulnerable have to be safeguarded. The fundamental principles adopted five years ago needed to be respected to reach those most in need. He called on political leaders to play political partnerships and liaisons to facilitate humanitarian work, and work better together on the side of communities in need.
H.E. Mr. Pierre Kraehenbuhl, UNRWA, mentioned that DIHAD is the most important humanitarian event in the region, and has been so for the last 11 years. IHC, Dubai Care and the Zayed Foundation are important supporters for UNRWA, while the UAE is one of the top ten donors to UNRWA, as is ECHO. Since 1950 the Agency had been assisting and protecting Palestinian refugees, and was profoundly linked to its cause, now moved into linking both emergency relief and longer-term development. With a focus on self-reliance, through education as an important part of the struggle for identity and independence of the Palestinian population, UNRWA works through partnerships with UNESCO, NGOs and the private sector. Its 32,000 staff contributed to universal literacy and eradication of communicable diseases; skilled labour force development as a quest for peace in the region and developing a high level of human capacity. He stressed that education cannot be taken for granted in regions of instability and determined political engagement. The 500,000 children in 700 schools, and the 131 clinics give UNRWA a quasi statehood role, despite the challenges for services and rights, which continue to be denied. The region showed a landscape of conflict and extremism with 2.5 million Palestinian refugees making up half of the five million refugees in the region. In Yarmuk in Damascus Palestinian refugees were mostly independent before the Syrian crisis, but almost all have now been dispossessed and become dependent. In attempts to cross the Mediterranean, many Palestinian refugees have drowned, while 1.8 m Palestinians live in Gaza, 65% of whom are under 25 years, without any opportunities for employment and freedom of movement. UNRWA provides food to 880,000 people in Gaza and 400,000 receive food from the World Food Programme. The West Bank is a place of continued unrest with precious resources being diverted to meet Israeli needs. His remarks were intended to sound dire, because with insecurity growing in the region, all signs indicate that the fate for the Palestinian population will worsen. As victims and also actors of their own dignity and self-reliance are the way Palestinians must be seen, after 65 years of global neglect. The struggle for dignity starts with education and respect for rights, as was expressed in a poem of an 11 year old girl in Gaza. (*)
H.E. Mr. Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management (ECHO), stipulated that current challenges are huge, such as the developing human tragedy in Yemen. Conflicts and crises have reached unprecedented levels such as in the Central African Republic, the Middle East and North Africa, with Palestine, Syria and Libya facing armed conflict daily. The humanitarian space is shrinking with more violations of humanitarian law and blockage of humanitarian aid delivery, with humanitarian workers becoming more targets every day, while resources to meet needs are dwindling. It is a collective responsibility to respond to needs, find collective sources for a coordinated and effective response, e.g. by investing in diversified partnerships bringing all actors in the humanitarian landscape together, i.e. donors from east and west, the Diaspora, and the private sector. Cultural boundaries have to be crossed, and it must be acknowledged that all accept solidarity at the heart of humanity. It is also important to build links between humanitarian and development aid to ensure sustainability of solutions, and to give a long-term approach to protracted crises and go beyond the emergency phase. Transition is vital to design comprehensive approaches to bring together the political, humanitarian and security sectors. The burden on host countries has become unsustainable, and more tangible solutions must be provided for the population in need of protection. The series of high level events coming up require collective action for a successful outcome. DIHAD provides a golden opportunity to advance the dialogue and the EU actively participates to show its commitment to this vital partnership for effective humanitarian response (Download Presentation)
The Chair introduced the panel members and invited them to focus on opportunities and what needs to be changed to make full use of them.
Dr. Florika Fink-Hooijer, ECHO, intended to share views how to take Sendai forward and work together towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ECHO acts as a humanitarian donor (providing one third of global humanitarian aid), has introduced a resilience marker as mandatory for its partners, and 48% of ECHO funding aims at addressing natural disaster risk reduction. The European Solidarity Mechanism was intended for EU member countries to call upon in case they are overwhelmed by a mass influx of displaced persons. In Disaster Risk Reduction there is also a strong focus on risk assessment, multi-hazard and multi-sector, and the EU has invested in a new policy instrument – the EU aid volunteers, to be imbedded in existing organisations to work at the local level for prevention, preparedness and response. The EU resilience compendium includes best practices of resilience concepts, such as cooperation with Oxfam in Niger, demonstrating the need to work bottom-up and among multi-sectors to build resilience through access to clean water and food security. Donor cooperation also needs a unified focus, e.g. on women’s capacity at village level through marketing support and access to village banking systems. The homework from Sendai requires recognition of the role of the private sector, the importance of improvement of disaster risk management and response preparedness capacity as a common duty. (Download Presentation)
Mr. Dominique Burgeon, FAO, welcomed the link between Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and food security in the DIHAD agenda. Over 800 million people are food insecure, and a population of 9.2 billion people by 2050 will entail an increased need of at least 50% for cereals, and doubling for meat. A high correlation exists between disaster risk and the level of food insecurity / undernourishment. The current USD 200 / 250 billion loss will increase to USD 314 billion loss for built land. Lack of data was being addressed and at the same time aiming at absorbing 22% of all loss and damages by the agricultural sector, including up to 80% of the impact of drought. Better understanding is critical, and FAO is now committed to prepare an annual report on the impact of natural disasters on the agricultural sector. Five elements of the Sendai Framework offer opportunities for agriculture, food security and nutrition. These include a stronger role of sectors in DRR delivery, a call for multi-hazard approaches, strengthened focus on people and local action, transfer of technology for DRR, and promotion of Build Back Better in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction. Understanding and sharing good practices and better investing for the future are necessary steps.
