West and Central Africa Regional Policy Dialogue: The New Way of Working: from delivering aid to ending need - OCHA Policy Dialogue Series (January 2017)


At the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul in May 2016, global leaders came together to express their commitment to place people at the centre of decision-making and action. In doing so, they reaffirmed that the scale of current humanitarian issues required greater international cooperation. The Summit triggered a major shift in how the global community will work closer together to prevent and respond to human suffering.


The consultations leading to the World Summit overwhelmingly called for a ‘new way of working’ that does not only to meet people’s immediate needs in a principled manner, but also transcend the long-standing divide between humanitarian and development actors, to sustainably lessen the needs by reducing people’s risks and vulnerabilities overtime.

The ‘New Way of Working’ is based on the idea of achieving collective outcomes, building on the comparative advantages of a diverse range of actors, over multi-year timeframes. The goal is to effectively decrease humanitarian needs and in doing so, contribute to the longer-term vision of ‘Leaving No One Behind’ embedded in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Rather than individual efforts, the New Way of Working begins by better defining which shared results can significantly reduce risk and vulnerability. It further outlines better joined-up approaches for humanitarian and development actors to take specific operational and financial measures to deliver on those outcomes together.

The New Way of Working calls for 3 major shifts:

1. Deliver collective outcomes: transcend humanitariandevelopment divides, calling on all relevant actors to achieve strategic collective results that reduce vulnerability and risk over multi-year timeframes.

2. Anticipate do not wait for crises, with an emphasis on predicting and preparing for crises and acting based on the best available evidence of risk.

3. Reinforce, do not replace, national and local systems, calling for a reorientation of international engagement towards enhancing national and local capacities where possible.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
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