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  • South Africa poised to be key player in humanitarian assistance, says UN relief chief

    Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for the UN has remarked that South Africa has the resources to become a resource itself in humanitarian action. Valerie Amos remarked that humanitarian action often focused not on imposing (lasting) solutions, but rather sought to meet the highest demands for help. Echoing the sentiment that is at the heart of the WHS, Amos presented that South Africa had the resources and the capacity necessary to move humanitarian aid forward, from temporary management of crises to creating long-lasting solutions.

  • Humanitarian Innovation Contest: Eastern and Southern Africa Region - Winners

    The Innovation Contest relating to the WHS' theme of "transformation through innovation", announces the winners. See full article by clicking on the link below.

  • Ebola outbreak could be 'definitive humanitarian disaster of our generation', warns Oxfam.

     The quickly-escalating Ebola outbreak may end up being the most important humanitarian crisis of the current generation. With Oxfam calling for military intervention and the constantly increasing demands, the outbreak is proving itself a steep challenge. One of the objections Oxfam has is that not all European countries are contributing: Italy, Australia and Spain have notably been absent from the efforts. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has echoed this sentiment that some countries were holding back. Pointing towards a logistical deficit, Oxfam has stated that the call for military intervention was to make use of their logistics systems and practices to compensate for the shortcomings of currently active humanitarian actors.                                                                                

  • Rethink Needed On Humanitarian Funding for National NGOs

     Funding is a critical point for any humanitarian undertaking, as every possible step comes with steep costs. As the World Humanitarian Summit draws near, talk of reforming funding becomes a prominent topic. To this effect, the NGO Start Network that involves NGOs receiving their funds directly, rather than through international actors such as the UN or international NGOs is proposed. Due to the risks involved in linking funds directly, measures such as pre-auditing, sub-agreements, stricter reporting requirements and the NGOs acceptance of funding risks involved have been considered; the emphasis is on creating a safe environment for donors, as well as increased and reliable funds for NGOs, without removing scrutiny.

  • Thank You - Now It's Our Turn

    The South African regional consultation has emphasized that communication is a vital tool for humanitarian action. The importance of information may be a given, but the implementation of it presents a new challenge. A primary problem identified in the consultation was not that information was lacking, rather that how it was utilized and reacted to was different than first envisioned. Four ways in which this plays out were identified. In the presence of information, how to use it is not often self-evident and might adversely affect future projections; disseminating information isn’t a be-all end-all due to possible deficit in capacity to act on it; common crises do not always come with agreed-upon, macro-level demands but instead are approached from micro-level perspectives; communities are actually acceptant of change rather than resilient, thus more open to new practices.                                                        

  • Ten Years On: What Have We Learnt in Disaster Response?

    Reflecting back at the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004, Valerie Amos elaborates on the progress in humanitarian aid, how far it has come, and how much further it needs to go. "Valerie Amos emphasizes the importance of several factors, based on the fact that they have been effective in the past, and must be kept on the forefront. These include improving emergency preparedness, disaster mitigation and early warning systems as well as the need for local communities to participate fully in response, which includes creating effective partnerships. Improved data-sharing among disaster agencies, a staple of the Tsunami disaster, also needs to be replicated at scale and at a global level, Amos says."

  • Humanitarianism and Climate Change: Let's Rethink the Future

    Global climate change creates a new form of disaster that requires a new kind of response. External interventions are losing their efficacy, and need to be reinvigorated if they are to provide solutions to increasingly difficult problems. With calls for humanitarian aid as well as the expenditure required to provide it rapidly growing, humanitarian aid has quickly become protracted and is bordering on stagnation. One of the reasons is the climate change that ushered in disasters like the Haiyan Typhoon of 2013, to which response has been unfortunately short of what was desired. Further, recurrent crises require continuity in their solutions rather than repeated interventions to provide aid. To this regard, the World Humanitarian Summit aims to forge a road map that can respond to continuous crises in a way that will lead to their gradual, but more effective solution.                                                                                

  • Satellite Operators sign Crisis Connectivity Charter stepping up support for the global humanitarian community

    World’s leading satellite operators announced the signing of a Crisis Connectivity Charter at WHS Global Consultation

  • UN OCHA Press Release: Working Together to Improve Emergency Prepareness & Response

     On the 3rd of December, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed one of the general sentiments of the World Humanitarian Summit: the connecting of the private sector into humanitarian  affairs at large. There is an inherent value in integrating businesses into the cluster of humanitarian actors composed of international, non-governmental and local ones, the Secretary-General has said. The corporate responsibility that was the mark of the private sector has, over time, evolved into a more complex and innovative set of practices playing to the sectors’ strengths, which would provide beneficial to the other humanitarian actors in the wake of disasters.

