Lessons Learned from Typhoon Haiyan

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H.E. Mr Libran Cabactulan stated that the Typhoon Haiyan has taught significant lessons to the Philippines and other member states. All partners and shareholders, shared the cost and capacity to make response more effective. Ms Kang highlighted that the 2004 Indian Tsunami reflected the need for a fundamental reorientation in humanitarian response and the Typhoon Haiyan response gave us an opportunity to assess the same.

Following, Ms Nanette Salvador-Antequisa stated that ‘Ecosystem Work for Essential Benefits’ with their respective partner organisations have provided relief to 10,000 families. The challenges they faced were in areas such as storage, distribution, funding for the transportation of the goods and retaining their staff because of lack of resources (technical and financial). Further critically addressing the Cluster, she stated that they should be based on more practical issues and should give platform for local groups to have a greater voice.

Mr Andy Featherstone highlighted the key findings and recommendations of a high-end study, ‘Missed Again: making space for partnership in the Typhoon Haiyan response.’ First, the partnership of National and International NGOs strengthened the relevance, effectiveness and coverage of humanitarian assistance, through utilizing their respective resources: proximity to and knowledge of communities and their technical and financial resources. Second the humanitarian leadership and coordination mechanisms had an international look and feel. Third, the recommendations were as follows: (i) create an enabling environment for partnership; (ii) the need to ‘localise’ surge responses; (iii) an obligation to prioritise preparedness.

Next, Mr Butch Meily spoke on the role of the private sector in the Typhoon Haiyan response, where they plugged the gaps in government sector response. A case in point: the Department of Education needed emergency food aid, so instead of using the government process of bidding, the private sector, provided food aid for 27,000 students for one month. Lastly Mr Randolph Kent, questioned the sustainable impact of private sector within the humanitarian sector. He importantly highlighted that we must identify the core business interest of the companies in engaging with humanitarian assistance i.e. economic incentives and interests, and not just limit their involvement to philanthropy and corporate social responsibility. 

Meeting Title: The role of partnerships in humanitarian response: lessons learned from Typhoon Haiyan
Speakers: Chair- H.E. Mr Libran N. Cabactulan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of the Philippines to the UN; Moderator- Ms Kyung-wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; Panellists- Ms Nanette Salvador-Antequisa, Executive Director, Ecosystem Work for Essential Benefits; Mr Butch Meily, President, Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation; Mr Andy Featherstone, Co-author of new research commissioned by ActionAid, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Oxfam, and Tearfund documenting the application of partnership approaches with national and local actors during the response to Typhoon Haiyan; Mr Randolph Kent, Co-author of a recent series of studies commissioned by UN OCHA, ODI, HPG, and Vantage Partners, and supported by DFID, on business community ad public-sector partnerships in disaster response.
Location: Conference Room 7, NLB, United Nations, New York.
Date: 24 June 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Aslesha Kaur Dhillon
Edited by WIT Representative: Sophia Griffiths-Mark 

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