Learning sessions and webinars organized by the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection open to members and the wider humanitarian community.
Here's the Latest Episode from PHAP: Learning sessions and webinars:
In most crisis response contexts, multiple protection actors are seeking to access affected populations. As humanitarian actors are interdependent, with the actions of one affecting all other actors in a response context, they often face situations where there are coordination challenges related to access and protection.
On 25 June, PHAP, NRC, and the GPC organized the fourth session of the webinar series on access and protection, which focused on issues related to coordinated negotiations and approaches to access – including the use of armed escorts, civil-military coordination, and coordination with peacekeeping missions – and how these relate to protection.
More information about this event at https://phap.org/25jun2020
More than 61 per cent of the world’s refugees and 80 per cent of internally displaced people live in urban areas. The role of towns, cities, counties and provinces in creating inclusive communities and promoting hope has never been as important. They offer safety and shelter and can enable access to local services, education and job opportunities.
The Global Compact on Refugees aims to implement a more holistic approach in responding to refugee displacement and recognizes the important role that local authorities play as first responders to large-scale refugee situations.
Intercultural Cities (ICC) is a Council of Europe policy development and implementation programme that supports local authorities around the World in comprehensive approaches that are inclusive of migrants and refugees. On 18 June, 2020, two days before World Refugee Day, we heard how cities in Europe are making their cities spaces where everyone can live in safety, become self-reliant, and contribute to and participate in their local community.
Read more on https://phap.org/18jun2020
Read more about this event on https://phap.org/11jun2020
In order to carry out their work for the protection of affected people, humanitarian actors need access to reach those people with needs assessments and services. But that access can bring with it negative consequences – for those receiving assistance or protection services, for focal points and contact persons, or for society as a whole. Knowing how to approach and address these potential risks related to access and protection is critical.
On 11 June, we held the third session of the webinar series on access and protection, which focused on issues related to when humanitarian actors have access, but either the access itself or the kinds of programming possible to carry out leads to protection risks.
We were joined by a panel of experts who discussed some of the types of situations that practitioners face, and specific examples submitted by the participants.
Read more at https://phap.org/5jun2020
The four principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence are the foundations of humanitarian action. Guided by these principles, humanitarian organizations work to ensure that assistance and protection go to those most in need. As well as forming the basis of their work, the principles enable humanitarian organizations to gain and maintain acceptance from communities and parties to conflicts, helping ensure the safety of staff.
However, as counterterrorism measures become increasingly common at international and national levels, humanitarian organizations remain concerned about the impact of these on their ability to maintain a principled approach. While humanitarian organizations are, usually, not the target of these measures, they nevertheless pose real risks to operations, staff, and beneficiaries.
On 5 June 2020, we launched NRC's new Toolkit for Principled Humanitarian Action: Managing Counterterrorism Risks. This event provided an opportunity for representatives of several key stakeholders to take stock of this issue, five years on from the launch of the original Toolkit. It allowed for an exchange on the current state of the impact of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian organizations and the associated risks. What measures are humanitarian organisations taking to address these risks? What role can donors play in risk management? What are the emerging challenges and opportunities?
The Toolkit for Principled Humanitarian Action: Managing Counterterrorism Risks updates the information contained in the 2015 Risk Management Toolkit in Relation to Counterterrorism Measures to reflect recent developments in this area. It aims to raise awareness of counterterrorism-related risks so that organizations can identify and mitigate these, and to make risk management approaches accessible to a broad range of staff who can use these in their day to day work.
The toolkit is available at https://www.nrc.no/shorthand/stories/toolkit-for-principled-humanitarian-action/index.html
Read more at https://phap.org/3jun2020
Humanitarian work is in most cases carried out in insecure environments and situations, making it critical for organizations to be able to identify and manage security risks affecting their operations. Although Security Risk Management (SRM) in the humanitarian sector has increasingly gained the attention of policy makers and practitioners, the current COVID-19 crisis highlights challenges in how to apply risk management, including in terms of duty of care. Delivering humanitarian aid under COVID-19 restrictions has also underlined the critical role of local actors and the importance to discuss risk transfer and risk sharing between international, national, and local humanitarian actors.
On 3 June, ICVA and PHAP organized the first webinar in the new Learning Stream on Risk Management in Practice, aimed at exploring the current state of risk management in the humanitarian sector. In this webinar, we looked at the key findings from a new briefing paper from ICVA and researchers from the Graduate Institute on security risk management in humanitarian organizations and framed them around the challenges that the current COVID-19 crisis presents to the humanitarian sector. We heard from practitioners and experts about the current SRM challenges and solutions in their organizations, including risk transfer, risk sharing, and challenges related to duty of care.
Humanitarian actors often need to negotiate to gain access to populations affected by conflicts and other crises. While negotiating for access for humanitarian assistance is often challenging in and of itself, practitioners and organizations face a distinct set of issues in access negotiations that relate to protection.
On 28 May, the second session of the webinar series on access and protection focused on challenges that practitioners face when trying to gain or maintain access for protection, whether negotiating directly for protection programming access or negotiating for humanitarian access in general while considering protection concerns.
We were joined by a panel of experts who discussed some of the situations that practitioners face, including:
- Authorities invite assistance but not protection: We are being actively invited by the authorities or gatekeepers to provide assistance, but not protection.
- Reporting on protection concerns could limit access: We have access and have discovered protection issues. We now have to weigh reporting or advocacy on these issues versus having our access restricted.
- Restricted channels for access: We are allowed to provide assistance and protection, but only through the channels of the government or an armed group.
- Needs assessments cannot include protection: We are unable to include protection in our needs assessments for fear of restricted access, so we do not understand the needs of vulnerable populations.
Read more about the event at https://phap.org/28may2020
Humanitarian protection is often the most needed in the very conflict zones where access is also the most restricted. Whether in areas controlled by armed groups or government forces, in situations when civilians have their basic rights and physical safety threatened, humanitarians carrying out protection work and advocacy are likely to face actors trying to restrict their access and ability to operate, or simply keep them out.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to sudden changes in how protection actors can access populations of concern, with additional restrictions on how they are able to operate in the short and medium term. What can we learn from the experience of protection actors operating in hard-to-reach areas that we can apply to the new challenges of the current operational environment?
On 22 April, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), PHAP, and the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) organized the first of a series of webinars on access and humanitarian protection. The event provided an overview of the key terms, concepts, interlinkages, and dilemmas of protection and access in armed conflict, disaster, and health emergencies. What are the main protection concerns particular to hard-to-reach areas? What challenges do protection actors face in terms of access? Are maintaining access and protection priorities at cross purposes or can they help reinforce each other? This introduction was followed by a discussion with protection experts, exploring the ways in which existing lessons from protection programming in hard-to-reach areas can be applied to protection operations in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Read more about the event and acces related resources at https://phap.org/22apr2020
As the novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, continues to spread globally, the risk it presents to populations living in camps and camp-like settings is growing. Camp managers are working quickly to adjust their programs to accommodate social distancing while continuing to communicate with communities and working with partners to improve communal sanitation.
Sphere recently released guidance for how the Sphere Handbook can help guide humanitarian staff in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. But how should camp managers apply those standards and strengthen the prevention measures recommended by technical sectors?
During our webinar on 2 April, organized by the CCCM Cluster and PHAP, we learned about COVID-19 prevention measures critical to the work of Camp Managers and others working in displacement settings. We heard from WASH specialists, as well as experienced Camp program staff who have recently been involved in setting up special measures to prevent the spread of disease and develop key messages for populations living in temporary settlements. A representative from Sphere also provided guidance for how the Sphere Handbook can be a useful tool for practitioners in this situation.
Read more about the event on https://phap.org/2apr2020
Through the Grand Bargain, humanitarian organizations and donors have committed to change the way humanitarian action is carried out and create a “Participation Revolution.” But how does including the people and communities affected by humanitarian crises look in practice? How are organizations ensuring that the voices of the most vulnerable groups considering gender, age, ethnicity, language, and special needs are heard and acted upon? How are they designing program activities and budgets to support the changes that affected people demand?
In this webinar, organized on 26 March 2020 by PHAP and the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response, we took stock of the progress to date on workstream six of the Grand Bargain and heard success stories from the field that can help agencies achieve a sustained change in how they design and deliver their programs.
Read more about the event on https://phap.org/26mar2020
In the first sessions of the conference, we had heard from NGOs and other humanitarian actors on the challenges and risks related to principled humanitarian action faced in their work. In the third and final session, we looked at relevant initiatives for mobilizing collaborative and collective action among NGOs, UN agencies and Member States, donors, and affected people.
Read more about the session at https://phap.org/ICVA2020-Session3
This session was part of ICVA's Virtual Annual Conference 2020. Read more about the conference on the event page https://phap.org/ICVA2020
With challenges to principled humanitarian action, NGOs are facing increased risks in their work. While NGOs accept risk as part of their work, many organizations are taking on more risk than they may be aware of and have the capacity to manage. In the second session of the Annual Conference, we explored the types of risks faced by NGOs linked to the humanitarian principles, how they can be managed, and how the gap between risk appetite and risk tolerance can be addressed in the sector.
Read more about the session at https://phap.org/ICVA2020-Session2
This session was part of ICVA's Virtual Annual Conference 2020. Read more about the conference on the event page https://phap.org/ICVA2020
Principled humanitarian action may be more important than ever for humanitarian actors managing risk in highly political and volatile operational contexts. However, humanitarian principles are being challenged on multiple fronts. This first session helped frame the discussions of the Annual Conference and explored the importance of protecting and promoting principled humanitarian action.
Read more about the session at https://phap.org/ICVA2020-Session1
This session was part of ICVA's Virtual Annual Conference 2020. Read more about the conference on the event page https://phap.org/ICVA2020
The IASC recently endorsed guidelines for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action. How can these guidelines help make humanitarian action more inclusive? On 26 February 2020, ICVA and PHAP organized a webinar together with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) secretariat and the Reference Group on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which introduced the guidelines and discuss how they can be implemented in practice. The three interim co-chairs of the Reference Group, as well as one of the NGOs that has been implementing the IASC Guidelines in their organization, spoke about the guidelines, their development, structure, and how they can be used in practice.
For more information about the event, please visit https://phap.org/26feb2020
Persons with disabilities are among the most marginalized people in crisis-affected communities and disproportionately affected by conflict and disasters. In some contexts, their mortality rate is two to four times higher than that of persons without disabilities and persons with disabilities face substantial barriers to accessing assistance. A recent study found that 92% of humanitarian actors think that persons with disabilities are not properly taken into account in humanitarian response and are often considered only as recipients of aid and not as actors in the response.
That is also why delivering better for persons with disabilities was part of the discussions of the World Humanitarian Summit and its follow-up commitments, including through the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (2016). In 2016, the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Working Group agreed to the establishment of a Task Team on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which drafted the Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. The IASC Guidelines were drafted through a large number of consultations with member States, organizations of persons with disabilities, civil society organizations working with persons with disabilities and/or in humanitarian action, and UN agencies. They were endorsed by the IASC Principals in October 2019 and launched in New York in November 2019 and in Geneva in February 2020. At the same time, a Reference Group was established to continue to bring together key stakeholders for coordinated efforts on the implementation of the IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and provide support, among others, their dissemination and to develop supporting tools and resources.
