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HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS SEGMENT

The ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment, which took place from 19 – 21 July 2011 in Geneva, 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 “Working in partnership to strengthen coordination of humanitarian assistance in a changing world”; and (b) that it will convene two panel discussions, of which the topics will be: (i) “Preparing for the future – predictable, effective, flexible and adequate humanitarian financing and its accountable use to meet the evolving needs and challenges for the delivery of humanitarian assistance”; (ii) “Strengthening resilience, preparedness and capacities for humanitarian response” (Council decision E/2011/L.7). Each panel featured high-level participation from Member States, relevant UN agencies, NGOs and experts.

The panel discussion on "Preparing for the future – predictable, effective, flexible and adequate humanitarian financing and its accountable use to meet the evolving needs and challenges for the delivery of humanitarian assistance” took place on Wednesday, 20 July 2011. The discussion focused on broader issues of humanitarian financing ensuring that the humanitarian financing system can support meeting humanitarian needs both in terms of ensuring rapid and well-coordinated response, as well as the ability to address emerging requirements amid a growing humanitarian caseload due to the combination of protracted complex emergencies, the increase in frequency and intensity of natural disasters, and increasing vulnerabilities due to global challenges. In this regard, investment in preparedness, funding tools to support the transition from humanitarian to sustainable development contexts, as well as aligning humanitarian funding tools and those of international financial institutions or regional and national mechanisms, were also explored.

The panel on "Strengthening resilience, preparedness and capacities for humanitarian response," took place on Thursday, 21 July 2011. The discussion focused on improving the understanding of humanitarians’ role in preparedness, and how humanitarians can strengthen partnerships with governments, regional institutions and relevant development actors to develop response capacities. As data points to an increase in frequency and intensity of disasters, and the recent large-scale disasters demonstrating some of the limits of capacity of the international humanitarian response system, meaningfully strengthening the resilience of populations through better preparedness of countries and regions at risk is becoming urgent.

Scheduled on Tuesday morning, 19 July, in between the Operational Activities Segment and Humanitarian Affairs Segment, was the informal ECOSOC event on "The role of the United Nations and the international community in supporting the capacity of the Government of South Sudan to manage the transition.”

In the margins of the Segment, there was also the annual ‘Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) Mid-Year Review’ and several informal side events (a list of side-events will be posted shortly).

The Report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance of the United Nations was presented at the Segment.

Contact

For more information on the Humanitarian Affairs Segment, 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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