Abimbola Akosile

Leaders of multilateral development banks, United Nations agencies and major NGOs have agreed to strengthen collective action and to work together more effectively.
The move, according to a World Bank release, signals a great urgency to address the crisis of millions of people forcibly displaced from their homes.

The decision was taken at an unprecedented meeting on humanitarian-development collaboration — co-chaired by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, held recently at the World Bank group headquarters in Washington, USA.

At the high-level meeting, about 30 leaders of the international organisations called for a new action-oriented humanitarian-development partnership. The meeting focused on forced displacement as an example of a humanitarian emergency that also presents a significant development challenge, emphasising the need for more work to address the drivers of fragility and prevention.

The leaders expressed their commitment to build on comparative advantages in three key areas for joint action: Data and evidence: Work together to launch initiatives such as joint risk assessments, to strengthen and harmonise the data and evidence base to inform policies and programmes, and to develop a clear action plan with specific deliverables and milestones.

In the area of joint engagements, the meeting stressed the need for stakeholders to work together and with national counterparts to develop a set of multi-year joint initiatives in select groups of countries facing protracted and recurring crises. This could include the development of joint assessments and planning based on synergies and complementarities that reflect respective comparative advantages.

In the area of financing instruments, the forum urged partners to commit to developing innovative financing instruments that “follow the need,” including concessional financing, and in particular leverage private sector resources.

Partners agreed to further develop this agenda and to establish a set of concrete proposals by the time of the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.

The meeting came in response to the Secretary General’s call for action in the report ‘One Humanity: Shared Responsibility’, and the Agenda for Humanity. It launched an agenda for collective action leading up to the World Humanitarian Summit and the Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, to be held by the UN General Assembly on September 19, 2016.

“We need to shift from a disproportionate focus on crisis management to investing in crisis prevention and building up community resilience. Our planning and financing tools need to identify how to strengthen local capacity and resilience, including through increased cash-based programming. We should set ambitious targets and use the Summit and its follow-up process to monitor and measure achievement,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

“These humanitarian crises are among the biggest challenges of our time – we must safeguard the lives and livelihoods of millions of people who are driven from their homes because of conflict or natural disasters,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

“In this meeting, we identified steps for urgent action, which we will set in motion immediately. We have a collective responsibility to work together to build a secure and stable foundation for sustainable development,” Kim added.

Humanitarian development action is already under way: one example is the World Bank Group and UNHCR are rapidly expanding collaboration, deepened through joint analytics and operations in several regions in Africa and in the response to the Syrian crisis.

Organisations represented at this high-level meeting include: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme, International Monetary Fund, World Food Programme, International Finance Corporation, International Organisation for Migration, European Investment Bank, Food and Agriculture Organisation, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Others are World Health Organisation, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, Results, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Inter-American Development Bank, International Rescue Committee, Islamic Relief Worldwide, International Committee of the Red Cross, International Federation of the Red Cross, International Council of Voluntary Agencies, Save the Children, OXFAM America, InterAction, and Catholic Relief Services.