An alarming number of countries are trapped in humanitarian crises that are increasingly protracted or recurring due to a combination of complex conflict dynamics, economic and development challenges, political instability, insecurity, and cyclical natural hazards. There are humanitarian needs on an epic scale occurring in simultaneous crises around the world. And in spite of the considerable growth of the international humanitarian sector and record levels of humanitarian financing, the gap between the needs and the international humanitarian capacity to respond to these needs is greater than ever.
The ICM hosted its eleventh retreat on January 14-15 on humanitarian engagements, with senior officials and experts from the UN, its member States, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement, academia, NGOs and civil society. The retreat’s goal was to identify concrete proposals as to how the multilateral system can be adjusted to better respond to the main challenges for international humanitarian action in the twenty-first century that require consideration and decision making at the multilateral level.
The first session of the retreat focused on the international community’s capacity to stem humanitarian needs by preventing conflict and disaster and strengthening compliance with international law. The second session discussed ways to address impediments to full and safe access for humanitarian actors to reach people in need and deliver a response. The third and last session looked at systemic challenges to ensuring an adequate, timely, effective, and sustainable humanitarian response to humanitarian crises that are increasingly complex and protracted in nature.
Discussions were held under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution and were moderated by ICM Secretary-General Hardeep Singh Puri, Dr. Els Debuf, ICM Senior Advisor on Humanitarian Affairs, and H.E. Mr. Michael Grant, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires at the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations. Yves Daccord, Director General of the International Committee of the Red Cross and David Miliband, President and Chief Executive Officer of the International Rescue Committee delivered keynote addresses.
The Public Consultation on this topic will be held June 3, 2016.