  • How Will Tech Affect Disaster Response In the Next Decade?

    Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, along with other experts, weighs in on the role of technology in disaster and conflict response, as well as humanitarian aid in this brave new age. "With the new age relying on increasingly complex and versatile technologies, disaster response and humanitarian aid would benefit immensely from them; particularly with regards to data accumulation necessary to adequately assess a situation. From crowd-source data collection to more suitable water purification and to surveillance, the possibilities are robust for a technological backbone to serve the affected, as well as the humanitarian agents in the field."

  • 1,000 Stories from South Africa

    The South African regional consultation has emphasized that communication is a vital tool for humanitarian action. The importance of information may be a given, but the implementation of it presents a new challenge. A primary problem identified in the consultation was not that information was lacking, rather that how it was utilized and reacted to was different than first envisioned. Four ways in which this plays out were identified. In the presence of information, how to use it is not often self-evident and might adversely affect future projections; disseminating information isn’t a be-all end-all due to possible deficit in capacity to act on it; common crises do not always come with agreed-upon, macro-level demands but instead are approached from micro-level perspectives; communities are actually acceptant of change rather than resilient, thus more open to new practices.                                                        

  • Humanitarian Coffers Near ‘Bankruptcy’, Third Committee Hears, Top Refugee Official Calls for Complete Change of Course

    The 69th session of the General Assembly has brought to the fore a prevalent theme both within the WHS Project and the humanitarian  aid efforts in general. The consensus is that the current mechanisms can no longer be afforded, nor can they respond to humanitarian needs; especially in the wake of concurrent refugee crises. The principal theme of the assembly was that humanitarian aid is nearing bankruptcy, and is falling behind on the aftermaths of prolonged conflicts. A second identified focus point echoed the WHS sentiments that effective partnerships in humanitarian efforts was crucial, in that stand-alone actors could only do so much without an organic bond with other (often local) actors. A third was the recent surge of refugee crises around the globe, most notably Syrian refugees who had fled to Turkey and Jordan. The amount of such displaced persons was stated to have recently reached its highest number in 20 years. This created a uniquely problematic situation that was far larger in its scope than any similar event preceding it, again returning to the near-bankruptcy of humanitarian aid and a need to form more effective partnerships.

  • Consulting Communities Through Two-way Dialogue in Advance of the World Humanitarian Summit

    The Mathare slums in Nairobi, Kenya has fallen for a central gap in humanitarian aid that the World Humanitarian Summit seeks to address: little to no engagement with local communities. Echoing two of WHS's four themes, the International Red Cross Society has engaged with a new methodology under the name of People First Impact Method. Inclined to accept, the IRCS echoes sentiments expressed in the Humanitarian Effectiveness as well as Reducing Vulnerability and Managing Risk by implementing the P-FIM. The approach is a simple one that puts communities before projects, thereby seeking to avoid the pitfall of a disconnect between the plans themselves and the communities they are supposed to engage. A central aspect of this is a collaboration with the Kenya Red Cross, aiming to train volunteers and reach out to communities in attempt to tie them into the process. This has the side benefit of creating volunteers that can teach to others the same skills, provide the same training, thus expanding its reach.

  • The Importance of Local-Led Responses to Humanitarian Crises

    Based on her own experiences during the immediate aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood relates why the empowerment of local actors will prove to be superior to the old methods of humanitarian action. "Drawing from the work she has done during her tenure as the President of MERCY Malaysia, Dr. Mahmood talks about touching ground in Banda Aceh and touching base with the local community in order to manage the aftermath of the disaster. Dr. Mahmood asserts that local actors are more effective in humanitarian actions taken in a given region, and that utilizing local resources to respond or manage disasters will prove more effective than simple external interventions – both by empowering regions and ensuring sustainability."

  • UN Panel: $40 Billion Needed to Aid People in War & Disasters

    An estimated $40 billion is needed annually to help the rapidly growing number of people needing humanitarian aid.One possibility to help fill the $15 billion funding gap is a small voluntary tax on tickets for soccer games and other sports, concerts and entertainment events, airline travel, and gasoline.

  • Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges ‘bold changes’ as States prepare for World Humanitarian Summit

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon briefed UN Member States on the World Humanitarian Summit which takes place on 26 and 27 May 2016. United Nations Secretary-General stressed how news stories were serving to compel the international community into agreeing to align major global commitments to support the world’s most vulnerable people. “Today’s headlines have brought new reminders of why the Summit is needed,” said Ban Ki-moon. “The death of hundreds of migrants off the coast of Libya is not only deeply saddening – it should shock the global conscience.”

