Lord Ashdown - Chair of the Humanitarian Response Review
Jane Cocking - Humanitarian Director, Oxfam
Simon Levine - Research Fellow, Humanitarian Policy Group, Overseas Development Institute
Mr Marshall Elliott - Head of Conflict, Humanitarian and Security Department (CHASE), DFID
David Laws, MP
'We are caught in a race between the growing size of the humanitarian challenge, and our ability to cope; between humanity and catastrophe. And, at present this is not a race we are winning.'
This was just one of Lord Ashdown’s conclusions in his review of the UK’s ability to respond to global humanitarian crises published in March 2011.
While acknowledging that the Department for International Development (DFID) has a well-deserved reputation for its humanitarian work, Lord Ashdown’s Humanitarian Emergency Response Review (HERR) also stressed that 'being good is not going to be good enough given the challenges ahead.'
Great significance will be attached to the Secretary of State for International Development’s imminent response to the HERR, which will be given in a speech to parliament. Not least because the HERR’s findings make clear that it is not a matter of if there will be another humanitarian crisis like the Pakistan floods or Haiti earthquake – but when. It also questions whether the UK’s humanitarian response system is up to the challenges which lie ahead.
This event has been scheduled to discuss Mr Mitchell’s speech and give leading parliamentarians and figures from the UK’s humanitarian community the first formal opportunity to voice their views.