Effective Humanitarian Assistance

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A panel about the future of humanitarian affairs was convened to discuss methods and strategies towards achieving greater inclusiveness, coordination, interoperability, and effectiveness in humanitarian aid. H.E. Mr. Dabbashi underlined the importance of the dialogue, commenting on how increased humanitarian threats are dangerously stretching the finite number of humanitarian resources available.

Ms. Pizon focused on the importance of local leaders in disaster intervention. If coordination mechanisms work on both an international and local level, a damaged community can be much more resilient. Ms. Georgieva emphasized the different aspects of operational effectiveness, such as the swift deployment of capacities, the coordination of a joint-assessment strategy, and the cohesive interoperability of all sectors. But Ms. Georgieva also stated that this operational effectiveness can only take us so far. Efficient and productive policies, such as those developed for food assistance, are the difference between helping and further damaging a disaster stricken community. While pumping free food and crops into a disaster area may meet short term needs, it kills the local markets, weakening the society’s capacity to be self-sufficient in the future.

Dr. Sani-Sidi continued the conversation by championing Nigeria’s National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). NEMA’s departments are categorized into areas for both risk reduction and emergency response, which work in tandem to ensure long term capacity building and prompt response in times of crisis. To close the panel, Mr. Fisher brought attention to the importance of understanding the context of ‘at risk’ countries. As an international community, it is crucial to understand not only the capacities of the country of concern, but also the government situation, the strengths and weaknesses of their institutions, the rule of law, the fiscal management, and all of the other developmental issues that can exacerbate or mitigate the emergency. The effectiveness of response mechanisms is directly dependent on understanding the state of the country, as different situations are more conducive to different methods of humanitarian aid. 

Meeting Title: Panel discussion on “Effective humanitarian assistance”
Speakers: Chair H.E. Mr. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Moderator Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response; Dr. Muhammad Sani-Sidi, Director-General, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigeria; Mr. H. Halil Afsarata, Head of the Strategy Development Department at the Prime Ministry, Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Turkey; Mr. Nigel Fisher, United Nations Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria; Ms. Inday Pizon, Executive Director, Regional Development Incorporated, National Coalition of Rural Women/PKKK, Philippines; Ms. Barbette Badocdoc, Media and Networking Officer, Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Lawyering Services (IDEALS), Philippines
Location: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations, New York 
Date: 24 June 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Zachary Halliday
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

Supporting the process of transition from Relief to Development

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Panellists exchanged their ideas towards better integrated planning and risk management, in particular the context of increasing funding streams to manage crisis risk. Mr. Mundele addressed four key points, including the humanitarian context in DRC, economic progress of Congo, history of the management and humanitarian framework in DRC, the mechanisms of economic stimulus and community resilience in post conflict. He emphasised the focus should be put on the prevention program of disaster risk to evaluate the Congo’s Framework for Action and develop the contribution of Africa to the establishment of the post-2015 framework.

Mr. Soumaré pointed out that humanitarian organisations and the Governments should plan and work together. “Government leadership is the key”, he said. Not only does it encourage humanitarian and development organizations to work more effectively, it also multiplies the impact. Mr. Jean noted that this is an important issue in Haiti; one of the most vulnerable countries, exposed to all sorts of catastrophes, including droughts, earthquakes, cyclones, etc. There are currently innovative approaches driven by Governments and the UN, however there is limited support from donors and a lack financing sources to develop innovative approaches to humanitarian work.

Mr. Clerg echoed Mr. Jean’s comments. He specifically focused on risk management in preventing humanitarian crisis. He concluded with three main calls for action. First, prioritizing countries at risk to ensure development aid goes to people and countries that are the most at risk. Next, humanitarian organisations should put high emphasis on managing the risk of crises, instead of just responding to its consequences. Lastly, crisis risk management should be prioritized in order to prevent and mitigate future humanitarian crises.

Meeting Title: Panel discussion on “Supporting the process of transition from relief to development: Funding and risk management”
Speakers: H.E. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Kanni Wignaraja, Director, United Nations Development Operations Coordination Office; H.E. Charles Naweji Mundele, Minister of Social Affairs, Humanitarian Action and National Solidarity, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Mr. Moustapha Soumaré, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Mr. Yves-Robert Jean, Director-General, Ministry of Planning and External Cooperation, Haiti; Mr. Peter de Clerq, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Haiti
Location: ECOSOC Chambers, United Nations HQ, New York 
Date: 23 June 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited by WIT representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark

 

The Latest discussion on Humanitarian Affairs in ECOSOC at the United Nations

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The Humanitarian Affairs Segment provides an important forum for discussing the activities and issues related to strengthening the coordination of the humanitarian assistance of the United Nations. The focus of this report is on the opening of the Humanitarian Affairs Segment where Member States provided their respective positions.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Ibrahim O. Dabbashi stated that together we could identify ways to strengthen our collective response to the humanitarian challenges facing us today. H.E emphasised that every crisis is different and thus its context should determine the nature of assistance. Following Ms. Valerie Amos highlighted the security situation in different parts of the world: the Middle East and Africa have witnessed the displacement of millions of people; inter-communal violence in Myanmar and Philippines have killed and displaced several thousand people; and the largest number of refugees are in Afghanistan. She acknowledged and appreciated the generous funding of the member states in 2013 towards response plans and complimentary humanitarian action.

A representative from Bolivia then delivered its statement on behalf of Group of 77 and China. In its statement they declared that special attention should be paid to the guiding principles of respect of sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States, which should remain the overarching parameters in all efforts for coordination of humanitarian assistance. Ireland stated that inter-communal and ethnic violence are the outcome of years and indeed decades of endemic poverty, under-development, weak democratic institutions and neglect by the international community. Furthermore, Ireland stressed on the protection and gender based violence to be a crucial objective in humanitarian assistance.

Switzerland introduced three points of debate: question of efficiency of humanitarian aid; questions of protection of victims in armed conflicts; and wanted to question the current humanitarian assistance model. Canada, then stated that they remain committed to working with their humanitarian partners to provide life saving and effective assistance to affected populations, collectively improve their capacity to mitigate risks and vulnerabilities, as well as to ensure coherence in humanitarian and development efforts, in order to achieve lasting and sustainable results.

Meeting Title: Humanitarian Affairs Segment
Speakers: His Excellency Ibrahim O. Dabbashi (Libya), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council; Ms. Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Ms. Ingrid Sabja, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia; Mr. Tim Mawe, Deputy Permanent Representative of Ireland; Ambassador Manuel Bessler, Head of Switzerland Humanitarian Aid Department; Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations
Location: ECOSOC Chamber, United Nations, New York.
Date: 23 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Aslesha Kaur Dhillon
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark