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2018 Humanitarian Policy Forum

OCHA’s seventh annual Global Humanitarian Policy Forum (GHPF) will take place on 12 December 2018 in New York under the theme of “Solutions for Humanity: Creating opportunities for those furthest behind.” This year’s forum will focus on global trends and challenges and provide an opportunity to collectively discuss how to provide concrete solutions to some of them.

The international humanitarian system is more effective than ever at meeting the needs of people caught up in humanitarian crises – but global trends including poverty, population growth and climate change are leaving more people than ever vulnerable to the devastating impacts of conflicts and disasters. Around one in every 60 people around the world is caught up in a crisis and urgently needs humanitarian assistance and protection. More and more people are being displaced by conflict, while the respect for International Humanitarian Law is severely reduced. The number of forcibly displaced people rose from 59.5 million in 2014 to 68.5 million by the end of 2017. Food Insecurity is rising. In 2017, an estimated 124 million people faced crisis-level food insecurity or worse, up from 108 million in 2016. Humanitarian crises affect more people, for longer, with the average humanitarian appeal lasting seven years in 2017 compared to four years in 2005. Large protracted crises continue to command the majority of our resources and work.


Against, this backdrop, the GHPF 2018 will focus on the following two specific objectives in addition to providing space for an inclusive policy discussion:

  • To take stock of the current global landscape affected people and humanitarians are facing;
  • To identify concrete and workable examples of how to overcome some of the key challenges that prevent us from truly reaching those furthest behind, in particular on issues such as IHL compliance, Humanitarian Financing and Humanitarian-Development Collaboration.


The 2018 GHPF programme will consist of two parts: On 12 December, the public, high-level symposium in the morning and three thematic working sessions running in parallel in the afternoon. On 13 December, a joint Launch event of the Agenda for Humanity Annual Synthesis Report 2018 and the ALNAP's Making it Count report.

2018 Humanitarian Symposium

Vulnerable communities across the world are facing unprecedented challenges and rising humanitarian needs, putting at risk our collective promise to leave no one behind. The Forum will call for concrete solutions and ideas from all participants on how to address three of the main challenges: ensuring respect for international humanitarian law in the delivery of humanitarian assistance; enabling more anticipatory, flexible and sustainable financing approaches to crisis contexts; and how best to reduce need, risk and vulnerability by transcending humanitarian-development divides.

The public, high-level symposium will open with a keynote address by the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed. This will be followed by a high-level panel debate on the topic “Solutions for Humanity: Creating opportunities for those furthest behind.” In setting the scene for the day and recognizing the challenges faced by vulnerable communities across the world, the Symposium will discuss solutions and new ideas for accelerating progress towards ending crises in the context of advancing the 2030 Agenda in humanitarian emergencies.

Policy working sessions

In the afternoon, participants will participate in one of three working sessions. Each of the three working sessions will begin with a panel discussion, before opening the floor to all participants. Participants are encouraged to come prepared with concrete, relevant and workable examples of how to meet the challenges identified by their working session. Outcomes will be shared during a closing session.

Working Session 1
Respecting and ensuring respect for international humanitarian law in the delivery of humanitarian assistance: Examining good policy and practice

This workshop will examine some good policy and practice by State and non-State parties to armed conflict, humanitarian organizations, and third States to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The event will principally gather diplomats, NGOs and other organizations who cover humanitarian issues. Speakers will include representatives from States as well as humanitarian and other organizations that engage with parties to armed conflict on humanitarian assistance.

Working Session 2
Financing to leave no one behind

This workshop will explore the latest developments on financing in crisis contexts. The discussion will focus on key financing streams in crisis contexts, including humanitarian financing, but not limited to it. The speakers will kick start a discussion on how to operationalize commitments from Core Responsibility 5 of the Agenda for Humanity as well as the political directions from the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee on financing in crisis contexts. The workshop will draw on recommendations from participants for how we - collectively and individually – can contribute to advancing this vision. Participants are encouraged to think creatively in the format of an expert round table.

Working Session 3
Taking stock of the New Way of Working: Achievements and next steps

The purpose of this session is to expose participants to a panel of experts that can speak to the key issues and developments around the New Way of Working. The workshop will provide a forum where participants can share good examples of implementing, coordinating or financing the New Way of Working in their organization or country, and identify 2-3 priorities or recommendations for ensuring successful implementation of this approach over the next few years.

Joint launch event: Implementing the Agenda for Humanity – How much has been achieved and how do we know?

This joint launch event presents findings from two new publications, OCHA's Agenda for Humanity Annual Synthesis Report 2018 and ALNAP's Making it Count: A feasibility study on collective indicators to monitor progress in the Agenda for Humanity.

OCHA's Agenda for Humanity Annual Synthesis Report, now in its second iteration, presents cross-cutting analysis from stakeholders' self-reports, and seeks to identify progress and challenges on the implementation of the Agenda for Humanity. The ALNAP study considers the feasibility of using collective indicators similar to monitoring processes in other parts of the 2030 Agenda, in order to track progress against the five Core Responsibilities of the Agenda For Humanity. Following introductory remarks that outline the reports' findings, the launch will include a panel discussion on broader questions: what progress has been achieved on the Agenda for Humanity? Could humanitarians have a collective monitoring framework akin to that of the Sustainable Development Goals? Would such a framework be desirable? How could such a framework help increase accountability of stakeholders?