‘No Time To Retreat’ Report by UN OCHA
The reinforcement, rather than replacement, of local and national crisis management systems by international actors was the most reported area of progress by the participating stakeholders, according to ‘No Time To Retreat’ by UN OCHA, the first annual synthesis report on progress since the World Humanitarian Summit.
The Agenda for Humanity outlines a plan to meet humanitarian needs, mitigate human suffering, risk and vulnerability during humanitarian crises. Twenty four transformations have been identified to achieve this, which are embedded within five core responsibilities illustrated below.
Areas of advancement are becoming apparent as work has commenced on the above transformations. The Global Partnership for Preparedness has received submissions from 25 countries to strength preparedness capacities, whilst the Education Cannot Wait Fund secured US$ 120 million for education in emergencies.
Although progress has been achieved, it has been varied across different aspects of the agenda, with key development areas remaining unaltered. In accordance with the report, change to the humanitarian financing paradigm is crucial, and yet, progress on the diversification of the funding base has been minimal. Furthermore, financing must be better aligned with the achievement of collective outcomes.
The report concluded with several recommendations of mechanisms to advance the various initiatives and ultimately meet the five core responsibilities.
The five core responsibilities outlined within the Agenda for Humanity are as follows:
1. Prevent and end conflicts
Core Responsibility One necessitates political leadership which works to prevent and end violent conflict, as well as early detection of crises. It is further achieved through the involvement of women, youth, faith-based groups and the private sector, in decision-making and developing sustainable solutions. Given the lack of humanitarian solutions to humanitarian crises, the OCHA report suggests this core responsibility should be the highest priority. The necessity for a global effort to enhance the protection of civilians during conflict is emphasised.
2. Respect the rules of war
The second core responsibility is achieved by ensuring that civilians and civilian objects are protected during armed conflicts and human suffering is minimised through the delivery of humanitarian and medical assistance during war. Furthermore, the Agenda for Humanity emphasises the importance of compliance with international humanitarian and human rights laws, requiring that any violations of this law are revealed and that the rules of war are widely known and respected. According to the report, stakeholders have reported on increased funding and implementation of new approaches which address both the short and long-term needs of refugees.
3. Leave no one behind
Core Responsibility Three of the Agenda for Humanity calls for the reduction of displacement of people, the grant of safety and international protection to refugees and asylum seekers and the mitigation of vulnerabilities and inequalities faced by migrants. This responsibility further requires that every individual is granted a nationality; gender equality is achieved through the empowerment of women and all children are provided access to quality education. It additionally suggests that needs and rights of the most disadvantaged people should be met in crises. The report identifies the lack of progress to address and reduce both internal and cross-border displacement, particularly within the context of climate change and disasters. The report calls for political and humanitarian agendas to prioritise the issue of mitigating internal displacement, with two-thirds of all forcibly displaced people being internally displaced.
4. Work differently to end need
This core responsibility focuses upon the necessity to anticipate crises and reinforce, rather than replace, national and local crisis response and management systems. Progress in this area has been stalled due to debates on how international action should “reinforce, not replace” in various contexts.
5. Invest in humanity
The fifth, and final, core responsibility calls for greater and sustained investment to prevent, respond and recover from disasters, as well as conflict prevention, mediation, and peacebuilding. The Agenda for Humanity additionally calls for risk-informed investments, leading to fewer countries vulnerable to crises. This responsibility is further achieved through more diversified financing tools and resources and efficient spending of resources. The UN OCHA report states that donors are increasing humanitarian multi-year funding, advancing education and social protection systems.The report highlights the importance of increased investment in databases, to provide more timely, reliable and accurate data to better track violations of international humanitarian law and provide comprehensive multi-hazard risk analysis. The requirement for additional investment in risk reduction mechanisms and early warning triggers to improve resilience and timely action during disaster response is further considered.
Read the full report “No Time To Retreat”.
The Aid and International Development Forum (AIDF) will host a number of events throughout 2018 to further discuss humanitarian and development challenges. On 27-28 February 2018, the 3rd annual Aid & Development Africa Summit will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, bringing together 300+ humanitarian and development leaders, decision-makers and advisors committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in the region. The Summit presents an opportunity to explore best practice, policy and project updates, innovation and partnerships in humanitarian logistics, health & WASH, emergency communication, shelter, disaster resilience, financial inclusion and use of technology for development programmes in Africa. For more information about Aid & Development Africa Summit, please visit africa.aidforum.org
On 5-6 September 2018, the 10th anniversary Global Disaster Relief & Development Summit will be held in Washington D.C. with an aim to facilitate further break down of silos between aid and development, address global challenges, explore innovations and opportunities for cross-sector collaboration between UN and government agencies, Red Cross, NGOs, development banks, investors and businesses. Agenda topics include disaster response and resilience, ICT and data, humanitarian logistics, emergency health and WASH, as well as procurement and funding of disaster response initiatives. To learn more, see disaster-relief.aidforum.org
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Image 1 Source: ANSAmed; Image 2 Source: UN OCHA