The World Humanitarian Summit: where are the results?

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The ‘People at the Centre’ session: No one at the centre!

I wrote this on the way home from the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul last week. Disclosure: I was involved in the summit’s preparations, particularly working on reforms to improve community engagement in humanitarian response.

I enjoyed a lot at the summit, from iris-scanning for cash delivery (amazing! dignified, cheap, effective: a vision of the future) to the Tzu Chi Foundation’s mission of inspiring love among givers and receivers (also wonderful).

But the headline commitments did not add up to much, at least in my area. We have a lot to think about how to do better. It was a great trade fair, but it fell far short as a summit. Continue reading

What should the new Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative do?

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Greece 2015: Who holds the humanitarian system accountable?

A new member of the humanitarian family is being born this month. The Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative is taking life. The first board meetings are happening in the next few weeks.

It’s a member of a small and select group of organisations that shape international humanitarian action. Continue reading

Last week’s Global Consultation for the World Humanitarian Summit

The closing ceremony: all on song?

The closing ceremony: a greater music?

I was at the vast Global Consultation of the World Humanitarian Summit last week. It was a big step in the final push to Istanbul, next May.

It’s been a rollercoaster. Stephen O’Brien (the UN’s relief chief) has outlined a vision that the summit should focus more on inspiration than transformation, reported as “the UN doesn’t need to change”.

In other words: inspiring states and others to support humanitarian action, rather than transforming the organisations that dominate the aid landscape. Previous leadership put more emphasis on transformation. But there is still a great opportunity for significant progress.

Here are the key messages I took away. There are four general messages and then more detail on community engagement. Continue reading

Ten steps to a better humanitarian system

jungs_blogThis is a reblog of a great piece from Nick van Praag, of Ground Truth Solutions. It was also posted by the CHS Alliance. There’s real food for thought here for the World Humanitarian Summit. But who will take the lead in making some of these changes happen? Will any of us stand up and be counted?

This week’s global consultation on the World Humanitarian Summit looks like it will be long on calls for commitment to reform and short on agreement about how to make it happen. Here are my ten suggestions for a better humanitarian system. Continue reading

More on the World Humanitarian Summit: it’s up to us.

I just posted this blog on Plan International’s website. It’s an update on preparations for the World Humanitarian Summit. It’s up to us to make it work.

The message from Kathmandu

The writing’s on the wall in Kathmandu

I’ve been working with the World Humanitarian Summit team over the last year, preparing for the huge summit looming in Istanbul next May. The whole process has its ups and downs. But it remains a unique opportunity to drive real progress in the sector. And we all have a role to play in making it succeed.

From a meeting in Berlin last week, it looks like the summit team will have to focus on headline reforms that need political commitment at the highest level. These are areas like: working out a new deal for hosting refugees, localising leadership for humanitarian action and global leadership for innovation or work in urban settings. Continue reading

Is a TripAdvisor for aid agencies a runner?

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Is there anybody there?

The idea of a “TripAdvisor for humanitarian aid” surfaced again in the World Humanitarian Summit consultations. Is it a runner?

On the face of it, it’s got a lot to offer. Recipients could rate the services they receive, using smartphones and a standard on-line platform. Their assessments would be publically available, creating a new level of transparency and accountability for aid agencies. Everyone would be able to see which agencies are doing well and agencies would have incentives to drive up performance.

It’s a good idea in theory. Continue reading

Making the most of the World Humanitarian Summit

WHS picturePreparations for the World Humanitarian Summit are heating up. The vast consultation process is coming to an end. I’ve been closely involved in work on ‘community engagement’ and accountability to affected people. Can you help strengthen recommendations in this area? Continue reading

Lessons from Haiyan: five steps to improve accountability to affected people

Humanitarian Exchange #63 coverI spent a fascinating morning this week at the launch of a special edition of Humanitarian Exchange on The Typhoon Haiyan Response in the Philippines. (Video to follow soon.)

We discussed how aid agencies can be more accountable to the people they serve. (“Accountability to Affected People”, AAP, in the jargon. Of which more below.) In general, this means enabling them to influence what we do. Continue reading

The inside view : Philip Tamminga replies on Certification and Core Humanitarian Standards

I’m delighted to introduce a guest blog, by Philip Tamminga, the Project Coordinator of SCHR’s Certification Project. He replies to my blog on the Core Humanitarian Standard and Certification processes with his own unique insights and five key points for success.

You may also be interested in Ed Schenkenberg’s informed & critical response (below the original blog).

TammingaThanks for drawing attention to these two important initiatives, the Core Humanitarian Standard and the Certification Review project. As you say, this is a real opportunity to make history in the humanitarian sector, and one we collectively can’t afford to miss.

For the last two years I have been leading the Certification Review project and have been heavily engaged in the CHS process. I would like to share some personal reflections on the issues you raise – this should not be interpreted as the position of the SCHR or it members. Continue reading

Making humanitarian history

Into the sunset together?

Into the sunset together?

Two high profile international initiatives are racing towards a historic conclusion in Copenhagen this December: the SCHR’s Certification Project and the Core Humanitarian Standard.

Both aim to reform the quality of humanitarian work. Will they come together in a beautiful Clooney-style marriage or are we heading for a Kardashian disaster? Continue reading