Executive Summary

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


HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson of Dubai’s International Humanitarian City, reflected in her opening address on the progress made during the ten year existence of DIHAD. She reiterated that experience has shown that the most effective way of delivering aid is by working together. As every disaster is unique and requires a unique response, it is important to establish operational partnerships at field level, seeking common approaches, and sharing expertise and credit. While the OECD donor budgets grew by just 30 percent between 2006 and 2011 as a result of the financial crisis, the total of aid budgets of other donors – in particular the donors of the Gulf region, Brazil, India and China – has doubled. Stressing the importance of improving transparency and accountability, she called for a more comprehensive global mechanism to track all government, public and private contributions as well as their use. As giving and receiving aid is to be seen as a common transaction, there is no shame in being at the receiving end. In closing her statement, HRH Princess Haya encouraged reflection on what effective aid delivery will look like in ten years from now. Her Opening Address was an excellent starting point for the further proceedings of the Conference.

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.

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Keynote Addresses

In his capacity as the UN Secretary-General’s Humanitarian Envoy, H.E. Dr. Abdallah Matooq Al Matooq highlighted the increase in the number of natural disasters and requirements of humanitarian agencies to respond to conflicts such as Somalia, Sudan or Syria. Coordination between the several disaster response mechanisms and Foreign Offices in the Gulf region provides a platform for partnerships to find up-to-date solutions to specific problems such as malnutrition. He called for good cooperation to serve humanity.

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

SESSION 1 – Partnerships in research related to critical humanitarian and development issues

Dr. Mukesh Kapila, Professor, University of Manchester, opened the session by reverting to the four Ps as identified by the ODI: “product, positioning, paradigm, and process”. In this knowledge-centred world, strength needs to be found in values and smartness rather than in size. While research aims at change and may disrupt existing approaches, creative methods need to be found to do research for the humanitarian enterprise, which is good in adapting the findings of others, but is weak at disseminating good or bad practices. He stressed that accountability needs to be about trust and not about elaborate reporting formats.

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

SESSION 2: Partnerships; who are entering into these and why

The Secretary-General of the International Islamic Relief Organisation (IIRO), Mr. Ehssan Saleh Seraj Taieb, referred to the role of NGOs in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. He summarised partnerships as the integration of parties, governments and civil society, private sector, media and also academia. To date, his organisation has entered into 13 partnerships with regional organisations and commissions.

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

SPECIAL PRESENTATION DIHAD, 10 years, highlights, progress to date and plans

The Executive Chairman of DIHAD, Dr. Abdul Salam Al Madani, called the UAE’s commitment to Dubai as a humanitarian centre, and the achievements of DIHAD to date, memorable. That the DIHAD Conference and Exhibition have become the largest humanitarian and development event in the region is to a large extent thanks to the commitment of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His wife, HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein. In his words, as all share a common target, all are now members without distinction, be they speakers, exhibitors and / or participants. He invited suggestions for future themes, foreseeing for DIHAD to continue for at least another ten or 20 years.

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.

SESSION 3: Partnerships that enhance our collective effectiveness in the field of protection

Mr. Michel Gabaudan, President Refugees International, explained the need for protection instruments as humanitarian response is sectoral, with the UN, NGOs, donors and also governments playing their respective roles, in addition those essential roles played by the affected communities and beneficiaries. Not only successes should be reported, but a critical analysis of failure is needed to promote effective protection and to avoid double standards.

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentations)

SESSION 4: Partnerships and food security; who are the players and what are the big strides being made?

Dr. Ruth Oniang’o, Editor-in-Chief, African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development (AJFAND), Kenya, referred to the problematic food situation of orphan children and women, pointing out that this cannot be considered in isolation. Food provided now is in the form of complementary baskets, better adjusted to the local requirements. Nutritional quality and local eating habits need to be taken into account, while cash for local purchase can also form helpful assistance. Governments, civil society and the private sector need to be involved in the actual provision and distribution of food aid as well as in training on the job to prepare people to work in emergency situations. The resilience of local communities can be boosted by cooperation with the private sector and international NGOs.

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. (Download Presentation)

SPECIAL SESSION: HUMANITARIAN TRENDS: what has changed and what lies ahead

Mr. Tony German, Executive Director, Development Initiatives, placed the discussion in the wider context of humanitarian and development aid, involving the shift in the donor landscape from the primary role of DAC to non-DAC donors, and a change in focus from the MDGs to the High Level Panel and the post 2015 settlement. Although the number of people below the poverty line has gone down, the number of people in extreme poverty continues to grow. Humanitarian aid is only a small share of the overall financial pie, which includes remittances, foreign debt investment, and public and private debt flows. Against this background, the role of the private sector increases and contributions from the Gulf States – mostly from governments – make up the majority of non-DAC humanitarian aid flows. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Reports)

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.  (Download Presentation)


