Humanitarian aid saves lives, but with ever-growing and newly complex challenges, it needs to evolve. How to be adequate to the needs today and to prepare for the difficulties of tomorrow?
Main challenges on the past, present and future of relief assistance will be discussed in Brussels today by humanitarian leaders from the United Nations, Red Cross Movement, international organizations and NGOs, as well as academics and research partners. Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva will deliver the closing speech. The occasion is the 20th anniversary of the Network on Humanitarian Action (NOHA), the first European association of universities that provide education and training in humanitarian action (Erasmus Mundus Master in International Humanitarian Action, courses for civil servants and humanitarian workers and research on strategic humanitarian topics).
The European Commission is a proud supporter of NOHA since its creation. Its department for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, ECHO, provides technical advice and a yearly grant which amounted to €700 000 in 2013, in line with the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid to reinforce the European Union's training provision for humanitarian professionals. Likewise, the Directorate-General for Education and Culture (EAC) assists the Network in developing institutional partnerships between universities from Europe and third-countries.
In the aftermath of a major crisis good intentions are not enough. Relief assistance has progressively shifted from the provision of basic services to more efficient and principled interventions, transforming reactive strategies into more proactive, needs and rights-based approaches that need to be put in place by fully committed and qualified experts. Over 3 000 graduates have studied the NOHA master's degree in one of the 10 participating institutions, and the Network is also playing an outstanding role in raising awareness on humanitarian priorities among policy makers and the general public. Moreover, it has become a key partner of the EU Aid Volunteers scheme, as a pre-deployment capacity building organisation in the two pilot projects coordinated by Save the Children with Bioforce.
To learn more or attend the NOHA@20 event, please check the website.