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PHAP: Learning sessions and webinars

PHAP: Learning sessions and webinars

Learning sessions and webinars organized by the International Association of Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection open to members and the wider humanitarian community.


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Practical tools and initiatives for reducing environmental impact in humanitarian action

As humanitarian actors are working towards reducing their environmental impact, it?s important to understand what tools are being developed and what initiatives are underway that can serve as a model for other organizations. Join us on 3 February for the next session of the Learning Stream on Climate Change and Humanitarian Action to learn more about how some of these may be useful for your work.

In our previous webinar, we gave an overview of how organizations can develop and implement environmental policies and strategies in line with Commitment 2 of the Climate Charter, and looked at challenges and opportunities, including some of the donor requirements and standards being put in place. Taking a starting point in these discussions, the next webinar will focus on practical tools and initiatives undertaken by organizations to reduce their environmental impact in humanitarian action.

This webinar will aim to share lessons learned on and responses to some of the following questions:

- How can we incorporate more environment-friendly practices into our programming?
- What are some of the nature-based solutions/do no harm practices being used by organizations in their programming?
- What are the tools for NGOs to measure their environmental impact?

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Complaints and feedback mechanisms: Making much-needed changes

It has long been recognized that affected people must play an active role in decisions that affect their lives. Yet recent evaluations show that this is an area where the humanitarian sector is still lagging behind. There are few examples of systems that systematically capture the views and feedback from affected people, ensure they inform decision-making, and close the ?feedback loop.? Many are not handling reports of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment appropriately, risking dangerous breaches of confidentiality. This webinar will be looking at some of the existing good practices, and at plans to scale them up and strengthen complaints and feedback mechanisms.

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Maximising the environmental sustainability of our work

Commitment 2 of the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organizations, in line with the principle of ?Do No Harm,? calls on us to ?avoid, minimize and manage the damage we cause to the environment and the climate, while maintaining our ability to provide timely and principled humanitarian assistance?.

More and more, organisations are looking into how to implement sound environmental policies and start systematically assessing the immediate and long-term environmental impact of our work in the humanitarian sector. This entails that we systematically evaluate, avoid and mitigate the negative environmental impacts of our programs as much as possible, and use our influence to push for more environmentally sustainable humanitarian action, notably when it comes to supply chains and logistics.

This webinar will aim to share an overview and initial lessons learned on some of the following questions:
- How can organisations develop and implement more environment friendly policies?
- What are the challenges and opportunities to do so?
- How can NGOs reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and responsibly use and help manage natural resources? What are some of the challenges in undertaking such a shift in our work?
What are some of the requirements and standards being put in place by donors? What support will be available from donors?

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Accountability and inclusion in the COVID-19 response: Lessons for the future

The COVID-19 response, like any other public health emergency, has required a focus on communication around associated risks and the promotion of healthy behaviors. However, in humanitarian settings, accountability and inclusion principles have been central to shaping this response. This webinar will explore lessons around Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) from the COVID-19 response and decades of practical experiences around accountability in the humanitarian sector and how they can inform future health and non-health emergencies.

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Adapting to the impacts of the climate and environmental crises

We are already witnessing how climate and environmental crises disproportionately impact communities in vulnerable contexts and situations, and regardless of what we do, these impacts will not disappear overnight.

Commitment #1 of the Climate and Environment Charter calls on us to ?Step up our response to growing humanitarian needs and help people to adapt to impacts of the climate and environmental crises.? It focuses on how we use climate change adaptation (CCA), disaster risk reduction (DDR), and anticipatory action in our programming adapt our programs to better support and strengthen people?s resilience to current and future climate and environmental risks.

Many NGOs are already working to address climate change in and alongside vulnerable communities and to help organizations live up to their commitment, there are tools and resources available to guide NGOs in their work.

This webinar will aim to share lessons learned on the below questions:

How can NGO programming be fit for purpose, ensure that they are designed and implemented to address current impacts and help reduce future risks?
How can we scale-up climate-smart disaster risk reduction efforts and identify locally appropriate solutions to address them?
What are some of the tools and resources available in terms of CCA, DDR and anticipatory action?
What can we learn from local, traditional, and indigenous knowledge which can be replicated in other contexts?
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Practitioner insights: Applying guidance on accountability and inclusion

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Introduction to the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organisations

The recently launched Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organisations sends a clear signal that humanitarian organizations have a key role to play in addressing crises faced by communities due to the climate and environmental crises. We must be a part of the solution by helping people adapt to a changing climate and environment, while also increasing our own environmental sustainability. This needs to be a collective endeavor, as it is clear that no organization can tackle this alone. The Charter intends to guide humanitarian action in the face of these crises and their humanitarian consequences.

Serving as the starting point for the ICVA and PHAP Learning Stream on Climate Change and Humanitarian Action, this webinar will help introduce the Charter, which will serve as an important reference point for the rest of the learning stream. The questions we will look at in this webinar include:
- Why the Charter is needed now?
- What the commitments imply and the resources available?
- How NGOs can sign the Charter and what their signature means?
- What are the next steps to support organisations in implementing the Charter and to monitor progress?

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Making collective accountability to affected populations a reality

Accountability to affected populations (AAP) is an essential part of good humanitarian programming. But while some organizations may integrate it well into their own operations, people do not live in silos and their needs and priorities regularly cut across different programs and as a result, they are often faced with confusing and overlapping feedback and engagement systems. Collective approaches to AAP seek to address this by focusing on the overall humanitarian response and putting people rather than projects at the center.

Building on the operational research on Communication and Community Engagement conducted by the Humanitarian Policy Group at ODI, as well as its ongoing work around inclusion, the first webinar will consider some of the lessons emerging from this research and explore how such approaches can be encouraged, particularly by leadership at country level.

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Risk Management and Funding Partnerships

Risk management practices are playing an increasingly important role in partner selection and engagement when NGOs receive funding from UN agencies or government donors. On June 10, ICVA and PHAP organized a webinar, as part of the Learning Series on Risk Management in Practice, where we examined the role of risk management in good funding partnerships as NGOs engage with external funders.

For funders of humanitarian programming of NGOs, risk management is playing an increasing role in both the decision to offer funding and the terms and conditions of partnership once a grant is secured. Funding from UN agencies for NGO partners now includes an assessment of risk management practices in partner selection. Most also use a risk rating system with partners to determine funding limits and levels of required oversight.

Donor governments currently have a wider range of practice, some with extensive risk management systems in place. For NGO partners, there can be major consequences if donor government funding is accepted without a proper risk assessment being carried out. Accounting and compliance requirements for NGOs can be difficult to meet without appropriate training, and there are often serious legal consequences if the terms of funding agreements are not met.

The topics that we have covered so far in the risk management series have primarily focused on internal decision making and the role of risk management. It is important to extend this thinking, however, to external funding relationships. NGOs should be confident that they are basing the decision to accept funding taking into consideration key questions such as:

- Can we meet expectations of the funder?
- What is the likelihood that we can fulfill compliance requirements?
- Which risk controls are missing, or should be strengthened, to help meet expectations and compliance requirements?

As with our other webinars in the series, we were joined by a panel of experts representing both NGO and funder perspectives, followed by a live discussion with participants.

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Partnerships and principles in conflict contexts: Voices from Nigeria and South Sudan

Partnerships between international organizations and local actors are key for the delivery of principled humanitarian aid. While progress has been made through the Principles of Partnership, much more is needed to implement these principles. This is particularly true for applying the humanitarian principles in conflict contexts ? the delivery of principled humanitarian aid is a challenging endeavour in these settings that requires continuous attention.

In the second half of 2020, two research teams engaged with more than 123 local actors operating in the humanitarian delivery space in the states of North Eastern Nigeria and South Sudan to investigate how partnerships and humanitarian principles were implemented. The research made interesting findings related to perceptions of double standards and difficulties with operationalising humanitarian and partnership principles, that the set of principles must operate in combination to secure principled humanitarian assistance in local contexts, and a lack of shared understanding between partners of what principled humanitarian action means in practice. Based on their discussions, the investigators are suggesting new and stronger models of humanitarian partnership that are more equitable, accountable to local actors and which take collective responsibility for principled delivery of humanitarian aid.

