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HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS SEGMENT

The ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment which took place from 13 – 15 July 2010, provided an important forum where Member States and Humanitarian Organizations discussed the challenges, opportunities and activities related to the strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations.

At its organizational session for 2010, the Council decided: (a) that the theme of the Humanitarian Affairs Segment will be “Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian assistance”; and (b) that it will convene two panel discussions, of which the topics will be: (i) “Humanitarian assistance operations in highly hazardous, or insecure and unsafe environments”; (ii) “Strengthening preparedness for humanitarian emergencies and the coordinated provision of humanitarian assistance, in particular addressing the humanitarian needs of the affected populations and the factors that increase susceptibility to humanitarian emergencies” (Council decision E/2010/L.3). Each panel featured high-level participation from Member States, relevant UN agencies, NGOs and experts.

The panel discussion on "Humanitarian assistance operations in highly hazardous, or insecure and unsafe environments” took place on Wednesday, 14 July 2010. The discussion focused, from an operational perspective, on how to maintain the ability of humanitarian organisations to operate in insecure and high-risk environments and look at issues such as risk and security management for humanitarian operations, coordination with national and local authorities and management of perceptions and acceptance at all levels.

The panel on "Strengthening preparedness for humanitarian emergencies and the coordinated provision of humanitarian assistance, in particular addressing the humanitarian needs of the affected populations and the factors that increase susceptibility to humanitarian emergencies," took place on Thursday, 15 July 2010. The discussion focused on how to better support governments in addressing more systematically humanitarian needs that arise from chronic and acute vulnerabilities, and looked at issues such as improved monitoring of humanitarian needs in developmental and slow-onset disaster contexts, preparedness for response and strengthened partnerships with non-traditional humanitarian actors.

Scheduled for Tuesday afternoon 13 July, in between the Operational and Humanitarian Affairs Segments, was the informal ECOSOC event on "Transition from relief to development, lessons learned from the experience in Haiti”(summary). This event provided an opportunity to take stock of the recovery efforts in Haiti, drew lessons learned and discussed good practices and remaining challenges.

In the margins of the Segment, there was the annual "Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) 2010 Mid-Year Review Launch" and five informal side events: "The Power of Resource Flows – Tackling Issues of Financing for Transition", hosted by the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations; "Resilient Cities: Disaster Risk Reduction in an Urbanizing World", facilitated by the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR); "Challenges for Gender Equality Programming in Humanitarian Action: Operating in High Risk Environments, Lessons from Haiti and Introduction to New Gender Tools" facilitated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Subworking Group on Gender in Humanitarian Action; "Environmental Emergencies: At Humanitarian and Environmental Crossroads", hosted by the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations; and "Human Rights in Humanitarian Emergency Response: A Contribution from the Special Procedures Mechanisms", facilitated by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to the United Nations.

For more information, please contact Mr. Daniel Pfister, Policy Development and Studies Branch, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, at ecosocinfo@un.org.

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