Challenges include how to mobilise and stronger engage sectors, trigger early warning for early action, focus on the most vulnerable, and better targeted action. FAO’s resilience agenda includes a focus on governance and mainstreaming risk, also at local levels; early warning for early action by affected countries through seasonal weather forecasts using new technologies; vulnerability reduction, prevention and mitigation; and improved preparedness and response with inclusion of longer term actions. (Download Presentation)
Mr. David Kaatrud, WFP, also focused on opportunities for disaster risk reduction and preparedness post Sendai. WFP found that 60% of its activities include DRR components, and estimates that 80% of food insecure people live in disaster prone countries. Sendai offers opportunities for a holistic approach between humanitarian and development through dual mandating. The world was facing a record number of protracted mega crises needing a coherent response, in an age of climate, financial and political volatility, requiring a multi-risk approach with prioritisation of needs. A new paradigm of a truly owned national development agenda requires a more coherent response to national efforts, for which the Common Framework for Response can be a useful tool. “All of society” aims at inclusivity of response, and its subset of “all of government” approach. More investment is needed in risk vulnerability through new methodologies, hazard mapping for floods, and linkage to early warning systems. Open data systems and investment in improvement of knowledge management and cross-learning between regions must be promoted. Risk mitigation by risk informed programmes, and management of residual risk are needed. The IASC Transformative Agenda requires analysis of international augmentation, and a gender sensitive approach. Important is also to build resilience through scaled-up nutrition, and a DRR aspect at the community level with focus on livelihoods and creation of rural assets. At the national level, creation of safety nets and inclusion of response and recovery phases are important. Capacity development is an overarching need, which also requires new financing and reorientation of existing donors with more and earlier involvement of the private sector, such as insurance for drought and outbreak of disasters.
Q & A – Risk-informed programming was a point from Sendai, which was recognised as essential both from a humanitarian and development angle. There was a question how policies from Sendai will be implemented at the speed required to avoid further displacement, and what was the link between food capacity and crisis prevention.
On risk-informed – or evidence based – programming, ECHO has developed the IFRM mechanism for open data sharing to facilitate investing on a common basis. To avoid displacement, risk analysis, vulnerability assessment and reduction, and forceful action must take place early on in the development of a fragile situation. The Chair summarised the presentations and debate by confirming that Sendai has not overlooked crisis management capacity through development of capacity of national and local authorities. The private sector has realised the needs for buffers through economic opportunity and employment. Homework for all is to bridge the wide gap between political and practitioners, for which Sendai offered the first opportunity.(Download Presentation)
Mr. Robert Watkins, UN, Bangladesh, focused on Bangladesh as a case study that is replicable to other countries in the struggle to combat the impact of climate change, in a very difficult situation, with acute challenges of over-urbanisation. It is also very low-lying with ¼ of the country in the West below sea level with 700 waterways and a large delta. One of the founding countries of the Climate Vulnerability Forum, it is at the forefront of response to climate change, with a link between climate change and deteriorating environmental conditions, the rise of sea level, cyclones and tropical storms, and by 2050 the risk for half the country to disappear. Livelihoods are mostly dependent on agriculture with available land disappearing at an alarming rate, also due to salination. The “three F” project of fish, forest, and fruit, plants mangrove forests and builds dikes, is planting timber and fruit trees, and harvesting fish in ditches. Similar examples exist such as The Netherlands, which has protected itself from the sea for many centuries and has a sophisticated waterway management at huge expense. Environmental problems in urban centres must also be attacked, such as stagnant water and air pollution, which to some extent is an impact from development without addressing negative effects of increased traffic and congestion, brick production, and dumping of human and productive waste.
Solutions all need to find common challenges to address the environmental degradation resulting from rapid development. It is a global problem requiring national solutions through simple technologies that also clearly show the advantages for the population. Needed are investment, original ideas, and most importantly the government’s political will to adopt these measures. (Download Presentation)
Mr. Alfredo Zamudio, International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), Norwegian Refugee Council, presented the challenges and opportunities for the displacement related to climate change and disasters, stressing the value of data on displacement related to weather and geophysical hazards since 1970. He pointed at the difference between disaster and hazard, and the likelihood to be displaced by disasters to be four times greater now than in 1970. Although little can be done to reduce hazard, the exposure to hazard and vulnerability can be reduced. Five drivers for displacement due to disasters include climate change, requiring rapid action on the other four drivers which are population growth in hazard prone areas; unequal distribution of wealth; rapid urbanisation, and weak governance and state failure. Reduction in these drivers will reduce displacement resulting from disasters. Conflict further complicates solutions. Sahel’s conflict, drought and floods have increased the number of displaced, so addressing vulnerabilities early on will save lives. Pastoralists are semi-nomads and yet can be displaced in the Horn of Africa as research has shown, which also has defined the policies needed to prevent people from moving: focus on the present to fix the future by innovation; coordinate Disaster Risk Reduction, adaptation, humanitarian and development frameworks; and address evidence and knowledge gaps. In 2013, 22 million people were displaced through disasters, but little is known about how women and children were affected. The speaker ended by stressing that providing better data is needed and is possible to achieve a significant reduction of displacement. (Download Presentation)
Mr. Andrew Scott, ODI, focused on small enterprises and the development opportunities in developing countries by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the zero – zero pathways. Two fundamental goals for development in the next two decades are the eradication of poverty by 2030, and keeping the average global temperature rise below 2o C. Achieving zero emissions by the end of the century and zero poverty by 2030 will depend on climate change. Zero emissions through multiple pathways were necessary to avoid dangerous climate change, and must be compatible with climate change. The Climate Knowledge Network of 22 agencies and ODI research indicate that moderate and sustained growth can lead to zero extreme poverty by 2030, but with current emissions the pathway will lead to 700 million people not reaching a level above the poverty line. Achieving zero emissions and the environmental goals would contradict poverty eradication, but low carbon emissions would lead to poverty reduction and promote development growth, and would cost only 5% more than the current business as usual. It can provide opportunities for growth and poverty reduction, particularly through climate change’s influence on energy and agriculture, by meeting three objectives and challenges: secure, reliable supplies to meet increased demand (by 37% by 2040); universal access to modern energy services, and transition to low-carbon energy systems.