On 2 June, we organized a launch event of the report based on this research. We were joined by the principal investigators from both research teams and representatives of local organizations in these two contexts, as well as experts on global policy, to discuss the results and their implications.

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Community-based protection, early warning, and conflict preparedness

In this webinar, the second of a two-part series exploring existing efforts to improve the safety of civilians during armed conflict, we will be discussing ?secondary? prevention programs, in particular those focusing on strengthening communities in conflict-affected areas to reduce the risk of harm and mitigate the effects of armed conflict on civilian populations. We will hear from NGOs active in situations of armed conflict around the word about how they approach building capacity for prevention in communities ? what the main considerations are and in which situations they are effective. We will also discuss what other organizations can learn from their approach and the implications this has for the humanitarian community as a whole.

To learn more about this event, please visit

To watch the first event in the series, visit
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Civilian Safety in Armed Conflict: Strategies and approaches for direct prevention of violence

In this first of two webinars exploring existing efforts to improve the safety of civilians during armed conflict, we will be discussing ?primary? prevention programs, which focus on advocacy, armed actor behavior change, and direct engagement with armed actors, either by the humanitarian organization or by facilitating this engagement by communities. We will hear from civil society organizations and UN agencies about their approaches to primary prevention ? what the main considerations are and in which situations they are effective. We will also discuss what other organizations can learn from their approach and the implications this has for the humanitarian community as a whole.

To know more about the second webinar in this series (Civilian Safety in Armed Conflict: Community-based protection, early warning, and conflict preparedness), please go to

In armed conflict, the humanitarian community continues to witness highly disturbing situations where the safety of civilians is ignored or not addressed, or where civilians are purposely targeted by parties to a conflict. While protection services continue to provide much-needed support to vulnerable and marginalized groups and individuals and respond to protection concerns with remedial service provision, limited progress has been made on contributing to civilians? safety in armed conflict. As Hugo Slim expressed it in the recent Oxford Lecture Series on Protection: ?When you look at protection?s track record through wars, protection is at its weakest here, in this challenge in protecting people from physical harm and unlawful devastating attacks on their persons and homes.?

In the last few years, there has been a push by both humanitarian agencies and donors to examine how we can prevent and protect civilians from physical harm during conflict. Key questions remain: what does prevention mean and look like within our protection of civilians programming? Where does civilian safety ?fit? within the humanitarian architecture?

There are, however, several existing approaches to mitigate and reduce risk in armed conflict for the civilian population, including how to prevent violence from happening in the first place and how to strengthen civilian self-protection strategies through community-based initiatives. This two-part webinar series aims to provide an overview of the range of strategies currently undertaken by national and international civil society organizations, UN agencies, and donors, providing examples of good practice, and discuss how such efforts can be advanced and systematized in the wider humanitarian community.

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Parliamentary action to end statelessness by 2024

Statelessness, the situation where a person is not recognized by any State as a citizen, has devastating impacts on millions of people around the world. 4.2 million people were known to be stateless as of mid-2020, but with just 76 countries included in data reported by UNHCR, the actual number is likely to be much higher.

Statelessness deprives women and men, girls, and boys the right to enjoy basic rights that citizens may take for granted ? the right to a legal identity, to move across borders, to own property, vote, access education, health services, and legal employment. As most situations of statelessness can be prevented or resolved through legislation, parliamentarians have a critical role to play in bringing the scourge of statelessness to an end. Join us for a webinar on 25 February, organized by UNHCR, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), and PHAP, in which we will discuss strategies and practical ways of mobilizing parliamentary action to end statelessness in the next four years.

