Skip to main content
child with umbrella in Zakho, Iraq

You are here

ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment 2021

Since 1998, the ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment (HAS) has been an essential platform for discussing the activities and issues related to strengthening the coordination and effectiveness 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 current and emerging humanitarian challenges and priority themes and share experiences and lessons learned.

The 2021 HAS is scheduled to take place from 23 to 25 June in Geneva and will be chaired by Her Excellency Pascale Baeriswyl, Permanent Representative of Switzerland to the United Nations, as the ECOSOC Vice-President for the HAS.

On the basis of the ECOSOC decision agreed on 20 April, the theme for this year’s HAS is “Strengthening humanitarian assistance to face the challenges of 2021 and beyond: mobilizing respect for international humanitarian law, inclusion, gender, innovation and partnerships” (E/2021/L.14).

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

  1. “Health care in times of COVID-19: a global protection agenda”
  2. “Innovation as a driver of change: the use of new and emerging technologies and humanitarian data”
  3. “Humanitarian action and climate change: advancing anticipatory approaches, strengthening resilience and enhancing collaboration in response to the climate crisis”

The informal 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 will be held on 22 June, under the theme “Preventing the looming risk of multiple famines and addressing rising acute food insecurity: taking action to save lives and reduce people’s needs, risks and vulnerabilities through closer humanitarian, development and peacebuilding collaboration” (E/2021/L.13).

In addition to the high-level panel discussions, the organization of the HAS will include opening and closing sessions and adoption of the annual ECOSOC humanitarian resolution.

A limited number of virtual side events will be held on the margins of the HAS from 21 to 25 June. Delegations, UN international organizations and humanitarian partners wishing to express interest in holding a side event may do so through the Expression of Interest form. Please submit the completed form by 10 May to OCHA will subsequently be in touch to provide more information on whether the side event can proceed and on other partners to connect with if there are overlapping proposals. Given the limited number of side event slots (about 15-18 slots), OCHA will do its best to work with all to avoid duplication, maximize the side events and encourage partners to join up and wherever possible to include local actors and affected people in your side events. Once side events have been confirmed, information on concept notes and completion of forms will be provided at the end of May. For questions, please contact OCHA’s Sarah Rahman ( and Amanda Souza e Silva (

The format and participation modalities of the HAS remain under review, subject to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on holding in-person meetings at the United Nations Office at Geneva. Related decisions and all other updates on the HAS and its programme will be provided on this website as soon as available. For further information on the HAS, please contact