5 – 7 March 2018
THE SUSTAINABILITY OF EMERGENCY AID; THE INTENSIFYING SEARCH FOR THE APPROPRIATE STRATEGIES, METHODOLOGIES AND RESOURCES TO MEET THE GLOBAL HUMANITARIAN CHALLENGES IN THE YEARS AHEAD.
Summary of Presentations
OPENINGThe Master of Ceremony, Mr. Mohammad Al-Khatib, opened the meeting by welcoming all to the 15th session of DIHAD. He referred to the spirit of H.H. Zayed to support brothers and sisters with humanity, good, giving and service, support to the elderly and weak. He was the founder of humanitarian work, an important role in the UAE to serve humanity. H.H. Zayed saw all as a human being, regardless of religion, and the right of all people to be cared for by giving and providing moderation with a major role in society and development of the country to which all have to contribute. The UAE Constitution stresses education is a right for all and a daily meal for children to encourage education.
The UN Messenger of Peace and Chairperson, International Humanitarian City, H.R.H. Princess Haya bint Al Hussein, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, welcomed all to the conference and exhibition. She gave a special welcome to H.E. Mr. Pierre Krähenbuhl, Commissioner-General of UNRWA, and reiterated that the Organisation is in need of special support in these hard times. Principled and effective development requires to turn vision into reality and to address the most difficult questions. Sustainability of development aid is a topic taking us out of our comfort zone and needs us to address issues for which not yet any solutions have been found. She reminded that the UAE celebrates The Year of Zayed, the UAE founding father, with a thirst for knowledge with his lessons of the desert, and expressed the wish that his vision would be of use for all present. Specific trends were set to continue – with crises more protracted than ever, the war in Afghanistan lasting longer than the two World Wars and the Korean war combined. At least 16 countries are struggling with economies destroyed by political violence, all threatening the development progress with diversion of support to conflict areas. The number of hungry people has grown by 38 million in 2016, one in nine people do not have enough to eat, and in particular of great concern is that 155 million children are stunted and 52 million wasted.
The face of humanitarian aid is changing with new emerging donors such as China and Brazil, more private foundations with expanding roles, while militaries are also playing greater and invaluable roles in the safe delivery of humanitarian supplies, needed to respond to larger emergencies, such as after the Tsunami in 2004, and the Haiti earthquake. Another trend is that overall donations for humanitarian and development aid are up and better, but that donor behaviour is uneven, with the UAE and Nordic countries remaining above the agreed UN target.
In this time of xenophobia of those resisting the influx of migrants in need of humanitarian aid, integrity must be promoted as people’s lives are in our hands and of those in the field who are dedicating and risking their lives to make the world a better place. They are the unsung heroes.
Sustainability of emergency aid depends on an agreement what we do mean by emergency and finding a more sustainable and holistic approach. As most crises are resulting from problems developing over time and are not sudden onset emergencies, we need better forecasting, because the humanitarian sector cannot continue to firefight as it has done for many years. There is a need for better roadmaps and to deliver solutions before the panic button is pushed.
A new Marshall plan for the modern age is needed and aid must be multi-faceted, dependent on the importance of rehabilitating education and healthcare alongside infrastructures, with law enforcement and pursuit of government stability. The limited physical resources available must be applied in the most effective way to ensure sustainability. Nevertheless, there is hope about the will for stability, and the current leadership of the UN by the Secretary-General, UNHCR, WFP and OCHA Heads ensures that aid is in their good hands.
The desert environment seems a good metaphor for the humanitarian landscape as desert sand may appear barren, but desert life adapts accordingly with seeds of spring flowers beneath the sand. Inspiration in adaptations of desert life and hope for desert winds will bring new beginnings in these days with the world facing the greatest humanitarian challenges of our time. (see attachment)
H.E. Dr. Hamdan Musallam Al Mazrouie, speaking on behalf of HH. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President, United Arab Emirates Red Crescent Authority, mentioned that the DIHAD Conference and Exhibition took place at a very critical time. The strong pillars of UAE and Dubai’s humanitarian generosity in solidarity at all levels of the leadership and its people are giving it a pioneering position in the delivery of humanitarian aid. We need to assume full responsibility to move ahead and continue supporting humanitarian aid, in which DIHAD helps to shed light on providing humanitarian aid, in granulated aid and risks to which people are subjected. Now talking about nations in need to rescue lives and save childhood as compensating loss of children’s youth, women’s husbands we cannot abandon. Education and money have been given to us to help. Each person who has helped orphans and injured, and those risking their lives to save other lives, all deserve tribute. All volunteers are thanked, as giving has exceeded all expectations, but we need to keep hope when joining forces to face the hard reality as individual endeavours are not sufficient and sustainable giving needs good planning. The “Zayed global initiative for renewable energy” is an UAE initiative with focus on clean energy use and at low cost as an alternative solution for areas affected by disasters and conflicts to help them to become productive.
H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Bumelha, Humanitarian Advisor of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman, DIHAD Higher Committee and President, DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board (DISAB), referred to the many challenges faced in bringing relief to the many affected by crises and conflicts. The theme for this year’s DIHAD in this Year of Zayed opens the road to give assistance in a more responsible way. UAE leaders have built a nation as a model for education and with values for the sake of humanity, following the path given by the leadership in giving rapid response to disasters and crisis to those in distress. He thanked donors for their aid to projects and mentioned that Dubai is now one of the main aid providers in the world. He wished success for the Conference and thanked INDEX for its lead role in the organising of the annual conference and exhibition.
H.E. Mr. Pierre Krähenbuhl, Commissioner-General, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), expressed appreciation for the profile DIHAD has developed and the role of the UAE in its dynamic support, in particular to UNRWA which has significantly grown.
Appeals are issued to confront sheer horror of what war, occupation and injustice are about, i.e. bringing about terror, distress and despair with suffering and killings of innocent civilians, including children. Indifference to the cost of war is not an option. Humanitarian action takes place in an ugly and dangerous battlefield, where courage, determination and integrity are the critical needs.
There is a need to avoid just repeating the word “victims” and instead put the affected persons at the centre of all actions. But the problem is that the crisis is approached from the angle of the specialty of the organisation or donor, without sufficient focus on responding to the mental health and education needs. Education goes beyond the limits of a crisis and allows to look at new horizons. Refugees must be recognised for their motivation. There is a need for a robust defence of international legal frameworks inherited from WWII and now in danger of being neglected.
The lives in the Middle East are under great threat, with refugees united in grief, horror and perseverance, and denial of rights. Moderation and politics alone are not sufficient to lead to peace. Reassurance that its future matters and its rights are protected and recognised is needed. The 525,000 Palestinian students show determination and courage, e.g. the first ever refugee student parliament, with a great compassion for education. UNRWA has worked for the Palestinian people since 1950 and continues to provide hope and support. Aid to the refugees and support for the UNRWA mandate are now more essential than ever, in particular in view of the unprecedented and most severe financial crisis ever faced due to the USD 300 million cut in the US contribution. To overcome this crisis, it is imperative to work with all states, e.g. by the Ministerial Conference in Rome on 15 march and the global campaign “Dignity is priceless”, which will continue through the whole month of Ramadan. Three million patients will no longer have access to healthcare, and schools are threatened with closure by May, unless a financial solution is found before then. “We cannot have to tell them that we have failed them”. (see attachment)
High Level Panel – “Doing even better with the right resources at hand”
H.E. Amb. Hesham Youssef, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – Moderator – called it evident that the global humanitarian situation is probably at its worst since WWII. Therefore, there is a need to consider ways how the humanitarian effort can be made more sustainable.
H.E. Ms. Laura Thompson, Deputy Director-General, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), expressed the importance her organisation attaches to the DIHAD event.
Current resources and structure are no longer able to address the scale of the current crises as the gaps between needs and available resources grow, with only 64% of needs covered in 2016 and 51% in 2017. In 2018, 101.5 million people are in need of assistance, to which protracted crises contribute as many have gone on for more than five years. This leads to the need for prevention and protection.
Despite increasing generosity, the needs are by far insufficiently covered. There is an urgent need for effective logistics, good supply chain management, good cooperation with other sectors, reduction of waste, and more contributors to the Grand Bargain, which includes commitments that better coordinated efforts can lead to the right direction.