Investment in new renewable energy in 2013 was USD 93 billion, and in particular used for the rural population dependent on agriculture. Non-renewable energy costs are ranging from 5 to 14 US cents / kWh and with pollution added rise to 19 cents, whereas the cost of solar energy is 6 cents / kWh. Transition to renewable energy sources would also result in job creation. Furthermore, challenges in agriculture are the growth in demand for food by 60% by 2050, whereas the current agricultural productivity capacity is now nearly at its maximum capacity. Agriculture produces 10 – 12% of greenhouse gas emissions, and uses scarce water resources. So adaptation actions and mitigation are possible and will provide adaptation and mitigation options. New sustainable rice production systems reduce water consumption and reduce gas emissions, thus supporting growth and poverty eradication. Food waste cannot be fully stopped, but can be reduced. The market for low carbon technology is large and growing. Therefore, strong agreements reached in 2015 will strengthen the case for carbon reduction systems. (Download Presentation)
The Chair summarised the presentations by stressing that behavioural change is a driving force to improved indicators. ‘Fight or flight’ is mostly seen as an option, but there is limited focus on how to adapt from private and public sides. In response to questions from the floor how financial investment from the private sector can help to resolve these challenges, the panel mentioned that, although little can be done to change societies from the outside, it is the private sector that is the engine of growth. Thus, the international community needs to find ways to tap these private investors and for them to also financially profit, e.g. by producing solar energy at a profit. In other words, creating a favourable environment for private investment to work is crucial. To achieve this in times of conflict remains a challenge. To tap unused opportunities in the region, investment in young leaders is needed, which requires education but particularly excitement, inspiration and guidance besides technologies and other tangible measures
Mr. Jean-Marc Royer, Airbus Helicopters, France, a company with more than 23,000 employees, stressed the importance of the condition of landing area to determine the effectiveness of aid delivery. In many cases helicopters are the only means to be as close as possible to save and serve the affected population. Safety is most important criteria, while flexibility, availability, and operating costs are also relevant parameters for successful operations. Helicopters can also be used in the prevention / pre-disaster phase through observations, in the impact phase by observing and commanding where and how to go, and during the rebuilding, protection and searching phases. Helicopters are the main versatile transport means to save time, reach people almost everywhere, reduce risk and the number of rescuers needed, and can transport people and relief items, keeping in mind that measures to ensure safety of operations and maintenance are critical. (*)
Ms. Esther Ndichu, United Parcel Service (UPS) Europe, pointed out that in the best case scenario all partners would be working in concert to deliver relief, but that in reality humanitarian agents have to work with limited funding, interrupted and insufficient supply chains and technology. There are also new actors, donations, governments who need to be coordinated and supported. UPS in 2004 during Tsunami and later Hurricane Katrina decided for a more streamlined process, and created with its Humanitarian Foundation a humanitarian relief and resilience programme with four pillars of key partnerships, use of network of expertise, and increasing disaster relief capacity. Main partners include UN, and non-for profit organisations. A Logistics Emergency Team (LET) was mobilised to respond to the Ebola crisis, and this experience is easily replicable. UPS also carries out logistics capacity assessments with the logistics cluster, and assists in customs clearance in disaster prone countries in preparation of response with OCHA. This requires innovation to have an efficient tracking system, such as the track pad and use of barcode cards in camp settings. (*)
Mr. Olaf Janssen, Humanitarian Logistics, Kuehne Foundation, Switzerland, indicated that the Foundation is a service provider, providing training, consultancies, and supporting academic education in humanitarian logistics. In emergency response, time and effectiveness are critical factors, in particular in the more large scale and complex operations of the last several years. While the number of natural disasters has gone down, the demand and competition for funding have increased. This calls for more efficient transport and logistics. To illustrate the differences between humanitarian and commercial supply chains, the speaker pointed out that the humanitarian sector among other differences lacks a culture of continuous improvement and has a poor reputation for capitalising on lessons learned. A humanitarian logistics framework is seen as composed of assessment, procurement, warehousing, transport, and reporting. In short, efficiency is a must, logistics is an integrated concept, and depends mostly on local capacity and is based on a structured process initiated at a higher level. (Download Presentation)
A comment from the floor stressed the need to include accountability into the equation and information sharing in the logistics realm. A question was also raised how to deliver aid in times of conflict, which could be done through increased local logistics capacity training.
KEY NOTE ADDRESS – “MOBILITY”
H.E. Amb. William Lacy Swing, Director-General, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), came for the fourth time to DIHAD as he learned much from this successful event. He focused on human mobility, another term for migration, and put it in a global perspective by three points:
– we live in a period of unprecedented human mobility, with at least ¼ billion people having crossed and ¾ billion being displaced within their own borders. Looking at it in this way they are the 6th largest country, and their remittances are roughly those of part of the EU. Human mobility has become a megatrend of this century, and will remain so, driven by the digital revolution with instant access to information, shrinking distant travel, and global social disparity between the North and South in employment, and degradation of land.
– it is a period of unprecedented disasters which cause desperation migration. Four major human disasters are ongoing with Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, and CAR. Threats of Boko Haram in Nigeria, but also in Gabon and Niger, Ebola in West Africa, conflicts in Libya, Yemen and Ukraine are only several of the crises in need of response. Over 170 million are displaced as a result of disasters over the last six years, and the 50 million people currently displaced are the largest number since WWII. In Syria 12 million people need assistance, and almost half of the population has moved.
A recently Fatal Journeys study showed that 40,000 people had died along the migratory road since 2000, probably an understated figure, and 22,000 of whom died in the Mediterranean. A way must be found to process displaced before they board a ship that is not seaworthy.