In 2019, the inaugural Global Refugee Forum (GRF) and the High-Level Segment on Statelessness (HLS) resulted in unprecedented 396 pledges concerning statelessness submitted by States, international and regional organizations, and civil society. Seventy-nine States submitted 270 pledges relevant to eradicating statelessness globally, many of which call for parliamentary action.

On 25 February, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, UNHCR, and PHAP organized a webinar which placed particular attention on how to move beyond pledges made at the GRF and HLS in order to strengthen implementation of the #IBelong Campaign and the Global Action Plan to End Statelessness by 2024. Members of Parliaments who have led legislative efforts to address statelessness in their countries shared their experience and also had time for questions and discussion by webinar participants.

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The critical role of ethics in forced migration research

Research on forced migration provides critical input into the processes that help shape policy on displacement and humanitarian response. On that account, researchers should directly engage refugees, other forcibly displaced groups, and the communities that host them. The self-representation of refugees is a principle that has recently been reaffirmed through the discussions around the Global Compact on Refugees, as well as other processes.

However, directly involving vulnerable populations in research comes with ethical considerations for researchers, as well as for ?gatekeepers? to forced migrant populations and the forced migrants themselves. These include unequal power relations, legal precariousness, extreme poverty, violence, the criminalization of migration, and politicized research contexts, among others. To help navigate these kinds of situations, the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) adopted a Code of Ethics in 2018, which provides a starting point for active, critical engagement with ethical issues in forced migration research.

On 10 December, UNHCR, IASFM, PHAP, and the Global Academic Interdisciplinary Network (GAIN) organized a webinar in which we discussed the particular ethical challenges faced in researching situations of forced migration, how these relate to the application in practice of the principle of ?do no harm?, and the IASFM Code of Ethics. We heard from researchers, a refugee post-graduate student, as well as a camp manager, who shared their experience and exchanged views on these questions.

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?Organizational culture matters?: Leadership, staff well-being, and living our values

For a long time, humanitarian organizations have faced situations reminding us that how we carry out our work is as important as what we do ? including how agencies approach the mental and physical well-being of staff members to avoid long-term exhaustion, burnout, injury, or illness. Apart from the direct impact to individual staff members when the duty of care is compromised, organizations also face potential risks of an operational, reputational, safety and security, fiduciary, or legal and ethical nature.

The top management of an organization plays a critical role in managing risks and ensuring that staff and those we assist in our day-to-day work are cared for. This has been the focus of a joint ICVA-CHS Alliance project on the CEO role in driving culture change to enable a positive workplace culture, safeguard staff well-being, and live our humanitarian values.

On 3 December, ICVA, the CHS Alliance, and PHAP organized a webinar building on this project and discussed practical challenges faced by staff and management as well as insights into solutions to improve the ability of senior executives to promote the necessary change.

Liza Jachens, Organisational Psychologist at Webster University, shared the results from her research of burnout and mental illness among humanitarian workers. Ann Muraya, Director of Organisation Health for Thrive Worldwide, discussed what it means to have a healthy organizational culture. Melissa Pitotti, consultant for the ICVA-CHS Alliance joint project looking at the CEO role in driving organisational culture change and co-Initiator of the CHS Alliance Initiative to Cultivate Caring, Compassionate Aid Organisations, provided a summary of the findings generated from recent interviews and focus group discussions with CEOs. Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, CEO of Christian Aid, and Dhananjayan (Danny) Sriskandarajah, CEO of Oxfam GB, reflected on their own experiences leading culture change within their organisations.

This was the fourth webinar of the Learning Stream on Risk Management in Practice.

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The State of Protection in the COVID-19 Era

In the margins of the public health and economic crises with which the world has contended through 2020, COVID-19 ultimately looms as a long-term, far-reaching global protection emergency. Where some of the world?s best-resourced countries have tracked a staggering increase in demand for protection services, people in nations with pre-existing humanitarian crises are grappling with unprecedented compound protection threats and even fewer resources to help mitigate them.

Protection Clusters are reporting heightened risks of forced displacement, a rise in xenophobia and stigmatization, a dramatic increase in gender-based violence, and discrimination in access to health, food, water, education, and legal services for vulnerable and marginalized groups. The largest economic shock the world has experienced in decades is not and will not be felt equally; countries, communities, and individuals at greatest risk must have enhanced access to protection services.