The Grand Bargain alone will be insufficient to bridge the financial gap, a New Way of Working (NWOW) is called for, with an innovative approach to financing, partnerships and development of more efficient operational practices. Greater attention must be paid to more participatory financing, new resources through partnerships with financial institutions and the private sector through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by sharing their knowledge, assistance and their resources, for which DIHAD provides a great platform. Closer cooperation between the humanitarian and development sectors, more risk informed development, financing and prevention are needed. Migration is lifesaving and a coping mechanism in times of crisis, but also a key driver of development.
IOM’s organisational reforms include promotion of transparency, accountability to affected populations and cash-based operationalisation. We must work together better and smarter. (see attachment)
H.E. Ms. Ursula Mueller, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, OCHA, focused on building strong partnerships for innovative programming and financing to reduce humanitarian dependency.
The Global Humanitarian Overview 2018 in countries with a Humanitarian Response Plan covers 136 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, and requires USD 22.5 billion. Although donors give generously, the gap between needs and resources grows, largely due to protracted crises and large conflicts. There are challenges and exciting opportunities, such as innovative financing and partnerships, giving a chance to scale up humanitarian financing. The Agenda for Humanity adopted at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in 2016 sets a roadmap to reduce suffering of millions of people in times of crisis. The WHS commitments are starting to be put into action, but the causes of the blockades must be analysed:
– New financing to be more creative and efficient in the use of limited resources, and making response more tailored to specific needs, with less earmarking, more longterm, more cash responses; OCHA FTS links updated to better report and track funding flows; CERF and country-based emergency response funds amount to USD 23 billion, of which 23% goes directly to NGOs.
– New, deepened and tailored partnerships with the private sector. Humanitarian connectivity between crisis-affected populations, and also connecting business networks between actors and communication networks.
– The NWOW aims not only at meeting but also reducing needs, vulnerability and risks, with better collective outcomes to anticipate and manage crises, and addressing resilience. Institutional silos must be reduced.
– Leaving no one left behind focuses on the forgotten and marginalised. To protect and promote rights of all and promote leadership of women and gender equality, more resources must be directed at these aims.
Respect for International Humanitarian Law is needed to find solutions to bring an end to crises. Together we can lift people out of crises, but only by doubling our efforts and building strong partnerships. (see attachment)
H.E. Mr. Mohamed Beavogui, ASG, Director-General, African Risk Capacity (ARC), Johannesburg, addressed the cost-effective response to climatic disasters, in particular in Africa. The organisation was established four years ago as USD 200 billion was lost in the last decade by disasters due to climate change. Vulnerability due to climate change occurs most in Sub-Sahara Africa, particular in the middle part of the continent where food security is at stake, with an impact on energy generation, disease and malnutrition increase, dwindling water resources, and rising sea levels. These bring about poverty and conflict, to which emergency response takes place in phases of assessment, appeal, and funding which takes usually seven months. Because families can resist no longer than five months after harvests, they decide to migrate to cities or to the southern side of the Mediterranean Sea. The need to bridge this gap in response led to the creation of African Risk Capacity (ARC) to manage, plan and finance disaster risk on time. Early intervention can be at limited costs, but after nine months the cost of responding will be up by 25 times. The ARC has been signed by 36 African states, based on three aspects: defining country risk profile, evaluation of the risk and proper response; early warning and preparing a proper contingency plan based on 30 years of data from satellites. Elements of the pre-contingency plan with insurance run independently as a private entity and only for the countries member of the ARC. The insurance can be considered an example of solidarity in support of drought prevention and reduced conflict and migration. It is similar to Islamic insurance – Takaful – with mutual ownership, innovation and compliance with Sharia. (see attachment)
Chair addressed a question to each panelist in view of limited time: the link humanitarian and development systems requires a platform for dialogue – how? Progress in a vision for the future of the system, while SDGs and Sendai do not give a vision on the humanitarian front. How to promote preparedness and early intervention in relation to increasing needs?
Slogans are used, but not sufficient capacity is devoted to implement these promises.
In response, Ms Thompson focused on the link humanitarian – development systems which clearly suffers from a lack of communication. Both agencies and donor states must promote such cooperation and better connect humanitarian and development. Although a vision exists on the humanitarian side such as Grand Bargain, this series of commitments must be brought together. Preparedness is key with involvement of national authorities and local capacity.
Ms. Muller stressed that the link requires a new way of thinking and acting, risk taking versus risk averse actors to reduce humanitarian needs. Early action saves lives and is cost-effective, but prevention is in economic terms the smartest. A resource multiplier is reached by focusing on women’s empowerment. Reform of the humanitarian system is essential and possible.
Mr. Beavogui stressed that humanitarian efforts should be planned in advance of a possible crisis erupting, for which implementation of the SDGs is an essential tool. Early warning is necessary and prevention is of key importance to save resources. The design phase of response is the moment to ensure no one is left behind by making response more inclusive, in particular to ensure women are involved and can provide a contribution.
SESSION 1 – Humanitarian Assistance needs in protracted emergencies; how/when do we meet these best?
H.E. Mr. Panos Moumtzis, Assistant Secretary-General, Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Syria Crisis – Chair – referred to previous commitments to leave no one behind as the majority of crises now are protracted. Now the average length of appeals covers more than seven years, of which six cover more than 13 years. Protection, access, and greater joint action are essential. Syria is in particular a protection crisis with besieged areas and daily bombings. Besiegement should not be a weapon of war, while counter terrorist efforts cannot supersede the obligation to protect affected populations. Access must be facilitated and is a legal requirement and obligation to ensure all in need of aid can be reached. WHS and multi-year response planning are now elaborated for nine crises, and for the first time for short and longer term crises.
Four non-negotiables of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee are: Clear priority for protection from leadership; gender-based violence as cross-cutting challenge; zero tolerance for sexual exploitation; and accountability to the affected population on a collective basis.
Dr. Richard Brennan, Director, Emergency Operations, World Health Organisation, Geneva, focused on the assistance dimension of humanitarian action with examples of implementation of NWOW and several other initiatives to bridge the humanitarian – development divide. Never has the world been faced with such large-scale humanitarian needs and risks, with 137 million people in need, over 66 million of whom are forcibly displaced, about 2/3 of whom due to conflicts. As traditional approaches do not effectively address the needs nor the sustainability of aid, new mechanisms have been put in place as the Sendai Framework, and NWOW which is an approach where humanitarian and development actors work together to reduce vulnerability and risks and lay a foundation for sustainable development by identifying multi-year collective humanitarian outcomes. Joint planning and analysis help to define risks, vulnerability and resilience, but must adapt to each context. The team in the Sudan has developed a common results framework, with similar processes in Chad and Somalia, all as first steps to bridge the humanitarian – development gap. From the donor side – in particular the EU, UK and USA – more support is given for multi-year plans, and now also the World Bank with UNICEF and the WHO by the “dares initiatives”, now implemented in Yemen with IDA funding to address needs and build resilience of the health system at all levels to expand the model to other countries in the near future. Joint planning and collaboration may have to be at micro or sub-national levels, as in Liberia after emerging from the crisis when the health system was almost fully dependent on humanitarian funding, and several donors supported a transition plan to bridge the time to development funding to arrive with effective response leading to improved health indicators in cooperation between and with local actors.
