The World Humanitarian Summit: Outcomes and Reflections

The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) convened 9,000 representatives from humanitarian agencies, governments, crisis-affected communities, and the private sector. Driven by a consensus that the current humanitarian system is unable to cope with the intensifying needs of populations affected by conflict and disaster, the WHS aimed to take stock of the achievements and failed interventions of a sector confronted with rapidly evolving challenges and recommit stakeholders to the foundational principles of humanitarian assistance, protection, and institutional reform.

The WHS was guided by a framework of collective responsibility articulated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that called for preventing and ending conflict; upholding international humanitarian law; pursuing development priorities; and enhancing community resilience, inter-agency coordination, and delivery of aid. Yet, the process was beset with criticisms from various actors—notably Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) expressing disappointment about shortcomings in terms of addressing systematic attacks on civilians and humanitarian personnel, impeded humanitarian access, and inadequate assistance and protection for refugees and migrants.

With the WHS now concluded, this podcast will critically reflect on the commitments and outcomes of the Summit. Key experts and practitioners will explore whether the international humanitarian system indeed faces a “crisis of legitimacy,” as some critics have alleged, and what priorities and initiatives have emerged from the WHS that may transform the sector.

June, 2016