Amb. Swing offered several suggestions to address the migration crisis: determine whether the current phase is a traditional humanitarian order or we are moving to a new order. Not enough has been done to stem emergencies, and the focus has to be on saving lives right now, and hold political negotiations to address the causes for displacement. The ten countries neighbouring Syria and Libya held their borders open for people fleeing conflict and save their lives, which is an act of true humanitarianism. The Migration Crisis Operation Framework was put together to ensure a holistic approach to the human movement, part of which is to create local capacity to prevent new deteriorating social structures. The Sendai framework, and the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 will give a chance to determine how to move forward and better cope. (Download Presentation)
Key messages on causes and consequences are well documented and there is a need for accountability and recognition of global interconnectedness. Security implications go beyond the region with mobile, armed groups going as far as to Nigeria, who form a threat to the regional and international security. Prospects for finding solutions are limited, as there is no military solution. Challenges are also in the context of mixed migration from e.g. Somalia into the region. In 2014, 205,000 people crossed the Mediterranean from North Africa, most of whom are considered to be economic migrants, but also over 60,000 from Syria, from Afghanistan, and Palestinian refugees. In Jan – Feb 2015 the figure was higher than during the same months in 2014, and the annual increase is expected to be even higher due to the lack of a future and the continuing conflict. As a result, there is a need for coordinated action by the humanitarian community. Over 200 agencies have worked on the Common Response Plan (CRP) for Syria and neighbouring countries, asking for more than USD 550 million to assist refugees and hosting countries. The plan focuses on strengthening the participatory approach and many innovative measures to register and better serve refugees, e.g. providing cash rather than supplies to promote their mobility. Partnerships are vital in this common task, making use of strength, locations and background, also working in close cooperation with the Gulf Coordination Council (GCC). The Innovative Partnerships Platform launched earlier in the year aimed at collectively being ready for any further or protracted displacement or conflict.
Ms. Daryl Grisgraber, Refugees International, had just returned from Turkey. Focusing on the sub-theme of the Conference, she referred to her meetings with Syrian refugees in particular, but her findings can be applied to other refugee situations. With 12.2 m Syrians in need of humanitarian aid, the cause can be summarised as flight from conflict. Despite four years of aid addressing immediate needs as well as forward looking measures, refugees are now without employment and have exhausted their own resources. People continue to move to find new options or flee new conflicts, or return to Syria where it is not safe. The complication and consequence of displacement put pressure on host communities in neighbouring countries, which need assistance going beyond the emergency phase to continue to keep their borders open and receive refugees, providing adequate water, health, and education facilities.
Mr. Luca Renda, UNDP Lebanon, introduced the Lebanon Crisis Response Plan 2015-16, which is about providing aid to all the needy as fast as possible, and to expand assistance programmes, creating jobs for better living standards and resilience / stabilisation aspects. A country of 4 million people, hosting now over 1.2 million Syrian and over 250,000 Palestinian refugees, with its own troubled times is now relatively stable. The UN and partners address the situation of the many displaced people, but the poor Lebanese hosts continue to be the first responders to the Syria crisis; after four years they are reaching their limits, and institutions can barely cope. Over 300,000 children do not attend school, including refugee children who do not live in camps. Homelessness, poverty, malnutrition and a poor infrastructure are the main outcomes of the situation, while children are most affected. “Their future is our future”. Although most refugees want to return, in the meantime all should be done to support their lives during exile. Integrating humanitarian and stabilisation programmes, the Plan asks for USD 2.14 billion, with participation of 77 international and national organisations under the Government’s leadership. Support is needed not only for humanitarian but also for development projects to strengthen local institutions, without a strict distinction between the two budgets to support also the resilience and stabilisation component of the Plan. (Download Presentation)
H.E. Dr. Sergio Piazzi, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), mentioned that DIHAD over the years has offered a great opportunity to exchange ideas relevant to PAM’s work. PAM is working closely with the UN and its agencies on the delivery of humanitarian assistance and Protection of Civilians, such as in Syria, where targeting of civilian populations has taken place in the last few years. This situation requires an effective mechanism and adaptation of the national legislations. The human rights of migrant populations are often compromised by human traffickers, in particular of those wanting to cross the Mediterranean Sea, whose number has increased by 400%. They are mostly transported by criminal organisations raising large profits and providing hazardous journeys. The new director of FRONTEX recently indicated that between 500,000 and one million people are ready to take the risk and cross the Mediterranean. The biggest impact of the Arab Spring is being shouldered by neighbouring countries, which need infrastructural support. PAM agrees with the need for a Middle East Reconstruction Bank as was stressed by H.R.H. Prince Hassan Bin Talal in his address. PAM is able to support the various initiatives in the region to fight human trafficking, and to advocate for respect for human rights by a rapid deployment team. He invited participating organisations to contact PAM in cases where its assistance can be of help. (Download Presentation)
There was a question from the floor whether in 2016 the focus of the discussion would shift to Yemen, and Syria would be forgotten, referring to the practice of a three-year focus. Yemen was already facing poverty and malnutrition with an influx of migrants, and the international community needs to act to prevent it from becoming a regional crisis. A follow-up question wondered why after four years the Syrian crisis is still addressed as an emergency rather than a political crisis, and empowering the communities themselves to help one another and providing self-sustained income. Youth groups are the lost generation, so why is no vocational education provided to avoid them joining extremists?
Mr. François Grunewald, Groupe Urgence, Réhabilitation, Développement (URD), France, focused on traps and opportunities for sustainability after 2015. To meet some of the sustainability challenges, efforts to reinvest through ecological solutions were undertaken. He used the slogan: ‘understand complexity and diversity and become friends with them’. Another factor is turbulence, such as the plastic bags floating in pastoral areas at great economic costs due to the hazards they cause. Or war as a key hazard for sustainability, which needs governance of peace for sustainable measures, and a reshaping of the political management of peace, rather than just technical solutions. Disasters can most often not be predicted due to a lack of sufficient statistics, e.g. the earthquake in Haiti, or the outbreak of Ebola – the “Black Swans” world.
Another challenge is forced mobility, and the loss of roots and source of equilibrium, as is increased urbanization with more energy use, pollution and less food production.
Vulnerability grows when the call for produce cannot be met.
The question is how to do more with less – robustness – and enhance social cohesiveness. Financing of basic services needs to be made sustainable. Gender streamlining is a critical crosscutting requirement to make the society sustainable, as is inter-generational solidarity to avoid barriers in development.
Different approaches to resilience are solidarity and agility, requiring measures from the onset, back-up systems, risk taking, generosity, rapid learning and adjustment.
