The Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) is honored to host Dr. Hany El-Banna OBE, to share his highly valued insight and experience on humanitarian efforts in the Muslim World.  The Muslim world is currently facing enormous challenges.  Wars, conflict, and disaster relief across the world are at an alarming high, leaving an estimated 65.3 million people forcibly displaced, with over 50 percent of refugees coming from the countries of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Syria. Humanitarian assistance to the broader Middle East must be re-visted from a social and cultural perspective to avoid growing insecurity and disaster in the region.

From 1-2 Dec, Dr. Hany will be participating in the consultations on Understanding Muslim Humanitarian and Development Organizations in and around Conflict Zones. The event is organized by Georgia State University, the British  Council and The Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

On 23 – 24 May 2016 world leaders from government, civil society and business met in Istanbul to stand up for our common humanity and take action to prevent and reduce human suffering.

 

Many priority themes had emerged from the Summit and with recommendations for advancing the initiatives launched and commitments made at the Summit and, more broadly, in the Agenda for Humanity.

The Humanitarian Forum was invited by the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, MrStephen O’Brien, to NGO Pre-Summit Welcome and Briefing, which was to welcome all to the Summit.

Our second side event at the Summit was under the title ‘Co-ordination and Joint Cooperation among Organisation of Islamic Cooperation Civil Society Organisations’. The event was organized jointly with OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and was addressing the roles and responsibilities of civil society organization of OIC member states in addressing the findings of the WHS, while promoting dialogue and establish ways to increasing coordination and collective accountability for OIC’s members.

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The Panelists were:

Chair: Dr. Hany Elbanna, President, The Humanitarian Forum

– Mrs. Rema JamousImseis, Head of Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, UN-OCHA.

– Professor Sultan Barakat, Director of Research, Brookings Doha Centre

– Qazi Isa, CEO, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund

– Ambassador Atta M Bakhit, Deputy Secretary General of Mada

 

And the main discussion points included:

  • Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the Civil Society Organisations in the OIC member states.
  • Ways in which coordination can be improved through better communication and sense of solidarity between OIC’s CSOs on matters pertaining to a reformed humanitarian system.
  • Support available to CSOs after the summit and the role of the UN in providing this support.
  • Ways to utilize resources available to work together to build and consolidate the capacity of CSOs.
  • The establishment of strategic coordination and synergy between multiple stakeholders.

Main Recommendations:

1)        Invest and strengthen capacity at the local level in preparedness and response.

2)        To invest more in generating local knowledge and presenting it globally

3)        Invest more in cooperation within the region

4)        Let us make use of the summit, its recommendations and put them into action

5)        Let us build on what has been built and share knowledge and experiences

6)        OIC to set up a platform to follow up and monitor the commitments at the summit.

7)        Invest more in research, institution-building and civil society

8)        Strengthen the cooperation between the OIC and THF

9)        Develop a common pool fund; $10m from each OIC country

10)      Support national responders in the front line and reinforce rather than replace global actors

11)      Strengthen the capacity of local organizations to address governments and civil servants.

12)      Strengthen the involvement of the faith-based organization and build their capacity

13)      Need to utilize resource available to work together to build and consolidate the capacity of CSOs.

14)      Benefit from ICRC  in terms of communication and information sharing

15)      Improve the relationship between the local actors and the international organization.

16)      The role of regional organizations is crucial to engaging youth and women.

17)      Use the material of the WHS & THF consultations to inform further research and policy.

 

 

Key Quotes

President of The Humanitarian Forum, Dr. Hany El Banna, stressed: “We have spent decades observing weak coordination between civil society organizations in OIC member states as well as their weak engagement with their local government, UN agencies and other regional organizations. Sadly, despite well-intentioned initiatives, not much has changed”.

“This is an exciting time for OIC member states to commit to putting human lives first, utilizing their full potential and holding themselves to account when they fail to meet good standards. I am pleased The Humanitarian Forum has been able to facilitate these talks and grateful to the World Humanitarian Summit secretariat for seeing the need to place this event parallel to the Summit talks.”

