Lebanon CSOs Put Humanitarian Demands to UNSG

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Lebanon CSOs Put Humanitarian Demands to UNSG
By: HIC-HLRN
24 May 2016
 

Over 50 Lebanon-based civil society organizations (CSOs) have addressed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the context of the First World Humanitarian Summit, appealing to world leaders to exercise “one humanity” and “shared responsibility,” as proposed in his report to the Summit.

To this end, the CSOs have issued four key messages and demands consistent with what the Secretary-General calls “core responsibilities.” First, they urgently call for preventing and ending conflict. Whereas world leaders bear the duty to ensure a sustainable peace (Core Responsibility 1), uphold international humanitarian law (Core Responsibility 2), and re-commit to international refugee protection (Core Responsibility 3), the CSO letter recognize that those leaders must find a political solution to end the conflict in Syria.

As other policy instruments propose, but few efforts attain, the Lebanese CSOs urge world leaders to address root causes of conflict to prevent recurrent crises by simultaneously improving the inter-linkages between humanitarian and development aid within the over-arching human rights-based approach (Core Responsibility 4).

The Lebanese organizations addressed the need for greater complementarity of humanitarian action and putting greater emphasis on localized and contextualized responses to crises. Therefore, they called upon world leaders to enable local civil society organizations to play a greater and meaningful leadership role in humanitarian action, in line with the “Principles of Partnership” endorsed by the Global Humanitarian Platform (July 2007). This also calls for innovative funding mechanisms that enable more resources to be mobilized and channeled directly to local actors (Core Responsibilities 4 and 5).

The organizations have called upon world leaders to consider and treat local populations and volunteers as key actors of humanitarian action (Core Responsibility 4), recognizing the important role of volunteerism as a vector of local expertise in humanitarian action.

UN support staff reportedly still were counting when the Secretary-General announced that more than 1,500 commitments emerged from the myriad of closed-door meetings, roundtables, panel discussions and announcements that characterized the World Humanitarian Summit. At the end, the top 30 donors and aid agencies signing a so-called “Grand Bargain” to make aid more efficient, including harmonizing time-consuming donor proposals and reporting, reducing overhead costs, introducing collective needs assessments, and earmarking less funding to specific projects.

One outcome was the recognition that aid must be locally driven. As expected, the message of the “Charter for Change,” a declaration by some 30 global aid NGOs, prevailed amid the launch of NEAR, a new network aiming to “reshape the top-down humanitarian and development system to one that is locally driven and owned, and is built around equitable, dignified and accountable partnerships.”

The Summit acknowledged that education is a humanitarian priority, coupled by corresponded pledges from major donors. Agreement was reached on the need for humanitarian response to include people with disabilities better. That was demonstrated in the form of a new Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action.

Finally, the Summit affirmed the need for a change in thinking of the global humanitarian sector as a system, but rather should be conceived and operated as an “ecosystem” that also must be better at responding to conflicts.

However, little agreement was reached on how to end conflicts, and politics remains the driver of states domestic and extraterritorial behavior. In this sense, the Lebanese CSO message seems to have fallen on deaf ears of politicians and diplomats who chose to flout their obligations under human rights treaties and peremptory norms of international law, including duties to protection civilians in war and under occupation.

Planners had expected the Summit to facilitate a better deal for refugees, displaced people and their hosts. The secretary-general had proposed a more fairness in sharing the burden of refugees with host countries and reducing internal displacement by a target of 50% by 2030. While migration was discussed, participants resolved only “to pursue a new approach” to address IDP and refugee needs. However they offered nothing more concrete.

Download the joint CSO letter to Ban Ki-moon

Photo: Syrians at a refugee camp in al-Dalhamiyyeh, in the Bekaa valley of Lebanon. Source: Wael Hamzeh/EPA.

Over 50 Lebanon-based civil society organizations (CSOs) have addressed UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in the context of the First World Humanitarian Summit, appealing to world leaders to exercise “one humanity” and “shared responsibility,” as proposed in his report to the Summit.

To this end, the CSOs have issued four key messages and demands consistent with what the Secretary-General calls “core responsibilities.” First, they urgently call for preventing and ending conflict. Whereas world leaders bear the duty to ensure a sustainable peace (Core Responsibility 1), uphold international humanitarian law (Core Responsibility 2), and re-commit to international refugee protection (Core Responsibility 3), the CSO letter recognize that those leaders must find a political solution to end the conflict in Syria.

As other policy instruments propose, but few efforts attain, the Lebanese CSOs urge world leaders to address root causes of conflict to prevent recurrent crises by simultaneously improving the inter-linkages between humanitarian and development aid within the over-arching human rights-based approach (Core Responsibility 4).

The Lebanese organizations addressed the need for greater complementarity of humanitarian action and putting greater emphasis on localized and contextualized responses to crises. Therefore, they called upon world leaders to enable local civil society organizations to play a greater and meaningful leadership role in humanitarian action, in line with the “Principles of Partnership” endorsed by the Global Humanitarian Platform (July 2007). This also calls for innovative funding mechanisms that enable more resources to be mobilized and channeled directly to local actors (Core Responsibilities 4 and 5).

The organizations have called upon world leaders to consider and treat local populations and volunteers as key actors of humanitarian action (Core Responsibility 4), recognizing the important role of volunteerism as a vector of local expertise in humanitarian action.

UN support staff reportedly were still counting when the Secretary-General announced that more than 1,500 commitments had emerged from the myriad of closed-door meetings, roundtables, panel discussions and announcements that characterized the World Humanitarian Summit. At the end, the top 30 donors and aid agencies signing a so-called “Grand Bargain” to make aid more efficient, including harmonizing time-consuming donor proposals and reporting, reducing overhead costs, introducing collective needs assessments, and earmarking less funding to specific projects.

One outcome was the recognition that aid must be locally driven. As expected, the message of the “Charter for Change,” a declaration by some 30 global aid NGOs, prevailed amid the launch of NEAR, a newnetwork aiming to “reshape the top-down humanitarian and development system to one that is locally driven and owned, and is built around equitable, dignified and accountable partnerships.”

The Summit acknowledged that education is a humanitarian priority, coupled by corresponded pledges from major donors. Agreement was reached on the need for humanitarian response to include people with disabilities better. That was demonstrated in the form of a new Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action.

Finally, the Summit affirmed the need for a change in thinking of the global humanitarian sector as a system, but rather should be conceived and operated as an “ecosystem” that also must be better at responding to conflicts.

However, little agreement was reached on how to end conflicts, and politics remains the driver of states domestic and extraterritorial behavior. In this sense, the Lebanese CSO message seems to have fallen on deaf ears of politicians and diplomats who chose to flout their obligations under human rights treaties and peremptory norms of international law, including duties to protection civilians in war and under occupation.

Planners had expected the Summit to facilitate a better deal for refugees, displaced people and their hosts. The secretary-general had proposed a more fairness in sharing the burden of refugees with host countries and reducing internal displacement by a target of 50% by 2030. While migration was discussed, participants resolved only “to pursue a new approach” to address IDP and refugee needs. However they offered nothing more concrete.

Download the joint CSO letter to Ban Ki-moon

Photo: Syrians at a refugee camp in al-Dalhamiyyeh, in the Bekaa valley of Lebanon. Source: Wael Hamzeh/EPA.

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