Stakeholder conference ECHO 2013

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  • 1. Stakeholder conference on the future of EU humanitarian aid. Bruxelles 2013Opening by Director General Mr Claus H Sorensen, European commission.The meeting could be organised despite of strike here in Belgium. The world is changing and weare facing new challenges. We have to work for being part of the change and the appropriateresponse to be organised.In Myanmar the cyclone was the time of organising a project for evacuation of Thousand ofpeople before it could hit the coast. By chance it has turned to other place. G8 was the place forObama to increase participation. Today the meeting is about organisation and process, we maykeep in mind that there is a reality behind that.Rising sea level and other climate change related events will participate to the humanitarian needas well as economics and technology side effect.Safety for humanitarian teams is not easy and doctors have been killed in several fieldoperations. There is a question about refugee situation in places where there is no clue on theproblem.ECHO have to stick on the field needs and work inside a framework called "partnershipagreement" because it must be possible to explain what is being done.All collaborators are actualy in the same building. Controversial issues will come on the discussionand also the consultation will merge with the comments during this meeting. The goal is to reachan agreement about what we should do, what we expect from NGO community and work withinternational agencies in order to work better.There are a lot of other issues to be studied.Presentation by ECHO of the findings of the stakeholder consultation.Online consultation was organised during three months. Two main blocks of questions in order toget opinions about participation, organisation, response etc...The questionnaire provided response from 55 NGOs, thinks tanks, individuals and otherstakeholders. The narrative is the most important result, while the graphic gives sometimesanother opinion from participants.The policy and pratice of EU humanitarian response must be improved even if the foundationsare confirmed. Numerous options for priority actions and variety of opinions are listed. Therewere very detailled answers, from various level of expertise.Innovation and technology, climate change and urban crises are the main trends forfuture response.Principles are linked to humanitarian aid from politics, focus on practical approach, and advocacy.Promotion of International Humanitarian law is another issue.Effectiveness, resilience between DDR and LRRD. Linked to dialogue, coordination and analysis.
  • 2. Quality of aid within existing framework. Direct and indirect delivery, work with partners.Coherence with civil protection, and Crisis management.Ideas.Coordination: better utilisation of COHAFA and support to international system to be improved.Partnership: explore possibilities with non EU partners.Pool third party funds.International system: promote effective system.New donors: engage participation of new partners.PPPS: cooperate only in special circumtances.Visibility: important but not a priority to appear everytime.Decision making: continue, improve, harmonise and support participation to existing process.Discussion about issues adresses in the consultation.Opening the discussion:How to improve the international system by EU action?How to engaged action with new donors?Humanitarian Aid as an influence tool instead of a response to field needs?It means that we are facing a lot of new emergency situations and we can have severalstrategies: prioritising or creating new kind of responses. Also designing exit strategies to end themost difficult situations.Work with private sector?It is on going and it may be done with acceptable goals and processes. If more actors andparticipation it is important to work with them on principles and humanitarian processes. Thecomplementarity can be organise for a good effectiveness. There are a lot of offers from privatesector to respond the situations but not easy to match principles and goals.There are situations when private sector response could increase the disaster because ofinappropriate response. Contribution is important when framed inside a partnership.Private sector participation might be easier to respond natural disasters because of fundsavailable. Also it is a question for ethics in cooperation with private sector.