  • World Humanitarian Summit deplores plight of Syrian refugees as winter bites

    At the Regional Consultation meeting for the "Europe and Others" group in Budapest, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ Secretary General Elhadj As Sy adressed the situation of the Syrian refugees. "Amos said: “It’s a desperate, desperate situation. I think it is important that the violations of international humanitarian law that we are seeing are dealt with. We need greater accountability. We are seeing a situation where medical supplies are being taken out of our humanitarian convoys. This is an absolute scandal! People are in desperate need of medical attention, across the country.”"

  • Transformation Through Innovation: Why the Humanitarian Ecosystem Needs to Change and Evolve

    As the size and scope of disasters keeps changing, humanitarian aid must not follow behind. Innovation in humanitarian aid that incorporates the private sector, however, has its own caveats. "Humanitarian aid has become an increasingly complex and increasingly costly affair. Where investments are needed, the private sector becomes risk-averse. The new paradigm of humanitarian aid seeks to destroy this, and to bring actors that would normally be outside the boundaries of humanitarian aid into it. One problem with this is that because these actors would be dealing with entire countries rather than a few small companies, they would have to adapt to this new playground, rather than expect to handle things as they always have done – the “fail fast, fail often” motto of Silicon Valley is not applicable to the modern disaster area."

  • In the Eye of the Storm

    Seasoned humanitarian aid veteran and one of the most prominent figures of the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, Dr. Jemilah Mahmood reflects on her own past experiences with large scale disasters and how these experiences have come to in turn reflect the realities of today."“I’m afraid of the future. I’ve never been so scared in my life,” confesses Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood. “It’s almost a desperation, that if we don’t change the way we do things or engage more people, then we won’t be able to cope with the crises we’re handling now,” she adds."

  • World must 'act with collective humanity' to address growing humanitarian needs

    As preparations continue for next year's WHS, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed the need for all actors to work together to address the growing needs around the globe.“Let us act with collective humanity to lift people in crisis from fear and helplessness,” Mr. Ban said in remarks to a high-level event on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual debate.

  • At Middle East and North Africa summit, UN humanitarian chief urges ‘new ideas’ on emergency responses

    Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos attended the Regional Consultation meeting [...] ... for the Middle East and North Africa in Amman on 3 March 2015. She underlined the importance of grassroots involvement in humanitarian affairs and of putting people “front and centre” in response of efforts. “We need new to come up with new ideas on how best to protect civilians, safeguard access, and reinforce international humanitarian and human rights law,” said Valerie Amos, who also serves as UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, as she called for increased efforts to end a climate of impunity. “We also need to address the growing gap between humanitarian needs and the funds available to meet them.”

  • The World Humanitarian Summit: Talking Shop or Game Changer?

    The state of the humanitarian aid systems in place can best be described as struggling at present, falling behind the rapid evolution of the landscape. While the World Humanitarian Summit seeks to be the solution to this problem, the question of whether it can actually be the solution, or is just a round of lip service, has arisen as it continues to build up to 2016. "The cynics and critics of the World Humanitarian Summit so far have a few, pronounced concerns: whether it is just shop talk or a push forward; whether the representation, despite its bottom-up approach and openness to anyone and everyone, is actually sufficient enough; whether the Summit will be able to bring something new to old issues. According to Dr. Jemilah Mahmood, these concerns are understandable, and do underscore some of the shortcomings of the proceedings, such as the inescapable lack of total representation, but that at the heart of these concerns lies a misconception. “I don’t see the summit as an end point. I think the summit will lay the groundwork,” Dr. Mahmood says."

  • A Milestone, Not an Endpoint: World Humanitarian Summit's European consultation

    On 3-4 February 2015, Budapest, Hungary was the home of the European Consultation of the World Humanitarian Summit."As an important step in the path leading to the Summit in 2016, and the largest of the consultations so far, the consultation for Europe and Others emphasized key points that lie in the heart of the summit. Among these is how to keep the focus on the populations of afflicted areas, respecting and upholding international humanitarian law as well as the principles of humanitarian aid. The Consultation has also showed that humanitarian action is not a one-man show anymore, and that it requires the participation of all those involved."

  • UN: Turkey plays greater role in humanitarian efforts

    Valerie Amos,the UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator praised Turkey for hosting the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) next year."During her visit to Budapest to participate in the regional consultation meeting for the "Europe and Others" group, Amos praised Turkey for hosting the milestone event in 2016: "The summit is of course the first of its kind and it will set the future agenda for humanitarian action around the world, where we are seeing more and more humanitarian response in areas that are affected by conflict, where needs are outpacing the resources of the capacity that we have.""

