The roundtable on Conflicts and Crisis was led by Islamic Relief Worldwide and supported by the Disasters Emergency Committee.
Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) with partner organisations explored the various integrated approaches to conflict and crises, forced migration and protection with a focus on Gender Based Violence (GBV), inclusion and intersectionality. IRW aimed to promote gender justice and child protection in order to inspire behavioural change in communities.
The roundtable discussion Forced Migration and Protection with a focus on GBV, aimed to put beneficiaries first by building trust between different communities, organizations, and individuals and allowed delegates to explore how we as humanitarians could maximize the effectiveness of humanitarian action.
There was a rich and diverse contribution from the panellists and chairs with representation from specialist NGOs in different areas including age and disability; international NGOs; local NGOs and those working in aid delivery in Bangladesh, Somalia, Iraq and dealing with the refugee crisis in Greece.
Two issues that stood out amongst the panel were the importance of accountability and listening, and the importance of networks on agreeing certain standards and working together for the protection of vulnerable people.
Key points of the session included:
The first session focused on the general humanitarian landscape, focusing mainly on statelessness, the injustices, lack of passports and what could be done. The Sustainable Development Agenda has to be challenged to take statelessness on board, because the approach of the SDGs was country-by-country, and did not address a cross-cutting issue like statelessness. Statelessness needs to be brought into mainstream thinking including giving stateless people a voice in those international conversations.
There needs to be advocacy and public pressure to hold governments to account, and possibly legal action in some cases, because there was a feeling that it was not the frameworks that were the problem, but their implementation by sovereign states. The term “burden sharing” was mentioned; five donors were responsible for two thirds of global humanitarian response last year, and that needed to be shared out more equally.
On the topic of local protection, firstly, there is a need to invest in over-arching systems and standards that could be adapted to local situations. Secondly, take accountability seriously in programming and policy and strategy approach to protection; that means accountability to beneficiaries as well as donors. International NGOs needed to be more accountable to local NGOs, and all NGOs needed to be accountable to the local community. It is important that NGOs listen and empower the local community. Thirdly, identify and support particular vulnerable groups among the generally vulnerable population, for example, people with disabilities and adolescent girls and boys.
On the topic of intersectionality; the Leave No One Behind Agenda, ensuring that the response to humanitarian challenges did not leave anyone behind. The recommendations fell into three categories: first, data. At a bare minimum, data should be collected on sex, age and disability, so that it could be disaggregated to identify what those particular vulnerable groups needed and adapting the programme to provide it. It is critical to involve beneficiaries from those groups in the data collection.
Organisations need to systematically embrace this Agenda included recruiting specialist staff who can relate to and support these particular populations. There should be strategies, policies and tool kits; awareness training should be conducted with staff, and there should be disability champions within organisations who could take forward the disability agenda.
Advocacy is needed with a range of different stakeholders including donors, and international stakeholders. The relevant recommendations that arose from WHAF will be fed into the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework 2018