Monday, May 30, 2016

Helen Clark: Risk and Vulnerability Analysis Special Session World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul May 23-24, 2016

The question for Ms Clarke was on why is tackling risk is so important not just for the world humanitarians but also for sustainable development.

Thank you, one of the themes which UNDP run through all the major agenda setting conferences last year was that if development isn’t risk informed it cannot be sustainable development, at the most fundamental level we see natural disasters either shaking down or washing away or drying up development gains and so not to approach development with a risk informed lens is to endanger every investment that’s made in development and to probably set development up for very significant setbacks and indeed for the scale of humanitarian response that is sadly so often in call before.  If we were looking just at times of risk around the natural disasters clearly where you build your infrastructure, the strength to which you construct it, the level of engagement with your community and being aware of risks and being able to participate in and help direct the nature of risk reduction, these are all highly relevant to sustainable development but then I think the sessions are also calling our attention to interconnected risks and I think if we look at…what are the real risks to not achieving a goal like sustainable development goal one on the eradication of extreme poverty, what we will see I think is increasing the extreme poverty concentrated in a cluster of countries with certain characteristics which will be deep and entrenched inequalities, poor governance, risk of conflict and exposure to natural disaster and these things all tend to of course reinforce each other in a downward spiral to crisis so I think we need to be very conscious of the interconnected risks and address them comprehensively and that is why a summit like this one which is very much seeking to bring the shared analysis of humanitarian’s development act, human rights act as peaceful as whatever analysis, bring these analysis together and scanning the horizon to see where the risks are.  In a sense we know about the natural disaster risk, it may not be that easy to overcome in the year of climate change when we’re looking at worsening weather for the next 60 or 70 years but I think we more or less understand what has to be done with these more complex interconnected risks in countries which are fragile which is the hardest way we’ve come and sadly have seen some of the most profound calls for humanitarian relief at this time.

A follow up question sought to draw Ms Clarke's opinions on the future vision for sustainable development…

Well I might and address the platform just so the total support of … there’s been a lot of consultation go into the global risk platform and I think it can only be a good thing but I really want to concentrate my comment on sight, if we’re going to get risk informed development when we build and support national and local capacities to drive that development so often these discussions about us as developing the national development or other organisations but development has to happen in countries, it has to be led by governments, local, sub-national, by communities, it falls to society to participation.  I was thinking as I was listening and particularly to about some of the really exciting things you see at the local level with governance taken into their own hands to really push ahead. I remember back in the early in the second decade of this century there was an appalling drought in Niger, people died.  By the time the next one came Niger had taken action itself, it used to have partners supporting them but it came up with its own programme for food security and called it Nigerians Nurturing Nigerians, the three N’s campaign and as a result of that they have in place an early warning system that told them that another bad drought was coming but there was time to get systems in place and growing the international pathways and so on. That’s in the basis for moving on to other initiatives, I think the insurances it spreads has an enormous role to play in getting the local products that support the small holders in countries like it.  I can think of another example in Kenya, this is an example they did to prices.  The 2007 election was not a good experience in Kenya, it was a bad experience but the experience was that where the local communities and their local peace architecture because they knew there was potential risks, they could hold in peace and that was then next time to have a peaceful election so my plea really is can we all acknowledge that we’re in this business to support locals and national building the capacity to do it themselves, that’s development, that’s how we’ll truly sustain the risk in formal development.   

Many thanks to Ms Emma Hall for the transciption :)


Just back from the first World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul, Turkey. 

As academics, we had a minor but not unimportant role. The following statement provides a normative baseline for future research and is signed by over 50 academics, many of them world leading scholars in the area of human rights. The first commitment opens Indigenous Knowledge as having an important future role in research supporting humanitarian action for our communities.

"The future of effective responses to humanitarian crises depends on developing a strong base of knowledge about current emergencies, future threats and their contexts; the populations affected by these emergencies; and the legal frameworks, institutions and interventions that seek to meet humanitarian needs and resolve these crises. Those engaged in humanitarian studies, which includes research and education, are essential to this effort.

Humanitarian studies critically examines the ways in which humanitarian crises originate and evolve, how they affect people, institutions and societies, and the responses they trigger. This field is not simply about being an instrumental partner to humanitarian actors in addressing the policy and practice issues of today. Humanitarian studies is about critically engaging with forces and factors that create positive change in order to imagine and achieve a different future for the world.

Humanitarian studies scholars present at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) and the International Humanitarian Studies Association (IHSA) make the following six commitments:

1. We commit to make humanitarian research more collaborative and inclusive, especially with non-traditional knowledge actors and affected communities, and to ensure that knowledge is relevant to policy and practice.

2. We commit to research the impacts of the WHS - both positive and negative - on those affected by humanitarian emergencies and the future of humanitarian action. This research will include assessing the fulfillment and non-fulfillment of commitments made by WHS participants; the impact of those commitments; and the process and history of the summit itself.

3. We commit to further develop and adopt evidence-based approaches relevant to humanitarian research. Member states and humanitarian actors should support the achievement of this commitment by making humanitarian research and education a political, financial, and operational priority.

4. We commit to localize humanitarian research and education within the regions and communities affected by emergencies by recognizing, establishing, supporting and collaborating with research and educational institutions in crisis-affected areas. Member states should work to remove political, regulatory, and financial barriers that impede research and prevent the development of research institutions in crisis-affected areas.

5. We commit to improve the impact and increase the use of humanitarian research by encouraging and supporting trans-disciplinary research that collaborates with non-traditional knowledge actors. To this end, we will strive to make our research accessible and relevant beyond traditional venues, such as conferences and publications, by placing the enfranchisement of affected communities themselves at the center of our work.

6. We commit to protect academic freedom, uphold scientific ethics, and be accountable for the research we do, how it is undertaken, and how it is used. We will seek to make our results and data as open and public as possible, ensuring that our ethical obligations to the populations we research and those we research them with come first."

David Cantor
Alpaslan Özerdem
Doris Schopper
Oreste Foppiani
Galya B Ruffer
Graciela Loarche
François Grunewald
Michael van Rooyen
Michel Veuthey
Karl Blanchet
Ranjana Mukhopadhyaya
Lucatello Simone
Alexander Betts
Dan Maxwell
Gilles Carbonier
Antonio Donini
Simon Lambert
Alex de Waal
Dennis Dijkzeul
Joost Herman
Mihir Bhatt
Julia Steets
Kirsten Johnson
Bertrand Taithe
Wendy Fenton
Kristin Sandvik
Mitulo Silengo
Lydia Poole
Ibrahim Awad
Mahbuba Nasreen
Jacob Opadeyi
Wasseem Abaza
Ezzeddine Abdelmoula
Michael Barnett
Jyotsna Puri
Tanja Granzow
Cassie Kenney
Jeremy Collymore
Andrew Collins
Catherine Bragg
Alistair Edgar
Martine Najem
Seun Kolade
Mukesh Kapila
Kirsten Geldorf
Helen Young
Graham Sem
Anna Goos
Susan Akram
Patrick Vink
Wolf Dieter Eberwein
Randolph Kent

Bonaventure Rutinwa

With Professor Thea Hilhorst, Professor of Humanitarian Aid and Reconstruction
Simon Lambert

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