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2017 Humanitarian Policy Forum

OCHA’s sixth annual Global Humanitarian Policy Forum (GHPF) took place on 13 December 2017 in New York under the theme of: “Reaching for the future: Humanitarianism in 2030.”

The event explored the following overarching question: What is the scale and depth of change required by the humanitarian sector to contribute toward lifting the most vulnerable out of crises between now and 2030?

While maintaining the broader objectives of building a more inclusive policy community, identifying latest trends and showcasing research, the GHPF 2017 focused on the following:

  1. To identify specific measures that can be adopted or scaled to bring about the systemic and structural changes required for the humanitarian sector to contribute to lifting out the most vulnerable of humanitarian crises, between now and 2030.
  2. Through multi-stakeholder dialogue, to identify areas where progress can be accelerated on the transformations identified in the Agenda for Humanity.

As a background for discussion, participants were provided with snapshots from the first Annual Synthesis Report on progress since the World Humanitarian Summit and World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2017.

The GHPF 2017 provided the basis for a blog about the future of humanitarianism that will be produced after the forum, based on inputs from and discussion among participants, including actionable steps forward.

You can watch the archived broadcast on UNTV at


In the last two years, a range of global change agendas and processes have drawn attention to the scale of global challenges and their impact on increasing humanitarian needs, risk and fragility. The 2030 Agenda opened new opportunities for how development actors manage and finance issues of risk, fragility, and sustainability. The World Humanitarian Summit also confirmed that a new and coherent approach for reducing needs and vulnerabilities was needed.

As reforms begin to make significant changes to the development sector, the Global Humanitarian Policy Forum will provide an opportunity to explore how the humanitarian sector is evolving, what is the scale and depth of change required, and how we can better work together toward the 2030 Agenda.

Five actions to move humanitarians closer to the 2030 Agenda

Central to discussions was the recognition that achieving the 2030 Agenda will require continued, significant effort to adapt the international aid system, particularly to facilitate better connectivity between humanitarian and development action.

As David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, said: “The humanitarian sector has extraordinary entrepreneurialism, bravery and effectiveness…but I fear we rely on heroism rather than effective systems… We need major change: we need to redefine the humanitarian system, as well as revitalize it, because we are living in a world where refugees are displaced for more than 10 years, where 60 per cent of refugees are kids.” At the same time, Under Secretary-General Mark Lowcock reminded participants that despite major challenges, “progress is possible,” as captured in the first report on the achievements against the Agenda for Humanity, since the World Humanitarian Summit. Read more.

Feature: Five actions to move humanitarians closer to the 2030 Agenda


World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2017