Outcomes of the ‘Interactive Dialogue on Humanitarian Financing’ ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS),

Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Kyung-wha Kang, opened the ‘Interactive Dialogue on Humanitarian Financing’ organised by the Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) programme together with Future Humanitarian Financing (FHF) at ECOSOC HAS yesterday, by stating that new solutions were needed to old challenges as the gap between requirements and funds listed in the UN appeals continue to rise. Over half-way through the year, less than a quarter of what is needed has currently been raised.  Moving forward with this theme, a panel, comprised of:

CHAIR: Anke Reiffenstuel, Deputy Head Task Force Humanitarian Aid, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Germany


  •  Sophia Swithern, Global Humanitarian Assistance (GHA) Programme Leader
  • Lydia Poole, Independent Consultant, Author of the Future Humanitarian Financing (FHF): Looking Beyond the Crisis report


  •  Robert Piper, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPt)
  •  Claus Sorenson, Director General, ECHO
  •  Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs in UN DESA
  •  Fatou Diagne Zaouini, Risk Management Advisor, Africa Risk Capacity

discussed a variety of proposed new solutions, responding to the Future Humanitarian Financing’s recently launched report Looking Beyond the Crisis and the new Global Humanitarian Assistance Report launched yesterday. Across the panel, panellists highlighted the need to engage more with development actors, play a more assertive role in political processes, move towards a more anticipatory ways of working and reduce inefficiencies present within the current system.

‘The Humanitarian Community needs to own the post-2015 agenda and develop a shared responsibility with the development community for addressing vulnerability and people’s long-term needs’

Thomas Gass, ASG, UN DESA


The discussion was followed by group work to develop recommendations on the future of humanitarian financing under five key themes identified in the GHA 2015 report and the FHF report ‘Looking Beyond the Crisis’ and central to discussions taking place as part of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and UN High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing. The themes for the five groups include ‘nationalising and localising the humanitarian response’, ‘the development and humanitarian nexus’, ‘embracing diversity to ensure sufficient funding’, ‘moving towards proactive ways of working to better meet peak demands’ and ‘upgrading the Humanitarian Architecture to address inefficiencies and strengthen needs-based funding’.

‘When we debate demand [for humanitarian assistance] outstripping supply, we mustn’t focus exclusively on raising more money but focus instead on reducing demand in the first place’

Robert Piper, RCHC oPT

The recommendations that resulted from the group work were presented to the official ECOSOC HAS High Level Panel on ‘Addressing capacity and resource challenges through humanitarian financing during afternoon of 18 June in order to inform discussions and feed into the conclusions from the panel by Anke Reiffenstuel, Deputy Head Task Force Humanitarian Aid, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Germany. The recommendations from the five groups are outlined below.

‘A key issue in the Humanitarian System is an attitude problem, Humanitarians must get out of their holes, stop hiding behind their principles and engage more with politcal communities to address fundamental underlying issues’

Claus Sorenson, DG ECHO

Group A: Nationalising and Localising Humanitarian Response:

1. A change in the national humanitarian architecture is needed to ensure local & national actors’ strategic involvement in context appropriate coordination mechanisms. This needs to be accompanied by placing a far greater proportion of international humanitarian assistance directly at a national level

2. Clarify the role of international organisations, to identify & understand where and how they add value, and where their role could be fulfilled by national actors.

Group B: The Development and Humanitarian Nexus:

1. Donors and wider actors should organise funding investments to create incentives for humanitarian, development, climate change and other concerned actors to work in complementarity to address longer-term needs of vulnerable and crisis-affected populations. This in practise means shifting from assessments to joint analysis, from planning to programming, and from funding to financing

2. Clarify the remit of humanitarian actors, recognising that they must work better with national governments and development actors where appropriate. At the same time, development actors must prioritise risk management, preparedness and resilience in order to ‘leave no one behind’.

Group C: Embracing diversity to ensure sufficient humanitarian funding:

1. To better engage emerging donors, we need to build trust and engage in mutually beneficially dialogue.

2. To increase the diversity in the funding base of humanitarian action, we must illustrate transparency, improved efficiency and performance.

Group D: Moving towards proactive ways of working to better meet peak demands:

1. Build national, sub-national and regional mechanisms and capacities for countries to manage their own crisis risks and financial preparedness before establishing a new global contingency fund as a default for managing risk.

2. To develop ways of working that better meets peak demand, we need to not only invest in institutions that better manage risk but also invest in behavioural change within the sector towards more anticipatory ways of working and sustained technical capacity at a local and national level

Group E: Upgrading the Humanitarian Architecture to address inefficiencies and strengthen needs-based funding:

1. Recognising that the current system perpetuates competition over resources, we need to strengthen understanding of donor preferences and behaviour, as well incentives for coordinated decision-making between donors. Underpinning this, the development of a shared understanding of global needs is vital to prioritising funding to particular crises.

2. Move towards results-based funding through multi-year funding and collaboration with development The measurement of outcomes should be undertaken on the basis of beneficiary feedback in addition to donor perspectives.

Read the Future Humanitarian Financing Recommendations by following the links below:




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