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The annual UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS) is a unique platform for Member States, UN agencies, humanitarian and development partners, the private sector and affected communities to discuss new and pressing humanitarian issues.

The 2013 ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment was held in Geneva, Switzerland from 15 to 17 July. The theme for the segment was: The future of humanitarian affairs: towards greater inclusiveness, coordination, interoperability and effectiveness.

It featured two high-level panels:

  1. Reducing vulnerability, improving capacities and managing risks: an approach for humanitarian and development actors to work together (see the video of the event), and
  2. Promoting humanitarian innovation for improved response (see the video of the event).

The event brought together a range of participants, offering unique and valuable perspectives.


Opening remarks and brief on the Secretary-General’s report to the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment 2013, 15 July


From the participants

"The 2013 ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment gave me the unique opportunity to exchange ideas with an excellent group of experts and professionals… There is a never-ending need to develop and innovate. This year’s HAS made it clear that the responsibility lies with all of us – NGOs, governments, the private sector and the UN".  Yazeed Sheqem, Director of Business Development for the Ramallah-based mobile solutions provider, Souktel

"The ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment gave me the opportunity to participate and share my experience and the challenges I face in operating a radio station and implementing humanitarian programming in Dadab camp in Kenya. The interaction with my fellows from different countries has really opened my eyes in terms of improving humanitarian innovation".  Mohamed Osman, Managing Director of Star FM in Nairobi – a radio station broadcasting to the Somali diaspora in Kenya and back into Somali

"I am proud of knowing that our network, our efforts and our work have been recognized and made to be an example in case at a global level. It helps me and Jalin Merapi to work even further to our goal of Disaster Preparedness amongst Merapi Communities and encourages our calling to act as humanitarians".  Sukiman Mochtar Pratomo, founder of the Lintas Merapi Community Radio network in Central Java, Indonesia

"What was really important, I think, was the awareness that the humanitarian system will not be able to cope with the complexity of the humanitarian crisis that occur today and their impact on people, unless we – 'traditional' donors, 'new' donors, beneficiary countries, as well as agencies and NGOs – work together".  Claus Sorenson, Director-General, Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO)

"The Humanitarian Affairs Segment gave me the opportunity to engage representatives from UN Member States. The people we interacted with were amazed at the skills we have and the work we can produce. Understanding other organizations’ skills has been beneficial to the point of collaborating with a few already".  Justine Mackinnon, JusComms, Member of Digital Humanitarian Network

"Participation in the HAS allowed the African representatives access as a group and individually to cutting edge tools, services and strategies used by practitioners from around the world. The HAS was an opportunity to present their own strategies, capacities and assets, demonstrating disaster management practice in their countries and regions. It allowed a nascent network of national and regional practitioners to interact with each other and plan for shared strategies on humanitarian action and disaster management".  Jeanine Cooper, OCHA’s representative to the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa

"The ECOSOC HAS plays a crucial role in providing a platform for discussion, idea exchange and collaborative problem solving and we look forward to continuing partnership and engagement next year".  Nina Nepesova, World Vision International

"The ECOSOC HAS gave me the opportunity to showcase how innovative partnerships have enabled WFP to improve its response for the food and nutrition insecure populations we serve. Through our partnerships with DSM, Eriksson Response, CERF, and TNT, WFP has improved and diversified the ways we ensure people have access to the nutritious food that they require".  Elizabeth Rasmusson, Assistant Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP)