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Introduction to Humanitarian Assistance

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Humanitarian Assistance"— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Humanitarian Assistance
Bryan Schaaf Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration U.S. Department of State All Slides Unclassified

2 Objectives Introduce humanitarian assistance
Describe PRM’s mandate and responsibilities Note linkages between humanitarian assistance and environmental issues. Discuss USG response to the Libya conflict.

3 What is Humanitarian Assistance? When Is It Needed?

4 Objectives of Humanitarian Assistance
To save lives, alleviate suffering, and minimize the economic costs of conflict, disasters and displacement. Humanitarian assistance is provided on the basis of need according to principles of universality, impartiality and human dignity. (State Department/USAID Definition)

5 The State of the Displaced (as of end 2010)
43.7 million people forcibly displaced, the highest number in 15 years. This includes; 15.4 million refugees (including Palestinians) 27.5 million internally displaced 837,500 asylum seekers Largest numbers of refugees are in Pakistan (1.9 million), Iran (1.1 million) and Syria (1 million). 7.2 million refugees in protracted situations across 24 countries. Refugees and asylum seekers gravitate to urban areas and IDPs to rural areas. Refugee returnees in both rural and urban areas.

6 What are Some Challenges in Providing Humanitarian Assistance?

7 Emerging Challenges, New Approaches
Increasing displacement as a result of conflict and natural disasters. People affected by natural disasters increased from 150 million in 1990 to 300 million in 2008 Population growth, urbanization Relief to development gap Insecurity, lack of access to populations of concern Mixed migration flows Environmental degradation (human made, climate change, etc.)

8 PRM Roles/Responsibilities
Formulate policy on U.S. humanitarian response. Conduct humanitarian diplomacy to advocate for protection & assistance. Focus on protection and the achievement of durable solutions. Monitor & evaluate U.S. contributions to IOs and NGOs. Manage U.S. refugee resettlement program.

9 Who is Responsible for Refugee Health?
The Host Government The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Support from other IOs and NGOs IOs: World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) NGOs: International Rescue Committee (IRC), International Medical Corps (IMC), local groups, etc. Financial/Diplomatic support from governments essential. PRM is the USG lead for refugees.

10 Who is Responsible for the Health of IDPs?
The Host Government. However… Under the Cluster Approach, the World Health Organization (WHO) facilitates coordination among health actors. Ex: Haiti Earthquake (2010) Ex: Pakistan Floods (2010) Other Important Clusters: UNICEF leads WASH and Nutrition Clusters WFP leads the Food cluster. UNEP leads on “Environment” as an issue cutting across all clusters. USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is USG lead for IDPs.

11 Best Practices in Refugee Health
Health services for refugees are accessible to the host community. Health services are provided at a level comparable to that of the host country. Health services meet minimum standards, as laid out in the Sphere Handbook and UNHCR Guidelines. Programs build the capacity of refugees to plan, carry out and monitor health programs. Programs take into account age, gender, and diversity.

12 Environmental Issue One: Land
Refugee camps often located on marginal land Prone to floods, droughts, breeding ground for mosquitoes. Having qualified site planners is critical. Short term versus long term planning Refugee camps never meant to be permanent, but often exist for decades. Additional land must be negotiated. Access to land for agriculture often restricted Denied in Kenya, granted in Uganda. Implications for food security. Lack of formal land tenure systems Both a development and humanitarian issue. A source of conflict in many countries, but no one UN Agency is responsible for land tenure. Ex: Land, shelter, and solutions in Haiti. Ex: UNHCR assistance in mediating land disputes for returnees to the DRC.

13 Environmental Issue Two: Water
Why is water a critical issue? Promotes public health, reduces patient visits to health clinics. Reduces social burden on women and children as well as protection risks. What causes water programs to fall short? Lack of technical input/capacity, especially in remote and isolated areas. Lack of community involvement. Lack of preventative maintenance. Lack of ongoing monitoring and evaluation. Lack of long term strategic planning.

14 Water (Cont.) Water is also important for livelihoods!
Livestock, brick building, gardens Sphere Standards for Water Quality: 0 Fecal Choliforms per 100 ml at points of delivery. Quantity: 20/liters of water/person/day Access: 1 tap per 250 people. Distance: 500 meters from water point to household Time: No more than 3 minutes to fill a 20 liter container Question: Is there a relationship between water and malaria programs? With nutrition programs?

