Watch the video from our High-level Panel Discussion ‘30 Days to Istanbul: Expectations for the World Humanitarian Summit and its Outcome’
/April 25, 2016/
30 days ahead of the Istanbul Summit, HERE-Geneva organized a public debate to explore whether or not the WHS will address the underlying obstacles that have long stood in the way of effective humanitarian action and what are the most important outcomes that we should expect. In a debate moderated by Ambassador Tania Dussey-Cavassini, Ms Jemilah Mahmood (Under Secretary General for Partnerships, IFRC), Mr Bruno Jochum (General Director of MSF Switzerland) and Mr Berk Baran (Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva) had frank and honest debate on the expectations towards WHS, the first-ever global meeting on humanitarian action.
Interview with our Executive Director, Ed Schenkenberg van Mierop
Watch the video from our High-level Panel Discussion ‘Universal Humanitarian Value and Principles: Accuracy or Fallacy?’
/ October 13, 2015 /
On the eve of the WHS Global Consultation, HERE-Geneva organized a public debate to explore the overarching question of whether humanitarian values and principles can reset political agendas. In a conversation moderated by Ambassador Tania Dussey-Cavassini, Mr As Sy (Secretary-General of the International Federation of the Red Cross), Mr Egeland (Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council), Ambassador Youssef (Assistant Secretary-General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and Ms. Modeer (State Secretary to the Minister for International Development Cooperation of Sweden) shared their views on the values and principles underpinning humanitarian action.
The panelists confirmed the role of the humanitarian principles as a compass and a necessary tool for engaging in humanitarian action. It is not their meaning that is being challenged, it is their implementation. Humanitarian actors are failing in delivering assistance but most of all protection. Everyone should be confronted with their own responsibilities. It is not up to humanitarian actors to provide political solutions.
Watch the video from debate organised jointly with ICRC ‘Walk the talk: Assessing the application of humanitarian principles on the ground’
/February 24, 2015/
A wide array of humanitarian actors pledge to respect the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence when providing assistance and protection to populations affected by armed conflicts or disasters. These principles, however, are being embraced by an increasingly diverse group of actors with uneven understandings and applications. Faced with misinterpretations, distortions, politicization and sometimes blatant rejection, they are at the forefront of the ongoing humanitarian debate. Yet, in the words of Yves Daccord, “principled humanitarian action is nothing more than an empty mantra unless it is translated into a meaningful response on the ground.”
Applying these principles ensures that the motivation and objectives of delivering assistance and protection are strictly humanitarian, that is, differentiated from other ‘transformative goals’ of an economic, political or social nature. Principled humanitarian action is about maintaining a neutral and independent posture which may favour the acceptance of humanitarian actors on the ground, facilitate their access to crisis affected populations, and therefore enable impartial humanitarian action based on people’s needs only.
But how do organisations verify the degree to which they are able to apply the humanitarian principles in their operations?
The panelists will engage in an honest debate about the relevance and practical implications of abiding by the humanitarian principles in operational environments. In particular, the discussion will centre on respective organisations ‘assess’ or ‘measure’ the application of these principles. What benchmarks do they, or should they have in place? Should they do self-assessments to ‘measure’ the application of humanitarian principles, or should this be done by an external entity? What do or should these assessments entail?