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As part of our participation in the Summit, we have organized a side event under the title ‘De-Rıskıng & Remıttances: Cooperatıon Between Fınancıal Instıtutıons and The Humanıtarıan Sector’.

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The event was a panel discussion, and the Panelists included:

Chaır: Abdulrahman Sharıf, Dırector, Somalıa NGO Consortıum.

Professor Alpaslan Ozerderm, Dırector of the Centre for Peace and Reconcılıatıon studıes, Coventry Unıversıty.

Ms. Saba AlMubaslat, CEO, Humanıtarıan Leadershıp Academy

Dr. Haroon Atallah, Group Dırector, Transparency Internatıonal.

Mr. Jan England, Presıdent, Norwegıan Refugee Councıl

Ms. Omayma El Ella, Operatıons Manager, Muslım Charıtıes Forum

Main Discussion points were:

  • The complex and increasingly challenging relationship between NGOs, financial institutions, and donor agencies
  • Financial sector concern related to working with NGOs
  • The responsibility of NGOs to improve work standards and meet the requirements of donor agencies and financial institutions
  • Strategic ways in which financial institutions and NGOs can work together

 

Policies to tackle extremism, terror and corruption have seen financial institutions slashing the services they offer to humanitarian organizations, leaving non-profits struggling to access the financial services they need to assist in some of the most troubled areas on the planet.

 

The main outcome was tocarry out case studıes that document the catastrophic and life-threatening consequences of the strıngent legıslatıon on transferrıng funds, particularly to those located in hıgh rısk areas.

The Humanitarian Forum will take the lead on collating these case studies from the NGOs and CSOs affected by de-risking policies. These will then be passed on to other partners such as the Norwegian Refugee Council as well as research institutions in order to share with policy makers and financial regulators.

 

Recommendations:

  • Consıder ınnovatıve ways to solve ıssues of fund transfers through examples lıke dıgıtal transfer.
  • Donors need to broaden the margın of rısk and work together wıth NGOs and CSOs.
  • It was agreed that a common standard is needed for capacity strengthening. This could be utilized by all NGOs, civil society and beyond to recognize individual skills and experience.

 

Quotes from the event:

Haroun Atallah, Group Director for Corporate Services, Transparency International, says: “Whilst banks continue with a de-risking approach which deems that the risks of providing services to humanitarian organizations outweigh the benefits, people in conflict zones are paying the heaviest price”.

‘Instead of attemptıng to depolıtıcıze the de-rıskıng ıssue, we need to understand the polıtıcal context that defınes the challenges and parameters of de-rıskıng. ‘Prof. Alpaslan Ozerderm, Dırector of the Centre for Peace and Reconcılıatıon studıes, Coventry Unıversıty.

Omayma El Ella, Operations Manager for the Muslim Charities Forum, explains: “There are countless people being cut off from vital aid because of money-transfer related issues, and even staff put at risk because they can’t pay suppliers on time. A zero tolerance approach to terrorist financing should not translate into zero appetites for risk.

‘It is essential that we look beyond formal high-level qualifications and ensure that the sector is able to draw on all relevant professionals to find the best solutions. This would enable us to have the right people with the right skills in the right place’ Ms. Saba AlMubaslat, CEO, Humanıtarıan Leadershıp Academy.

Calling for urgent action, President of The Humanitarian Forum, Dr. Hany El Bana, says: “Whilst rightly keen to stymie support for corruption and terrorism, existing policies leave vulnerable people without the assistance they so desperately and urgently need.

“To tackle extremism, build community resilience, and tackle the pressing humanitarian crises of our era, we must be equal partners with those working on the ground. The barriers to finance must be replaced by a fit for purpose regulatory and monitoring mechanism that supports rather than hinders us in the fight against poverty and suffering.”

03

On 23 – 24 May 2016 world leaders from government, civil society and business met in Istanbul to stand up for our common humanity and take action to prevent and reduce human suffering.

