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Humanitarian response in crisis

Time (GMT +01) 12:00 13:30

Humanitarian response in crisis

Introduction by Kevin Watkins, Executive Director of ODI



Lindsey Hilsum International Editor, Channel 4 News



Stephen O’Brien – United Nations' Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (via video-link)

Yves Daccord – Director-General, International Committee of the Red Cross

Penny Lawrence – Deputy Chief Executive, Oxfam GB

Mark Lowcock – Permanent Secretary, UK Department for International Development

Sara Pantuliano – Director of Humanitarian Programmes, ODI

Christina Bennett – Research Fellow, Humanitarian Policy Group, ODI 


*Janine di Giovanni will be unable to moderate the event due to a last minute work assignment.



It is no secret that the humanitarian system is struggling to carry the weight of a world in crisis.

Aid operations are run by well-meaning, capable and passionate people but, as a whole, the humanitarian sector has been held hostage by politics and perverse incentives. The inevitable result is that the interests of the humanitarian ‘establishment’ are prioritised over the needs of affected people.

Those outside the ‘traditional’ system – local NGOs, faith-based groups, the private sector, diaspora organisations – have demonstrated through their capacities, contributions and potential that they should be significant players in humanitarian aid. But still, little has changed. Non-traditional actors face serious obstacles in securing the funds and influence they need to consolidate their position as key responders.

This event will put video questions from people affected by humanitarian crises directly to representatives of the humanitarian establishment. Questions will be used to guide an in-depth conversation between panellists on: why change has not happened, how humanitarians should rethink their approaches, and what this means for the future of humanitarian action.

This event marks the launch of the Humanitarian Policy Group’s flagship report: ‘Time to let go: remaking humanitarian action for the modern era’. Drawing on two years of research, the report calls for radical change to create a humanitarian system fit to respond to the challenges of both today and tomorrow.

This event is invite-only. Please register your interest above and we will get back to you if we can offer you a place.