The speaker called himself a constructive pessimist – planting trees. (*)
Dr. Shadi Hamadeh, Environment and Sustainable Development Unit, American University of Beirut (AUB), gave a wake-up call with the Blue Danube of Strauss, before going into the “alien” definition of sustainable development, as another planet would be needed to fulfil our needs at the current rate of growth and military spending. Out of the eight MDGs, three indicators are improving in terms of poverty and hunger, reduction of child mortality, and ensuring environmental sustainability. The problem is the continuing great disparity between countries, and rich and poor groups within them, as is the global forced displacement with a daily increase of 32,000 people. With regard to food security in the Middle East and North Africa, one of the least food secure areas, with worsening trends further aggravated by global warming, urbanisation, desertification, rural poverty, the trend is towards a new Arab Spring. The Unit at the AUB where he teaches aims at exploring solutions and defying uncertainties, through a participatory approach, and a critical balance between new techniques and traditional knowledge, and by adapting the western paradigm to local realities. The Unit has been selected to host KariaNet: Knowledge Access for Rural Inter-connected Areas Network (IDRC/IFAD) (www.karianet.org)
Building local capacity, developing educational programmes, and initiatives on food security for the MENA region are the focus of the Unit. One initiative is the EcoMENA, which tries to develop a network of sustainable communities, and to establish an Arab network of the Arab Basket for production, processing and marketing of traditional food products. A network of Community Kitchens for refugees and hosting communities has been expanded from the northern area to a national scale, and will in the near future offer options to “Adopt a Kitchen”
Human development is only sustainable if it is not a means towards an end but an end by itself, and the proposed 17 SDGs provide a useful framework covering human development in social, economic, political and environmental areas, and addressing key barriers to sustainability. The Brundtland Commission in 1987 defined sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Four concepts are relevant in this context, i.e. needs opposed to wants; limits to consumption and growth; stewardship of the resources at our disposal; and fourth, wider fairness, including inter-generational justice. These are idealistic notions, but they may be asking too much from us, who are said to be so self-centred. We need self-sustainable souls to create a sustainable culture. Threats are the quantification of values, e.g. indexes of health, and even happiness, which in fact highlight inequalities and promote competition.
Sustainable humanitarianism is not possible at first sight when statistics show rising numbers of crises and disasters. At second sight it is not possible either, as for about a billion people it is not bringing about the change in line with new technological advances. More people want to react in times of turbulence, a natural progression in a world that is moving and open, welcoming engagement rather than confrontation. Relief and development are not to be brought together as long as there is conflict and basic needs of stability are not met. The human instinct to help is innate and thus does reflect the sustainability of the idea, oldest of all, of compassion and empathy. Humanitarianism is more sustainable than development, so by putting them together we look at motivation for actions. (Download Presentation)
Coming from the private sector approach to water, Dr. Rami Ghandour, Metito Utilities Ltd., UAE, summarised the facts of the demand for capital, water and sanitation going up, in particular in highly populated concentrations, the uneconomical use for agriculture, and the undervaluation of water resources. Education on the scarcity of water, equitable fees system, and reuse and recycling of water are opportunities to change behaviour. The water use for district cooling plants is huge, but at the same time the re-use of waste water provides an opportunity. Another solution is the use of alternative energy, treatment of water bodies, reducing water losses, or desalination (e.g. Sharm el Sheikh) by the private sector. But for solutions to be successful all sectors must work together. (Download Presentation)
Ms. Katherine Spooner, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), UK, gave the NGO perspective on water and energy challenges. Despite the high demand and scarcity, there is some transformative change, driven by the private sector. But the question is how to achieve sustainable and equitable access to water and energy for all. Land tenure, tariffs, and informal housing are some of the reasons why poor people have limited or no access to water. Ways to approach the Nexus expectation concept are investments to save ecosystem services, doing more with less, and accelerating access, integrating the poorest (equity). Local solutions to global problems can be promoted by understanding the context and the targeting, by focusing on small-scale solutions and developing a portfolio of approaches. Equity and sustainability as well as innovation must be pushed to the front of decision making if we want to have enough water and energy for tomorrow, for all. (Download Presentation)
H.E. Senator Lhou Lmarbouh, Morocco, Co-President, Panel on Trade and Investments, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM), pointed at the increase in population and water and energy needs over the last 30 years, now amounting to one billion barrels of fuel. The potential of fossil fuels is 60 years, and diversification of energy basket is the only way to meet this challenge. Our responsibility is to find low cost solutions for future generations through diversification, through use of alternative energy resources which requires a strong political will. Transfer of Technology between North and South is important, as is the use of nuclear energy, especially in Asia and less so in Europe where it is politicized.
The right to water is the right to life, and there is no alternative to water. With the increasing population and demand, there is a risky increase in water use for irrigation and industries. Production of ethanol uses 30x its volume in water, while water has become also a political tool, such as in Gaza where 90% of the available water goes to use by Israel. Drought itself is resulting from global warming, which in turn has polluted the world. Rationalisation of water is needed and options must be further studied.
Water and energy are basic pillars for social, economic and political stability. It can be that there will be enough tomorrow if we do what needs to be done, not if we don’t do what needs to be done. Overexploitation and innovating use of resources, with use of reusable energy sources must be at the top of the agenda. Uprooted populations and the migrational wave cause demographic change of available resources.
One participant pointed to the need for interaction between the private and public sectors as the key to move forward. Education is necessary for the concept of privatisation to be successful, and models need to be adapted to the local markets through a South-South model. Key to successful management is the collaborative approach, as there is sometimes lack of awareness of barriers. But the ultimate responsibility lies with the states themselves, as water and energy are basic rights of the people.
To address water shortage and global warming, a global framework is necessary; these should be addressed on a regional basis, rather than by individual countries.
Mr. Michael Talhami, ICRC Amman, focused on the main trends in the region and the impact of conflict areas. Factors are the sharp increase in the number of conflicts, actors / parties to the conflict, needs, multiple crises occurring at the same time, with the shrinking of humanitarian space and mobility of actors to have safe access on the ground, forcing remote management. More actors are working at regional and / or sub-regional level. Challenges include being overstretched due to increasing needs, in particular for water and sanitation, and resource scarcity. Protracted crises and longer term approaches lead to mega appeals for funding, which remain largely underfunded. ICRC focuses on health, water, and economic security. One dollar spent on water and sanitation is worth spending USD 8 on curative health, thus points at the need for a more equitable distribution of funding. He referred to the extensive damage to the urban infrastructure in Syria, combined with a lack of safe access for humanitarian workers who aim at keeping the water and energy system running. In Lebanon in Bekaa Valley and in Jordan hosting communities in need of vital support are included in the basic services being provided. In the Gaza strip’s widespread needs with an almost collapsed essential infrastructure and public health risks, the focus is on restoring safe drinking water and sanitation services.
