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Top humanitarians from 200 organisations travelled from 54 countries to New York on 4 - 5 June 2015 to take part in the Global Forum for Improving Humanitarian Action. A key part of the consultation process for the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, this meeting was convened by ALNAP, in partnership with the United States Government, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the League of Arab States and the WHS Secretariat.

The task facing the 250 participants was not minor: to identify recommendations that would help the international humanitarian system become more adaptable to different crisis contexts, thereby making overall humanitarian action more effective.

Global Forum FAQs

ALNAP Scene-setting presentations

Why are we here and what are we going to do?

John Mitchell
Director, ALNAP

Check out his presentation.

How well is the system performing and what needs to be improved? 

Paul Knox Clarke
Head of Research and Communications, ALNAP

Check out his presentation.

Keynote speeches

Ambassador Hesham

Assistant Secretary General, Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

Download his speech.

Ambassador Dr. Badre Eddine Allali
Assistant Secretary General, League of Arab States

Download his speech.

Ambassador Samantha Power
United States Ambassador to the United Nations

Download her speech.


Closing remarks



Over the two days, humanitarians participated in three sessions, which culminated in a set of recommendations that were voted on by all who attended, and will inform the Synthesis Report for the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.


In session one, participants had to identify obstacles to achieving particular criterions of humanitarian action across different crisis contexts and the best recommendations to address them. ALNAP had outlined six crisis contexts to frame these discussions – conflict, mega disasters, rapid onset natural disasters, protracted crises, recurrent crises and urban response – and the attendees could choose the context group they wished to participate in.


To aid the discussions, prior to the Forum ALNAP identified seven criterions of success in humanitarian action and distilled a synthesis of recommendations drawn from the whole WHS process to date. This resulted in seven briefing papers, one paper on each criterion, which you can download below.

In the second session participants had to pin down what should be the roles and main activities of hosts governments, national civil society actors, international humanitarian actors and other international and regional actors in each of the six crisis contexts.

For the final session, participants brainstormed how international actors and the international humanitarian system would need to change in order to be flexible enough to support effective humanitarian action in all contexts. Again the discussions took place in specialist groups, focusing on: funding and financial processes, staffing and skills, knowledge and information, programme design and governance. These final recommendations were voted on in order to reflect the range of support for different proposals for change.

Briefing Papers


Briefing Paper 1:
Good humanitarian action reaches everyone in need
June 2015

Briefing Paper 2:
Good humanitarian action meets the priorities and respects the dignity of crisis-affected people
June 2015

Briefing Paper 3:
Good humanitarian action is consistent with longer term political, economic and social processes
June 2015

Briefing Paper 4:
Good humanitarian action is led by the state and builds on local response capacities wherever possible
June 2015

Briefing Paper 5:
Good humanitarian action is apolitical and adheres to international law and the humanitarian principles
June 2015

Briefing Paper 6:
Good humanitarian action makes the best possible use of resources
June 2015

Briefing Paper 7:
Good humanitarian action uses the best knowledge, skills and tools to achieve an effective and timely response
June 2015


Other Global Forum materials


Detailed agenda for the Global Forum
June 2015


Method note:
Global Forum briefing papers, what are they and what do they tell us?
June 2015

Annexes for the briefing papers
June 2015

WHS position papers used in the synthesis

World Humanitarian Summit 2016: IOM Position Paper

International Organisation for Migration

Briefing paper – Making sense of insecurity: developing humanitarian intelligence?

Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute of the University of Manchester (HCRI)

Proposals of Issues to be Discussed at the Global Forum on Improving Humanitarian Action

European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department

Global ageing and the humanitarian system

HelpAge International Policy Statement for the World Humanitarian Summit

Putting people at the centre. Position paper for the World Humanitarian Summit.

ACT Alliance Humanitarian Policy and Practice Advisory Group (HPPG)

Regional Consultation: North and South-East Asia

Regional Consultation: North and South-East Asia

Imagining More Effective Humanitarian Aid - a Donor Perspective

OECD Development co-operation working paper

The Future of Humanitarian Security in Fragile Contexts

European Interagency Security Forum

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