Dr. Sheba Crocker, Vice-President, Humanitarian Programmes and Policy, CARE USA, had just visited Jordan and CARE’s response to the refugee crisis and the protracted needs. The agency puts focus on gender in emergencies and to understand the needs at different levels, as it is important to address the impact of disasters and crises on women and children and those with specific needs who make up the largest share of people affected. It is also important to ask the right question to analyse the special effect of crises on women and girls. Innovative tools help tailor assistance and improve adaptation to better understand power imbalances. The link to development programmes is necessary, even when delivering short term response as it has worked for longer time in protracted emergencies. With regard to durable solutions for refugees, we need to look at the longer-term impact and think how to look through a gender lens and shift in gender norms also for education and access to food for hard to reach families. Their voices are heard for the first time in protracted crises when women can be employed. CARE uses the Gender Marker to evaluate its emergency aid delivery and develops for each crisis a Rapid Gender Analysis tool to look at power imbalances and injustices. The humanitarian community cannot completely respond to the needs – in particular to education and protection needs – when crises last longer, while sexual-based violence, exploitation and abuse are not sufficiently addressed. CARE has numerous reporting and complaints mechanisms, initiatives to increase transparency and to identify necessary actions to address the issue in a more meaningful way. Addressing gender in emergencies is not a luxury, it must be a primary focus in all phases of a crisis. We need to do more to be accountable to go beyond guidelines and tools to see the transformative output needed. (see attachment)
Dr. Hugo Slim, Head of Policy and Humanitarian Diplomacy, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Geneva, mentioned that in a review of a decade of its work the ICRC realised it had been active in many conflicts for over 30 years. Humanitarian action is not a quick in and out response as today sustaining humanitarian action is a reality as numerous people need to be accompanied in generations of repeated displacement, deep personal loss of family, family separation and deprivation of health and education, and deep and rapid poverty slide. “Humanitarian accompanied” is a combined approach with both short and long term time horizons at the same time, with individual and system-wide response coinciding. International Humanitarian Law (IHL) is concerned with survival, continuing the means of survival and a life with dignity. Challenges include protection, urban revolution like never before, and people’s resilience. In the Middle East in particular it is all about sustaining self-esteem and dignity. A challenge is the repetition of violation of IHL, not as a continuous process, while having a cumulative impact of deep deterioration. Therefore, it is important to sustain the momentum of respect for IHL and influence the behaviour of warring parties, resulting in forced displacement, gender based violence, and the need to block aid by restricting laws. Wars are more and more fought in coalitions with other states or armed groups with use of military force, while all involved have an obligation to respect IHL. The urban revolution is born largely out of the Middle East over decades post WWII with massive new challenges for the ways of thinking in operational responses. Personal resilience in the Middle East’s most difficult situations is mostly about personal infrastructure and strength to adapt and move forward with hope and social cohesion. Women empowerment is clearly the most important challenge in keeping the sense of life alive. (see attachment)
Comments from the floor: how to protect resilience of and respect for International Humanitarian Law in crises as in Syria where the international system is pushed to the control over resources? In terms of protection, how can the international system be reformed? Affected communities are main resources in response and must be built in the response structure.
SESSION 2 – Emergency Aid; the needed resources (availability, predictability, prioritisation)
Mr. Jean-Louis de Brouwer, Director, Europe and the Middle East, Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Operations (ECHO) – Chair – reiterated that without financial means none of the efforts can be realised. He questioned whether emergency aid is similar to humanitarian aid; what kind of resources are needed – financing, human, or other; or is emergency aid a rather convoluted title? Problem formulation and solution design are important, in particular in conflict situations.
Dr. Randolph Kent, Director, The Futures Project, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, London, focused on transformative technologies, a subject which has been his fascination since his work in Rwanda in 1994 when the international community finally got the technical system going without really taking into consideration the need for psychological and socio-psychological support for those who had just gone inexplicable horrors. He wondered whether this is now being taken into account. Humanitarian response is now completely consumed by the concept of complexity and the planning for unpredictable situations. There is a need to cut through the conditions leading to complexity and what prioritisation they are given. Resources are capacities to respond to crises, e.g. outer space capacity to monitor refugee movements and to anticipate them. Natural hazards like volcano eruptions can now increasingly be predicted, or telemedicine that is supposed to be able to foresee and predict epidemics. But the question is whether these available resources are being put to use and prioritised.
Insurance companies in the UK are now beginning to look for insurance against the issue of conflict; 3d printing is now increasingly available in local communities in Africa; involvement of the corporate sector with mutual self-interest in terms of value-added and comparative advantage. It is a resource probably under-used.
There is reluctance to go beyond one’s comfort zones, leading to the question whether donors are willing to take any risks on transformative technologies. Large organisations have sections on innovation but there is not necessarily any cross-over into other activities.
The whole issue of emergency aid and needed resources is that they are available but are not adapted in a way they would bring a transformative impact on the humanitarian sector. (See Attachment)
Mr. Dominic Parker, Head of Office, OCHA, Kabul, raised critical questions on rather technical issues. Donor contributions do not reach the USD 22.4 billion asked for. Since 2001, over USD 770 billion in international aid flows have gone into Afghanistan, which is now asking USD 0.5 billion for 2018. Collective outputs between humanitarian, development and financial institutions are necessary. Labelling all as humanitarian assistance is unhelpful and large appeals are neither. Rights based response is not the same as what humanitarian assistance is supposed to be, and this misunderstanding leads to some unending dream and utopia.
The 2018 HRP for Afghanistan is strongly prioritised and focused and among the best funded in the world, usually about 80%. It is also more principled towards OCHA partners (as NGOs) along principles and priorities in the allocation of tasks and funding, setting boundaries of humanitarian actions to include only those tasks that nobody else will do. Focus is put on critical issues to be addressed in the country and weighing priorities, in particular women and children’s fate with time priority as a critical factor. The HRP was turned from a narrative to a set of statistics on severity of humanitarian needs which allowed for prioritisation of response, not on the basis of presence of aid agencies outlined in a need – presence gap map. This led to a reduced request for funding compared to previous years when financing was overwhelming the absorption capacity. It may be worthwhile to favour assessed over voluntary contributions to respond to the crisis and to reconsider whether the necessary response should really depend on the voluntary will. (see attachment)
Chair – focus should go beyond financial to also human and technical resources, i.e. the right person in the right place, right training, a fit between mission and experience, as level 3 did not result in adaptation of staff on the ground. Therefore, human resource managers should ask whether we have the right people in place.
While the Exhibition is impressive, the question remains whether it is the technology needed. The humanitarian innovative award was labelled as a frugal innovation prize, i.e. locally produced, affordable, solid and durable, and simple for use. Besides high technological developments these frugal innovation developments are needed.
Concepts of availability (enough financial resources needed to response to the HRP combining streams of financial resources from the private sector and diaspora) and rapidly disbursable to partners on the ground in accordance with their needs are relevant. The nexus humanitarian and development requires rapidly reliable needs assessment, and predictability with multi-annual financing and programming. Many donors cannot fund beyond one year at a time, but programmes can and often should be cautioned for as it may lose flexibility which is another asset of humanitarian financing. Freezing of funding by donors of a large share to pre-set crises means loss of flexibility in responding to new or forgotten crises. Humanitarian and emergency aid are not necessarily the same as the source of funding and the destination are not the determining factors, e.g. development funding for emergency aid with an obvious humanitarian impact.
Prioritisation is of the essence and properly prioritised humanitarian appeals are imperative, and to a large extent depends on the involvement of partners, and has to respect principles of neutrality and impartiality. Independent needs assessments must be done by an independent person or body. Lack of funding should not lead to a cut in ratio but rather in targeting the most vulnerable, even if it entails a hard choice.
COMMENTS FROM THE FLOOR: more and more sophisticated techniques for targeting should not be used for measuring human suffering. It is not in the spirit of humanitarianism and it is not what is meant by innovation or forward looking. The act of giving is not an exact science and mixing technology into it is undermining its value.
Is the model of indicators for the Afghanistan HRP used to determine whether what is needed is humanitarian or development replicable to other situations? Can an exit strategy be put in place while protracted crises cannot be subject to an exit strategy? How to ensure to have the right skilled people in place at the right time and in particular in longer crises? How to communicate the knowledge of predictable factors to those who have to take decisions?
SESSION 3 – Emergency Aid; innovative methodologies and enhanced resilience Mr. Claus Sorensen, Senior Advisor to the Government of Denmark on Resilience, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response (EPSC) – Chair – introduced the panellists and their experience in the field of enhancing resilience. He stressed that the SDGs are addressed to all and to the WHS to ensure that all of the caseload at the bottom of humanity can have a future. The transmission mechanism of negative energy must be reversed, while the concept of vulnerability and risk is what connects our work and the need for common understanding of vulnerabilities and the weak spots in each of the affected countries. There is a need for cooperation between humanitarian, development and those active in the field of security in a given regional context to be able to carry out our different operations. Averages of a given country blur the reality as they do not reflect the pockets of complete destitution and instability, not the least in urban settings.
Focus of the discussion intended to see how different sectors fit in the overall picture and what can be the collective outcomes by committing together to ensure the commitments are actually realised, which has to be supported by financing streams. It is necessary to refine methodologies and ensure they can be implemented.