What is needed: innovative approaches for the protection of civilians, for basic services, stronger local partnerships, and better interaction and coordination between development and humanitarian actors, both during and after crises. (Download Presentation)
Mr. Mario Stephan, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Dubai, addressed the topic from both personal and institutional perspectives. Separating between conflict and natural disasters, he referred to the Tsunami, Pakistan earthquake, Somalia nutritional crisis, floods in Pakistan, the Haiti earthquake as well as conflicts in eastern DRC, Somalia, Afghanistan, and the Middle East region. The trend is that the humanitarian space is shrinking, strong governments are still in place, strong army presence, conflicts being more urban, many kinds of actors, including the private sector, diaspora, local communities, all with their roles and their limitations. NGOs intervene in crises and disasters, some with their own means, while interaction with donors is in need of a better dialogue. Some organisations provide needs based -, others rights based assistance, while advocacy is an important component. NGOs have a role in a wider community and among themselves to coordinate to best meet the huge needs. Challenges are lack of funding, accountability to beneficiaries, restricted access, and frequent compartmentalising of NGOs.
H.E. Ambassador Atta El Manan Bakheet El-Haj, Sudan, approached the role of NGOs from a different angle, pointing at their negative role in providing relief. 1. The vision on disasters differs between NGOs, some seeing it as an option to receive more funding, rather than an opening to provide assistance; 2. Humanitarian actors are employed by the poor; 3. Provision of relief is focused on getting credit and unfair competition, rather than on coordination; 4. The relationship between aid and ways to deliver it needs to be revisited; 5. The obligation to provide aid and the necessity to protect humanitarians is not always a correct equation, as their protection overrules; 6. The use of local NGOs versus the role of governments to provide access must be strengthened. If it is their role to provide not only relief but also relief and development, then these should be linked.
Mr. Talat Al-Gohany, International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIROSA), KSA, mentioned that the concept of “humanitarian assistance“ had started with the establishment of the modern state. He pointed at the large gaps in assistance and the disorderly structure of the international community’s efforts, also due to prevailing conflicts. The growth of civil society engagement is relevant and needs to be properly coordinated. The 14 humanitarian principles promote unbiased allocation, but should be complemented by a binding instrument. IIROSA provides humanitarian aid and relief items to victims of natural disasters and civil conflicts. (*)
Comments from the floor pointed out that the “greed” of NGOs is an accusation from the local population and is not justified. There was concern that the role of NGOs was not in line with a binding code of conduct. The disproportional allocation of funds for military use should be shared with the humanitarian sector; minimum standards for camps are in need of review; media focus is correlated to funding for NGOs.
Ms. Salam Kanaan, CARE, Jordan, expanded on the role of NGOs in capacity building to improve the efficiency of response to urban humanitarian crises. She summarised the initial focus on Palestinian refugees in 1949 having enlarged to women economic empowerment programmes. Urban humanitarian crises are impacting on the Syrian displaced population having become refugees and living with host communities, probably 627,000 registered, half of them women. The target group for CARE’s programme is these women, plus 58,000 Iraqi women and the poor of the country, who receive cash and relief for livelihood through four centres. Other support is psychosocial, resilience building, information on their rights, vocational and livelihood training, and capacity building at front levels. The focus is on refugees, local partners, local government, and peer organisations, working through case management. Its approach is to reach people for enhanced resilience to all components of the society through capacity building, long term alliances and partnerships, and a participatory implementation of its programmes. (Download Presentation)
Mr Sean Lowrie, START Network, UK, with nearly 7,000 partners in over 200 countries, entitled his presentation ‘NGOs – Unlocking the potential’. NGOs are the “last mile” in the system, so by changing NGOs you change the system, but it is not easy to change the system. Therefore, it is important to help NGOs to do things they cannot do alone.
Development based on the western path is not sustainable, and a shift of mindset with resilience included in every step is needed. NGOs implement 75% of humanitarian relief, working as social “capitalisers” and society builders. Building NGO capacity means building system capacity. There is a large diversity in NGOs, many of them struggling to adapt, while most western NGOs raise their own funding, at the same time restricting their ability to define and address their own priorities. Local NGOs have flexibility, but they struggle with capability, whereas they should have the power to lead any intervention. The system’s business model of funding and action is reactive; it should be less risk-aversive and top down, with a linear cost and effective way of thinking. The resilient system will need to contain redundancy and constant experimentation, which are lacking at the moment, and less control. New features are needed to allow NGOs to evolve in a new business model. What is needed is an ecosystem that is as local as possible and as global as necessary, a current paradox. (Download Presentation)
The START Fund focuses on small and medium scale crises, designed to shift power in local systems, and tries to help NGOs to find lead agencies, and works through local front line organisations.
Ms Degan Ali, African Development Studies (ADESO), described how to bridge the divide between humanitarianism and development. The current structure is that new or protracted crises receive funding from governments to northern NGOs, with the way in which international aid is being seen as rarely being a true partnership and with short term focus, a paradigm that is not effective. The current focus on resilience building requires far more local community and government involvement. Ultimately the government is the duty bearer, but with weakened institutions there is the tendency for international actors to take the lead. This paradigm could be changed by the international and local actors being present when decisions are made; allowing the aid system for more resources to go to local institutions (now only 1.6% of total humanitarian aid) and training them to manage the resources.
ADESO has experience from the follow-up to drought needs assessment in 2003 and acceptance of its proposal for a cash transfer programme, after intensive lobbying and overcoming many objections. The cash transfers in 2011 were around USD 11 million, and ADESO now has a training programme for international organisations. In other words, local knowledge should be taken seriously; politics and tension between the international system and local NGOs must be overcome. The current structure will change, most likely by force. So, the question is how to contribute to the process of this shift, for which the World Humanitarian Summit and the resilience movement will provide great opportunities.