  • Visiting drought-hit region of Ethiopia, Ban urges support to Government-led humanitarian efforts

    Visiting drought-stricken Ethiopia, UNSG witnessed first-hand efforts to battle the effects of powerful El Niño events. By shining a light on the realities on the ground, his aim is to reach those furthest behind first, and inspire world leaders to bring humanity back to the centre of global decision making at the World Humanitarian Summit.

  • Fix the aid system or you will fail the poor, experts warn world leaders

    Report commissioned for WHS urges new fundraising initiatives, improved efficiency and a focus on conflict prevention.The world’s overstretched humanitarian system needs substantial reform, new sources of funding and greater efficiency to safeguard a global public good simply “too important to fail”, a new study says.

  • The growing need for humanitarian aid means we must find a new approach to development

    Innovative ideas are needed for financing and structuring, if we are to deal with the increasingly chronic crises around the world.The relationship between humanitarian and development assistance urgently requires attention because the evidence has never been more clear that the distinctions between them are artificial.

  • Pacific delegates discuss humanitarian issues

    More than 140 delegates from across the Pacificgathered in Auckland, New Zealand to discuss the future of humanitarian action in the region."Humanitarian needs are on the rise around the world and across the Pacific," said UN Under Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien.

  • Jemilah Mahmood "Humanitarian funding is not enough: we must increase people's resilience"

    International assistance was at record levels in 2014, but it cannot keep pace with demand. We must diversify our sources of funding to close the gap, says World Humanitarian Summit chief Jemilah Mahmood.In preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit in May next year, Jemilah Mahmood urges that we must go beyond simply seeking a bigger pot for humanitarian funding. More resources are clearly required, but we also need to diversify the mix of ingredients in the pot, and ensure that we have the right chefs.

  • UN deputy chief urges ‘transformation’ in collective effort to tackle ‘staggering’ humanitarian needs

    UN Deputy Secretary-General urged global solidarity to meet "the heavy but inspiring responsibility" of today’s global challenges. “The numbers of afflicted people are overwhelming. But let us remember: they are not numbers. These are men, women and children enduring searing suffering and pain. [...]” said Mr. Eliasson.

  • Less than 2% of humanitarian funds 'go directly to local NGOs

    USG Stephen O’Brien, said at the WHS Global Consultation in Geneva that aid delivered by local agencies was often faster, cheaper and more "culturally appropriate".Less than 2% of all humanitarian funding goes directly to local NGOs, despite them taking the lion’s share of the risk and often being better placed to deliver, according to aid insiders.

  • Rising global humanitarian needs require 'tremendous' funding

    Radio interview with Antoine Gérard, chief of the World Humanitarian Summit. Antoine Gérard says the Summit will focus not only on resource mobilization, but also on how to most effectively use humanitarian aid. Veronica Reeves from the UN Radio has been speaking with Mr Gérard about the increasing needs worldwide.

  • Refugees, warmongers and bloodshed targeted in first global aid summit

    Antoine Gérard, chief of the World Humanitarian Summit speaks about the upcoming Summit to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Aid groups struggling to cope with millions uprooted by conflict hope the first international summit on humanitarian aid will compel governments to do more to protect civilians, but its chief has warned there will be no quick fix.

  • Imagining More Effective Humanitarian Aid

     OECD posits that humanitarian aid, if to remain effective, must not be the work of isolated actors in disparate clusters that operate in a state of chaos. The evaluation of this is taken through  the eyes of donors, the supporters of humanitarian actions "For the stability of future humanitarian operations, the responsibility, perspectives and actions must be shared across the board. In a three-layer model where actors, from the most direct to the most indirect either do, influence or advocate, donors cut across all three, and can facilitate other actors to do so as well. Further, humanitarian effectiveness is built upon several principles such as being grounded in comparative advantage, being forward-looking, respecting a principled approach. Effective programme design under this heading requires maximized reach, being adaptive to the context, and being demand (rather than supply) driven. OECD proposes to move away from the one-size-fits-all standard-response method of humanitarian action, instead opting for a bespoke-response, one that is adaptive, preventative (rather than reactive) and if possible, one that can lead to permanent solutions. "

  • Humanitarian Crises: The Business Response

    Reflecting on the role of the private sector in humanitarian crisis, Mr. Badr Jafar, chief executive of Crescent Enterprises, uncovers a number of factors that hinder business involvement. A successful businessman and a member of the UN Secretary General's High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing, he stresses that it is a self-interest for businesses to start making a more meaningful and authentic contribution to the resilience of the most fragile communities.