15 Kenya: What does this picture tell you?

16 Kenya: What Does This Picture Tell You?

17 Environmental Issue Three: Sanitation
Sphere Standards for Sanitation Number: Maximum 20 people/latrine working toward one latrine/family as soon as possible. Protection: Separate latrines for men and women, no more than 50 meters from dwellings. Complicating Factors Topography: Terrain may not be conducive to digging latrines Ownership: Land-owners may resist latrine digging on properties that have become IDP sites. Natural Disasters: Flooding can destroy latrines, cause health hazards.

18 Chad: Is This An Acceptable Latrine?

19 Tunisia: What Does This Picture Tell You?

20 Environmental Issue Four: Fuel
Nearly half of the world’s population – about 3 billion people – cooks their food each day on polluting, inefficient stoves Why is this a problem for: For refugee health? For refugee protection? For the environment? For relations between refugees and their host communities? Interventions Fuel Efficient Stoves (FES) USAID Evaluations in Darfur, Kenya Ethanol Stoves (Ethiopia) Project Gaia Solar Power (Kenya) EDP Foundation Reforestation (Chad) UNHCR 1 month supply of wood in Dadaab 500 – 1,000 Kenyan Shillingsillings

21 What Does This Picture Tell You?

22 Fuel (Cont.) Current Initiatives Future Opportunities
Fuel and Firewood Initiative (Women’s Commission) Objective: Develop and disseminate guidelines concerning safe access to cooking fuels and to encourage rigorous field testing of alternatives to wood. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Objective: Save lives, improve livelihoods, empower women, and combat climate change by creating a thriving global market for clean, efficient cooking solutions. Future Opportunities Costing/Replicating alternative energy sources Improving evidence base for fuel efficient stove uptake/usage Expanding partnerships with universities, foundations, private sector.

23 Case Study: Tunisia February 15th: Riots in eastern Libya evolve into armed struggle against government forces. Since that time, over 193,000 third country nationals have fled the country. Over 81,000 Libyan refugees estimated to be in Tunisia.

24 Initial Outflows Into Tunisia
It is estimated that a total of 285,074 people have crossed the border from Libya to Tunisia since February 20.

25 What Were the Implications for Tunisia? For Migrants?

26 Who Were the Responders?
Tunisian Civil Society Tunisian Red Crescent, bolstered by many other National Societies Local NGOs, individuals Tunisian Government Tunisian Military Key Ministries: Social Affairs, Women’s Affairs, Health International Organizations UNHCR, IOM, ICRC, UNICEF, etc. International NGOs Save the Children, Doctors of the World, Doctors Without Borders, etc.

27 How Did the U.S. Government Respond?
Deployed Teams to Tunisia, Egypt, Malta and eventually to Libya itself. Carried out needs assessments and made recommendations for funding actions and diplomatic engagement. Provided +$81 million for humanitarian response in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt including protection, assistance, evacuation. Provided diplomatic support to the Tunisian government and encouraged other donors to play an active role in the response.

28 Three Key Questions Are we more or less likely to see similar emergencies in the future? Are we adequately prepared to deal with mixed migration flows? How can we support the leadership role of governments in future emergencies?

29 Getting Started in Humanitarian Assistance
Help Wanted: Advocates, diplomats, policy makers, and IO/NGO staff. Consider volunteering/working with: NGOs that protect/assist conflict victims overseas; or NGOs that have offices in the United States (e.g, that integrate resettled refugees.) The American Red Cross offers trainings on disaster response. Be familiar with humanitarian principles/standards. Knowing languages very helpful.

30 Online Resources Humanitarian Jobs Blog Relief Web Interaction
International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) Humanitarian News and Analysis (IRIN) OCHA Online World Humanitarian Day (August 19th) Sphere Handbook

31 In Conclusion The United States demonstrates leadership through strong financial support to humanitarian responders and through humanitarian diplomacy. Humanitarian organizations are adapting to a variety of emerging challenges in order to effectively protect and assist vulnerable populations. No set path (but many opportunities!) for becoming involved in humanitarian assistance and int. development.

32 Questions? Discussion Comments Bryan Schaaf

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