Ms. Annina Mattsson, Acting Director of Programmes, “Dubai Cares”, Dubai, introduced the agency established as a private foundation in 2008 with focus on MDG-2, increased primary education by 2015, working in 54 countries with local partners as a donor organisation. To include education in emergencies by itself is already an innovation, although only limited funding is granted to it to reach the necessary levels. Education is key to resilience and establishes a sense of normalcy for children in emergency situations and helps to create a future for them. Multi-annual and predictable funding is needed for education to have any effect, which has led to “Education cannot wait”. It is a representation of an innovative way for immediate response in unexpected emergencies and ensures education is not interrupted in displacement. It needs to be a pathway for longer term thinking and is a new way of working. Resilience needs to be opening up in the planning process and a new way of working. Education for emergencies and development depth. SDGs cannot be reached without effective support to education.
Funding needs to be predictable and long-term, flexible and unrestricted to be able to build resilience and absorb a huge population influx in times of crisis, and to equip education services to withstand those shocks and vulnerabilities of systems. The funding for education in an emergency context should not come from the regular education budget to not disrupt the “normal” flow. (see attachment)
Mr. Shukri Ahmed, Deputy Strategic Programme Leader, Resilience, FAO, Rome, set out
how FAO addresses the nexus to enforce that humanitarian programmes feed in to the development sector without building silos. A consensual framework is needed with understanding of final goals in collaboration. FAO has adjusted its structure to move from supply- to demand driven, in particular for food security based on demand and rethinking specific activities for “saving livelihoods saves lives”. Crystallising needs of the farmer forms the basis for the new approach and adjustment of technical know-how rather than the different technical streams from an agriculture and food point of view: sustainable production as the first strategic programme; second farm to folk.
Three crosscutting strategic programmes are cutting hunger and food security; rural poverty reduction; resilience of rural livelihoods to shocks – all interconnected, meaning that populations are able to withstand and recover from any shock that happens. FAO this way bridges humanitarian, development and technical units into five strategic programmes, with adjustment of its structure based on demand. Linked to global agreements as Sendai, SDGs, and the Grand Bargain, help by setting specific targets translated into regional processes with results based management for the units involved: Natural hazards, including climate risk; food chain crisis, including animal disease risk; protracted crises in which conflict has become a main factor impacting food security – the main target to assist countries to respond in a more coherent manner. To address these risks, four pillars are needed: governance of risk; risk information (on acute risk and chronic); risk prevention and reduction; and preparedness and response. FAO is working in partnership with other agencies on a global report on the food security situation – to be issued end March – to show the impact of loss of livelihoods and how early investment can lead to savings. Early warning and needs assessment are valuable for the early movement of cattle with prepositioning of necessary vaccins to support pastoralists and avoid loss of livestock and price-increase. The private sector is one of the world’s key players, in particular the pastoralists. (see attachment)
Mr. Jesper Lund, Chief, Emergency Services Branch, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Geneva, recalled the staggering numbers of people in need and the funding requested. It must be understood that all affected are in fact connected through social media, which the responders also need to be. We tend to classify beneficiaries according to our mandates rather than to their needs and situations. We need to coordinate, e.g. on standards of procurement of aid packages, rather than compete for space. USD 165 a year or 45 cents a day per beneficiary has been appealed for with USD 22.5 billion in 2018. It is about using available funding more effectively for which cash contributions are a good way to give with dignity and facilitate market economies. Even better are insurance schemes based on the degree of vulnerability, or cash before crises erupt. If the price of preparedness is 1 to 7 then it may be a good output.
As people are increasingly living in cities, the response must be adjusted as well. Livelihood is largely dependent on the enterprise which needs electricity. The private sector has to be involved in aid delivery as they have far better means and technical knowledge. Under the cover of creating some sense of direction, the humanitarian sector develops new mechanisms with acronyms which closes the door to the private sector. Command and control is not applicable in a crisis environment and needs to be replaced by partnership and collaboration to create space with a common language to bring all affected back to a life of normalcy. (see attachment)
Chair agreed with the need for a common language and collaborative space rather than rigid systems.
Key message: need to reaffirm the core humanitarian principles as the basis for our work.
Comments from the floor: how to get around the issues creating a barrier to effective working? What is the message of hope for an innocent beneficiary in a refugee camp? How to bring together different streams of aid providers? In which stage and from where are inputs from the corporate sector to be gathered? We need to break down silos between agencies and between providers and beneficiaries, but what methodologies are being used for this? What can be the possible role of the private sector in aid delivery within a cluster system?
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – “The humanitarian, development and peacekeeping nexus”
H.E. Mourad Wahba, Assistant Administrator and Director, Regional Bureau for Arab States, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York, considered finding durable solutions to move towards Agenda 2030 and provide conditions for sustainable peace an urgent task with needs growing rapidly. The new report “Pathways for peace” mentions important paths for future reflection as now more countries are experiencing violent conflicts than ever before, with at least 1.6 billion people living in situations of fragility out of manmade disasters and climate change. By 2030 more than half of the world’s poor could be living in situations of violence. This age of conflict means that our advance in political and economic stability of the turn of the century has been strongly challenged by growing uncertainty. We need to find ways to more sustainably invest in the future and in prevention. Destruction can be fast, but rebuilding takes a long time, and generations are impacted for the rest of their lives. The loss of economic outputs amounts to 8.5% in the first year and 4.5% in the following years of hostility.
Prevention is cheaper than cure, and the humanitarian community cannot continue to provide livelihoods and shelter for those affected by crisis. In the Arab region needs are growing the fastest, which calls for investment in prevention. With 5% of the world’s population, the region in 2014 had 45% of the world’s terrorist incidents, 47% of the world’s IDPs, and 58% of the world’s refugees. This dramatic situation is erasing decades of development and leading to humanitarian needs, interruption of education and health services. Despite some positive developments in Iraq, it has 8.7 million people in need of assistance with many outside the country, while also hosting refugees from Syria, creating enormous stress on hosting communities and a powerful reversal of development. This illustrates the need for the nexus humanitarian, development and peace. The UN resilience programme for Iraq aims at an immediate and tangible improvement to daily life and inclusive social development, as part of improved approaches of the UN across the system to bridge the nexus and build resilience. Syria’s neighbouring countries receive support for their hosting of refugees, and the NWOW is the only way to support those who suffer disproportionately.
Development institutions need to prepare for increased involvement of the private sector.
Three avenues are to be considered: instruments – joint analysis with development and humanitarian actors due to different agency and budget structures; funding perspectives – disparity between humanitarian and development funding needs to take into account longer term funding; joint action – insufficiently in place for effective and sustainable response and recovery.
The UN will be there to support, and in an effective way, every step of the way with involvement of all to strive for all humanity. (see attachment)
Comments from the floor: how to fuse the actors involved in humanitarian and development and of the government? How can the private sector be involved in innovation in moving from crisis to recovery?
SESSION 4 – Emergency Aid; development and conflict prevention
Mr. Janmejay Singh, Lead Social Development Specialist for South-Asia, World Bank – Chair, referred to the nexus linking all three streams together where the global concessional financing instrument is to take the coming together a step further. He invited opening statements from all three speakers.
Ms. Saba Al Mubaslat, Chief Executive Officer, Humanitarian Leadership Academy, London, expressed frustration with the repeated discussions on the same issues with the same participation without the affected population being present, and talking about problems but without giving solutions while living away from the current way of information. Trust has been broken in the right way to move forward. The majority of the affected population is young and goal driven, knowing their rights. Collaboration takes place at the local level but decreases when going up the ladder of the organisations. The private sector is not sufficiently asked to be involved in humanitarian response and to provide their tools and skills, such as their expertise in logistics and technologies. Investments in skills building of SMEs are needed for them not to collapse and to help stabilise affected communities and provide interventions while maintaining dignity. It is possible to do better by encouraging independence and creation of employment and support to markets. There is a need to be transparent and learn from existing lessons learned to avoid a continuing cycle of creating dependence. The financial loss of ISD 1.3 trillion requires the involvement of the private sector to reduce this loss and gain their strength. Beneficiaries will become the producers.
Dr. Edith Favoreu, Deputy Director, Geneva Centre for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action (CERAH), felt that the paradigm shifts will be decided by the practitioners themselves. The new concept of the humanitarian, development and peace nexus is built on existing concepts such as LRD (linking relief and development) and links to protection and prevention.
