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 

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