  • Reform of humanitarian aid urgent, says UN chief ahead of summit

    World leaders must change the way they handle humanitarian crises, which are taking an unprecedented toll on civilians, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Tuesday. Ban's report launched on Tuesday outlined core responsibilities that should guide governments, U.N. agencies, humanitarian charities and the private sector preparing to attend the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May.

  • Ban Ki-moon: ‘Close the gap between the world that is and the world that should be’

    UN secretary general sets out his vision ahead of world humanitarian summit, calling for end to ‘xenophobia, nationalism, exclusion and bigotry’ Decrying the “harrowing familiarity” of brutal scenes, Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, said the aid industry and his own organisation must urgently reform to react more effectively to today’s many crises.

  • ‘Put peace above politics,’ Ban tells leaders of South Sudan’

    As part of the last day of his visit to South Sudan, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with President Salva Kiir and visited a protection of civilians site “What I have seen underscores the need for the international community to do much more – far, far much more – to prevent and end conflict; uphold international norms and accountability; reduce displacement; and invest to enhance resilience and leave no one behind,” Mr. Ban said. Those are all major themes of the World Humanitarian Summit to be held in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May, the Secretary-General said.

  • UN chief visits camp for displaced people in east DR Congo

    UN secretary general visits DR Congo as part of his "Mission for Humanity" to bring back our shared humanity at the heart of global decision-making UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited on Tuesday a camp for displaced people in the restive east of Democratic Republic of Congo where several shelters for people fleeing conflict are under threat of closure by the authorities.

  • UN chief visits camp for displaced people in east DR Congo

    International aid work is more dangerous than ever, making staff care a topic of discussion at May’s World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. Nigel Fisher is supporting the lead up to the summit by advising on the emerging vision, narrative and action areas, giving particular focus to adapting the approach and international system.

  • UN official calls for concrete commitments on gender equality at WHS

    United Nations called on world leaders to make concrete commitments to enhance gender equality, as women and girls are “central” to humanitarian action. Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told during the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) that 'if you get it right for girls and women, you get it right for development'.

  • Visualising a better world: new UN icons refocus humanitarian values

    The UN’s humanitarian agency (OCHA) launched icons to illustrate the five core responsibilities set out by the UN Secretary-Generalin his report on the World Humanitarian Summit. The hope is that the icons will help visualise and raise awareness on the report, titled 'Agenda for Humanity' and the core responsibilities spelled out in it.

  • In Lebanon, UN chief and WB President show commitment to leaving 'no one behind'

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim visited a refugee camp in Lebanon, announcing a new financing plan for Lebanese schools. Supporting the refugees would be one of the top priorities at the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit, he added, underlining the need to ensure that nobody is left behind.

  • UN Secretary-General and World Bank Director visit UN Women centre in Za’atari refugee camp

    On the last part of his “Mission for Humanity”, UNSG visited together with Mr. Kim the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, visiting a UNWOMEN center and talking to young people. Praising the development of facilities within the camp, including a theatre, shopping centers and restaurants, UNSG then stressed that however nice the facilities may be, it was not the same as what the refugees could enjoy home in Syria.

  • How to reduce humanitarian need: Joint op-ed by Stephen O’Brien, UNOCHA and Kevin J. Jenkins, World Vision International

  • 80 nations to attend first-ever world aid summit

  • Seeking change in aid delivery goal of World Humanitarian Summit: UN official

  • Developing solutions with and for people

  • Global Health: Our Moral Compass in a World of Crisis

  • Leaving No City Behind: Adapting Crisis Response to an Urbanizing World

  • World Humanitarian Summit will be 'wake-up call' for action and 'launch pad' for new initiatives

  • World leaders, aid groups gather for humanitarian summit in Turkey

  • Leaders gather for controversial World Humanitarian Summit

  • WHS: Humanitarian summit has ‘set new course,’ says Ban, calling for action on commitments

  • World Humanitarian Summit attacks 'broken' system

  • World Humanitarian Summit: What was achieved and what work remains?

  • Aid experts give first World Humanitarian Summit mixed report card

  • Q&A with Peter Maurer: Respect the rules of war or pay the price

  • Cash for crises: Who gives, who gets and why it's not enough

  • Inside the launch of the Education Cannot Wait fund for crises

  • Ban Ki-moon: 'We must work in new ways to help people in crisis'

  • UN Secretary-General calls on global leaders to take forward goals of World Humanitarian Summit