Regional Policy Workshop - Middle East and North Africa

Regional Policy Workshop for Humanitarian actors – Middle East and North Africa
Cairo, Egypt, 5-6 December 2012

On 5 and 6 December 2012, OCHA and The Humanitarian Forum organized a Regional Middle East and North Africa Workshop for Humanitarian Actors focused on identifying priority trends and issues, promoting operational collaboration and trust building between regional humanitarian actors and the international system. The workshop brought together 42 participants representing national and regional NGOs, charities and universities from Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, as well as representatives of international NGOs, ICRC, WHO and the League of Arab States.

The workshop sought to reflect on the major challenges facing local and regional organizations with a particular focus on the major humanitarian situations in the region over the past several years, notably Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon and the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).
The conference focused on four priority areas:

Working together – opportunities and challenges

Several key themes emerged, particularly the need for general trust building and bridging of cultural differences, changing the terms of relationships with partners at the national level and improving relationships with governments.

Promoting emergency preparedness in the MENA region 

Participants recognized that emergency preparedness was no longer optional but an intrinsic part of humanitarian action. In this regard, participants noted considerable efforts being made to promote operational preparedness within organizations, and that effective preparedness should include developing sustainable programming that addresses the root causes of humanitarian needs.

Accountability to affected populations: assessing needs and monitoring delivery

Accountability to affected populations was highlighted as a priority for regional humanitarian actors and there were calls for greater transparency in decision making and for improvements in communication with the affected population to better understand their needs and expectations.

Humanitarian access negotiations

In the discussion, gaining acceptance and consent was seen as central to achieving humanitarian access, with participants noting that these needed to be earned. This required consistent negotiation with all necessary stakeholders. Understanding different stakeholders’ interests is vital and negotiations should align them to facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance.     

Next Steps

Participants proposed nine concrete action points for follow up and there was a commitment to maintain contact and review progress at a second workshop in 2013.


Summary Report (English)
Summary Report (Arabic)
Participants List