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Global Forum FAQs

Global Forum Frequently Asked Questions



1. Who is convening the meeting?

The meeting is being convened by the United States Government; the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the League of Arab States, ALNAP and the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) Secretariat.

2. Who is being invited to the meeting?

The Forum is an invite only event. Participants have been drawn from a number of constituent groups, all of whom play a key role in the policy making, planning, funding, assessment, delivery and evaluation of humanitarian action.

Representatives have been invited from donor agencies, the UN, the Red Cross and Red Crescent, regional organisations, international and national non-governmental organisations (NGOs), National Disaster Management Authorities (NDMAs), the private sector, diaspora, networks and umbrella groups, academia, military, and affected communities. There will also be participants from the development sector.

3. Are participants representing their organisations?

Participants have been carefully chosen because of the important role they play in humanitarian action as part of their organisation, but also to give them an opportunity to share their personal wealth of experience and insight. Participation in the Forum is only intended as a contribution to creating robust recommendations for further consideration by the humanitarian community. It will not act as a binding commitment, either for the individual or the organisation they work for.

4. What is the main aim of the meeting?

The Forum is a working meeting which is being organised in order to produce specific outputs. The aim is to develop concrete and actionable recommendations for making humanitarian action more flexible and responsive in different contexts, with the ultimate aim of making it more effective.

We fully appreciate that this is an ambitious undertaking especially given there are hundreds of different recommendations – ranging from bold and radical ‘game changers’ to improvements for specific field operations. Our challenge is to make all of these ideas more practical and actionable. To do this, it will be necessary to distil these ideas down to key recommendations that have the potential for bringing about the biggest improvements.

5. What kind of papers can participants expect to receive before the meeting?

Participants will receive eight short briefing papers each focusing on a different aspect of humanitarian action. Each paper will include a section outlining emerging findings from the ALNAP State of the Humanitarian System Report, as well as other significant pieces of research on humanitarian effectiveness and how well the system is performing. Each paper will also present a synthesis of recommendations from relevant position papers which have been submitted under the effectiveness theme of the WHS.

The purpose of the papers is to organise recommendations collected from across the humanitarian sector so that they can be more easily examined and assessed against the evidence-base on humanitarian performance. The papers are intended to be the basis for developing actionable and effective recommendations that address the current constraints and challenges faced by the humanitarian system. We hope they will provide a solid basis for Forum participants to assess which recommendations have most potential to bring about the biggest changes and improvements.

We encourage participants to bring their own work with them for further discussion at the Forum.

6. Who is responsible for developing the agenda?

While ALNAP is responsible for leading on the development of the meeting content, the development of the agenda was a collective effort of all five conveners.

7. What will the agenda look like?

The Global Forum is a two-day working meeting with an agenda designed to produce specific outputs. The meeting will begin with some opening remarks from the co-hosts which will be followed by a scene setting presentation based on the meeting papers and emerging evidence from the 2015 edition of the State of the Humanitarian System Report. This presentation will set out the successes and failures of humanitarian action over the past eight years. It will describe the constraints that exist and look forward to what changes and improvements might be needed to make humanitarian action more flexible and adaptable.

The rest of the agenda will be based on a structured process including working groups; table discussions, a world café, films from the field, plenary discussions and panel discussions. The meeting will conclude with plenary summations of the working groups’ recommendations.

8. What will the participants be expected to do at the meeting

Participants will be asked to contribute their expertise to address the following questions through a series of structured workshops and other discussion groups:

  • What are the key constraints inhibiting humanitarian action in different crisis contexts?
  • What key recommendations would improve humanitarian action in different crisis contexts?
  • What actions should international humanitarian actors focus on and what actions should national humanitarian actors focus on in different crisis contexts?
  • How will international actors need to adapt to become more adaptable to all contexts?
  • What are the implications of such changes (including challenges and opportunities) for national humanitarian actors?

9. Who are the recommendations aimed at?

The recommendations will be aimed at international actors. However, all participants, including those from national and international organisations as well as aid recipients will have equal opportunity to contribute to discussion and development of the recommendations. The perspectives of national actors will be particularly valuable when examining the overall effects that the implementation of any recommendations might have on the humanitarian system.

ALNAP will conduct an anonymous opinion poll to test the approval for each recommendation among participants. This will not in any way commit participants to any specific action.

10. What is going to happen to the outputs from the meeting: exactly how are they going to be used for the WHS?

Recommendations from the Forum will be provided to the WHS consultation process through a Summary Report for consideration in the development of the UN Secretary General’s report for the World Humanitarian Summit and other WHS outputs.

11. Is the GF part of the WHS process?

The Global Forum is an important milestone for the WHS process, as the Secretariat and Thematic Teams begin in July to finalise a Synthesis Report that will bring together the many contributions made throughout the consultation process and identify a clear set of recommendations and initiatives that will be discussed at the Summit.

The Forum’s distinct contribution to the WHS process comes through its use of a strong evidence base to determine the key constraints facing humanitarian action and its focus on the ways in which international humanitarian actors need to change to become more adaptable to different crisis contexts.

12. Why has ALNAP been asked to convene this Forum?

ALNAP is an independent organization with a unique system-wide membership and has much experience in convening large and diverse meetings that bring together actors from across the humanitarian sector. Part of ALNAP’s mandate is to act as repository of learning and knowledge for the humanitarian system and, as part of that function, ALNAP is often engaged in synthesizing and distilling large amounts of data and information such as in the State of the Humanitarian System Report, similar to the process of distilling and synthesizing the information that has been generated by the WHS process.

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