As one of the few global initiatives where the persons concerned have been directly involved in the drafting of a tool serving intervention at their benefit, these Guidelines are a crucial step forward to achieve disability-inclusive humanitarian action. They serve the following four objectives:
1. To provide practical guidance on including persons with disabilities in humanitarian programming and coordination;
2. To increase capacity among humanitarian stakeholders to develop and implement quality programs that are inclusive of persons with disabilities;
3. To describe the roles and responsibilities of humanitarian stakeholders to include persons with disabilities in humanitarian action; and
4. To increase and improve the participation of persons with disabilities and organization of persons with disabilities in preparedness, response and recovery.
However, what will make the real difference for persons with disabilities is how these guidelines are implemented in practice. Humanitarian actors need to translate the IASC Guidelines into concrete improvements in their daily activities, continuing to work closely with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.
Coordination and collaboration are critical for humanitarian protection – just as it is for an effective overall humanitarian response. Recent crises have highlighted that there remains a need to reinforce protection programming with clear leadership and further articulation of roles and responsibilities. Research has shown that effective coordination during disaster response has been lacking to the extent that it has become the expected norm. How can the GPC ensure it leads on coordination and overcomes identified problems in its work over the next five years?
On Tuesday, 26 November, PHAP organized a webinar in partnership with the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) on coordination and collaboration for humanitarian protection. We discussed current weaknesses in protection coordination and what role the GPC may have in ensuring protection programming is well-coordinated – avoiding gaps and duplication – and that responding to the needs of marginalized communities does not fall between different actors. Issues discussed included how global protection coordination fits in with local realities, contextualization of protection coordination, and supporting local coordination mechanisms; the impact of regionalization on protection roles and responsibilities; and how to ensure a bottom-up approach to protection coordination.
More information available at https://phap.org/26nov2019?k
The discipline of risk management is not new, and there has already been a significant amount of work to translate risk management practice and tools for use in humanitarian operations. Despite this, humanitarian organizations continue to struggle with applying risk management in their decision-making process.
On 21 November, ICVA and PHAP organized the first webinar in a series aimed at exploring the current state of risk management in the humanitarian sector. This webinar provided an introduction to the concept of risk management and an overview of the particular challenges to apply this in humanitarian work. As part of framing how these challenges can be overcome, we heard from Jeremy Rempel, Head of Humanitarian Financing at ICVA, and Patroba Otieno, Risk and Financial Specialist at World Vision Somalia.
Participants in the webinar learned about the need to balance management of the risks inherent to the work with the desire to reach people in need in the most difficult contexts. They also learned about the importance of developing an organizational culture that understands risk management as a discipline that cuts across all levels of an organization.
The effects of a warming climate will likely be far-reaching and profound. In addition to warming and changed weather patterns, climate change will increasingly spark extremes in weather – a greater frequency and intensity of storms, heat, and cold. Critically, the effects of climate change exacerbate the scarcity of key resources, and hence contribute to armed conflict and impoverishment. To respond to these effects, humanitarian action needs to focus more on climate preparedness and response to slow-onset disasters – but how does humanitarian protection work fit into this shift?
On 19 November, PHAP and the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) organized a webinar organized on climate change preparedness and community-based protection. The discussion focused on how protection concerns can be better included in preparedness work and in slow-onset disasters to avoid protection gaps and include marginalized communities. What is the role of the Protection Cluster in this? Are structural changes for coordination and communication called for, especially as Protection Clusters are normally not activated for preparedness work?
Read more about the event at https://phap.org/19nov2019
Humanitarian action is increasingly connected to development, peace, and security work. What does this mean for the future of humanitarian protection and the role of the Global Protection Cluster (GPC)?
On 22 October, PHAP organized a webinar organized in partnership with GPC on the future of humanitarian protection in the nexus, discussing how humanitarian protection fits into the vision and concrete plans for humanitarian action in the coming decade.
Humanitarian action has never been carried out in isolation from other sectors. Building on long-running initiatives, such as “linking relief rehabilitation and development” (LRRD) and disaster risk reduction (DRR), efforts to strengthen connections with other sectors have accelerated over the past few years, especially following the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. The UN and World Bank’s New Way of Working (NWoW), the EU’s Joint Humanitarian and Development Frameworks, and other initiatives have in common a focus on the “nexus” between humanitarian work and development, as well as with peace and security to ensure that common objectives are reached.
In these new models connecting and aligning humanitarian action, development, peace, and security, the vision of the role for humanitarian protection is less clear. There may be agreement that the overarching responsibility for protection is shared, but key practical questions remain, including:
- Who carries out humanitarian protection work in practice in the nexus?
- How is the need for independence of certain protection work ensured in conflict-affected and politically sensitive contexts?
- Are we facing risks that we will create protection gaps?
- Who should be tasked with coordinating to ensure any such gaps are covered?
Read more about the event at https://phap.org/22oct2019
How would you run a camp for displaced persons? Who would you hire to manage a site following a hurricane? If a conflict suddenly broke out and only your agency had access to a neighborhood where displaced people were staying, what would you do? What core activities would your team be responsible for? Where would you look for this information? And what standards would guide your interventions?
National authorities have the responsibility to prevent displacement and protect IDPs and other populations affected within their own country. But in crisis situations, they often receive support from the international humanitarian community in the form of lifesaving assistance, including the management of temporary displacement sites.
On 23 September, PHAP and the Global CCCM Cluster organized a webinar on the critical work of Camp Managers and the draft Camp Management Standards. This included experienced Camp Managers who have been involved in the standards development process and was an opportunity for practitioners worldwide to provide their input on the draft standards.
Ahead of the event, a pre-event survey was organized with more than 400 respondents providing their input on the scope and purpose of the standards, as well as comments on the content of the drafts.
Read more at https://phap.org/23sep2019
On Wednesday, 3 July, PHAP in partnership with the Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA) organized a webinar exploring the topic of protection in humanitarian logistics, aiming to clarify key protection issues that should be of direct concern with respect to humanitarian logistics and related functions.
The event featured speakers representing a wide range of perspectives. Will Holden, Managing Director of the Emergency Logistics Team, provided an overview of protection issues faced by logistics practitioners. Tikhwi Muyundo, Castelbarco Capacity Building Consultants and Africa Regional Representative, Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA), shared her perspectives on protection issues related to how logistics is carried out. Valerie Craigie, Supply Chain and Communications Consultant, described her findings from a study on protection issues and gender-based violence in logistics and camp management. Pierre Gentile, former Head of the Protection Division at the ICRC and currently working as a consultant, shared his perspectives as a protection specialist on the protection issues that the other speakers had raised.
Read more about the webinar and access the recommended resources on https://phap.org/3jul2019
On Thursday, 20 June, ICVA and PHAP organized the second session in the learning stream on the Navigating change. The discussion provided an overview of current challenges and trends regarding civil society space and how NGOs and other actors are working to counter initiatives that shrink this space.
For more information about this event and further resources, please visit phap.org/20jun2019.
On Thursday, 8 November, ICVA and PHAP organized the first session in the learning stream on the Navigating change. The discussion provided an overview of the concept of localizationin the humanitarian sector, how it has evolved, and how it is currently used. Participants learned more about how governments, private donors, the business community, and diaspora actors see current opportunities, trends, and challenges. The potential impact of localization initiatives on principled and effective humanitarian action were also examined.
This webinar is part of the “Navigating Change” Learning Stream which includes a total of six webinars, briefing papers, and other resources.
For more information about this event and further resources, please visit https://phap.org/8nov2018
On 11 September, ICVA and PHAP organized the fifth and final session in the learning stream on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. After having explored how the three main types of actors in this nexus view the current processes and discussions, it was discussed on how donors are approaching the issue.
For more information about this event and further resources, please visit https://phap.org/11sep2018
For the past 12 years, the All In Diary has been providing humanitarian practitioners with essential, up-to-date, and succinct guidance for humanitarian workers in a convenient format. Following a revision process carried out on a voluntary basis by practitioners from across the sector over the past year, the sixth edition of the AID is now available. On 22 August, we learned more about this practical resource from its co-founders, as well as from practitioners who are using it and have been contributing to help ensure that the latest edition reflects recent developments in the sector.
For more information about this event and further resources, please visit https://phap.org/22aug2018
On 19 July, PHAP and ICVA organized an online event exploring how peace actors see their role in the nexus – including both what humanitarian and development actors can learn from peacebuilding and how peacebuilding efforts can better work towards shared outcomes with other actors in the nexus.
This fourth session of the learning stream on the "nexus," featured Scott Weber of Interpeace, who provided an overview of peacebuilding work in ongoing emergency contexts. Anna Chernova shared some of the experiences of Oxfam and how they have been integrating peacebuilding in their work as a multi-mandated organization. Rabia Nusrat of International Alert also shared her perspectives on how humanitarian organizations interact with peacebuilding in emergency contexts in Asia.
For more information about this event and further resources, please visit https://phap.org/19jul2018
Since they were launched six years ago, the Child Protection Minimum Standards (CPMS) have become an important reference to help ensure that measures to protect children are a central component of all humanitarian action. As part of launching the next stage of the consultation and revision process to update the standards.
On 19 June, PHAP organized an online session together with the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action on the standards and how they are being used in practice. This was an opportunity to learn more about the standards and how practitioners are using them, what is changing in the revision, and what the next steps are for contributing to the consultations.
For more information about this event and further resources, please visit https://phap.org/19jun2018
The UN is currently undergoing reforms concerning its development, peace, and humanitarian work. On 8 June, PHAP and ICVA organized an online event exploring the various UN reforms that are currently being rolled out in relation to the humanitarian-development-peace nexus – including the repositioning of the UN development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, the restructuring of the UN peace and security pillar, and the shifting of the management paradigm in the UN.
Read more and access the session resources at https://phap.org/8jun2018
On 24 May, ICVA and PHAP organized the second session of the learning stream on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, which explored the role of the World Bank when working in conflict situations and fragile contexts, and how their approach has changed since the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. The event featured presentations from Xavier Devictor and Hannah George on the World Bank's approach in such contexts. Moreover, Lauren Post from the International Rescue Committee and Thomas Jepson-Lay from Save the Children Somalia, shared their perspectives on engaging with the World Bank in complex settings.
For more information and additional resources, go to https://phap.org/24may2018
On 12 April, the first session of the new learning stream on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus took place, jointly organized by ICVA and PHAP. The event explored how humanitarian action can contribute to development and peace efforts and considered some of the risks and challenges involved in changing ways of working and pursuing collective outcomes.
This introductory discussion focused on the main actors and current initiatives aiming to bring together humanitarian, development, and – when appropriate – peace work. The session included presentations by UN and NGO guest experts, who provided their own perspective on working in the “nexus”.
Read more and access the session resources at https://phap.org/12apr2018
Aiming collectively for strengthened humanitarian coordination and response from local to global level, we are witnessing the increasing relevance of NGO fora and consortia at national, regional and global levels. Understanding how these fora and consortia function, and how NGOs can engage in these structures, was the topic of the third session of the learning stream on humanitarian coordination, jointly organized by ICVA and PHAP.
In this session, participants were provided with examples of good practice of NGO-led fora and consortia, highlighting the challenges and opportunities to engage for both local and international NGOs. Guest experts explored their added value, and answered live questions from participants throughout the session.
What are the humanitarian coordination mechanisms at country and regional levels? In the second online session of the learning stream on humanitarian coordination, jointly organized by PHAP and ICVA, guest experts explored the coordination mechanisms available at country level, and some of the existing regional structures.
The session focused on the function of various country-level humanitarian coordination structures and actors, including the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) role, the Humanitarian Country Teams (HCTs), and the cluster approach at national and sub-national levels, highlighting the strengths and limitations of these structures.
Participants were provided with recommendations on how NGOs can better engage in these coordination mechanisms, and also had an opportunity to ask questions.
What is the current global humanitarian architecture? What is the Inter Agency Standing Committee (IASC)? And how can NGOs engage in the various IASC coordination mechanisms? On 31 May, PHAP and ICVA hosted the first online session of the new learning stream on humanitarian coordination.
Participants were provided with an overview of IASC humanitarian coordination mechanisms at the country and global levels, followed by an opportunity for questions and answers.
The event examined the current coordination structures, and the way for NGOs to engage in such structures, also exploring how the global-level structures coordinate with country-level mechanisms, and how they feed into each other.
The consequences of counterterrorism laws and policies on humanitarian action have been widely debated and discussed. Indeed, in recent years, members of the humanitarian community have become increasingly aware of the real, perceived, and potential impact of such measures on the delivery of principled humanitarian assistance. Yet, humanitarian organizations continue to experience the effect of counterterrorism measures on their work, often causing a "chilling effect" on humanitarian assistance.
On 12 May, Jessica S. Burniske and Naz K. Modirzadeh presented their recently published pilot empirical study on the impact of counterterrorism laws on humanitarian action as part of the Counterterrorism and Humanitarian Engagement (CHE) Project at the Harvard Law School (HLS) Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC). The event explored the key findings of this survey-based study, providing a policy analysis of the results, and followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience.
Read more at https://phap.org/12may2017
Following an intensive initial review process, the first draft of the Sphere Standards 2018 edition is now open for comments and suggestions from practitioners around the world.
To provide an opportunity to learn about the main improvements and how you can contribute to the process, PHAP hosted an online briefing session on 27 April. This was an opportunity to hear directly from the lead chapter authors and the Sphere secretariat and ask questions about the process.
The lead authors and writing teams have been working with their review groups across six chapters to create the framework for the revised standards. The first draft moves the standards from a text-heavy format to a clearer table style which draws out indicators, thresholds, and targets and encourages the reader to think more about context. Common terminology is being used to build greater consistency across chapters. Drivers of future humanitarian response, such as cash transfer programming, urban response, and environmental concerns, are grouped and woven throughout them.
Read more about the event and access related resources at https://phap.org/27apr2017
Throughout PHAP’s and ICVA’s series on humanitarian financing, speakers have referred to a process that promises to significantly reshape humanitarian funding – the “Grand Bargain”. This package of commitments to improve humanitarian financing was launched at the World Humanitarian Summit last year and aims to reduce the humanitarian funding gap and improve funding processes. Given the interest expressed in this topic by participants in previous sessions, PHAP and ICVA hosted an additional event focusing on this reform process on 3 March.
In this session, participants were provided with an overview of the origins and current processes related to the Grand Bargain and how it might impact the work of NGOs. Based on the interests expressed in previous sessions, the session focused on three areas of the Grand Bargain: increasing support to local and national responders, harmonized and simplified reporting, and the humanitarian-development nexus.
Read more and access related resources at https://phap.org/3mar2017
On 21 February, PHAP hosted an online learning session in its series on humanitarian law and policy with Cecilia Jimenez, recently appointed Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and Jean-François Durieux.
Protracted conflicts such as those in Syria, Iraq, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere, often combined with natural disasters and food crises, have contributed to an unprecedented number of people fleeing their homes – many being displaced within their own countries. The estimated number of IDPs in the world is currently double that of the number of refugees. However, while the causes for their displacement can often be the same, refugees and IDPs are not provided the same protection under international legal frameworks.
In the session, participants were provided with an introduction to the legal frameworks pertaining to internal displacement by Jean-François Durieux, followed by a discussion with the Special Rapporteur regarding her priorities for the protection of IDPs in her new role.
More information and related resources at https://phap.org/21feb2017
Private funding of humanitarian work is changing – from having been primarily targeted at natural disaster response, in 2015, the response to the conflict in Syria received the majority of reported private funds. With most private funding channeled through non-governmental rather than governments or multi-lateral organizations, understanding current developments in private funding flows and mechanisms has become more pertinent than ever for NGOs.
The fifth session of PHAP’s and ICVA’s learning stream on humanitarian financing focused on the growing potential of private funding in the humanitarian sector. Participants were provided with an overview of the main existing private funding mechanisms, with a particular focus on emerging trends and key challenges for NGOs, followed by an opportunity to ask questions.
For more information and related resources, visit https://phap.org/27jan2017
The Professional Standards for Protection Work were first established in 2009 in a process initiated and led by the ICRC. Following a first revision in 2013, they are now being updated again to reflect new developments in situations of armed conflict and other situations of violence, and the experiences of humanitarian and human rights organizations responding to these crises.
The purpose of the standards, initiated and led by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and involving several humanitarian and human rights NGOs and UN agencies, is not to provide a ‘how-to’ guide for practitioners but, rather, to establish a living body professional standards informed by international law, professional ethics, good practice, and operational reality.
In 2015, the ICRC-led Advisory Group commenced a new process to update the Standards, in order to integrate the evolution of the environment in which we operate (stronger data protection norms, challenges and opportunities linked to the use of new technologies, evolution of the “counter-terrorism” narrative, etc.) and of our own reflection and practice (managing protection strategies, etc.). This revision will also seek to make some sections more accessible (Chapter 6 on managing sensitive information is completely restructured).
In order to familiarize participants with the reasoning behind the proposed revisions before providing their input, the event featured presentations by Guilhem Ravier from the ICRC, Jenny McAvoy from InterAction, and Kathrine Starup from the Danish Refugee Council on the overall revision process, as well as the main proposed changes to Chapter 2 ("Managing Protection Strategies"), Chapter 3 ("Outlining the Protection Architecture"), and Chapter 6 ("Managing Sensitive Protection Information").
Read more and access related resources at https://phap.org/30nov2016
Understanding the legal bases for detention is important for those working in situations of armed conflict, even if they are not focusing on the issue in their work. However, while detention in international armed conflicts is regulated in detail under international humanitarian law (IHL), the situation in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) is less clear.
Knowing the basics of this topic and its current state of discussion has become essential. The debate has been further intensified after the ruling on the 2014 Serdar Mohammed case against UK authorities regarding unlawful detention, in which IHL was considered neither authorizing nor regulating detention in NIACs. The issue becomes further complicated when dealing with internationalized NIACs as in Iraq or Afghanistan, where the application of international human rights law or domestic law by one state in the territory of another state has been questioned.
In this learning session, Professor Gabor Rona will provide PHAP members with an introduction to legal frameworks applicable to detention in armed conflict and the existing legal debate regarding detention in NIACs, followed by an opportunity for questions and answers.
Read more about the session and access related resources at https://phap.org/15nov2016
Pooled funds have enabled more timely and flexible funding for responding to sudden humanitarian crises, and have made it possible to operate in otherwise underfunded emergency settings. In the context of the World Humanitarian Summit, the UN Secretary-General (SG) recommended that member states and other donors should double the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to $1 billion, with the Grand Bargain calling for an exploration of whether NGOs could directly access CERF. The SG also called to increase the aid funneled through the Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) to 15 per cent by 2018. Given the current and growing importance of pooled funding, it is important that humanitarian NGOs understand how these mechanisms function and how they can be accessed in order to be part of improving the overall response to humanitarian crises.
NGOs are also managing a growing number of pooled funding mechanisms. The START fund (established and managed by a consortium of NGOs) is providing a quick alternative avenue for NGOs to access timely humanitarian funding. The NEAR Network is exploring options for NGO-run pooled funds at the local level.
In the third session of the learning stream on humanitarian financing, jointly organized by ICVA and PHAP, participants were provided with an overview of the different existing pooled funding mechanisms with a focus on the CBPFs, and pooled funds managed by NGOs. Guest experts also addressed current challenges and opportunities regarding NGO access to pooled funds, followed by an opportunity to questions and answers.
Read more and access related resources at https://phap.org/10nov2016
Funding agreements between implementing organizations and donors can significantly reduce transfer and administrative costs, but such direct funding relationships can also lead to challenges and additional burdens for NGOs. Different rules and processes between donors, pre-qualification requirements, delayed disbursements, and overly restrictive budget lines have long been common issues faced by NGOs. While there are initiatives to improve this situation, notably through the "Grand Bargain," the donor landscape has become more complex with the growing importance of so-called "emerging donors" for humanitarian work.
The fourth session of the learning stream on humanitarian financing, organized by ICVA and PHAP, aimed to provide a clearer understanding of the changing context for NGOs and bilateral funding. Join this event to hear from speakers from the European Commission and the U.S. OFDA, as well as from NGOs with experience of working bilaterally with these two donors.
Read more and access related resources at https://phap.org/6dec2016
Guest expert: Bonnie Docherty, Lecturer on Law and Senior Clinical Instructor at Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic
While some militaries have worked to reduce civilian casualties in armed conflict, greater attention should be paid to determinations of “hostile intent.” Troops have the right to fire in self-defense if someone demonstrates hostile intent, i.e., a “threat of imminent use of force,” but misidentifications of such intent have endangered civilians. Recent US operations, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq, show that militaries could improve civilian protection without jeopardizing troops’ lives by clarifying the rule and improving implementation.
Targeted at legal experts and humanitarian practitioners seeking an advanced understanding of rules related to civilian protection in armed conflict, this expert briefing featured a presentation by Bonnie Docherty from Harvard Law School on recent research carried out on the issue of hostile intent.
More information and resources at https://phap.org/8nov2016
In this PHAP Expert Legal Briefing, Naz Modirzadeh and Dustin Lewis, from the Harvard Law School Program on International Law in Armed Conflict, explored developments in technology, accountability, and international law pertaining to armed conflict. The background concern is that in war, as in so many areas, power and authority are increasingly expressed algorithmically. Advancements in artificial intelligence and robotics may implicate—and possibly transform—numerous aspects of armed conflict. For instance, increasingly sophisticated forms of technical autonomy may affect the conduct of hostilities (including the development and use of “autonomous weapons”). But they also might relate to other elements pertaining to war, such as guarding and transporting detainees, providing medical care, and delivering humanitarian assistance.
The presenters summarized a recent report from the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict. That report introduces a new concept—war algorithms—that aims to elevate algorithmically-derived “choices” and “decisions” to a central concern regarding technical autonomy in war. The report defines a “war algorithm” as any algorithm that is expressed in computer code, that is effectuated through a constructed system, and that is capable of operating in relation to armed conflict. Through the “war algorithms” lens, the presenters linked international law and related accountability architectures to relevant technologies.
Read more and access related resources on https://phap.org/1nov2016
Guest expert: Jean-François Durieux
The 1951 Refugee Convention was a major advance for the protection of people under persecution, defining the concept of refugees and the legal obligation of States to provide them with protection. However, the current system has been put under great stress by the scale and complexity of recent developments, which was the motivation for organizing the UN High-Level Plenary on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants in September 2016. Having an understanding of the relevant legal frameworks for the protection of refugees is, in this context, critical for those working in the humanitarian sector.
This learning session provided an introduction to refugee law and other legal frameworks granting protection to refugees. Participants were provided with a presentation on the fundamental concepts in these legal frameworks and their legal and operational limitations. Following this, there was an opportunity for questions.
Read more and access session resources at https://phap.org/21oct2016
UN agencies often partner with international and local NGOs to implement humanitarian assistance and protection. NGOs, on their part, are faced with the challenge of understanding and dealing with different, and often complex, UN partnership frameworks. Understanding how these frameworks function, and how humanitarian funding through the UN is evolving, was the topic of the second session of the learning stream on humanitarian financing, jointly organized by ICVA and PHAP.
In this session, experts from two major agencies – the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Program (WFP) – presented their organizations’ approaches to implementing partnerships and discussed challenges related to the existing funding modalities together with an NGO representative. Participants were provided with an overview of key procedures, as well as trends and challenges regarding UN humanitarian funding opportunities for NGOs.
Read more at https://phap.org/12oct2016
Guest expert: Kristin Hausler, BIICL
Co-hosts: Noëlle Quénivet and Angharad Laing
In addition to the loss of human life and creating severe humanitarian crises, the destruction of cultural heritage has played a prominent role in the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and in the recent conflict in Mali. For example, this issue recently came into the spotlight in September 2015, when the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor’s Office opened the first ever war crime case for destruction of cultural heritage during the 2012 military coup d’état in Mali, where rebel groups considerably damaged Timbuktu’s cultural sites and historical monuments.
In this learning session, Kristin Hausler of the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL) provided an introduction to the current legal frameworks that protect cultural heritage during both international and non-international armed conflicts, and how they apply to state actors and non-state armed groups.
Read more at https://phap.org/29sep2016
Humanitarian financing worldwide is changing – how does it impact NGOs active in humanitarian work? In the first learning session on demystifying humanitarian financing, organized jointly by ICVA and PHAP, experts from OECD, Development Initiatives, and World Vision gave presentations and answered questions regarding the current state of humanitarian financing and how recent trends are affecting NGOs.
The first session of this series concentrated on the current realities and emerging trends of humanitarian financing. Participants will be provided with an overview of the different traditional and emerging financing streams coexisting in the humanitarian sector, with a focus on how NGOs access humanitarian funding and the challenges they currently face.
Read more at https://phap.org/15sep2016
With Naz K. Modirzadeh and Dustin A. Lewis, Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC)
Thirteen of the sanctions regimes established by the U.N. Security Council could implicate key elements of principled humanitarian action. Those sanctions might affect humanitarian programming in numerous contexts, including the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Some see “humanitarian exemptions” as a way to resolve possible conflicts between sanctions and principled humanitarian action. But what are “humanitarian exemptions”? Who and what do and should they cover? And what is the debate surrounding them?
At this expert online briefing, Naz K. Modirzadeh and Dustin A. Lewis of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC) synthesized recent research in order to:
- Summarize the legal status, content, and nature of relevant U.N. sanctions regimes;
- Define and analyze the two general categories of “humanitarian exemptions” (those for designated individuals and for the humanitarian sector);
- Highlight the stakes and interests in the debate on whether such exemptions may be desirable and feasible or may be inadvisable and impracticable;
- Explain some of the few existing and limited exemptions at the international and domestic levels; and
- Discuss the perceived benefits and costs of suggested “humanitarian exemptions.”
Read more at https://phap.org/19jul2016
With Bruno Demeyere, Legal Adviser at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
For more info, go to https://phap.org/9jun2016
What do the 1949 Geneva Conventions say about the right of impartial humanitarian organizations to offer their services and about the way in which Parties to a conflict need to respond to such an offer? How has practice over the past 60 years in this area influenced the interpretation of the law?
In the 1950s, the ICRC published a set of commentaries on the four Geneva Conventions, giving practical guidance on their meaning and implementation. In order to capture the practice gained in implementing and interpreting the Geneva Conventions since then, a multi-year project to update these commentaries is underway. The first new commentary in this series was published earlier this spring by the ICRC: the updated Commentary on the First Geneva Convention.
Importantly, this new publication includes an updated commentary on the scope and meaning of Common Articles 3(2) and 9, dealing with the offer of services by impartial humanitarian organizations in non-international and international armed conflicts respectively.
Targeted to legal practitioners as well as humanitarian practitioners needing an advanced understanding of IHL, this briefing event will cover the main points in the commentary concerning the following issues:
What are the conditions to be an "impartial humanitarian organization" under IHL?
What is covered by the term "humanitarian activities"?
Who can benefit from such humanitarian activities?
What does the obligation to obtain consent of the Party to the conflict concerned mean in practice?
What are the duties of third states in allowing and facilitating humanitarian activities?
The session will start with a brief overview of the Commentaries project, after which participants will be presented with the main substantive findings of the research on Common Articles 3(2) and 9 of the Geneva Conventions and what this means for humanitarian practitioners. Following this, there will be an opportunity for questions and discussion.
Following events focusing on the three other core principles, PHAP’s final discussion in this series spotlights the principle of independence, looking in particular at how it relates to how humanitarian action is funded.
The principle of independence calls upon humanitarians to practice an autonomy vis-à-vis political, military, ideological, religious, or economic interests and pressures. It highlights the interrelatedness of the core principles – it acts as a precondition or an enabler of humanity, impartiality, and humanity. Independence is thus profoundly pragmatic. It defines itself not on paper or in speech but through actions.
The capacity to act impartially, to remain neutral in a given context, or even to give operational meaning to the call of humanity, all require that an organization possess certain resources, expertise, and capacity. That principle comes under consistent threat by financial constraints, for humanitarian relief requires funding, and the availability of funding often fails to align with the needs of affected people. The humanitarian sector appears to be particularly dependent upon institutional donor funding from key Western governments, such as the US, UK, Japan or Sweden. How does the sector reconcile this reality with the imperative to avoid the appearance of being an instrument of government policy?
There have been, and continue to be, efforts aimed at creating funding mechanisms that allow greater responsiveness to needs, or averting the outright politicization of the receiving organization. What are some of the “new” ideas in this regard? How can the humanitarian sector do better in terms of assuring their independence? From a starting assumption that greater independence is always possible, what do our expert panelists see as the promising ways forward?
The event began with an expert presentation on the topic by Sean Lowrie, Director of the START Network. This was followed by a moderated discussion among a panel of experts which will also include Dr. James Kisia, Executive Director of the International Centre for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Secretary-General of Kenya Red Cross; Lydia Poole, research and policy specialist with extensive experience on financing architecture and policy; and Ed Schenkenberg van Mierop, Executive Director of HERE-Geneva. The facilitator for the event was Marc DuBois.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-6oct2015
In its series of discussions on how the core humanitarian principles relate to some of the practical issues raised in the World Humanitarian Summit consultation process, on 1 October 2015, PHAP hosted session on the principle of neutrality. In conflict settings there is perhaps no more certain way for humanitarians to lose access than the perception of their having chosen sides. Paradoxically, neutrality is the principle most often challenged by humanitarians themselves, viewed as prohibiting public advocacy or as interfering with organizational values such as solidarity. Many organizations have developed specific definitions or interpretations of neutrality that diverge from that of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Neutrality functions as a key, gaining the trust of armed groups to "unlock" access to zones under their control. By establishing its neutrality, humanitarian aid – especially aid delivered to an "enemy" – demands that it be judged neither a hostile act, nor a contribution to the war efforts of the belligerent parties. The establishment of neutrality can be particularly challenging for national NGOs, who face different expectations and pressures than the international community.
In past decades, the underlying basis for neutrality has come under sustained attack by the political and military instrumentalization of the "with us or against us" discourse. This can be seen as all the more reason to adhere, to instill confidence in combatants and gain access to all communities caught up in the crisis, regardless their geographic location or political, religious, or ethnic affiliation. Yet adherence proves difficult in many contexts, especially where access to the "enemy" is blocked, or where key donor governments also play a role in the conflict. How do different organizations interpret neutrality? How do they define their duties in this regard? What measures do they put in place to demonstrate and safeguard neutrality? This session will invite a diverse set of panelists to explore these questions, with an eye to better understanding the intricacies of how neutrality works in contemporary humanitarian action.
The event began with an expert presentation on the topic by Kate Mackintosh, Deputy Registrar at ICTY. This was followed by a moderated discussion among a panel of experts which will also include Banu Altunbas, Director of International NGO Safety Organisation in the DRC; Marc Cohen, Senior Researcher at Oxfam America; and Samir Elhawary, Deputy Head at OCHA ROMENA. The event provided the opportunity for participants to provide their perspectives on the topic discussed, through the live chat, through posing questions to the panelists, and through live polls.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-1oct2015
This third event in PHAP's series on the core principles focuses on impartiality. If the principle of humanity drives humanitarians towards crisis to alleviate suffering, impartiality steers programmatic choices more directly. In fact, impartiality can be seen as carrying a triple function: creating an ethical prohibition against aid being given on a discriminatory basis; determining that operations must identify and address the needs of the most vulnerable; and building trust/ acceptance within a conflict context. By virtue of its obligational nature, impartiality warrants particular attention on the part of humanitarians. The Geneva Conventions codify the duty of non-discrimination as a necessary quality of humanitarian assistance, and humanitarian law provides a right of initiative to impartial humanitarian organizations.
The capacity of humanitarian action is limited, neither the sector nor individual agencies can meet all the needs of all those who suffer. In crisis situations, where the unmet needs – often serious – are many, how do humanitarian actors differentiate, or not, between people in need versus those most in need? How does impartiality affect specialized agencies when the most urgent needs on the ground do not correspond with this specialization? What does impartiality mean for an organization long working in a community or region in need when there are other communities or regions in more urgent distress? What happens when needs are greater in remote or less secure areas that might be less efficiently addressed?
The event began with a lecture on the topic by Jérémie Labbé, Head of Project for Principles Guiding Humanitarian Action with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This was followed by a moderated discussion among a panel of experts, bringing together different points of view on the issue.
Read more on https://phap.org/WHS-24Sep2015
On 16 September 2015, PHAP hosted a live online consultation event on the draft Humanitarian UAV Code of Conduct and Related Guidelines, in collaboration with UAViators, UNOCHA and the World Humanitarian Summit.
This event featured:
- Presentations from Patrick Meier of UAViators and Brian Grogan of UNOCHA on the draft Humanitarian UAV Code of Conduct and Related Guidelines.
- The possibility to have your questions answered regarding these documents by a panel of experts, including also Col Angela Fitzsimmons, Chief of the Assessment Team in the Office of Military Affairs at UNDPKO, Guilhem Ravier, Head of the Protection of the Civilian Population Unit with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Joel Kaiser, Emergency Response Officer with Medair, and Michele Lynch, who manages the Global Technology Project for the American Red Cross.
- An opportunity for participants to provide their input and perspectives on the draft Code of Conduct as well as each of the related guidelines throughout the event.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-16Sep2015
On 8 September, PHAP hosted the first of four discussion and consultation events on practical dilemmas of principled humanitarian action. The event began with a lecture on the topic by Dr Hugo Slim, Head of Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This was followed by a moderated discussion among a panel of experts, featuring Sir John Holmes, Director of the Ditchley Foundation and was previously the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; Andy Hill, Civil-Military Adviser in the UK Department for International Development (DFID); and Karen Welsh, the founder and CEO of Blue Glass Development. The event provided the opportunity for participants to provide their perspectives on the topic discussed, through the live chat, through posing questions to the panelists, and through live polls
Read more at https://phap.org/8Sep2015
In 2014, reports suggested that a surge of foreign jihadists were participating in armed conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere. The U.N. Security Council responded by imposing new obligations on member states to counter the threat posed by “foreign terrorist fighters” (FTFs). In the intervening year, states have taken actions to implement those FTF obligations. Meanwhile, many states continue to fund and otherwise throw their support behind life-saving humanitarian relief for civilians in armed conflicts around the world—including conflicts involving terrorists. Yet, in recent years, members of the humanitarian community have become increasingly aware of the real, perceived, and potential impacts of counterterrorism laws on humanitarian action.
At this PHAP online expert IHL briefing, Dustin Lewis and Naz Modirzadeh, two of the authors of a recent report from the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC), will present their research on suppressing “foreign terrorist fighters” and supporting principled humanitarian action in counterterrorism contexts. The presenters will discuss and answer questions relating to:
- Converging and diverging elements of the normative frameworks underlying state responses to terrorism and state support of principled humanitarian action;
- IHL implications of the “foreign terrorist fighter” framing;
- Provisional methodologies to measure state compliance with key FTF-related Security Council obligations;
- Provisional methodologies to measure state support of principled humanitarian action in counterterrorism contexts; and
- Humanitarian exemptions under Security Council practice.
Read more at https://phap.org/OEV-17Dec2015
The last fifteen years have witnessed a surge in armed conflicts involving designated terrorists. State responses to terrorism raise complex issues concerning international humanitarian law (IHL). Experts have debated legal and policy frameworks pertaining to the use of lethal force in counterterrorism operations, as well as the legal grounds to detain alleged wartime terrorists. Yet so far one vitally important area has evaded the same level of focus: how state responses to terrorism threaten to erode the foundational ethic of IHL entailed in impartial wartime medical care for all wounded and sick fighters hors de combat, friend and foe alike.
At this PHAP online expert IHL briefing, Dustin Lewis and Naz Modirzadeh, two of the authors of a recent report from the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (HLS PILAC) presented their research on IHL and medical care concerning terrorists in armed conflict. The presenters discussed and answered questions relating to:
- The intersections between IHL medical-care protections and the framework of global counterterrorism obligations imposed by the U.N. Security Council;
- Prosecutions—in Peru, Colombia, and the United States—based on various forms of medical assistance to terrorists in armed conflicts;
- The technical legal definitions of key concepts, such as the so-called special protections under IHL for “medical personnel,” “medical units,” and “medical transports”;
- Gaps between treaty-based medical-care protections applicable in international armed conflicts versus those applicable in non-international armed conflicts;
- Gaps between treaty-based medical-care obligations imposed on states party to the Additional Protocols of 1977 versus states not party to those conventions; and
- Whether customary IHL may fill some or all of those gaps.
Read more at https://phap.org/OEV-3Nov2015
On 8 October 2015, PHAP hosted an online briefing and discussion on the forthcoming study by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on principled humanitarian action in situations of armed conflict.
The Norwegian Refugee Council, with the support of OFDA/USAID and Handicap International, have recently commissioned a research paper on “Principles and Pragmatism in Conflict Settings: Field Perspectives” (forthcoming November 2015).
This study has involved a close examination of the relevance and implementation of principles from the perspectives of different actors in Colombia, Syria/Turkey, South Sudan, and Nepal. The case studies have explored challenges faced in the field, perceptions of principles and their application, the role of the private sector in principled humanitarian response, and the influence of states on principled action.
The research consultants, having just returned from the field, presented the initial findings from these countries, identify cross-cutting issues, and spur a targeted discussion and reflections from both the audience and panelists through the live polls, chat and Q&A. The objective of the webinar was to gather perspectives on questions including if humanitarian action is possible without humanitarian principles, if the humanitarian aid environment has become more or less politicized over the last ten years, if commercial entities can be principled and if any actions need to be taken to strengthen the more consistent application of principles.
Read more at https://phap.org/OEV-8oct2015
The United Nations and its partners are scaling up their response to the recent earthquake in Nepal. A needs assessement is being rapidly undertaken and the resulting Flash Appeal was launched on Wednesday 29 April.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) together with PHAP hosted a webinar on Thursday 30 April at 14:00 (CEST) specifically for private sector entities wishing to engage. Colleagues in Nepal presented the current situation, priority needs identified in the Flash Appeal, and provided guidance on how to contribute or collaborate in the coordinated relief efforts.
Read more at https://phap.org/30Apr2015
On 2 April 2015, PHAP hosted a live online discussion event as part of its current Exchange Hub on measuring success in protection programming.
The humanitarian community has come under increased pressure to achieve more meaningful results and demonstrate impact through protection programming. Protection programs need to be accountable for the funds they receive and the activities they implement. However, measuring results in protection programming is not straightforward – while traditional results-based management techniques are useful, we must be more creative in the development of further tools and methods that meet the particular challenges faced in protection.
The event focused on clarifying the overarching goals of protection programming, which is often not sufficiently addressed in more technical discussions about measurement and evaluation. The event featured a panel discussion with a panel of experts from ECHO, UNHCR, UNICEF, and World Vision International.
This Exchange Hub is organized in collaboration with InterAction’s Results-Based Protection Program and ALNAP’s program on Evaluating protection in humanitarian action. On February 25, PHAP hosted an introductory online briefing on the current status of InterAction's and ALNAP's projects.
Read more at https://phap.org/2Apr2015
Speakers: Jasveen Ahluwalia, Erin Kenny, Adama Moussa, Allison Peters,
The UN Secretary-General has called violence against women and girls a global “pandemic.” The creation of the UN Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict, as well as recent concern over increasing rates of child marriage amongst Syrian refugees and trafficking of girls after the earthquake in Nepal, are all examples of how this has become a priority area for improving response to humanitarian crises. But has this increasing attention so far translated into any changes on the ground?
This consultation event will be an opportunity to take stock of what has been done to date, to highlight good practices, and to help clarify the recommendations that should be submitted to the World Humanitarian Summit.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-6Aug2015
On 4 August 2015, PHAP hosted an online briefing and Q&A session with Under-Secretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator (USG/ERC) Stephen O'Brien regarding his perspectives on the World Humanitarian Summit.
We are currently facing humanitarian needs on a massive scale. In our rapidly changing world, we must continually seek better ways to protect and assist the millions of people affected by conflicts and disasters.
An initiative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, managed by UN OCHA, the first World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) will be held in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May 2016 and will bring together governments, humanitarian organizations, people affected by humanitarian crises, and new partners including the private sector to propose solutions to our most pressing challenges and set an agenda to keep humanitarian action fit for the future.
Stephen O'Brien began in the role of USG/ERC on 1 June 2015, succeeding Valerie Amos. Apart from leading the organization that is managing the WHS and the consultation process leading up to it, he is also responsible for the oversight of all emergencies requiring United Nations humanitarian assistance, acting as the central focal point, globally, for governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental relief activities.
With less than a year until the Summit in Istanbul, this will be an opportunity to learn more about the new USG/ERC's views on this opportunity to reshape how humanitarian and assistance and protection is carried out.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-4Aug2015
Speakers: Alastair Ager, Nilawaty Bahar, Anne Willem Bijleveld, Christoph Hensch, Brendan McDonald, Alessandra Pigni, Zehra Rizvi, Winnifred Simon
Humanitarian effectiveness and accountability in humanitarian response has received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, despite considerable research underlining its importance, what is often missing or underplayed in discussions and initiatives relating to both these topics is that of the safety, security, and wellness of humanitarian staff and volunteers.
The number of aid workers who are victims of attacks have almost tripled over the past ten years and research has repeatedly demonstrated a strong relationship between deployment to humanitarian crises and conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder. Apart from being of grave concern in itself, this also seriously affects the effectiveness of humanitarian response.
In this consultation event, the focus was on the following questions:
What is the relationship between staff and volunteer wellness and humanitarian effectiveness?
What current good practice exists for improving staff and volunteer wellness?
What gaps currently exist relating to ensuring staff and volunteer wellness? What concrete improvements could be made?
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-30Jul2015
Speakers: Priya Marwah, Amjad Mohamed-Saleem, Abdullah Al Razwan (Nabin), Sema Genel Karaosmanoğlu, Graeme Smith, Amar Nayak
Localizing humanitarian preparedness and response has emerged as an important cross-cutting theme for the regional consultation for South and Central Asia. The WHS regional consultations to date have called for more discipline and predictability in triggering regional and international humanitarian support, and have emphasized that international humanitarian action should be driven by the concept of subsidiarity – ensuring that it supports local decisions and systems instead of supplanting them. To achieve this, the capacity of first line responders at local and national level needs strengthening.
Recommendations to date have included increasing the level of finance going directly to local and national responders; making national coordination and response mechanisms the default in disasters; and building a strong network of deployable capacities, especially in the Global South.
However, different humanitarian crises call for different kinds and degrees of localization. Building on the discussions in the World Humanitarian Summit consultation forum, this event will focus on what localization should mean in practice for different actors involved in the response to natural disasters, protracted crises, and armed conflicts in South and Central Asia.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-14Jul2015
On 8 July 2015, PHAP hosted a combined online learning session on Humanitarian Innovation and a live online consultation event on the draft Principles for Ethical Humanitarian Innovation, organized in support of the World Humanitarian Summit.
The consultation event featured:
- A brief presentation of the draft Principles for Ethical Humanitarian Innovation by Alexander Betts, Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, and Leopold Muller, Associate Professor in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, University of Oxford.
- A panel discussion focusing in turn on each of the seven draft principles.
- An opportunity for participants to provide their input and perspectives on the draft principles.
- The possibility for registrants to submit input on the draft principles in writing prior to the event.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-8Jul2015
On 25 February 2015, PHAP hosted an online introductory briefing on the topic of its Third Exchange Hub: Measuring success in protection programming. Participants learned more about the current status of two key initiatives in this area: InterAction’s Results-Based Protection Program and ALNAP’s program on Evaluating protection in humanitarian action.
The event included short briefings from Francesca Bonino, Research Fellow at ALNAP and head of their program on evaluating protection, and Jessica Lenz, Senior Program Manager with InterAction who leads the Results-Based Protection program.
