Key Trends and Challenges facing the Humanitarian System


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  • Note on hypothesis point, just in case they ask – because it is only fair to point out that while coordination solves some problems, it may create others (depending on the model used to achieve coordination), potentially including: High process cost – meetings and other mechanisms Decrease in response speed Increased homogeneity, leading to potential avoidance of risk and innovation
  • NB: We will be launching the Leadership study on 9 th June, all very welcome! Humanitarian Leadership requires same generic skills as leadership in other sectors, but weighting is different, and there is a particular emphasis on networking and relational skills; working in complexity with limited information; values and sectoral experience
  • NB: middle not exactly middle, but all minus G20 and LDCs From: World Urbanization Prospects, the 2009 revision. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  • Source: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 (synthesis report)
  • Source: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007 (synthesis report)
  • Caveat – these overall trends speculative – many variables (migration; demographics; technological advances) not taken into account, and feedback relationship between elements (increased population leads to wars, for example) not taken into account. BUT The trends above suggest that populations of concern in model 4 will increase – largely because populations will continue to grow rapidly in these areas And also because populations of concern in model 2/3 will increase – with popln growth, but also with an increased number of states developing (assumption) and with increased urbanisaiton, bringing people especially to coasts and megadeltas.
  • ‘ Business as usual’: adequate, but not optimal for model 4. Inadequate for models 2/3 Improve ability to respond to model 4 – ‘providers of last resort’: this would require addressing the key challenges (above): Much more effective for model 4 Improve ability to respond to models 2, 3,4 – ‘humanitarian partners’ This would require the system (particularly NGOs??) to address key challenges and engage with the state in new ways:
  • Key Trends and Challenges facing the Humanitarian System

    1. 1. Montreux XI Key Trends and Challenges facing the Humanitarian System Presentation by John Mitchell, Director ALNAP
    2. 2. Typology of Response: 4 Models <ul><li>Model 1 : </li></ul><ul><li>States with existing or emerging social contract </li></ul><ul><li>Limited role for international agencies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>China- Sichuan earthquake </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>USA- Hurricane Katrina </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chile- earthquake 2010 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Australia- floods 2010 </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Typology of response <ul><li>Model 2: </li></ul><ul><li>States with a growing capacity to respond </li></ul><ul><li>Request international agencies to supplement local capacities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pakistan earthquake 2005 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>India- Bihar floods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mozambique- floods 2008 </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Typology of response <ul><li>Model 3: </li></ul><ul><li>States with limited capacity to respond and protect their citizens </li></ul><ul><li>request international agencies to supplement their efforts resulting in a fully fledged international response: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Bangladesh- Cyclone Sidr </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Haiti- earthquake </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Typology of response <ul><li>Model 4: </li></ul><ul><li>States without resilient social contract and providing very limited assistance (and protection) for their citizens in times of disasters </li></ul><ul><li>International system provides a combination of direct delivery of aid combined with diplomacy and advocacy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Myanmar Cyclone Nargis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sudan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Somalia </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Zimbabwe </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(source: Ramalingam, B.) </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Aid to fragile states Source: Development Initiatives GHA
    7. 7. A snapshot of current system-wide performance <ul><li>Growth </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Funding up in all sectors (still perceived as insufficient?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased delivery of materials and services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>More agencies and aid workers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Improvement? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeliness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coordination </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Needs assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Upward accountability </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Progress is incremental and generally slow </li></ul>
