Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ms. Ursula Mueller, Remarks at the opening of the New Way of Working workshop at the Humanitarian Policy Forum: “Reaching the furthest behind first through the New Way of Working.”
New York, New York 13 December 2017
Colleagues and distinguished participants, it is a pleasure to be here.
Protracted, complex crises have become the norm. Humanitarian appeals last, on average, around 8 years and in some cases, many more. We have to re-assess whether our traditional approach to emergency response and development investment is fit for today’s reality, and for the challenges ahead.
Dozens of leading organizations across the humanitarian and development spectrum have recognized that a more anticipatory and joined-up approach to crisis management is required.
Not only practitioners and decision-makers – but also crisis-affected people – are calling for new aid modalities, and new ways of doing business, or in other words, A New Way of Working, so we can break the endless cycle of need and list people out of crisis. Humanitarian actors deploy their tools and development actors employ their own tools. Going forward, we need to develop new tools together to bridge the divide.
The core goal is to ensure that both short-term, life-saving interventions, and longer-term development efforts, work towards collective outcomes to reduce need, vulnerability and risk, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.
This work is part of a wider change agenda that aims to transcend siloes, and also to break siloes. It was one of the main outcomes endorsed by the humanitarian, development and donor communities at the World Humanitarian Summit last year. And it is also at the heart of the United Nations’ Development System reforms, of the Secretary General.
To advance this new approach, major events have been held over the past year, from Copenhagen to Dakar, from Entebbe to Istanbul, and from Seoul to Washington DC, bringing together Governments, NGOs, bilateral partners, the United Nations, and others.
Joined up analysis and planning to develop a common understanding of needs and priorities is taking place in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Myanmar, Pakistan and Yemen. Humanitarians and development partners are identifying collective outcomes to reduce vulnerability in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mauritania and Somalia.
Today, we will hear the vast range of experiences in putting the New Way of Working into practice. It is great that Peter de Clercq, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia, is here with us today.
For our part, at OCHA, we have asked our country teams to explore and adopt innovative approaches, tools and services to ensure they are contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals. We are collecting evidence and lessons learned on what works and what does not, and on barriers and enablers to progress.
Today, I would like to challenge each of us here to think about the concrete changes that we each must make at the country, regional and global levels to advance the New Way of Working in 2018. To that end, I leave you with two questions:
How can we coordinate around and plan for collective outcomes for both humanitarian and development needs at the field level?
And how can we encourage donors to fund these collective outcomes to bridge the humanitarian and development nexus?
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.