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Since 1998, the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS) has been an essential platform for discussing the activities and issues related to strengthening the coordination of the humanitarian assistance of the United Nations. The HAS provides a key opportunity for Member States, the United Nations system, development actors, the private sector and other humanitarian partners to discuss emerging and pressing humanitarian issues.

On the basis of decisions agreed on 16 March (E/2020/L.4 and E/2020/L.5), this year's HAS formal sessions are currently scheduled to take place from 9 to 11 June in New York, under the chairmanship of His Excellency Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Morocco to the United Nations, as ECOSOC Vice-President. The event jointly convened by the Vice-Presidents of the ECOSOC Operational Activities for Development Segment and the HAS to discuss the transition from relief to development is scheduled on 8 June. Side events are to be held during the week of 8-12 June.

The theme for the HAS is “Reinforcing humanitarian assistance in the context of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations: taking action for people-centred solutions, strengthening effectiveness, respecting international humanitarian law and promoting the humanitarian principles” (E/2020/L.4).

Three high-level panel discussions to be held during the HAS under the following themes:

  • (i)    “Mobilizing action to improve humanitarian assistance for internally displaced persons and achieve durable solutions
  • (ii)   “Addressing the increasing complexity of health challenges in humanitarian contexts
  • (iii)  “Improving humanitarian effectiveness through new technology and innovation: opportunities and challenges

A high-level event is also scheduled on the margins of the segment under the theme “Combating and preventing sexual and gender-based violence in humanitarian crises”.

The informal ECOSOC event to discuss the transition from relief to development will be held preceding the HAS in the afternoon of 8 June under the theme “The multidimensional and interconnected challenges in the central Sahel region: reducing needs, risks and vulnerabilities for people through closer humanitarian, development and peacebuilding collaboration” (E/2020/L.5).

The organization of the HAS will also include a General Discussion and the adoption of the annual ECOSOC humanitarian resolution.

Updates on the HAS and its programme and modalities will be issued by the end of April.

Please note that the HAS format and participation modalities remain under review, subject to the evolving situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing deliberations of the ECOSOC Bureau and in light of guidance from the World Health Organization and the United Nations Medical Director. Participants should keep their travel plans under review given the evolving situation. Any changes to the HAS programme and other updates will be provided on this website as soon as they are available.