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European Humanitarian Forum: for more effective and sustainable solutions


The third European Humanitarian Forum (EHF) taking place in Brussels in just a few days is an opportunity to promote dialogue among key stakeholders on pressing humanitarian challenges. At a time of shrinking humanitarian space and growing politicisation of aid, global humanitarian needs are rising sharply in the face of more complex and protracted conflicts, as well as the humanitarian impacts of climate change. The forum will be an important opportunity for policy makers and practitioners to exchange views to shape effective and sustainable solutions, such as climate finance for the countries which are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Co-organised by the European Commission and Belgian EU Presidency, the forum brings together the humanitarian-development community, including local actors and representatives from the EU institutions, EU Member States, third countries and partner organisations. Gathering perspectives from different sectors, the high-level panels discussions will evolve around the forum’s two guiding themes: “Funding gap and prioritisation” and “Forgotten crises and fragile humanitarian environments”. Colleagues from across the Red Cross and Red Crescent network will provide perspectives, recommendations and practical examples on how to promote greater locally led responses, mitigate climate risks and protect principled humanitarian aid at all times.

On the first day of the forum, Marwan Jilani, Director General of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, will represent local humanitarian actors in Gaza. He will share views on the humanitarian needs and challenges on the ground, demonstrating their key role in shaping and delivering assistance in catastrophic circumstances. Maksym Dotsenko, Director General of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, will speak on a panel about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine international conflict on healthcare provision in Ukraine. Access to health care in Ukraine continues to be severely impacted by security concerns, restricted mobility, broken supply chains and mass displacement, while healthcare facilities are under growing strain in the regions with large numbers of people who have been displaced. On the second day, the Secretary General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Jagan Chapagain, will contribute to a panel on “Improving the efficiency of humanitarian aid delivery: the strategic humanitarian supply chain and logistics”, building on the wide-ranging support services provided by the IFRC network to the global humanitarian community. The IFRC is a recognised provider of global humanitarian supply chain services reaching those who need it thanks to the 191 Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies worldwide. The IFRC supports National Societies for warehousing and transportation as indicated in the Red Cross partnership with the EU.

Ahead of cyclone Freddy, Mozambican Red Cross volunteers supported in anticipatory action, hygiene sensitization and first aid activities. © Mozambique Red Cross Society

Among other critical topics, the Red Cross Red Crescent network will be particularly keen on advancing discussions on how to strengthen anticipatory action - an example of a cross-sectoral solution to bridge the funding gap and foster humanitarian and development partnerships. Investing in early warning and early action systems, as well as improved forecasting services, such as impact-based forecasting, can save lives and livelihoods. More must be done to ensure that the capacities and systems are in place to bring long-lasting change so that communities are equipped to reduce and mitigate disaster risks, while anticipating and responding to shocks that arise.

We will also be advocating for climate action and climate finance to be made more accessible to local actors and communities, especially in countries affected by conflict and fragility. Access to climate finance by local actors builds the most cost-efficient, impactful and sustainable community resilience based on their needs, lived experience and local solutions. Therefore, procedures and regulations for climate funds should be designed in a more flexible, coordinated and predictable manner.

In the Sahel region, climate change has made the rains erratic and farming and life in general is affected by too little or too much rain. © Finnish Red Cross

Indeed, the meaningful participation of local actors and communities in decision-making, implementation and monitoring processes of all development and humanitarian programmes is crucial. While much progress has been made in recognising the pivotal role played by local actors, increased investment in community response systems is essential for effective, people-centred and accountable interventions - both in acute and forgotten crises.

The European Commission is already taking steps to strengthen together with its partners its response to the worldwide growing humanitarian needs as shown in the European Commission’s Communication on “the European Union´s (EU) humanitarian action: new challenges, same principles”. In addition, in January the Commission launched a comprehensive evaluation of its humanitarian aid from 2017 to 2022 showing willingness to analyse the EU’s policy and implementation frameworks for humanitarian aid. The forum will be part of these continuous efforts to shape more effective and sustainable solutions and to call for conducive humanitarian space that allows needs-based and principled response at all times.

For media inquiries, please contact Eva Oyón on: or +32 2 235 09 22

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