The event aims to showcase innovative models in private-public sector partnerships in humanitarian financing.
Ms. Jeanine Cooper opened the panel discussion by stating that helping is an integral part of the social fabric of Africa and therefore finding solutions in response to humanitarian crises is something very innate to the community.
Mr. Muhamad Sani Sidi’s address was about locating best practices learning from the 2012 flood in Nigeria. It was the largest natural disaster the country has ever seen, displacing over 2.3 million people. As an outcome, public-private partnerships have strengthened in the region. The Federal Government of Nigeria allocates 1% of total national income towards disaster management. Furthermore, the private sector too played a key role by raising and allocating 84 million US Dollars towards the disaster. However, the disaster coupled with the problem of insurgency in the country pose many humanitarian problems such as the closure of educational institutions in Nigeria.
Mr. Ahmed Idris shared success stories from Kenya. He posited that young people are vital to the progress of Africa as more than half of the population of the continent is under the age of 20. This reflects a growth in literacy rates as more children in the 21st century attend school compared to their older counterparts. Furthermore, technology is playing a key role in aiding humanitarian assistance. In Kenya technology helps authorise humanitarian assistance and aid documents from the government within five days.
Mr. Sunday Babatunde echoed similar innovative ideas highlighted by Mr. Ahmed Idris and Mr. Muhamad Sani Sidi. He addressed a need for governments to develop support systems that encourage these novel responses to old problems relating to humanitarian assistance. Furthermore, he stated that OCHA AU has a humanitarian assistant team with 23 members states and many UN Agencies that support initiatives of the African Union for coordination and Africa Disaster Management Platform.
Meeting title: “Homegrown solutions to African problems and innovative practices in humanitarian action”
Speakers: Ms. Jeanine Cooper, OCHA representative to the AU and ECA; Mr. Ahmed Idris, Kenya Red Cross; Mr. Sunday Babatunde, OCHA regional civil military coordinator (Africa Region); Mr. Muhamad Sani Sidi, Director General, NEMA-Nigeria
Location: Conference Room E, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: Thursday, 26 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Apurv Gupta
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark
To encourage innovative means to provide food assistance to regions in need of humanitarian aid, Ambassador Patriota convened a panel discussion on this matter. In doing so, the Ambassador highlighted the Brazilian application of cash transfer to implement the “Bolsa Familia” safety-net programme as a way to motivate families to send children to school and to clinic check-ups.
In the context of short-term action, Mr. Mogwanja highlighted the difference between direct provision of food aid and cash-transfer style food assistance, the latter being preferable as it is a more economically sustainable tool. Mr. Janz stated that cash-transfer is a viable form of food assistance, as it pinpoints to the problem of lack of purchasing power of disaster victims without having crippled the local agricultural market by flooding the market with relief food. Mr. Janz elaborated on the benefit of cash-transfer food assistance, stating that it gives disaster victims dignity by giving them choices in food and enhances efficiency of aid by reducing the logistical cost of transporting food aid. Ms. Souza stated how the World Food Programme implemented the cash-transfer in conjunction with local purchase of relief material to further enhance food assistance’s positive impact to the local economy, a point which Ambassador Boureima echoed when detailing the “Nigerien feeds Nigerien” initiative in his country.
Speaking on behalf of the donors, Ms. Fink-Hooijer stated that the donor community in general support the cash-transfer initiative, but adopts a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to the effectiveness of large-scale implementation in disaster relief. Ambassador Shearman echoed this point, and added that he hopes future cash-transfer can be implemented in form of cash handout instead of voucher to further reduce its distortion of the local market.
Meeting Title: Cash Transfers, Local Purchases and Social Safety-Nets: Bridging the Divide between Assistance and Development
Speakers: Martin Mogwanja, Deputy Executive Director, UNICEF; H.E. Ambassador Boubacar Boureima, Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations; Darana Souza, Programme Coordinator for World Food Programme; Udo K. Janz, Director of UNHCR Office in New York; Israel Klug, Project Coordinator of PAA Africa Programme; Minister Counsellor Nuria Mohammed, Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations, H.E. Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the United Nations; Florika Fink-Hooijer, Policy Director of ECHO; Martin Shearman, Ambassador for Development and Human Rights, UK Department for International Development; H.E. Ambassador Michael Grant, Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations; Jordan Ryan, Assistant Administrator of UNDP; Scott Paul, Humanitarian Policy Advisor of OXFAM; Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Chief of Policy Development and Studies Branch of UN OCHA
Location: Conference Room 5, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 24 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Harrison Chung
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark