As part of our participation in the Summit, we have organized a side event under the title ‘De-Rıskıng & Remıttances: Cooperatıon Between Fınancıal Instıtutıons and The Humanıtarıan Sector’.
The event was a panel discussion, and the Panelists included:
Chaır: Abdulrahman Sharıf, Dırector, Somalıa NGO Consortıum.
Professor Alpaslan Ozerderm, Dırector of the Centre for Peace and Reconcılıatıon studıes, Coventry Unıversıty.
Ms. Saba AlMubaslat, CEO, Humanıtarıan Leadershıp Academy
Dr. Haroon Atallah, Group Dırector, Transparency Internatıonal.
Mr. Jan England, Presıdent, Norwegıan Refugee Councıl
Ms. Omayma El Ella, Operatıons Manager, Muslım Charıtıes Forum
Main Discussion points were:
- The complex and increasingly challenging relationship between NGOs, financial institutions, and donor agencies
- Financial sector concern related to working with NGOs
- The responsibility of NGOs to improve work standards and meet the requirements of donor agencies and financial institutions
- Strategic ways in which financial institutions and NGOs can work together
Policies to tackle extremism, terror and corruption have seen financial institutions slashing the services they offer to humanitarian organizations, leaving non-profits struggling to access the financial services they need to assist in some of the most troubled areas on the planet.
The main outcome was tocarry out case studıes that document the catastrophic and life-threatening consequences of the strıngent legıslatıon on transferrıng funds, particularly to those located in hıgh rısk areas.
The Humanitarian Forum will take the lead on collating these case studies from the NGOs and CSOs affected by de-risking policies. These will then be passed on to other partners such as the Norwegian Refugee Council as well as research institutions in order to share with policy makers and financial regulators.
- Consıder ınnovatıve ways to solve ıssues of fund transfers through examples lıke dıgıtal transfer.
- Donors need to broaden the margın of rısk and work together wıth NGOs and CSOs.
- It was agreed that a common standard is needed for capacity strengthening. This could be utilized by all NGOs, civil society and beyond to recognize individual skills and experience.
Quotes from the event:
Haroun Atallah, Group Director for Corporate Services, Transparency International, says: “Whilst banks continue with a de-risking approach which deems that the risks of providing services to humanitarian organizations outweigh the benefits, people in conflict zones are paying the heaviest price”.
‘Instead of attemptıng to depolıtıcıze the de-rıskıng ıssue, we need to understand the polıtıcal context that defınes the challenges and parameters of de-rıskıng. ‘Prof. Alpaslan Ozerderm, Dırector of the Centre for Peace and Reconcılıatıon studıes, Coventry Unıversıty.
Omayma El Ella, Operations Manager for the Muslim Charities Forum, explains: “There are countless people being cut off from vital aid because of money-transfer related issues, and even staff put at risk because they can’t pay suppliers on time. A zero tolerance approach to terrorist financing should not translate into zero appetites for risk.
‘It is essential that we look beyond formal high-level qualifications and ensure that the sector is able to draw on all relevant professionals to find the best solutions. This would enable us to have the right people with the right skills in the right place’ Ms. Saba AlMubaslat, CEO, Humanıtarıan Leadershıp Academy.
Calling for urgent action, President of The Humanitarian Forum, Dr. Hany El Bana, says: “Whilst rightly keen to stymie support for corruption and terrorism, existing policies leave vulnerable people without the assistance they so desperately and urgently need.
“To tackle extremism, build community resilience, and tackle the pressing humanitarian crises of our era, we must be equal partners with those working on the ground. The barriers to finance must be replaced by a fit for purpose regulatory and monitoring mechanism that supports rather than hinders us in the fight against poverty and suffering.”