    8. 8. 5 Key Challenges <ul><ul><li>Preparedness and Risk Reduction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Partnership and working together </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leadership </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accountability to recipients </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovation </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Key Challenge 1: Be better prepared and reduce risk <ul><li>National governments increasingly effective on DRR </li></ul><ul><li>International System’s focus mainly on specific inputs, sector or community </li></ul><ul><li>Limited impact – vulnerability reduced but due to other interventions rather than directly from DRR projects </li></ul><ul><li>DRR requires working in a holistic way across a range of sectors </li></ul>
    10. 10. Key Challenge 2: Be better partners and coalition players <ul><li>Coordination - lack of incentives to coordinate </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Me first’ attitude amongst agencies </li></ul><ul><li>When things go wrong: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>duplication of activities; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>competition for local staff and resources; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>inappropriate substitution for government services; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>undermining of local structures </li></ul></ul>Hypothesis: Aid works best through effective collective action
    11. 11. Key Challenge 3: Better leadership <ul><li>Humanitarian operational leadership requires: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>networking and relational skills; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>working in complexity with limited information; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>values and sectoral experience </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Model of ‘strong leader’ and ‘follower’ replaced by model of distributed leadership? </li></ul><ul><li>Requires sector to look at assumptions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>about what leadership is </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>about attitude to risk </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Key Challenge 4: Be more accountable to recipients <ul><li>Upward accountability </li></ul><ul><li>System-wide accountability </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability to affected populations </li></ul>
    13. 13. Key Challenge 5: Be more innovative <ul><li>System tends to operate within the same mental and practical models: real improvements require changes in mindset and organisational culture </li></ul><ul><li>Recent innovations include </li></ul><ul><ul><li>community-based feeding therapy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>cash-based programming </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>use of mobile phones </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Future trends - Urbanisation <ul><li>World tipping into being more urban than rural </li></ul>
    15. 15. Future trends – Natural Disasters <ul><li>Very likely increase in heat waves, floods and droughts (with associated disease morbidity and mortality) </li></ul><ul><li>Likely increase in tropical cyclone intensity and frequency </li></ul><ul><li>Asian and African mega deltas particularly at risk </li></ul>
    16. 16. Future trends – Livelihood Security <ul><li>Changes in water availability – </li></ul><ul><li>“ hundreds of millions of people to </li></ul><ul><li>exposed water stress” </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in cereal productivity – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IPCC says Africa likely to be “adversely </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>affect[ed]” </li></ul></ul>
    17. 17. Future trends and models of response
    18. 18. What this means for the international humanitarian system <ul><li>Three options: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Business as usual’ </li></ul><ul><li>Improve ability to respond to model 4 ‘providers of last resort’ </li></ul><ul><li>Improve ability to respond to models 2, 3, 4 ‘humanitarian partners’ </li></ul>
    19. 19. The role of the State in emergency response <ul><li>1990’s: rise of NGOs </li></ul><ul><li>Tension between sovereign role of state and fundamental humanitarian principles </li></ul><ul><li>BUT - recognition that dialogue and some form of cooperation need to begin in earnest </li></ul>EU relief budget
    20. 20. Findings from 26 th ALNAP Meeting <ul><li>NDMAs and regional bodies playing increasingly prominent role in both DRR & emergency response </li></ul><ul><li>This activity not being picked up: danger of a dislocated system </li></ul><ul><li>Tensions revealed between different stakeholders: need to build trust </li></ul>
    21. 21. Meeting findings <ul><li>Seeing a move away from traditional model of international humanitarian assistance towards a new model of humanitarian cooperation </li></ul><ul><li>NDMAs want to create guiding principles for collaboration between governments and international humanitarian actors </li></ul>
    22. 22. Summary <ul><li>Four current response models </li></ul><ul><li>Future trends running counter to current paradigms </li></ul><ul><li>5 key challenges: preparedness; partnerships and coalitions; leadership; accountability and innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Towards a new model of humanitarian cooperation </li></ul>
    23. 23. Key action points <ul><li>Move towards a comprehensive framework for DRR and humanitarian response. </li></ul><ul><li>Rethink the concept of risk in relation to supporting leadership and innovation </li></ul><ul><li>Rethink the traditional model of humanitarian response so that the affected population and governments are ‘insiders’ </li></ul><ul><li>Build collaborative structures and processes required for these structures </li></ul>