Together with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Global Protection Cluster, and with support from PHAP, the Norwegian Refugee Council brought together a High-Level Panel that reflected on the state of protection in the COVID-19 era. The event drew on findings from a new NRC-Global Protection Cluster report on the current state of play in protection financing, and brought to a close the Global Protection Forum.

This event presented a critical discussion on the place of protection within humanitarian response and the commitments needed across the humanitarian community to address major needs and challenges in 2021 and beyond.

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Creating inclusive cities in South Africa amidst COVID-19

The UN Secretary General?s Policy Brief on COVID-19 in an Urban World reckons that urban areas are at the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for an estimated 90 per cent of cases. Overcrowding and urban areas with poor infrastructure and housing or weak local governance leads to higher virus transmission.

Solutions start at the local level which is why cities and local communities are uniquely placed to protect and support displaced people. The Global Compact on Refugees recognizes the crucial role mayors and local authorities play as first responders, a role even more critical now when we are all faced with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing shelter, health care, food and assistance are how a number of cities in South Africa are helping those forcibly displaced to cope through the pandemic.

On 20 November 2020, we organized a conversation between UCLG Africa, UNHCR, a refugee representative, and city authorities to discuss the commitment to create inclusive cities despite the challenges that COVID-19 presents

For more information, go to
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The State of Humanitarian Professions 2020

The capacities of those delivering response to humanitarian crises determine the quality of aid, its relevance, effectiveness, and sustainability, and is key to the effective application of humanitarian principles. But in a rapidly changing aid ecosystem, how can humanitarian organisations better recruit, retain, and develop competent staff? How can individual practitioners have greater clarity on how to enter the aid sector and be effective for people in need? How can learning providers better target the most acute learning needs?

These are some of the questions that the first international study on humanitarian professions attempts to answer ? the State of Humanitarian Professions 2020. Over the past year, Bioforce has been carrying out interviews and workshops, as well as a large-scale survey, with humanitarian actors, individual practitioners, and learning and development providers worldwide. The results include insights into the current state of 24 humanitarian professions and what their future will be. In addition, the study has looked at the core competencies across all humanitarian professions, how they are changing and what they will look like in the future.

On 17 November, we organized an online conference launching the State of the Humanitarian Professions 2020 study. This was an opportunity to learn more about the results of this study, as well as to discuss their wider implications for humanitarian work. We also encouraged all registrants to respond to a brief survey about the impact of COVID-19 on humanitarian professions, the results of which were presented during the conference.

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The impact of bank de-risking on humanitarian action

Over the last few years the issue of ?bank de-risking? has increasingly impacted the ability of humanitarian NGOs to safely and effectively transfer funds to programmes where people are most in need. While bank de-risking can affect the operations of any type of organization, humanitarian organizations are particularly affected due to the nature of their work and the contexts in which they operate.

Often related to compliance with counter-terrorism measures, bank de-risking measures by financial institutions manifest themselves to humanitarian organizations in the form of refused transactions, closed accounts, or other restrictions. While bank de-risking issues for humanitarian organizations have to a large degree concerned money transfers to operations in fragile countries, there are more and more examples of humanitarian organisations facing difficulties transferring funds even at the headquarters level. Humanitarian organisations have to resort to transferring money in risky ways in order to preserve programme continuity, thus bank de-risking practices can increase the risks of fraud, security, compliance and lack of transparency.

An opaque banking system which has limited accountability to humanitarian organisations and their principles leave little to be done for individual organisations in term of appealing or objecting to what sometimes seem like arbitrary decisions. Bank de-risking is lacking research and advocacy since most organisations avoid discussing how it affects them. This is why humanitarian organisations need to step up both the management of this risk and common advocacy towards both donors and financial regulators.