Mr. Kevin Noone, International Medical Corps, UK and UAE, demonstrated the field perspective on the Ebola crisis in West Africa, now with nearly 25,000 cases and over 10,000 deaths, and new cases recently occurring in Guinea and Sierra Leone. With now close to US$ 4 billion having been spent, the question arises why it was not possible to address this crisis better. (*)
Questions and comments from the floor included how the local NGOs can become more resilient and robust in order not to be just reactive. The system needs to be reviewed and incentives have to be shifted. The donor community is slowly shifting by target setting, e.g. USAID provides 30% of funds to local NGOs, and a global southern NGO network is being formed to manage funding and facilitate the interaction with donors in the initial phase.
There was a question how the big gap can be addressed which was created the last two decades by the big paradigm shift between the humanitarian and development aid system, disregarding the national governments and national NGOs who receive very limited direct funding. This frustration should be channelled in a positive way and through true partnerships between international and national NGOs as the first responders, and alliances with governments with better use of available knowledge rather than them being treated as beneficiaries only. There certainly is a place for dramatic and other forms of art to restore human dignity after the immediate needs have been provided, which can also be a form of documentation.
There was a proposal to change the wording from building to strengthening capacity, with the question whether we are ready for long-term commitments to “de-grow” when national capacity has been strengthened. How psychological support for people in crisis can be mobilised early on in a crisis and be given a priority, is an important question which may be raised at the forum in Istanbul.
The donor trends to channel funding through only a few major NGOs and through them to medium size NGOs and ultimately to the deserving project are to a large extent due to pressure on donors to reduce transaction costs and their own staff size. Therefore, there must be a better targeting of training programmes to ensure that needs are better met and waste is reduced as the layers of overhead costs add up considerably
The new strategic coordination of Dubai’s International Humanitarian City (IHC)
H.E. Ms. Shaima Al Zarooni, International Humanitarian City (IHC), Dubai, introduced the recently adopted new strategy with the new aspirations of the IHC through new partnerships. She encouraged participants to join the initiative.
It is a roadmap through 2021, which needs expertise and knowledge from participants.
International Humanitarian Leaders will work along four platforms of connecting humanity, innovating, partnering, and leading humanity.
Connect: bridging humanity but not performing humanitarian work. It will be done through regional and global humanitarian events with decision makers in Dubai. The World Humanitarian Forum will start in September 2016 and address only humanitarian topics, for which DIHAD will be an important platform. Several crisis simulation events including humanitarian agencies and local partners have already been held. The aim is to involve a bigger circle and a database of the many voluntary agencies in the UAE responding to emergencies and building their capacity.
Innovate: support to innovation through a global humanitarian think-tank on new technologies to respond to disasters, and an online experience sharing portal, an innovation lab to drive entrepreneurship, and a prize of AED 1 million dedicated to a challenge in emergency response, inviting involvement of the private sector.
Partner: in particular with the private sector and for the humanitarian sector to have access to private funding through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding or in-kind support. It also includes linkages with private sector events, and the first global Humanitarian Impact Fund, which will receive only private funding for emergency response and should be self-sustaining (like a revolving fund).
Lead: The Humanitarian International Advisory Council (H10) on crisis response will meet in a closed retreat in Dubai on critical issues to be discussed to bring about change in humanitarian response, globally and from the UAE in particular. (Download Presentation)
There was a question how to get the private sector involved in the discussions in order for partnerships to go beyond just financing aid, and to hear their needs for the private sector to also be benefiting from the shared success of the strategy implementation
1. World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, May 2016; update on preparatory activities / consultations
Mr. Saeed Hersi, OCHA Gulf Office, Abu Dhabi, stressed the relevance of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in the current challenging humanitarian context with growing needs and dwindling resources, and restricted access to the needy groups of society. Readjustment of the humanitarian system is needed to make it more inclusive, efficient and effective at policy and operational levels. Findings of an ongoing process of a series of regional consultations will be presented in Istanbul in May 2016. The recent MENA consultations in Jordan, which had started a year before, involved a wide range of stakeholders to discuss how to define the future. Participants were unified on hope and concern for the region, and called for solutions tackling the root causes for distress. Hum aid cannot be substituted for political action, called for an end to the Palestinian occupation, and in Iraq not only to address the symptoms but the root causes of the crisis.
Main findings and recommendations:
– protection of civilians;
– increase in protracted crises outstretch the response capacity and requires more innovative ways to find sustainable solutions such as increased burden sharing;*
– involvement of affected communities in humanitarian response to meet their own needs;
– overcoming obstacles to access of affected populations to assistance;*
– emergency preparedness and DRR are important and remain limited;*
– humanitarian coordination and collaboration between local, regional and international organisations, and need to strengthen local capacity;*
– principles of humanitarian action of impartiality deserve to be adhered to;*
– best ways of utilising humanitarian funding must be found;*
– role of youth.