 

Many priority themes had emerged from the Summit and with recommendations for advancing the initiatives launched and commitments made at the Summit and, more broadly, in the Agenda for Humanity. The outcomes of the Summit can be found here.

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The Humanitarian Forum was invited by the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, MrStephen O’Brien, to NGO Pre-Summit Welcome and Briefing, which was to welcome all to the Summit. Dr. Hany El Banna delivered a speech at the opening session.

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In addition to addressing the UN Humanity Agenda, Dr. Hany spoke about the importance of being realistic and how important it is to work together to move forward. Below is a synopsis from his speech:

‘Let us be optimistic but realistic.
Three years ago we didn’t have a platform, but yesterday and today we have one.
Thank you, UN. This Summit is our dream summit.
A dream to work together,
A dream to build an effective partnership between governments, Civil Society Organisations, businesses, media, academia …
A dream to speak our mind freely,
A dream to fight extremism, radicalism terrorism, and other social ills,
A dream to create a new and more inclusive humanitarian leadership,
A dream to include everyone in our humanitarian family,
A dream to end conflicts,
A dream to build the future of our children
,
A dream to save humanity and build our society, together.
But we have to apologize to our children in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, DRC, South Sudan … Be sure that we will not let you down, again’.

 

The Humanitarian Forum had participated actively in the Summit. We have organised two side events, and were invited as key speakers in many other special sessions and other events.

As part of the Summit process, we have facilitated 39 preparatory consultations meetings with 1,940 participants representing 1,324 humanitarian organisations. Each of our national and regional consultations used as its base, the four themes of the UN World Humanitarian Summit: humanitarian effectiveness; reducing vulnerability and managing risk; transformation through innovation; serving the needs of people in conflict. The opportunity to work on the World Humanitarian Summit process gave us the chance to put key recommendations for improving the international humanitarian system in the run up to the summit in Istanbul in 2016. We put these recommendations in a ‘Thematic Report’ that we have shared with the Summit secretariat.

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THF had also issued a ‘Statement’ of our most urgent recommendations and it was endorsed by more than 64 organisations from across the world. The statement called for an urgent call to reshape the aid system and to focus on saving lives and ending suffering, as the main goal of the humanitarian work.

THF organised “Humanitarian NGOs Role in Re-shaping Aid” meeting in Istanbul in the first week of December. The meeting was attended by over 70 organisations. The purpose of the meeting was to encourage humanitarian actors and government representatives to take into consideration the perspectives of aid workers and organizations who work tirelessly at national and local levels. The meeting also made a space available for sharing of expertise between key humanitarian partners who are able to address specific aspects of the consultation.

There are currently no vacancies available.

However, we are always keen to meet energetic and talented professionals who would like to join our team.

If you wish to be considered for any future positions, please send your CV and covering letter to :

info@humanitarianforum.org

Or

6 Whitehorse Mews
Westminister Bridge Road
London,
SE1 7QD

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From 1-2 Dec, Dr. Hany will be participating in the consultations on Understanding Muslim Humanitarian and Development Organizations in and around Conflict Zones. The event is organized by Georgia State University, the British  Council and The Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

The consultations will host a meeting of practitioners, policy makers, and analysts designed to better understand the complex role of Muslim networks and organizations in and around conflict zones. This non-attribution dialogue builds upon two-years of successful multi-institutional research and collaboration under the auspices of the Civic Approaches to Conflict Resolution Initiative at Georgia State University developed in coordination with the British Council’s Bridging Voices Initiative.

This two-day dialogue, conducted according to Chatham House Rule, is designed to ensure honest and robust conversation on sensitive topics related to transnational engagement with the Muslim humanitarian and development sector. Panel sessions are structured as interviews, roundtables, and moderated discussions in order to facilitate substantive input by all participants. Group discussions and follow-up interviews will help the GSU, British Council, and ISD teams draft its final report for the EU Commission’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments office, scheduled for delivery in August 2017.

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