On 22 October, ICVA and PHAP organized a webinar focusing on bank de-risking and its impact on humanitarian action. Following an introductory briefing, we discussed with a panel of experts the practical challenges faced by humanitarian NGOs and how to approach this issue from a risk management perspective.

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Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the COVID-19 Response: Applying the IASC Guidelines

While the COVID-19 pandemic is seriously affecting the health, livelihoods, and overall wellbeing of people all over the world, persons with disabilities are disproportionately impacted. The risk factors and consequences of COVID-19 on people with disabilities are even further exacerbated in humanitarian contexts. Persons with disabilities may be at heightened risk of contracting or developing a more severe case of COVID-19 due to barriers to accessing information, preventative measures and health services, while some people may be at heightened risk due to underlying health conditions or reliance on personal assistance. Further, COVID-19 has compounded exclusion of children with disabilities from education; increased risks of violence, exploitation and abuse; and deepened other pre-existing inequalities and marginalization.

To address this situation, how can we ensure that persons with disabilities are included in all aspects of response to COVID-19 in humanitarian contexts? On 17 September, during a webinar organized jointly by ICVA, PHAP, IASC, and the Reference Group on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, we discussed how the IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action can be implemented in the COVID-19 response. We started with a presentation of the recent note produced by the Reference Group and endorsed by the IASC on this topic, followed by a discussion of challenges in the current response and ways to overcome them.

The webinar shared practical examples of how response to COVID-19 in humanitarian contexts has been made more inclusive of persons with disabilities, drawing on learning from the past 6+ months to present concrete actions that humanitarian actors can take, in partnership with local organizations of persons with disabilities. The webinar aimed to provide a space for learning and exchange of experience between organizations of persons with disabilities, NGOs, UN entities, and other humanitarian actors.

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Make or break: The implications of COVID-19 for crisis financing

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated challenges for humanitarian work across the globe, including for how emergency response is being funded, providing a real-time ?stress test? on financing systems. At the same time, stakeholders have been taking stock of the progress made under the Grand Bargain humanitarian financing reforms and considering priorities for future reform agendas. To examine what the pandemic response tells us of the fitness of the international crisis financing system, the Norwegian Refugee Council commissioned a study ? a ?think piece? looking at what can be learned from the current situation, even though the pandemic and our response to it are still in an early stage.

To help stimulate reflection and debate on the future of humanitarian financing and to launch this study, NRC and PHAP organized a webinar on 15 September. We heard about the main findings and recommendations emerging from NRC?s study. This set the stage for a panel discussion on the role and fitness of the existing humanitarian financing structure and on how the system should evolve to be able to respond to crises of this complexity.

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Balancing risk appetite and risk tolerance in humanitarian operations

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Understanding and appropriately applying the concepts of risk tolerance and risk appetite is crucial for humanitarian organizations to ensure that they are operating within their ability to manage risk. Humanitarian action is taking place in inherently high-risk environments and humanitarian organizations are often under pressure to take on most of that risk under the current structure of funding agreements. The concepts of risk tolerance and risk appetite are particularly important for humanitarian actors to understand in order to shift from the current state of risk transfer in funding agreements to a more equitable sharing of risks among stakeholders in humanitarian operations.

On 8 September, ICVA and PHAP had a webinar focusing on the twin concepts of risk tolerance and risk appetite. Following an introductory briefing on these concepts, we discussed with a panel of experts the practical challenges in identifying risk appetite and tolerance for NGOs. This was the second event of the Learning Stream on Risk Management in Practice, aimed at exploring the current state of risk management in the humanitarian sector.
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Managing camps in diverse contexts

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Many humanitarian emergencies result in large-scale displacement, whether short-term or over many years. Although they should be seen as a last resort, camps and other communal settlements are often at the center of humanitarian response, as that is where those with the greatest needs are concentrated. Given this central focus for humanitarian action, what kind of benchmarks and standards can those managing camps and camp-like settings use as a reference point in their work? While standards exist for many of the technical areas that come together in a camp setting, the same has not been the case for the work of Camp Managers, who are responsible for coordinating the delivery of protection and assistance in such settings.