2. How the Development of a common Conceptual Framework may improve Humanitarian Action;
Dr. Edith Favoreu, Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH), Geneva, focused her presentation on the question how the development of a common conceptual framework could improve humanitarian action, stressing that human interaction is central to all humanitarian action. Breaking down the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence is important to avoid any misinterpretations. There is a lack of an agreed conceptual framework on the definition of and approach to humanitarian action, no cultural, historical, scientific, operational, comparative perspective. This gap can be solved by research leading to the production of an Encyclopaedia of Humanitarian Action, which goes back to the original meaning of each concept and how it is being used at operational level in different contexts. This will involve case studies to analyse different applications of the same concept, a process at least as important as the ultimate product, which can be presented at the WHS. (Download Presentation)
3. “Uncommon Bonds, Untold Stories: co-creation in the Development Sector”;
Dr. Adel El-Huni, American Refugee Committee (ARC), who is both a humanitarian and a businessman, showed a brief video of the Somali Diaspora in Minneapolis in the “I am a star” global campaign. This was made by ARC at a time when there was a harsh perception of Somalia and aimed at changing this perception as well as raising funds. The act of giving and of receiving humanitarian relief is a deeply personal experience, requiring a human centred design. A different solution to the NGO funding scarcity was found in hybrid business approaches, the most powerful of which is co-creation with a shared purpose, to be expanded to about 100 initiatives for women empowerment per year (ASILI). The parting thought is the need to tap into their capacity to aspire. (*)
4. Gaza, an update;
Mr. Robert Turner, UNRWA Gaza, provided an update on the ongoing and protracted tragedy in Gaza. UNRWA is the only UN agency with direct implementation and is performing the governmental roles, with a budget of US$ 600 million for Gaza per year, for a population of 5,000 people per km2 on 365 km2, without terrain to expand, and a population growth standing at 3.5 percent. Development in Gaza is not sustainable, but it is de-development with a 65% unemployment rate of youth, and 88% of educated women. The population’s inability to leave the Gaza strip has created a sense of hopelessness and inability to create a normal life. UNRWA now provides food assistance to 868,000 people and with WFP to over 1.2 million. The unwillingness to address the political problem will not lead to any solution in sight. The aquifer is drying up and by 2020 will be irreversibly damaged if no immediate action is taken to reverse this threat. Forced displacement during the 50-day conflict has affected more than 150,000 people. Some schools have triple shifts, relief items are being provided but it is no longer manageable to address the key needs. With more than 5,000 staff working throughout the war, some of the UNRWA operations managed to continue. By overlaying all challenges from blockade, damage from war to over 10,000 houses, entire neighbourhoods and over 500 businesses. Of the USD 5.4 billion pledged, little is reaching Gaza, now short of USD 554 million to reconstruct houses. Root causes have to be addressed, in particular the blockade, while environmental challenges are increasingly threatening. Optimism can be based on the resilience of the population itself, and the fact that the problem lies in the political decisions that can be changed to allow access to free markets. (*)
5. Ebola, an update;
Mr. Henry Gray, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), regretted not to be the conveyor of better news after a year of failure to respond to the Ebola crisis, with over 50% of patients having died. Haemorrhagic Fever in 1995 was responded to with water and sanitation rehabilitation and not initially patient care. The Ebola outbreak was completely different, far more complex to intervene to avoid further contamination. This involves surveillance of contact tracking, safe transport and case management, but also anthropologists to understand how to best respond to the spread to at least different centres. It took far too long for the world to wake up to the huge threat and problems, and provide the necessary resources. Innovative approaches were being looked for to address the growing number of cases and complexities to over 23,700 people fallen ill and 9,800 deaths. New cases were still being received.
Needed are case management, safe burials and house disinfection, contact tracing, active case finding, health promotion for the situation to be truly under control. Challenges are the mobility of the population, political pressure, funeral practices, lack of understanding by the population and health workers, and lack of experienced staff, besides the initially lack of other actors in the first half year. Response must be flexible to an evolving situation, and the question is whether the world is better prepared for the next outbreak. (*)
6. The UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), an update on preparatory activities / consultations;
Mr. Dominique Mas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France, pointed to the link between climate change and the humanitarian situation such as in Vanuatu and Madagascar. One of the results is the human displacement, as is the sense of insecurity and the increase in humanitarian emergencies. Some future natural disasters may be avoided when the right decisions are taken at COP21 in Paris in December, where a civil society village will be created. A compromise text was proposed in Geneva and will be the subject of further negotiations throughout the period leading up to the Conference. Core element will be the call for generous contributions, which may come from civil society, foundations and the private sector, e.g. for alternative renewable energy to promote resilience and protection. France wants the agreement to be applicable, sustainable and powerful.(Download Presentation)
A paradigm shift is needed in the humanitarian system’s architecture:
– ensuring respect for International Humanitarian Law and access to those in need in an effective manner with effective enforcement;
– assessed contributions for humanitarian assistance such as for UN peacekeeping, and a more advanced system for equitable burden sharing;
– fundamental reform of the humanitarian architecture to be more effective, with larger role by local NGOs and regional organisations;
– improved assistance to people affected by crisis in mental and psychological order;
– better use of technological advances from the private sector.
The WHS and preparations give an opportunity to address these key issues. Positive anger and frustration and a concern to move in the right direction are useful. “We have the choice to be seen as the generation that fixed the world humanitarian system.” (Download Presentation)
In his closing remarks, H.E. Amb. Gerhard Putman-Cramer, Director, DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board (DISAB), summarised the key issues addressed during the Conference as follows:
– on Disaster Reduction and Preparedness as well as on Environmental Protection and Climate Change, a number of opportunities had been mentioned, which deserved proper follow-up;
– on Logistics and the transport and delivery of relief items, some new ideas had been outlined, and it was hoped these would be elaborated and materialize;
– in regard to the forced displacement of persons, the Conference had been reminded of some tragic realities, and it was hoped that future humanitarian assistance operations would be enhanced on that account;
– the post-2015 Sustainability and future access to water and energy discussions had raised a number of options for potential solutions, involving greater interaction between the public and private sectors; there also, it was hoped that the next steps will benefit from the necessary will and the vision from all concerned; in this context, he recalled that the DIHAD events duly assist in promoting dialogue, facilitating contacts and enhancing the necessary networks;
– the Special Session on the role of NGOs had highlighted a variety of issues, both good and bad, relating also to perceived differences between local and international organisations as well as to evolving relationships (among NGOs themselves, with international organisations, with governments and with beneficiaries);
– Special Presentations had provided updates on upcoming events and fora as well as on specific ongoing situations, thereby duly complementing the information disseminated at the event on account of the theme; moreover, these updates had contributed to concerns and conclusions arrived at by a number of speakers, including the Closing Speaker, namely that we are collectively unsuccessful in a number of areas and that it is possibly appropriate that this Conference is closed on a less than totally optimistic note; hearing about the situation in Gaza, for example, had brought home the point that all things related to “Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability” are indeed relative.
The Director DISAB reiterated the thanks expressed on the occasion of the Gala dinner, to all participants and organisers, adding thereto the interpreters.
He recalled that the next DIHAD event, to be held on 21-23 March 2016, will be centred on the concept of “Innovation”; he expressed the hope to see all participants again on that occasion, and formally declared the Conference closed.