Browse by Theme: Conflict & Fragility

The World Humanitarian Summit has had a rough ride over the past few months, not least from us at CARE, who have noisily demanded it engage with the need for political action and that it fully address the huge gender differences in disaster and conflict. However, to my surprise, at the end of the first day, it’s mostly achieved its aims.

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Back in 2013, a senior UN policy-maker told CARE: “Gender isn’t summit-worthy.” Since then, concerted advocacy by hundreds of women and men has turned this around. CARE has played a leading role by co-convening the first global consultation with over 40 women from every region with the WHS Secretariat, and following up at the national level in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Jordan and elsewhere. So what can we expect from the Summit, and what are the next steps?

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CARE's progress towards achieving gender equality in humanitarian programming

Over the past five years CARE has invested significantly in working on gender in emergencies. This report demonstrates CARE’s progress and highlights the impact and importance of gender sensitive and equality approaches for ensuring that women and girls are reached and empowered through humanitarian action.

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Currently an average of only 0.2% of global humanitarian aid goes directly to local or national NGOs and civil society organisations. Multiple studies have shown that local capacity is often significantly underutilised, undervalued and overlooked by larger international organisations.

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One of the three key goals of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on 23-24 May is to “reaffirm our commitment to humanity and humanitarian principles.” Sitting here in Amman, Jordan, working closely with Syrian colleagues delivering assistance inside Syria, as well as to the five million refugees who have been displaced from the country, the pressing need to reaffirm these commitments is clear.

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A week ago, MSF announced that they are pulling out of the World Humanitarian Summit, slamming the process for its failure to tackle the major challenges facing efforts to protect and assist people in times of crisis. Indeed they went so far as to state that the Summit process was part of the problem – by its agenda blurring the lines between development, political and humanitarian action.

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With humanitarian crises in the Middle East, Africa and Asia having reached the shores of Europe, political attention is finally fixed at what is perhaps the greatest challenge of our time: reversing the trend of ever greater numbers of people deprived and displaced by war or natural disasters, and the failure to provide them with the dignified assistance they need. The World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul on May 23 and 24 is an historic opportunity to kick-start that effort. Unfortunately, despite years of preparation and a very thorough process of consultation by the UN, I fear this opportunity is going to be missed.

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