Read more at https://phap.org/25Feb2015
On 17 September 2014, PHAP hosted an online event discussing the new IASC Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC) from an NGO perspective. As part of the Transformative Agenda, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) revised its Humanitarian Programme Cycle (HPC) – a replacement for the previous Consolidated Appeals Processes (CAPs) – so that it could be more useful for HCTs, NGOs and other responders in-country. This webinar provided a briefing on the process of devising this new HPC, what this process was trying to achieve, and what NGOs should expect from this revised approach.
The event featured Joel Charny, Vice President of Humanitarian Policy and Practice at InterAction, and Gareth Price Jones, Humanitarian Affairs Representative from Oxfam International, and is organized together with the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA).
Spurred by the large-scale crises in Haiti and Pakistan in 2010, the Humanitarian Programme Cycle was created to guide humanitarian coordination, leadership and accountability in crises and conflicts. It seeks to do this by clearly defining the complementary roles and responsibilities of different organizations involved in humanitarian response. The HPC is a collective, consultative process that hopes to enable all those involved in humanitarian response to see their role in relation to others and position their work according to agreed upon objectives. Specifically, the HPC hopes to create a single strategic process between all international and national actors involved in response, including clusters, sectors, humanitarian agencies, national authorities, national civic society organizations and, above all, affected people.
The NGO community has been active in influencing this process through representatives from InterAction, Oxfam International, and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). These representatives have been trying to simplify the HPC process in order to make the ultimate product relevant, useful and effective for NGOs and maximize the HPC’s impact across the world.
Read more at https://phap.org/17Sep2014
On 29 June 2015, PHAP hosted a live online briefing and consultation event on the topic of “Migrants in Crisis." Supporting the World Humanitarian Summit consultations, the event is organized in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the NGO Committee on Migration.
In crisis situations around the world, we need to more effectively prepare for and respond to the particular circumstances of migrants affected by or trapped in crises – leveraging their resourcefulness and networks while preserving their rights. The World Humanitarian Summit consultation process and associated initiatives provide a timely and inclusive platform to understand and address this phenomenon in a holistic manner. This event aims to stimulate discussion, raise awareness, and provide an impetus for action in this area.
This event featured presentations by IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies, Mr. Mohammed Abdiker, and the International Catholic Migration Commission’s (ICMC) Head of Policy, Mr. John Bingham, addressing how the World Humanitarian Summit must give due consideration to the plight of migrants caught in crisis situations, and commit to the meaningful inclusion of migrants into the humanitarian architecture. The event was moderated by Ms. Angharad Laing, Executive Director of the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-29Jun2015
On 18 June 2015, PHAP hosted an online briefing and consultation in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Caritas Internationalis on "Trafficking in persons in times of crisis" in support of the World Humanitarian Summit.
This event featured:
- A discussion and Q&A with Dr. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children
- A presentation of the findings of the research carried out by IOM on the manifestations and responses to trafficking in persons in times of crises in the MENA region, with a focus on Iraq and Libya
- A presentation of the action research on trafficking in persons in conflict and post-conflict situations carried out by Caritas
- The possibility for participants to provide their views on how humanitarian action can better meet the challenges related to trafficking in persons in emergency contexts
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-18Jun2015
Speakers: Michel Veuthey, Amjad Mohamed-Saleem, Alastair Ager, Beris Gwynne
Religious discourse has long been characterised by a concern for the immediate welfare of humankind, and faith-based organization play an important role in mobilizing the support of millions of people for whom religious values underpin their concern for their neighbours in the global village. Faith-based organizations can play a particular role where overt conflicts or less overt inter-group grievances are exacerbated by religious tensions, especially in bridging social or political divides with distinct religious dimensions.
Many humanitarian actors, defend their religious neutrality claiming that they can gain better access and offer unconditional help to people in need whoever and wherever they are. On the other hand, a majority of faith-based organizations do not see any incompatibility between their actions and the humanitarian principles of neutrality and impartiality. They highlight that they provide humanitarian assistance without proselytizing to those in need and regardless of their faith and that they can gain better access in certain contexts.
Following the Symposium on “Religions Together for Humanitarian Action,” hosted by the Order of Malta in Geneva, the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP) will host a live online consultation in support of the World Humanitarian Summit focusing on the challenges and opportunities faced by faith-based humanitarian organizations and how we can overcome the obstacles hindering faith-based and other organizations from working more closely together.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-4Jun2015
Speakers: Louise Searle, Alan Ryan, Simon Lambert, Chris Piper, Finau Heuifanga Limuloa
On 2 June 2015, PHAP hosted a live online consultation event in support of the the World Humanitarian Summit regional process for the Pacific region. The event happened in anticipation of the regional meeting on 30 June to 2 July 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Pacific region is one of the most disaster-prone in the world. Five of its countries are among the top 15 most at risk of disasters globally and eight out of 20 countries in the world with the highest average annual disaster losses by GDP are Pacific island countries.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-2Jun2015
On 8 January 2015, PHAP hosted a special online consultation event on the principle of neutrality in humanitarian action as part of the World Humanitarian Summit consultations. Over 200 participants joined us for a high level discussion with constant interaction from the audience, which contributed with important questions and comments.
The principle of neutrality, included for example in the Statutes of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and in UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182, is concerned with not taking sides in hostilities and not engaging at any time in controversies of a political, racial, religious, or ideological nature. Such neutral action is generally considered as a crucial means for humanitarian organizations to be able to pursue their humanitarian work in an impartial manner – on the basis of need.
The event was introduced with a special briefing by Dustin Lewis, Senior Researcher at the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC), on the principle of neutrality and its development as a principle for humanitarian action. It was then followed by a panel discussion facilitated by Angharad Laing, Executive Director of PHAP, which focused on current debates in the larger humanitarian community related to the principle of neutrality and their implications, with Carsten Völz, Humanitarian Director of Oxfam International; Ingrid Macdonald, Director, Geneva and Humanitarian Policy at Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC); Jérémie Labbé, Head of Project Principles Guiding Humanitarian Action at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); and Kamel Mohanna, founder of the Lebanese NGO Amel.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-8Jan2015
Part of the World Humanitarian Summit consultations on “The Power of Business in Emergencies”, on 26 November we hosted an the online event that took place on the lead up to the Asia Regional Business Consultation in Bangkok, in 2 December 2014. The online event explored and captured private sector perspectives on how the business community can coordinate itself to engage more systematically in support of emergency preparedness and response, in complement to and in partnership with governments and humanitarian organizations. Key points from the online discussion were brought to the table at the Asia Regional Business Consultation in Bangkok, which was co-hosted by PDRF, ADP, and OCHA, and which supported the Summit consultative process.
The guest speakers discussed the importance of partnership across sectors to support preparedness, response, and recovery. They looked at various models and leading practices in the Philippines, in the Asia-Pacific region, and globally. The interactive discussion looked both at challenges and opportunities, and collected best practice and lessons from a wide audience.
Speakers included Stuart Reid, Trustee of The Partnering Initiative (TPI); Samantha Penabad, Strategy Consultant with Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP); and Rene “Butch” Meily, President of the Philippines Disaster Recovery Foundation (PRDF).
Read more at https://phap.org/26Nov2014
On 21 November 2014, PHAP hosted the first regional consultation event for the Europe and Others Group. Speakers for the event included Tímea Huber, Head of the Department for International Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary and Co-Chair of the Regional Steering Group for Europe and Others; Yulia Gusynina Paroz, Special Advisor to the Director of the Europe Zone, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); Patricia McIlreavy, Senior Director of Humanitarian Policy of InterAction; Randolph Kent, Discussion Chair of the online discussion forum for the region; and Rob Smith, Head of the Geneva office of the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat.
Read more on https://phap.org/WHS-21Nov2014
On 23 October 2014, the third in a series of live online events leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit Eastern and Southern Africa regional consultation was hosted by PHAP. Leading up to the regional consultation event, which took place in Pretoria, South Africa, at the end of October, this live online event focused on the regional priorities concerning humanitarian effectiveness. Speakers included Michael Charles, Regional Programs Coordinator for the Southern Africa region, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); Francis Onditi, Regional Child Protection Coordinator for West and East Africa, Save the Children International; Filipa Gouveia, Programme Officer and Humanitarian Focal Point, UNFPA Mozambique; Rania El Rajji, Humanitarian Affairs Advisor, MSF-Spain (Kenya); Mvuselelo Huni, Chief Operations Officer, Organisation of Rural Associations for Progress (ORAP) (Zimbabwe); and Joseph Nkinzo, Executive Director, Hope in Action International (Kenya).
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa evolved into a complex emergency with significant political, social humanitarian and security dimensions in 2014. It is estimated by the United Nations that US$987.8 million are required to implement the Ebola response strategy. Health agencies such as the World Health Organization and Doctors Without Borders have warned of inadequate resources to contain the epidemic and treat affected people. As the international community scales up its efforts, the private sector is being called upon to expand its engagement to provide resources with the objective to eradicate the Ebola threat and mitigate its impact.
The online event on the “Power of business in the Ebola response” rovided information on the Ebola crisis, specific ways in which the private sector could contribute to the crisis and best case examples of private sector engagement in the response. We heard first-hand accounts of the crisis on the ground from workers in affected countries and from private sector companies that had been offering support to the response.
Our panel of speakers included Joe Ruiz, Corporate Grants Manager at UPS Foundation; Karen Smith, Private Sector Strategic Partnerships Advisor at United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER); Jon Pender, Vice President at Global Health in GSK's Government Affairs Department; Dr Craig Friderichs, Director of Health at GSMA; Alan Knight, General Manager for Corporate Responsibility at ArcelorMittal; and Sue Adkins, International Director at Business in the Community.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-17oct2014
On 16 October 2014, PHAP hosted the second in a series of live online events leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit Eastern and Southern Africa regional consultation. On the lead up to the regional consultation event, which took place in Pretoria, South Africa, this live online event focused on on the theme of transformation through innovation: successful scale-up models. Speakers included Olivier Delarue, Head of UNHCR Innovation; Helen Altshul, Deputy Chief for the Resilience and Economic Growth in Arid Lands – Improving Resilience in Kenya (REGAL-IR) project at Adeso; and Rob Beyer, Villgro Innovation.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-16Oct2014
On 3 October 2014, PHAP hosted the second in a series of live online events leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit Eastern and Southern Africa regional consultation, which will take place in Pretoria, South Africa, on 27 October. This live online event discussed humanitarian interaction with political and military actors including parties to conflict, states, peacekeeping operations and political missions.
The panel of speakers included Ashley Jackson, Researcher at the Overseard Development Institute (ODI); Jules Frost, Senior Advisor for Civil-Military and Police Relations at World Vision International; Ibrahim Mohamed, Project Manager at Zamzam Foundation; and Maimuna Mohamud, Consultant for Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS).
Read more on https://phap.org/WHS-3oct2014
On 26 September 2014, PHAP hosted a live online event discussing the upcoming Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) regional consultation. This is the third of the World Humanitarian Summit regional consultations leading up to the major global event, to take place in Istanbul in May 2016.