  • 3. MSF is asking ECHO to be sure that delivery of humanitarian aid is done by humanitarianorganisations with principles.ECHO wants to be an intelligent donor but there is an impression that ECHO want to reinvent thewheel. For exemple the guideline for action was made by participation of NGOs and now ECHOwould like to impose the guideline to NGO community. NGOs are already using principles and itwould not change anything.For being an intelligent donor, ECHO should focuse on supporting quick response to emergencies.Christian Aid is enlighting that supporting local capacities to respond the needs is very important.An issue is raising in the disccusion about trouble made by massive external humanitarian helpthat is made to local private sector.Accountability is extremely important and ECHO is also imposing priorities on field actions forreponse linked to field assesment.Transparency is important for action.MSF talks about accountability by NGOs and International Agencies. For large response, even ifnot complex situation it is important to monitor the accountability of field actors in term ofquality. Focusing on response to needs always go down to fund reduction and accountability.The whole accountability chain is to be taken into account from fundraising to beneficiaries.Gender issue is sometimes seen as accountability matter but it is a more general question linkedto principles.There should be accessibility for local partners inside ECHO framework of action.Presentation by DG ECHO next steps and future policy initiative to improvehumanitarian Aid.Topics: Effectiveness of humanitarian Aid. The real efficiency is measured locally. Pooled fundsand trust funds are another issue. How to identify, manage and support innovation andtechnologies. Respect to International Humanitarian Law. How to adress urban conflicts?Combating vulnerabilities in disaster, rehabilitation and development situations. How to enhancecoordination between humanitarian and development actors?About the survey, a question linked to the number of answers because only nine member statereplied.Discussion: Stakeholders views on the planned policy proposal.MSF desagree Sustainability should be a guideline principle of intervention as written in thedocument. Civil Protection is not humanitarian action and should managed adequately. There areciscumtances when Aid workers and patients are in danger because of violence.
  • 4. A comment from OCHA speaker about other action that EU based was doing a lot on the field bychinese and bangladeshi doctors in Syria. How humanitarian Aid can be done better.Even if the summary of survey is closed, the comments and suggestions are welcome during thisconsultation.The work for coordination with development teams is to enhance cooperation in case ofemergencies. The goal is to make the action possible and take the bill of emergency action.World Vision ask the question of danger zone, are we there or not? It is important to have adiscussion about remote action. A total assesment of the countries is needed because there isneed where NGOs are not acting.It is important having only one plan of action by country, even wider than only humanitarian aidif needed. The reporting system and process must be rationalised because there are too manydetails. One of the strengh is to have 400 people looking at what NGO and Internationalcommunity are doing on the spot. It is important to have this network for reporting the realsituation. Also young girl education must be part of the game as well as adult litteracy. Twentypercent of NGOs (& other partners) are not in the system and that is an issue. Eight chapters arecovering the whole issues. Whatever will be writtten on Humanitarian policies will be EUcommission statement. It is important to think who will read the guidelines and policies becauseit will have an impact on how it is written.The international action when emergency occurs depends on efficient assesment and globalapproach for relevant local action. Then, cooperation with local development action is enablingsmooth and valid operations.How to measure impact?The proliferation indicators and variability from one country to the other is a complex process.The scope can not be captured through the indicators.How to push the system and how to enhance financing participation from donors?For technology point, it is interesting to develop data collection for efficient operations. Personaland public data can be organised for file sharing amongst organisations.Combating vulnerabilities.About urban conflicts, IRC is working on that kind of events. Urban violence shows there is aneed to reinforce local partners.Access to beneficiaries and reaching the spot are not always simple. Depending sometimes onpolitics or natural situation.Visibilty is requiered for showing to the public that projects are going on. But it is also a securitypoint, visiibilty is sometimes counter productive. ECHO need to have visibility of project. MSFmention that visibility on the web can also be counterproductive because access to Information ispossible anywhere. People are able to follow what is going on in their own country.
  • 5. UNDA is speaking about integrated action with participation of local communities forempowerment. Also sustainable action is requiered for long term effect of missions.Livehood support is also a good point for a better repatriation process when the situation enablesthis.Entry strategy could be to coordinate with existing development platforms because they usuallywork on the field before events. The continuity with humanitarian action and development mayhelp to make operations more relevant and durable.The common funding for projects is facing the problem that humanitarian budget will be used tofinance development work.Closing: more work will be done to keep everybody connected and concerned about ECHOpolicies.Published by RDM-ROW Dominique Deschamps