Global Humanitarian Policy Forum 2013

On 12 and 13 December 2013, humanitarian practitioners, academics, private-sector representatives, international organizations, non-governmental and government representatives gathered in New York for the 2013 Global Humanitarian Policy Forum, convened by OCHA’s Policy Analysis and Innovation Section.

The forum looked at the future of the formal international humanitarian system, with participants discussing where it would stand in 2025.

The Global Humanitarian Policy Forum Analytical Summary outlines the key issues that emerged during the forum:

  • The future is already here. To remain relevant, humanitarians need to do more than just adapt to the changing humanitarian landscape. They need to change and become more innovative in the tools and services they offer and use.
  • There are multiple systems of aid operating concurrently. is the challenge is no longer about bringing partners into the inter-agency based system. It is about finding ways of having multiple systems work together and finding comparative advantages between them, while engaging local communities, who are active actors in humanitarian response.
  • Humanitarian response is turning into long-term programming, meaning that risk-based and need-based approaches need to happen simultaneously.
  • However, the international humanitarian system(s) must not neglect the challenge of how to serve conflict-affected people, including protecting civilians, and advocating rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access while strengthening and improving legal frameworks for the implementation of humanitarian norms.

To provide feedback on the report, please email

Humanitarian Symposium 2013

The first day of the 2013 Global Humanitarian policy Forum featured the inaugural session of OCHA's Humanitarian Symposium.

[Watch webcast of Symposium]

The event convened experts from across the humanitarian community and around the world to answer the question: “Where will the international humanitarian system stand in 2025?”

During the next decade, humanitarian response is expected to change radically. New actors and ways of working will transform aid delivery, potentially resulting in a less central role for the formal international humanitarian system. This event explored what the future of emergency response might look like and what challenges humanitarian actors should prepare for. The symposium included:

A moderated high-level panel debate featuring:

  • Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Almeraikhi, Director-General, Qatar Development Fund
  • Ambassador Bruno Figueroa, Director-General for Technical and Scientific Cooperation, Mexican Agency for International Development Corporation
  • Mr. David Miliband, President and CEO, International Rescue Committee
  • Mr. Claus Sørensen, Director-General, European Community Humanitarian Office
  • Mr. Misikir Tilahun, Head of Programmes, Africa Humanitarian Action
  • Moderator: Hannah Pool, Journalist and Curator Talks & Debates, Southbank Centre

Talks exploring new trends in humanitarian response including:

  • The role of the private sector:  Mr. Daniel W. Baker, Global Lead, Program Innovation, Accenture Development Partnerships
  • The growth of cash transfer programming - Ms. Jamie Zimmerman, Director of the Global Assets Project, New America Foundation
  • The impact of the digital revolution and technology - Dr. Patrick Meier, Director of Social Innovation, Qatar Computing Research Institute
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ASG/DERC Kyung-wha Kang's remarks at the opening of the 2013 Humanitarian Symposium