Collective amnesia as a bilateral learning process where lessons learned also have to be learned. A shift from a top down to a top up approach is necessary. Crises have a past but also a future, which leads to the need for the nexus. The three sectors need a common framework, such as complementarity between sectors which must be built on trust.
The private sector is only used when the humanitarian sector needs them rather than making them as a part of the humanitarian response structure from the onset, without compromising humanitarian principles.
Ms. Christina Bennett, Head, Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute (ODI), London, was asked to give her perspective on the current paradigm and referred the need for change. Long lasting conflicts and displacement often go on for decades, while often not recognised as a protracted crisis. She mentioned the limited perception of aid given by the beneficiaries as there is insufficient use of new tools and approaches without adapting them to the needs. Comparative and consolidated ways of working give little chance for coordination and rather lead to competition. We work on the basis of exceptionalism by using humanitarian semantics.
Ways to overcome this gap include to work as much as possible as developmental and as little as possible as humanitarian by building networks as this is already the way of working and of communicating, and as it is already done in several crisis situations.
Culture and mind-set seem to be the most difficult to change. There is a need to model behaviour, changing the instruments and environment to allow institutions to rearrange to survive. The is a need to count on others, including the private sector, by building networks to help aid delivery.
The connecting building network has come out of the WHS, but there is also a need for local level networks, such as the clean stoves initiative in Somalia, or the sky gigs in Gaza. The idea of a humanitarian social economy is being elaborated to procure from local SMEs and particularly from the profits being put back into the local community.
Comments from the floor: there is a need to bring in the private sector to show new ideas for the future, but why is the UN not setting up systems in involving them at the time of project design? What will be the right platform to move from monologue to dialogue? The private sector includes many humanitarian actors, but we need to create opportunity in promoting their involvement. We need to find ways for NGOs to preserve dignity which is not cash contributions in view of misuse in the past. Need to also consider what the private sector is looking for to be able to work together and make optimal use of available knowledge, tools and their network. What is it that prevents us from working together as agencies and apply all lessons learned? The international community since WWII has provided systems and terminology but little sharing with the private sector, raising the question whether development reduces conflict.
As parting thoughts, panellists mentioned the need to let go of power, previous ways of working and exceptionalism to make changes; paradigm shifts and discussions at local and global level are needed to move forward by testing models; people we work with and for aspire what we aspire and want to be seen as such as human beings.
SPECIAL SESSION – “The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS): the outcomes”
Dr. Mukesh Kapila, Professor of Global Health and Humanitarian Affairs, University of Manchester; Chief Executive, Defeat-NCD Partnership; (Former Special Advisor to the WHS) – Chair – called the WHS a unique event, marking 25 years of the international humanitarian system as we know it enshrined in UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182 of 1991 to organise international cooperation for humanitarian provision. It is also unique as it did not only involve governments but more than 700 people from civil society groups, academia and even refugees themselves. Consultations around the world for 18 months preceded the Summit. A video showed key messages from participants such as to be “local and vocal and inclusive”. The “Agenda 4 Humanity” was the outcome, intended to be bold and transformative, with the shared responsibility as the key message. It had five core commitments: prevent and end conflicts; respect the rules of war; leave no one behind; work differently to end need; and invest in humanity.
Progress after two years is rather mixed, as some of the most transformative changes have not occurred so far. One key reason is that independent needs assessments did not really materialise and the system is still somewhat self-serving. On the other hand, the worldwide increase in expressions of “spontaneous humanitarianism” as a modern phenomenon is a very good thing. The key conundrum is on the one hand to individualise aid and at the same time to systematise it.
H.E. Dr. Elias Abu Saab, Vice-President, American University of Dubai; Special Advisor on International Cooperation to the President of Lebanon, expressed disappointment that only a limited part of the commitments had made progress and follow-up is still in the very first phase. Lebanese students are fewer than the refugee children in the education system in Lebanon as education is a prime priority for the refugees as a form of their protection. With 450,000 school age refugee children targeted through the existing education system rather than building new systems of schools and teachers, over 25,000 – part time – teachers are involved in double shifts to accommodate as many of these children as possible. Initially there were 125,000 with 220,000 in the next year and now 300,000 in school. There is close cooperation with the host community to avoid creating new systems and potential resistance. There is a need to give hope for a return of refugees to their home country to allow for the host community to support the, and to think long term to avoid any gaps.
It is time to stop making big promises and deliver less, and to start making realistic promises, taking into account the challenges for their implementation. It is alto time for the international community to start thinking how to help without borders, thinking smart and finding long term solutions, and have rapidly available funding at its disposal. It is necessary to ensure accountability towards the system and the beneficiaries.
Mr. Nick van Praag, Director, Ground Truth Solutions, Vienna, referred to the Grand Bargain between the 15 largest donors and 30 largest humanitarian agencies to collaborate and achieve better outcomes. Tracking of the progress of the Grand Bargain in six countries with very large humanitarian programmes has been done with three surveys addressing the affected population, field staff, and their relationships. (Attachment shows the outcome of three countries – Afghanistan, Haiti and Lebanon.) The results show different scores but at the same time similarities between crises: positive on respect and safety, but mostly negative scores on other indicators. Views on “cash is best” differed between field staff and the affected population, in particular its usefulness as a tool. It illustrated that participation is an effective indicator to measure how affected people perceive aid efforts, but it is not yet a central component of cash programmes. (see attachment)
Ms. Harpinder Collacott, Executive Director, Development Initiatives, Bristol, focused on how the money flows, which cannot present a balanced picture at a global level. Between 2012 and 2016, international humanitarian assistance (IHA) increased from USD 16.1 billion to USD 27.3 billion of which USD 20.3 billion came from governments and institutions, and about USD 6.9 billion from private donors. About 2/3 came from five donors and 1/3 from the United States. The largest share of funding is channelled to international organisations and directed to address the needs in protracted crises. The WHS has asked for a shift in favour of local actors by 2020, as in 2016 2% went directly to them as far as reported to the FTS, although in reality it will be more than that. Studies on how poverty makes the population more vulnerable are showing that 760 million people live in fragile and environmentally vulnerable countries. The resources show a mix in 20 countries receiving most of IHA from non-grant government revenue, together with domestic resources available to respond to crises. Analysis of data can lead to some degree of transparency in the Grand Bargain that is built on existing mechanisms – the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) with a global format with UN, NGOs and national and local NGOs.
The IHA report shows some progress but proper measuring is dependent on the availability of data. (see attachment)
Mr. Ayaz Manji, Deputy Secretary-General, Kenya Red Cross Society, Nairobi, had been asked to describe how the Society assumes its leadership role, which made him ask whether this is that complicated, but he agreed it is difficult. He referred to the values we all have to move forward on the agenda on a daily basis, i.e. Integrity, accountability, trust by our stakeholders, commitment to perform as promised, respect, and innovation. Missing any of these values will result in a less appropriate performance. The question is whether these values refer to organisations or to individuals making up organisations. So, it is simple but not easy to determine, despite progress being made at different levels, such as delivery of safe water. But hindering this issue is the difficulty in measuring these values with regard to humanitarian and political actors.
Dr. Lina Abirafeh, Director, Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, Lebanese
American University, Beirut, pointed out that nearly 20% of the WHS commitments stress the need for women equality and their role as first line responders, and their right to access to healthcare, and applying humanitarian policies to gender equality. This leads to the question how the aid industry can ensure implementation of these commitments. There is a culture of silence and fear regarding sexual abuse and gender based violence. Maybe it happens time and again because of loss of options and the very need to survive to address basic needs. There is a disagreement on terminology of consent vs sexual exploitation if it concerns sex in exchange for assistance. A comprehensive cultural shift and a reporting mechanism on sexual abuse are needed. There is a disturbing trend with increasingly senior staff being guilty of sexual harassment without any punishment. Staff lack confidence to report abuse without retaliation. Gender based violence prevention measures are usually underfunded and understaffed, while female humanitarian aid workers are also at great risk – one in four as far as reported – without appropriate follow-up. On paper all sounds well, but in reality there is insufficient support for gender equality programming with fully staffed teams and reporting systems, ensuring programmes are women-focused. Gender equality must be seen as everyone’s and not just women’s jobs, more women in leadership and decision making roles, an accountability platform for third party reporting with support for survivors and whistle blowers are needed. We must promote the building of local capacity to meet local needs. A piece of good news is that implementation of the WHS commitments could be a catalyst for global change. (see attachment)
Mr. Alex Jacobs, Director, Cash Learning Partnership, Cowley, introduced the “State of the World’s Cash Report” which gives an overview of the progress of cash based programming in humanitarian aid. It has experienced most progress as a sector.
