United Nations, the Humanitarian Forum conclude workshop in Cairo: a milestone in terms of furthering humanitarian cooperation
(Cairo, 7 December 2012): A two-day policy workshop organized by the United Nations Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (UNOCHA ROMENA) and The Humanitarian Forum concluded yesterday in Cairo. The forum brought together participants from twelve countries, representing non-governmental organisations, civil society, the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement, and the United Nations.
Opening the workshop, the head of the UNOCHA’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, Abdul Haq Amiri, recognized that many of the humanitarian organizations involved had been coming together in different forums to discuss partnership and collaboration for many years. However, this workshop is being held at a time when the Middle East and North Africa region is experiencing multiple crises. “On the positive side, however, more and more humanitarian organizations are seeking to respond to these humanitarian needs, which is a testament to the humanity that exists both in the region and internationally,” he said. Dr. Hany El-Banna, Founder and President of The Humanitarian Forum, co-chaired the meeting.
Workshop participants discussed the opportunities and challenges of working together, and promoting emergency preparedness, accountability, and access. In particular, participants agreed that all humanitarian actors need to build trust and work together better in order to collectively improve their ability to serve people. “All agencies represented here have unique strengths to bring to bear in responding to humanitarian crises,” said Dr. El Banna. “We need to find ways to better leverage those strengths,” he added.
On the second day of the workshop, participants discussed concrete recommendations for further building partnerships. They pledged to focus on several areas: capacity building, including joint training that would pool participants’ expertise and resources; convening a roundtable to discuss preparedness and resilience, especially for the longer term; creating a contact group to share ideas and discuss strategies for various countries; increased information exchange through the Arab Humanitarian Portal, managed by OCHA; supporting organisations on increasing access; and facilitating support for Syrian refugees.
Dr. El-Banna concluded by noting this meeting constituted a milestone in terms of furthering humanitarian cooperation in the region.
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