Setting the tone for the presentations and ensuing discussions, H.E. Mr. Atta Almanan Bakhit El-Haj, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), raised several questions to be addressed by the panellists. He raised the issue of complex emergencies by asking what were the reasons for a crisis or disaster becoming a complex emergency. He pointed out that most complex emergencies affect large communities and require a set of measures to reduce their impact and avoid recurrence. Main actors are the host governments, international and regional organisations, and local populations. The crises in Mali and other Sahel countries are overshadowed by the Syria crisis, but they give rise to the question how capacities of local communities can be strengthened to face deteriorating situations. The main actor in response to crises such as Syria is the local population, and their role must to be taken into account also in the aftermath of the crisis. Legal, security and humanitarian dimensions must be duly addressed. The role of the military in complex emergencies, and how humanitarians can work with the military, are important questions. In times of increasing and larger disasters, the question is how to engage donors in the response. Furthermore, the special session’s Chair wondered how preventive strategies can be developed with a spirit of innovation.

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

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.

SESSION 5: Partnerships to further strengthen disaster response operations

H.E. Mr. William Lacy Swing, Director-General, IOM, highlighted key demographic trends with a fast growing population, and migration growing even faster and becoming more complex. One in seven people in the world are moving from areas affected by disaster and conflict, or searching for better employment prospects. In 2010, more people lived in urban than in rural areas, and more than half of migrants were women. Within this group many are vulnerable. As crises no longer remain within national borders because of increased human mobility, responses require that vulnerabilities of migrant are identified and assistance takes such mobility patterns of livelihood into account. The IOM Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF) agreed by all IOM Member States provides a holistic framework based on strong partnerships for a coordinated response. It complements the Transformative agenda (IASC), seeking cooperation of all partners in addressing crises in an effective manner.


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.(Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

SESSION 6: Partnerships and the reaching of development goals in optimal timeframes

Mr. Francois Grunewald, Executive Director, Groupe Urgence / Rehabilitation / Development, France, introduced the subject of development, which is not a regularly flowing process and can be influenced by many outside factors. With a specific focus on the impact of development activities on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), he stressed the risk for “muddy water” or the “Chinese pot”, mixing up all activities without clear distinction and clearly identifiable outcome. Ways to promote partnerships include coaching and innovation, making sure that the partnerships are well field-rooted and at the same time geared to reach the optimal outcome.

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

Special Presentations

Mr. Fathi Buhazza, President and CEO of Care by Air, UAE, highlighted “at cost” pricing for humanitarian air transportation as the main purpose and principle of his agency. Recent estimates show that 80 percent of humanitarian expenditures are spent on logistics, while IATA estimates that 30 percent of available cargo space remains unused. Freighter airlines participating in Care by Air provide humanitarian missions transport without profit, and also store non-urgent supplies until flight space becomes available. Savings are reached by getting oil and war risk insurance at discounted prices, free handling and tarmac use at airports at both ends. It provides an “at cost” sustainable business and CSR model, giving a win-win solution for all parties as well as being more environmentally friendly. Transparency is a key principle for the agency, able to transfer savings into more supplies or more flights. The storage space under development at Abu Dhabi airport, in coordination with the UAE Red Crescent Authority, can develop into a logistics centre as well. The same concept of using empty freighter space for cargo is applicable to transport by sea and road. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

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. (Download Presentation)

Closing Addresses

H.E. Ms Shaima Al Zarooni, International Humanitarian City, Dubai, summarised the discussions of the past three days as most successful and interesting. She pointed out that, despite progress made, much more must be done to broaden partnerships, and to ensure that humanitarian support is more robustly managed by humanitarian actors. She also stressed the important role to be played by the private sector. In her view, partnerships should focus on improving the fate of the most affected populations. Moreover, partnerships must be accountable, sustainable and must deal also with performance management, with a clear division of roles, and readiness to share both success and failures. IHC hosts currently nine humanitarian agencies in its logistics centre. She concluded that with 275 exhibitors and a large number of participants, the Tenth DIHAD is clearly having a major impact.

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. (Download Presentation)

Chairman’s Summary and Conclusion

]H.E. Mr. Gerhard Putman-Cramer, Director, DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board, provided some parting thoughts, reflecting also on the increased contributions and activities of the UAE as a major donor and important partner in the humanitarian assistance – providing international community. DIHAD clearly has facilitated many relationships and contacts for many countries in the region, promoting the creation and strengthening of partnerships, which in turn have enhanced the effective delivery of humanitarian and development aid. DIHAD has concentrated on issues pertinent to the region in a two-way direction, drawing international attention to the region’s issues and the attention of the region to the international instruments and networks open to them. One subject of ongoing consultations is in which direction DIHAD will go in the future, it being clear that the personal contacts for which DIHAD provides a platform cannot – and should not – be neglected. He thanked all present and hoped to see many of the participants on the same dates in 2014.