Findings: – data developed with DI shows that in 2016 USD 2.8 billion was spent on cash and vouchers, an increase of 40% from 2015. Continued growth in 2017 is expected in Turkey, Yemen and elsewhere, driven top-down and bottom-up;
The system is still too much relying on individual decision makers and not enough systematically applied, and some cash is given with restrictions.
As cash is not necessarily the easiest form of transaction, it needs training of providing organisations and at the local level, such as handling beneficiaries’ data and relations with banks. The quality is improving and is built into the SPHERE standards, with need for stronger evidence and a mixed approach. Coordination of cash remains a problem, but also provides great incentives for collaboration.
While innovations and evidence base are proliferating, gaps remain and in some areas evidence becomes weaker. Cash can help bridge the humanitarian – development divide, and promote great investment in cash infusions.
The report picks up on some critical debates on progress in Cash Transfer Programming (CTP), e.g. multi-purpose grants. It reinforces two major themes, i.e. integrating cash in existing mechanisms, and innovating and strengthening the evidence base.
Cash shines a spotlight on some of the difficulties in humanitarian aid and enabling factors include leadership in order to ensure contributions flow. The organisation provides training programmes in the relevant area on www.cashlearning.org. (see attachment)
Mr. Michael Mosselmans, Head, Humanitarian Policy and Practice, Christian Aid, London, focused on the value of localisation of aid, despite comments of some previous interventions. It is a means but not an end to deliver better results for the livelihoods and dignity of the affected populations. Local actors are diverse and manifold, but a balance of power and resources needs far more attention. Local actors can much better deliver accountably to the affected population and can respond faster than the international community. The funding needed to respond to humanitarian crises exceeds by far the means available. The Grand Bargain includes 25% funding to be channelled directly to local actors, and a call to better include them in international frameworks. Progress is patchy and partial such as the signing of the Charter for Change, and progress reported on the localisation of aid as well as increase of direct funding reported in the FTS. Important national NGO networks have been formed in several countries while many other initiatives are ongoing. Challenges remaining include that donors don’t have the capacity to distribute to numerous smaller organisations, it is difficult for local partners to hold on to humanitarian principles in case of conflict situations, while some national branches of international NGOs consider themselves as national NGOs and claim a share of the direct funding pot. There is still a gap in the system to cover the core capacity of local actors in peace times.
Five options are proposed: strengthening donor influence over implementing partners; increase in pooled funds to provide funding to NGOs; a new pooled fund for local actors in peace time; and the vulnerable population put in the lead of response to give them the dignity they deserve. (see attachments)
Ms. Judith Greenwood, Executive Director, Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS) Alliance, Geneva, stressed the need for alignment of standards putting people affected by crisis at the centre. Out of nine WHS commitments, three are results focused and the other look at the processes to be followed. The current focus on accountability towards donors needs to be replaced by accountability towards the local communities as well as the donors. There are calls for new standards for sexual exploitation and abuse versus the need to apply the existing ones. The Core Humanitarian Standards will replace the current Sphere Core Standards. The CHS Alliance requires its 156 full members to verify whether the application of the CHS is as objective as possible by self-assessments and putting people at the centre. It offers evidence, rigour and respect in its approach, and a framework for a change of mindset. (see attachment)
Ms. Yasmine Sherif, Director, “Education Cannot Wait” (A global fund for education in emergencies), New York, shared positive feedback from the WHS which had given her a sense of hope as it carried a thought process behind it as does the inspiring report. The big challenge goes back to the UN Charter and the International Declaration on Human Rights, which is to take a vision and turn it into reality in which we all as humanity fail. There is suffering throughout the world in pockets in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, for which reason we cannot stop to translate vision into reality. Thanks to great leadership of Gordon Brown and his vision for education, the Fund was established at the WHS. Education is often put at the margins of humanitarian aid programmes, while it is one of the key tools of humanitarian response, in particular in times of trauma and mental disempowerment and it was receiving very limited funding. It can prevent gender based violence, recruitment into terrorist groups, and even conflict by providing a framework for peaceful conflict resolution and good governance. Despite the 75 million children in crisis without access to education, only 3.5% of humanitarian funding is allocated to education, while it is a valuable path to peace.
The Fund addresses the five WHS goals by inspiring political commitment to education; respect to the laws of war within the framework of protection and empowers people to reclaim their rights; “leave no one behind” shows that only half of refugee and internally displaced children have access to schools. To work differently there is a need to be connected with the beneficiaries on the ground. Working with structures on the ground around the table includes humanitarian and development actors as well as beneficiaries to help bridge the gap relief to development. The Fund provides support to coordinate agencies beyond their mandate into quality education with a strong focus on girls and women through multi-year renewable programming of three to four years. Humanitarian speed with development depth is a core principle by recognising local ownership as they are swift as survivors, with less bureaucracy and more accountability.
It is up to us to translate the WHS vision into reality by action. Our failing on promises lies in the failure to induce humanity in our actions. The real power starts in our heart, as speaker stated in her book “A case for humanity”. (see attachments)
Comments from the floor: what are effective methods or funding sources to help not only Syrian refugees but also the Lebanese population needing access to social services? Gap responses to survey between agencies and beneficiaries? What accountability mechanisms exist to hold leaders accountable to the promises made, or to hold individuals accountable for individual solutions? DIHAD should consider including a session for open discussion and actions. How can we capitalise on the many proposals? A shift in gender sensitive programmes needs reprogramming of the male mind. On cash transfer, is there use of new transfer mechanisms such as blockchain? How far will international actors support local actors, in particular in capacity building, and make themselves redundant?
Chair stressed the need for an accountability framework at individual level and ended with the message that when bringing a case of optimism there is a way to move forward and make a difference and take humanitarianism further.
Special Presentation – “Planning from the future for the future”Dr. Randolph Kent, Director, The Futures Project, Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, London, insisted on the need and the ways how to prepare for the future. Ideally DIHAD 2040 would no longer have to focus on crises but be dealing with the sorts of challenges we will face in future. To achieve this, humanitarian organisations would need five dimensions: anticipation (not the same as prediction); adaptation (agile, adaptive, information sharing, less hierarchical; collaboration (issue specific with (mutual) self-interest, and leadership (organisational trust by leaving decision-making to teams).
Five possible scenarios are displacement, pandemics, cybernetics, global indebtedness, and that the Red Team wins.
Looking back at the past to determine the future. Cyber and outer-space will be increasingly linked, but essentials will be endangered if one country consumes another country’s satellite. The greatest existential threat will be indebtedness, when one actor will claim payment of debts then the system will go down, when the rich will lose out.
The Red Team wins means that in a sense some solutions for climate change for CO2 removal will have a positive impact while solar radiation management impact will be at high cost.
The question is whether we are prepared to deal with such issues.
What will be the impact on the humanitarian sector? It is a failure to see crises as a complexity of phenomena; probability and impact calculations; evidence-based analysis; realities of short-termism. Together these give a strategic perspective as we now change at the edges and move marginally and short term, without asking what the situation may be long term.
The first steps needed:
- Self-assessment of organisations — policies enabling, flexible and sensitive to the what might be;
- Futures roundtable exercise;
- Testing the future – ethos of daring to deal with the 21st century;
- Simulation exercise as Ferghana Valley – interaction humanitarians and military in a sense of mutual self-interest in dealing with unanticipated global threats.
SESSION 5 – Emergency Aid; the use of new technologies
H.E. Amb. Tom Fletcher, Visiting Professor, New York University, Abu Dhabi – Chair – referred to his involvement in the response to the Syrian crisis, and his current work focusing on the failures having led to the interruption in the education of children.
Having put 21 centuries developments into one century will have an impact on iabour, ideas, sectors, but the question is how it impacts on the humanitarian industry – optimistic or pessimistic for the technical innovations can give opportunities but also threats and challenges. He asked the panel to focus on this perspective.