Panelists for this event included Ignacio Leon-Garcia, the Head of the OCHA Regional Office in Southern Africa, Anne Mitaru, an international humanitarian lawyer working with Save the Children as the Humanitarian Advocacy Adviser for East Africa, and Philippe Habinshuti, the Director of Disaster Response and Recovery in MIDIMAR.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-26Sep2014
On Thursday, 14 August, PHAP hosted a live online event to discuss the outcomes of the North & South East Asia regional consultation for the World Humanitarian Summit, which took place in Tokyo on 23-24 July.
Panelists for the event included Oliver Lacey-Hall, Head of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); Takeshi Komino, Head of Emergencies, Church World Service (CWS) and delegate of the Asian Disaster Response and Reduction Network (ADRRN); and Pansy Tun Thein, Executive Director of the Local Resource Centre (LRC) from Myanmar, representing local civil society organizations.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-14Aug2014
During this live online event on 11 July, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos presented her vision for the World Humanitarian Summit and answered questions from participants.
Since the current international humanitarian system was created 25 years ago, more and more people are affected by violence and hardship. The world has changed and humanitarian action must keep pace. Between 2004 and 2013, humanitarian funding requests roughly doubled from $6 billion to over $10 billion per year. In that same period, the number of people targeted through formal funding appeals rose from approximately 30 to 70 million. Moreover, global challenges like urbanization, population growth in some countries, environmental degradation, conflict, climate change and resource scarcity mean that humanitarian needs and costs are rising beyond the capacity of the global humanitarian system to cope.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-11Jul2014
Speakers: Carsten Völz, Cecilia Jimenez, Sebastian Rhodes Stampa
On 19 June 2014, PHAP hosted an online event on the theme of humanitarian response in situations of armed conflict in North and Southeast Asia. The event dealt with regionally relevant issues such as population displacement, accountability of governments and aid organizations, access of people to humanitarian action, and protection of civilians. Speakers included Carsten Völz, Humanitarian Director of Oxfam International, Cecilia Jimenez, National Director of the IDP Project for the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, and Sebastian Rhodes Stampa, Deputy Head of the regional office for Asia and the Pacific of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-19Jun2014
Speakers: Oliver Lacey-Hall, Jagan Chapagain, Lilianne Fan
On 12 June 2014, PHAP hosted a live online briefing and consultation for the World Humanitarian Summit on the topic of the consequences of a changing humanitarian landscape on humanitarian effectiveness in North and Southeast Asia. Speakers included Mr Oliver Lacey-Hall, Head of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Mr Jagan Chapagain, Regional Director of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Asia Pacific zone, and Ms Lilianne Fan, Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) of the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
This live online event was an opportunity for participants to get better acquainted with the regional consultation process and provide views and ideas on the topics discussed, ultimately helping to shape the agenda for the upcoming regional consultation event.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-12Jun2014
Speakers: Jemilah Mahmood, Linda Poteat, Oliver Lacey-Hall, Paul Empole
Event date: 28 May 2015
This live online event was an excellent opportunity for everyone interested to learn more about the World Humanitarian Summit, to take place in Istanbul in 2016, and the process leading up to this major global event. Participants learned about both the online and onsite consultation processes at the regional and global level, the main questions that will be discussed, how to provide input to the consultations, and how the results are meant to help humanitarian action move forward. Hosted by PHAP, this interactive information event featured Jemilah Mahmood, Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat; Linda Poteat, Discussion Chair of the Online Global Consultations; Oliver Lacey-Hall, Head of the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); and Paul Empole, Discussion Chair of the Online West and Central Africa Consultations.
The Summit, convened by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and managed by OCHA, will bring all interested humanitarian stakeholders together to set out a new course for how we collaborate in the vital effort to prepare for and respond to natural disasters and man-made crises around the world.
Read more at https://phap.org/WHS-28May2015
Speakers: Naz Modirzadeh, Founding Director of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC) & Dustin Lewis, Senior Researcher, PILAC
In December 2014, President Obama said that the United States “combat mission in Afghanistan is ending, and the longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion.” Yet over a year later hostilities continue. What are the stakes for humanitarian organizations in the ongoing application—or not—of international humanitarian law (IHL) in Afghanistan and in other contemporary armed conflicts? Does international law provide sufficient guidance for humanitarians and other battlefield actors to discern when today’s armed conflicts end? At this PHAP online IHL expert briefing, Naz Modirzadeh and Dustin Lewis, of the Harvard Law School Program on International Law and Armed Conflict (PILAC), will discuss initial PILAC research on the “end” of armed conflict under IHL. Among the issues they will explore are:
What are the IHL criteria pertaining to the end of armed conflict?
Who benefits, and who is disadvantaged, from a presumption of the continued application of IHL—both its more permissive and its more restrictive elements?
What is at stake for humanitarian actors, for the parties to the conflict, and for affected civilian populations?
Read more at https://phap.org/OEV-23Feb2016
With the launch of “One Humanity: Shared Responsibility”, the Report of the Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit, the Summit process is entering the final stretch of preparation for Istanbul.
On 18 February 2016, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and PHAP organized an online event to discuss the report and its impact on the future of humanitarian action. This was an opportunity to interact with a panel of NGO representatives on some key questions, such as:
- Does the report address key concerns raised by NGOs in recent years?
- Does the report adequately cover the most pressing matters for improving humanitarian action for today and tomorrow?
- How well does the report include recommendations from the regional consultations and the synthesis report?
- How well does the "Agenda for Humanity" fulfil your vision of meaningful impact on the lives of affected people?
- Anne Héry, Director of Advocacy and Institutional Relations, Handicap International Federation
- Virginie Lefèvre, Program and Partnerships Coordinator, Amel Association International
- Brooke Lauten, Humanitarian Policy and Protection Advisor, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
- Ahmad Faizal Perdaus, President, MERCY Malaysia
- Gareth Price-Jones, Senior Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy Coordinator, CARE International
For further info, visit https://phap.org/WHS-18Feb2016
Main speaker: Katarina Grenfell, Legal Officer in the UN Office of Legal Affairs
The mandates of contemporary United Nations Peacekeeping missions are increasingly robust, often authorizing a range of activities far beyond those historically envisioned as within the remit of UN peacekeepers. For instance, the mandate for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) includes the authorization to “carry out targeted offensive operations through the Intervention Brigade [...] [to] prevent the expansion of all armed groups, neutralize these groups, and disarm them.” This expansion has resulted in a number of legal and operational challenges, including the core question of the application of international humanitarian law to UN peacekeeping contingents. The involvement of UN peacekeepers in hostilities raises a host of issues, including:
- What legal framework involves the use of force on the part of the peacekeepers?
- What protection, if any, are the peacekeepers afforded under international law?
- What is the threshold for the application of international humanitarian law?
- What is the temporal and geographic scope of the application of international humanitarian law?
This session addressed the fundamental issue of under what circumstances international humanitarian law regulates UN peacekeepers, including a discussion when and for how long international humanitarian law applies in a specific context.
For more info, resources and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-17
Main speaker: Théo Boutruche, Independent consultant in international human rights and humanitarian law
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is heralded as a significant development in the field of international justice and accountability. Established by the Rome Statute, the ICC is a unique legal mechanism in terms of its broad jurisdiction over war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and the crime of aggression. Though the ICC represents an important commitment to international justice, it is not free from challenges and critique. One such issue is the relationship between the ICC and humanitarian actors. Humanitarian actors often have unparalleled access in the contexts the Court investigates, and because of this humanitarians may be approached to cooperate with the Court. Such cooperation, however, complicates – and potentially directly threatens – the principles that govern humanitarians’ operations. This event will explore the issues and debates stemming from the relationship between the ICC and humanitarian actors.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-16
Main speaker: Robin Geiß, Professor of International Law and Security, School of Law, University of Glasgow
On 3 October 2015, a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was destroyed in a strike carried out by the United States Air Force. 22 civilians were killed - 12 MSF staff members and ten patients; 37 individuals were injured, including 19 MSF staff. Condemnation of the operation was swift, including from MSF which "condemn[ed] in the strongest possible terms the horrific aerial bombing ... [which] constitutes a grave violation of International Humanitarian Law." President Obama apologized to MSF, and the United States government has announced it will issue "condolence payments."
Was this a war crime? Any analysis of the question centers on the IHL principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. It also raises the fundamental protections afforded civilians and civilian objects under IHL, as well as those special protections for medical personnel and hospitals. Any answer to this question requires a thorough and independent investigation, so as to determine the facts on the ground. This raises a host of additional questions, including the obligation of states to investigate and prosecute (if appropriate) in cases like this, as well as the potential role of the International Humanitarian Law Fact-Finding Committee. The Commission, set up under the Geneva Conventions, can investigate violations of IHL - but it has not been used before.
This learning session will serve as a case study to apply the areas covered in previous sessions in the series. It will review the various legal questions related to the strike, including the relevant rules of targeting, the protections afforded medical staff and hospitals, and what investigation and accountability looks like.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-15
Main speaker: Elizabeth Holland, Consulting Expert on IHL, PHAP
International humanitarian law (IHL) establishes a number of provisions designed to enhance protections for civilians in armed conflict. The provision of humanitarian assistance, and securing the requisite humanitarian access to do so, are critical to addressing the suffering of the civilian population. IHL provides a legal basis for humanitarian actors to engage with parties to the conflict. It presents a common set of concepts, principles, and terminology that can inform negotiations as well as policy and operational decisions. Understanding what IHL says – and does not say – in terms of humanitarian access is critical for humanitarians. This event introduces the concept of humanitarian access and highlight the relevant IHL terminology and rules and presents some of the key challenges to this concept.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-14
Main speaker: Anne Quintin, Head of Sector for Legal Training at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
International humanitarian law (IHL) establishes rules to protect civilians during armed conflict. One of the most important dictates that “civilians [shall not be the object of attack], unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.” This standard, known as “directly participating in hostilities,” sets the threshold for when civilians may lose the protection from direct attack he or she is otherwise afforded under IHL.
On 14 October, PHAP hosted a session introducing the concept of direct participation with Anne Quintin, Head of Sector for Legal Training at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The session reviewed the various criteria used to determine whether an individual is directly participating, and present key contemporary debates, including the application of this concept to the use of drone strikes.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-13
Main speaker: Sean Lowrie, Director of the START Network
This learning session provides a more in-depth treatment of the principle of independence, focusing on practical dilemmas in its application and humanitarian funding mechanisms.
Main speaker: Kate Mackintosh
This learning session provides a more in-depth treatment of the principle of neutrality, focusing on practical dilemmas in its application.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-11
Main speaker: Chris Jenks, Assistant Professor of Law, SMU Dedman School of Law
How can international humanitarian law (IHL) be implemented and enforced? International criminal law (ICL) plays an important role in this respect, placing responsibility on individual persons for serious atrocities including genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of aggression.
