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

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

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

Five lessons from the UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact

Traffic lightThe UK’s Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) published another fascinating review of DFID’s work this month. It’s well worth a look, for their methods as much as their findings.

This one was on DFID’s Contribution to the Reduction of Child Mortality in Kenya. (Good summary here from the Guardian.)

It builds on an impressive few years work. ICAI have developed a sensitive approach to systematically assessing a wide range of programmes. And some practical tools others in the sector may be able to learn from. Their work is not perfect. But it’s the result of a lot of thoughtful investment and looks pretty good from the outside. Continue reading

Listening to those who matter most: two inspiring new publications

More and more people are writing about how feedback can improve the quality and accountability of aid. And we’re seeing more serious pilots about how we can use feedback systems at scale.

For example, DFID’s major piloting exercise on using feedback systems to improve aid is getting into gear. Just last week Mark Maxson blogged on a new collaboration called Feedback Labs, working on the same issues.

Two major new publications provide more inspiration to all of us. Both point to similar obstacles and ways forward. And they both lay down a challenge for everyone involved in the debate. Continue reading