Mr. David Kaatrud, Regional Director for Asia and The Pacific, World Food Programme, Bangkok, focused on emergency aid and new technologies as a new tool to solve problems. Innovation is a deliberate process involving incubation and the issue of sustainability affecting the way we deliver assistance. Concentrated on the needs assessment tools can be valuable, such as the map-based platform for real-time information and situation monitoring (PRISM), built as a facilitator for governments for drought and flood monitoring. It combines data from different sources into an interactive design providing evidence-based knowledge for use by policy makers and farmers. It allows to also integrate data from previous occurrences, and has a rapid assessment tool for preparedness and initial assessment through field verifications, which makes prioritisation possible. Use of mobile technology in crisis areas provides coverage to be kept updated on the real situations (e.g. Yemen, Afghanistan) and facilitates rapid assessment and information without having to send teams. This data is collected to produce a multi-purpose survey tool, web based knowledge management tool after each action, now mostly used in natural disasters but replicable in complex emergency situations.
Sustainability in the context of these tools lies in the open-ended design, source and open data in partnership with Member States and a nationally led development and response agenda, promoting inclusiveness.
On the issue of trust, a mobile vulnerability tool is being elaborated to build trust through a constant dialogue with the affected communities. Feedback mechanisms to get information on their special needs are being expanded, in partnership with the corporate sector to ensure appropriate technology is made available to determine how we can interact with affected communities, while maintaining the highest ethical standards. (see attachment)
Ms Dina Zyadeh, Innovation Service, UNHCR, Geneva, elaborated on the activities aimed at creating an enabling environment for staff to respond to and prepare for the future of displacement. What are positive and negative impacts of interventions, what are enabling factors? Technology is replacing nature. The focus is on barriers on deploying innovation in the humanitarian sector. Research by ALNAP showed the lack of culture or appetite for innovation in organisations. UNHCR has a one year innovation fellowship programme for 30 fellows to develop approaches to solve problems by deploying appropriate technologies with integration early on in the process of evidence in the realm of innovation.
The UNHCR innovation fund supports studies on what works and what not by the use of an innovation activity proxy matrix.
Positive use of innovation is engaging the end users and gatekeepers when applying innovation and showing the benefits to them. The technology can be used for movement prediction with real-time and predictive data for real-time decision making and programming. Inclusiveness of socially constructed knowledge against the overwhelming influence of technology which is leading our life, so the need for trust in the development of the innovation by involving end-users. Innovation is about collaboration and diversity in all its forms, giving hope for the positive use of the technology.
Mr. Ivor Morgan, Regional Representative (Middle East), Medair, Amman, focused on the use of new technology in the Middle East programmes. Smart phones are powerful and give numerous options to be connected and are able to revolutionise humanitarian response. Risks of environmental damages or threats are to be heeded.
Positive use of technology includes GIS on refugees in Lebanon living outside camps to be able to assist them by mapping the informal tented settlements and the population and services in them in the Inter-Agency Mapping Project (IAMP). Avoiding gaps and overlaps in services and using common geo-identifiers – PCodes – to refer to locations and give refugees an actual address. Data collection is facilitated and sped up for analysis, programming and decision-making, in multiple languages with maps, GPS, data validation, calculations and feedback during the collection process itself. It can also be used for distribution and tracking deliveries, with a Business Intelligence Software – QLIK – in cooperation with the corporate sector, and for fundraising and information sharing.
“Innovation happens at the edges”, and not at the centre of organisations. It is driven by creative field staff who search for practical solutions to real problems and supportive management while giving flexibility vs standardisation, and collection of far more personal data needs to be handled with confidentiality of data protection legislation against misuse that can put lives at risk. This is also with regard to demands from governments for access to (confidential) data which can be against the interest of the affected population. The data can be shared with national humanitarian actors and the technology can be adopted for their use. Plans for adoption to new technologies and improved data protection are depending on what the future scenario will be. (see attachment)
Chair – optimistic about what technology can do to make work easier, but not forgetting the risk of misuse of the information collected. The question is how to ensure dignity of individual is not endangered.
Comments from the floor and through the DIHAD twitter tool: questions on the right to withhold sensitive data from governments when it can be used against the interest of the affected population. What can the data do to affect the culture as well as collaborating with the private sector? As it is difficult to create the space to look at 2040, how can such risk be built in? How to deal with refugees on the move? Who makes use of the data, e.g. local NGOs which may not have the resources? Are the innovation tools being seen as a good return of resources or investment? How to ensure data collected meets the needs of the users, and what role do agencies have to make it accessible to governments in affected countries in view of confidentiality issues?
SESSION 6 – Emergency Aid; moral, ethical and political considerations
H.E. Amb. Hesham Youssef, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation – Chair – referred to the elephants in the room in the context of humanitarian assistance. He gave examples of difficult dilemmas on moral and political issues where difficult decisions had to be taken at the risk of endangering humanitarian staff and goods. Other decisions are easier as it is possible to refer to the need to abide by humanitarian principles of assistance to all. On the political side, when challenges existed with a focus on refugees, a dialogue between authorities and agencies working for refugees was the proposed without success. He referred also to the US decision to reduce aid to UNRWA on the basis of political disagreement. Many NGOs are fearful to work in large crises of being accused by a donor country to align themselves with terrorist groups, and thus have the dilemma to take such a risk or to move to easier locations.
Mr. Neil Buhne, United Nations Resident / Humanitarian Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative in Pakistan, Islamabad, shared some of his experiences and his views that the values, both ethical and political, are high standards which are core to our identity and ability to do our work. A balance must be found between taking risks to help people and maintaining our values. There is some cause for optimism that work in complicated political situations can be done when making our assistance more intelligent and in line with our core values and humanitarian principles.
Examples of challenges include: how to act in situations where the leadership denies a humanitarian crisis is developing? If assistance arrives at the wrong time and too late before the start of the monsoon, risking for markets to be flooded and reducing the resilience of the population, should the assistance be withheld or the political support from the financers be maintained? Thus, there is a dilemma between acting ethically correct with moral imperative of helping people the most and avoiding risk taking. Often humanitarians are asked to serve as leverage to replace the role of political decisions.
In Pakistan, joint needs assessments are carried out for social services, better governance, employment and for resilience. In this context, the question arises how to balance needs with the political environment with ethical and moral considerations in situations where national issues become regional or global. (see attachment)
Ms. Fatima Gailani, Head, Country Cluster Support for the GCC, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), welcomed new tools for better communication and cooperation and reduced waste, but wondered whether we are really doing well for women and youth. She referred to Henri Dunant’s view that in countries of crisis one has to be colour- and religion-blind to be able to make a difference. It is important to maintain the humanitarian values in situations of natural disasters and conflict to build and retain the trust of the population in need without giving in to political considerations. Host communities and elderly women must be involved to communicate with the refugee women to find out their most urgent and important needs, thus leading to effective support.
Humanitarian diplomacy with governments should point to the benefit for them to act in a humane way and allow for humanitarian workers to proceed.
Ms. Nora Sharabati Joumblatt, Chair, Kayani Foundation; Chair, Advisory Board, Children’s Cancer Centre of Lebanon, Beirut, approached the item from the perspective of Lebanon where more than one in three persons is a refugee, most recently with 1.5 million from Syria, the highest refugee concentration in the world. The European refugee policy was a failure, while Syria’s neighbours were hosting million refugees.
In Lebanon, this has led to a serious socio-economic deterioration where formal refugee camps were not permitted by the government. Child labour, women and girls becoming victims of human trafficking and sexual abuse, and access to education denied to more than 300,000 Syrian children, mostly due to lack of facilities and resources, are the most serious social problems.
The Kayani Foundation provides three levels of education to 3,500 children in tented camps, from primary through secondary and vocational to the university bridge programme, working in collaboration with other organisations and universities. Despite the small-scale intervention, it is a confirmation of a moral and ethical imperative to empower refugees. The Syrian crisis is not a refugee crisis but a Syrian war crisis where the international community has failed to provide the needed response. Nevertheless, a catastrophe is still avoidable by joint and decisive action. (see attachment)
Comments from the floor: are graduates from Lebanese universities being allowed to go back to Syria? Issues of IHL forbid interventions in areas ruled by certain political parties with contested policies. In cases where international organisations and the UN withdraw, what will happen to staff staying behind, i.e. will they be protected and supported or punished? Seen the practical effects of reduction of services to refugees in Lebanon, is there anything the international community can do to pre-empt any catastrophe?