On 29 September, PHAP members and guests had the opportunity to delve into this topic with Chris Jenks, a law professor with previous experience in the U.S. Army and the co-editor of a forthcoming war crimes casebook. The session will begin with a briefing on ICL and its relevance to humanitarian actors, focusing on its core principles, main instruments, scope of application, and relationship with IHL. This was followed by an opportunity for Q&A and discussion.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-10
Main speaker: Jérémie Labbé, Head of Project for Principles Guiding Humanitarian Action, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
This learning session will provide a more in-depth treatment of the principle of impartiality, focusing on practical dilemmas in its application.
- Understanding of the core humanitarian principle of impartiality, both in its definition and its implementation.
- Knowledge of examples of the practical implications of impartiality in the course of humanitarian action.
- Understanding of the nature of challenges and dilemmas involved in translating impartiality into operations.
- Familiarity with the role that impartiality plays within the RCRC, as both a goal and as a tool
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-9
Main speaker: John Cerone, Paul Martin Senior Professor in International Affairs and Law at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law
International law plays a central role in the protection of civilians in armed conflict, and both international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) establish important principles and rules. This session will provide an introduction to the application of IHL and IHRL to situations of armed conflict, looking at fundamental issues including the circumstances in which IHRL applies, who has rights and obligations under IHRL, derogation from treaty obligations, the question of co-application, and the extraterritorial application of human rights. The session aims to provide participants with the basic knowledge necessary to follow upcoming learning sessions focusing on current humanitarian crises.
In particular, the session will address the following questions:
- Under what circumstances does IHRL apply? How does this differ from the applicability of IHL?
- Who has rights under IHL and IHRL? Who has obligations under IHL and IHRL? Who can bring a claim for violations of IHL and IHRL? Who may be held liable for violations of IHL and IHRL?
- What is derogation from treaty obligations, and under what circumstances may it be invoked?
- Do human rights obligations apply outside the territory of a state - in other words, is there extraterritorial applicability of IHRL?
- If IHL and IHRL both address the same type of situations – for instance, detention or the use of lethal force – how do we know which body of law to apply? What is the lex specialis principle that is often cited in this context?
- What are the practical consequences of the current debates concerning the relationship between IHL and IHRL, in particular the legal and operational issues resulting from co-application of the two frameworks?
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-8
Main speaker: Dr Hugo Slim, Head of Policy at the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
This learning session will provide a more in-depth treatment of the principle of humanity, focusing on practical dilemmas in its application. Directly following this learning session, a discussion and consultation event in support of the World Humanitarian Summit was organized on the same topic.
- Understanding of the core humanitarian principle of humanity, both in its definition and its implementation.
- Knowledge of examples of the practical implications of humanity in the course of humanitarian action.
- Understanding of the nature of challenges and dilemmas involved in translating humanity into operations.
- Familiarity with the role that humanity plays within the ICRC, and in their interactions with other actors.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-7
Main speaker: Marc DuBois, Consulting Expert on Humanitarian Principles, PHAP
In September and October 2015, PHAP is organizing a special series of live online discussions structured around the principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence. As part of the association’s support to the World Humanitarian Summit process, the focus of these events is less on theoretical definitions and more on the operational implications of these principles. The aim is not to “consult” directly on the principles, but rather to discuss – within the context of the principles – a series of problematic issues that have come under debate in the larger Summit consultation process.
This opening session acts as an introduction to the ensuing four events on the individual principles. It will ensure that participants understand the nature of the challenges and dilemmas involved in translating principles into operational decisions. The session will delineate the practical implications of the principles for humanitarian actors and highlight the central role of principles in interactions with government, military, and other actors. It will also emphasize the interrelationship among the four principles, providing a basis for the next sessions, which will focus in on issues that are primarily related to each of the four principles individually.
The event builds on PHAP’s learning session earlier this year, which focused on the how the core humanitarian principles relate to international humanitarian law.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-6
- Laurie Blank, Clinical Professor of Law and the Director of the International Humanitarian Law Clinic at Emory University School of Law
- Sareta Ashraph, Chief Analyst on the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic
On 21 July, PHAP organized an online learning session on the qualification of situations. Following on our introductory session on this topic, we looked at two case studies from Ukraine and Syria, which illustrate both the importance of carrying out a qualification assessment and the complexity involved in such an assessment.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-5
Main speaker: Dr. Noëlle Quénivet, Associate Professor in International Law at the Faculty of Business and Law of the University of the West of England
Qualifying – or classifying – a situation as an international armed conflict (IAC) or non-international armed conflict (NIAC) is an important and often necessary step when determining whether the rules of international humanitarian law (IHL) apply in a specific context. The application of IAC or NIAC rules to a given scenario is of significant consequence; for instance, under IHL the standards governing the use of lethal force in an IAC or NIAC are far more permissive than those that apply during peacetime. The basic distinction between IACs and NIACs is reflected in both treaty and customary law, and dictates which rules apply to a particular situation. For instance, the treaty rules regulating conduct of hostilities and the treaty rules addressing humanitarian access differ in an IAC as compared to a NIAC.
This session provides an introduction to conducting a qualification analysis under IHL. It will address such questions as:
- What is the value or utility of such an exercise?
- Who undertakes such an exercise and why? Is there a final arbiter of such an analysis?
- What are the definitions of an IAC and a NIAC? Where does occupation fit in?
- When does a situation of violence become an IAC or NIAC?
- What are some of the challenges in qualifying a situation as an armed conflict?
These issues and challenges will be picked up in the next session when two case studies will be analyzed, with a focus on the technicalities of qualifying a situation and the relevance of such an exercise to humanitarian practitioners.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-4
Main speaker: Dick Jackson, Special Assistant to the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General for Law of War Matters
The rules regulating the conduct of hostilities are central to the framework of international humanitarian law (IHL). This highly articulated set of rules, found in both treaty and customary law, establishes the parameters by which adversaries must conduct their operations. These rules aim to limit the effects of hostilities, and are critical to the protection of civilians during armed conflict. Implicit in each rule is a balancing of the humanitarian imperative and military necessity.
This session will provide a brief introduction to the basic rules of conduct of hostilities, offering participants the opportunity to learn about the relationship between the principles of distinction and proportionality, the rules regarding precautionary measures, and the prohibition of superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering. The definition of a military objective will be covered, as will conditions under which damage to civilian objects or injury or death to civilians may not be unlawful under IHL in certain circumstances.
This session on the basics of conduct of hostilities will be followed later in the year by a series of more advanced sessions focusing in greater depth on a number of related issues and challenges, including so-called "targeted killings" and direct participation in hostilities by civilians.
For more info, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-3
Main speaker: Elizabeth Holland, Consulting Expert on International Humanitarian Law, PHAP
The four core humanitarian principles – humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence – undergird the humanitarian enterprise. They are referenced in UN Resolutions, included in the Red Cross and NGO Code of Conduct, cited in the missions and mandates of various organizations, noted in various best practices documents, and included in a number of donor agreements. Consequently, considerations regarding how to operate in accordance with these principles are of great import for humanitarian organizations.
This session will review the four core principles in detail, discussing their definitional scope, the guiding role they play, and give a brief overview of the challenges to their implementation. It will also contextualize the principles by examining their relationship to international humanitarian law (IHL), focusing in particular on their significance to those negotiating and conducting humanitarian operations in the context of an armed conflict.
Later this year, this session on the basics of the core humanitarian principles will be followed by a series of more advanced sessions focusing in greater depth on each principle, as well as challenges, and dilemmas in their operationalization.
For more information, resources, and assessments for PHAP members, visit https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-2
Main speaker: Elizabeth Holland, Consulting Expert on International Humanitarian Law, PHAP.
International humanitarian law (“IHL”) aims to regulate the behavior of those involved in armed conflict. Though formally it binds states and armed groups, it also has great practical relevance to humanitarian actors. It provides a set of principles, rules, and norms that govern a myriad of activities, including the conduct of hostilities, detention operations, and humanitarian assistance efforts. As a legal framework, it is relevant to a range of activities in the humanitarian sector – for operations, research, advocacy, communications, etc.
This session will look at examples of practical situations in which an understanding of IHL is critical for those working in the humanitarian field and will address the following questions:
- What is IHL, what is its aim, and why is it important for humanitarian actors to understand?
- Under what conditions does IHL apply and what are the consequences of its application?
- What are the main sources of IHL? Who has rights and - What is the relationship of IHL to other bodies of law relevant to humanitarian practice, particularly human rights law and refugee law?
This online session, the first in a series of regular online events bringing together humanitarian practitioners for brief expert lectures and open Q&A, will provide an overview of IHL with a focus on its significance for humanitarian actors.
Additional information, resources, and assessments for PHAP members at https://phap.org/OLS-HLP-1
In its fourth Online Learning Session on Trends and Challenges of Humanitarian Action, Erin Kenny gave a presentation on addressing gender based violence in emergencies.
- An ability to define gender-based violence
- An understanding of the principles that guide our work to address GBV in humanitarian contexts
- Familiarity with the elements of effective GBV programming in humanitarian contexts
To read more about this session and to take the assessments, visit https://phap.org/OLS-TCHA-4
In its third Online Learning Session on Trends and Challenges of Humanitarian Action, Professor Alastair Ager gave a presentation on psychology, trauma, and staff wellness in humanitarian action. This session focused on the following:
- Stressors in humanitarian work and their effects.
- Organizational factors influencing the impact of stressors.
- The effect of anxiety and burnout on humanitarian effectiveness.
- The differences between local and international staff in terms of stressors faced in their work.
You can read more about the session and take the assessments at https://phap.org/OLS-TCHA-3
In the context of growing humanitarian needs and increasingly limited resources, finding innovative solutions to reducing human suffering is critical. However, the humanitarian sector lacks organizational frameworks, resources, and tools dedicated to managing innovation, and innovation strategies are rarely systematically adapted and applied to humanitarianism.
The past few years have seen an influx of initiatives looking at fostering innovation in humanitarian action, including the ICRC-led Global Partnership for Humanitarian Impact and Innovation (GPHI2); the Humanitarian Innovation Fund (HIF); the Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP) at the Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford; dedicated innovation units at UNICEF and UNHCR; and private sector initiatives such as the Deloitte Humanitarian Innovation Program. Given the current interest in innovation, it is important that we understand what we mean when we refer to humanitarian innovation, what the current trends are, as well as the challenges to achieving results in fostering innovation in humanitarian action.
In this learning session, Alexander Betts,
Director of the Refugee Studies Centre and Leopold Muller Associate Professor in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at the University of Oxford, provides us with an overview of what sets humanitarian innovation apart from other kinds of innovation.
Read more and access the assessments and related resources at https://phap.org/OLS-TCHA-2
This learning session featured guest speaker Prof Alastair Ager, who provided a brief overview of the history of the relationship between religion and humanitarian action.
Humanitarian agencies across the globe are seeking to come to terms with the religiosity that so clearly continues as a major influence in today's world.. But how are they to engage with religion, when humanitarianism holds neutrality, impartiality and modernity so centrally to its credentials? Is it not a violation of the very identity of the humanitarian to wade into such partisan territory?
This learning session provided a brief overview of the history of the relationship between religion and humanitarian action. It also looked at recent and current initiatives in the humanitarian sector, highlighting challenges, recommendations, and examples of good practice that have been identified.
For more resources and assessments relating to this session, please go to https://phap.org/OLS-TCHA-1