- “New technologies in conflict medicine”
Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, Co-Director, Conflict Medicine Program, Global Health Institute, AUB, Beirut, is in particular active in reconstructive surgical care in areas of conflict, giving access and being cost effective. Only 6% of the world’s surgeries are done in the South, exacerbated in areas of conflict, 2/3 of which are in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. By use of modern internet and mobile phone technology, it has become possible to assist colleagues in areas where access is difficult, taking them in real time through surgery. Examples were given from Gaza, Peru, and other areas of conflict. This way transfer of experience and expertise can address to some extent the severe shortage and need for assistance by frontline colleagues, even ultrasound images to give best advice through online support and also providing e-learning. The surgeons also can have access to a network of surgeons on-call all over the world who can provide them with remote assistance. (see attachment)
- “Building the Capacity of Local Aid Workers through Technology-Based Learning”
Ms. Tina Bolding, Cornerstone on Demand Foundation, Director, DisasterReady.org, stressed the importance of education and skill building for humanitarian staff around the world. The organisation has existed since 2012 and aims to prepare aid workers on humanitarian principles, protection, leadership and management skills, through online courses in 21 subjects in English and Arabic, with use of simulation, videos and documentation, developed and supported by several donors and international organisations. It works on building the capacity of local partners in Turkey, Syria and Iraq, with focus on Syria and surrounding countries. Many online courses are based on online learning assessment of 750 learners which showed the need for content in local languages, using mobile phone and collaborative learning, and less so for class room based training. Students receive job certifications for management skills. Now over 13,000 learners are actively using their training in five target countries, confirming the eagerness of humanitarian workers to learn at their own pace in a safe environment. While progress has been made, much more needs and can be done to promote online learning for humanitarian workers by learning together to be stronger together.
- “The IHC, new directions”
Mr. Giuseppe Saba, CEO, International Humanitarian City, Dubai, introduced the IHC and the new directions it is taking. The IHC provides a game changing platform for humanitarian aid and emergency response. It is a consolidation of concepts, first of all to continue to work together as the IHC fills a vacuum in the humanitarian sector, facilitating access by students for studies and interaction with the humanitarian community and corporate partners to learn from their field experience, so enhancing transfer of knowledge. There is also close cooperation with the private sector who have innovative technological knowledge. Through the Humanitarian Aid Overview is shown what is in the stocks and the value (currently around USD 43.5 million, most of which in shelter and logistics supplies), thus facilitating interaction with customs. It is Involving the private sector and government agencies. One major point is that the concept will be replicated in ten countries in 2019. Dubai is strategically located in the Middle East and relatively close to the problem areas, with continuous demands from the humanitarian and corporate sector. (see attachments)
Comment from the floor: How to strike a balance between use of cash and prepositioning stocks?
- “The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework”
Mr. Daniel Endres, Director, Division of Resilience and Solutions, UNHCR, elaborated on the global refugee situation with the multiplying crises with old ones causing refugees still ongoing. The crisis with 5.5 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and a lack of adequate international response led in 2016 to the NY Declaration on Refugees and Migrants in a process led by US President Obama to deal with root causes of the mass movements. Its vision for a more predictable response is known as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Its main points include:
- Building self-reliance of refugees who are mostly in camps and often denied the right to work, access to the labour force and education systems;
- Enhancing resettlement in 3rd country solutions
- Promoting safe conditions for voluntary repatriation.
The humanitarian community cannot address these goals alone, and needs to collaborate with actors also dealing with peace and security as well as the private sector for advocacy and investment, with civil society, media and other parts of the international community. It is important to move towards inclusion to not be caught in a protracted refugee situation. Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries provide a good model with access to school in Lebanon, access to labour in Turkey and Jordan – elements of a comprehensive approach, now rolled out in 14 countries, leveraging key development actors towards refugees and hosting populations. As such the World Bank provides grants and preferential loans, and the contributions from the EU, Germany and Japan to hosting countries exceed USD 1 billion.
There is a need to build on refugees’ capacities with education and livelihood, for which good signs so far are seen with the easing up of restrictions.
Next steps include establishment of a Global Compact on Refugees by end of this year, with a Plan of Action on working together to build refugee resilience and more predictable donor response, and showing host country support for refugees. Key donors, host country and private sector are working together to bring investment, employment, advocacy on inclusion of refugee, and with academia to proof this is the better way of working towards supporting refugees, e.g. with scholarships for refugees also by foundations in particular in this region.
The NY Declaration, signed by all 193 UN Member States, is a responsibility of all — the whole of society approach.
- “The UAE Red Crescent Authority; more and better international assistance”
Mr. Mohammad Abdulah Aljah Al Zarouni, General Manager, UAE Red Crescent Authority Dubai, focused on innovative ways in which the UAE provides assistance in the spirit of H.H. Sheikh Zayed. The video shown illustrated sites of the work of the UAE RCA in support of refugees, internationally displaced, and victims of earthquakes, in health, education, shelter, and rehabilitation of water and sanitation facilities. Among the many countries in the world where the RCA provides assistance, were shown images from Bosnia, India, Nepal and Philippines (after earthquakes), Iraq, Gaza, Somalia, Yemen, and support to Syrian refugees in Greece and Jordan. (see attachments)
H.E. Dr. Sergio Piazzi, Secretary-General, Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, Malta, concluded that we should avoid to have to see children in camps, even if they are smiling. He appreciated the value of DIHAD and how it has grown into an important global event with inspirations on leading issues.
The opening statement of HRH Princess Haya set the tone for the rest of the conference, presentations and debates. In particular, the point she raised about the need to address the most difficult questions around the sustainability of humanitarian and not only of development aid. It is a topic that is taking us out of our comfort zone and focusing on solving issues for which no easy solutions are existing. She stressed the need for better roadmaps and delivery of solutions before the panic button is pushed, and called for a new Marshall plan for the modern age to rebuild education and health care services as crucial contributions in the pursuit of government stability and social peace. This is the Year of Zayed, the founding father of the United Arab Emirates, who brought his lessons from the desert and wanted to relieve suffering and give a better life to all, independent of race, religion or other background.
The Commissioner General of UNRWA urged us to help find a solution to meet the unprecedented budget shortfall in providing continued access of more than half a million children to education, which plays an important role in giving hope and an opportunity to find a solution. We heard also a passionate plea to do everything possible to avoid any interruption in children’s education so as not to have a lost generation. As we now face probably the worst humanitarian crisis since WWII, the need for assistance to be sustainable, and the growth in size of humanitarian appeals, are greater than ever before.
The humanitarian – development – peacekeeping nexus was discussed extensively and the need for more linkages between these sectors was stressed. There was focus on key challenges of conflict but also of climate change, in particular in Africa. Lake Chad today is less than 10% of its old size, with now more than ten million people living in its area, a factor causing mass displacement and migration. Humanitarian action is not a matter of quick in and out, but needs to be with a long-term perspective to promote sustainability, starting with early warning before a crisis and lasting through the post-crisis phase.
We learned from concrete examples of how important it is to keep the HUMAN side on the forefront and to make sure the care for humanity is not hampered by too strict rules and regulations or too narrow interpretations of agency mandates.
An important point to take home is that the only way we can make a difference in crisis situations is by working closely together also with the private sector to see them as true partners from early on in the programme design, to benefit from each-others’ competencies, skills, tools and knowledge.
CHAIRMAN’S SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
H.E. Amb. Gerhard Putman-Cramer, Director, DIHAD International Scientific Advisory Board (DISAB), reflected on the theme of the Conference – the sustainability of aid – by stressing there is no magical solution, and it is important to continue to be effective, efficient and relevant, with the ability to shoulder our responsibilities (according to all principles we hold dear) with the resources we are able to mobilise, be they from traditional or other sources. We will not be able to avoid disasters and emergencies by ourselves, or render emergencies less protracted, but we will be able to mitigate the adverse consequences of protracted crises by working together with all available means and all available partners. We shall maximise these ways and means and use new technologies and methodologies to the best advantage of those we seek to assist, and, as encouraged by HRH Princess Haya at the opening of this Conference, and by the PAM Secretary-General in his closing address, we need to work with all partners, the list of which is growing. DIHAD gives a platform to establish and maintain these partnerships. We trust that this annual event will continue to do so for many years to come.
In closing, he thanked all who have participated in and supported the Conference, and announced that the dates for DIHAD next year will be 12 – 13 – 14 March.