This was the starting point for the development of the Camp Management Standards, which have been developed by the CCCM Cluster over the past years through consultations with camp managers and residents. On 9 September, we held a webinar clinic and learned more about the challenges faced in camp management and how the draft Camp Management Standards can help to address these. We heard from experienced Camp Managers who discussed how to address practical challenges submitted by event registrants.

The webinar also launched an online consultation survey for humanitarian practitioners to provide their views on the final draft of the Standards.
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Coordinating access for humanitarian protection

In most crisis response contexts, multiple protection actors are seeking to access affected populations. As humanitarian actors are interdependent, with the actions of one affecting all other actors in a response context, they often face situations where there are coordination challenges related to access and protection.

On 25 June, PHAP, NRC, and the GPC organized the fourth session of the webinar series on access and protection, which focused on issues related to coordinated negotiations and approaches to access ? including the use of armed escorts, civil-military coordination, and coordination with peacekeeping missions ? and how these relate to protection.

More information about this event at
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Creating Inclusive Cities (Global Compact on Refugees)

More than 61 per cent of the world?s refugees and 80 per cent of internally displaced people live in urban areas. The role of towns, cities, counties and provinces in creating inclusive communities and promoting hope has never been as important. They offer safety and shelter and can enable access to local services, education and job opportunities.

The Global Compact on Refugees aims to implement a more holistic approach in responding to refugee displacement and recognizes the important role that local authorities play as first responders to large-scale refugee situations.

Intercultural Cities (ICC) is a Council of Europe policy development and implementation programme that supports local authorities around the World in comprehensive approaches that are inclusive of migrants and refugees. On 18 June, 2020, two days before World Refugee Day, we heard how cities in Europe are making their cities spaces where everyone can live in safety, become self-reliant, and contribute to and participate in their local community.

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Access and protection: Avoiding putting people at risk

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In order to carry out their work for the protection of affected people, humanitarian actors need access to reach those people with needs assessments and services. But that access can bring with it negative consequences ? for those receiving assistance or protection services, for focal points and contact persons, or for society as a whole. Knowing how to approach and address these potential risks related to access and protection is critical.

On 11 June, we held the third session of the webinar series on access and protection, which focused on issues related to when humanitarian actors have access, but either the access itself or the kinds of programming possible to carry out leads to protection risks.

We were joined by a panel of experts who discussed some of the types of situations that practitioners face, and specific examples submitted by the participants.
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Launch event: Toolkit for principled humanitarian action ? Managing counterterrorism risks


The four principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence are the foundations of humanitarian action. Guided by these principles, humanitarian organizations work to ensure that assistance and protection go to those most in need. As well as forming the basis of their work, the principles enable humanitarian organizations to gain and maintain acceptance from communities and parties to conflicts, helping ensure the safety of staff.

However, as counterterrorism measures become increasingly common at international and national levels, humanitarian organizations remain concerned about the impact of these on their ability to maintain a principled approach. While humanitarian organizations are, usually, not the target of these measures, they nevertheless pose real risks to operations, staff, and beneficiaries.

On 5 June 2020, we launched NRC's new Toolkit for Principled Humanitarian Action: Managing Counterterrorism Risks. This event provided an opportunity for representatives of several key stakeholders to take stock of this issue, five years on from the launch of the original Toolkit. It allowed for an exchange on the current state of the impact of counterterrorism measures on humanitarian organizations and the associated risks. What measures are humanitarian organisations taking to address these risks? What role can donors play in risk management? What are the emerging challenges and opportunities?

The Toolkit

The Toolkit for Principled Humanitarian Action: Managing Counterterrorism Risks updates the information contained in the 2015 Risk Management Toolkit in Relation to Counterterrorism Measures to reflect recent developments in this area. It aims to raise awareness of counterterrorism-related risks so that organizations can identify and mitigate these, and to make risk management?approaches accessible?to?a broad range of?staff who can use these in their day to day work.

The toolkit is available at
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Security risk management and duty of care during COVID-19


Humanitarian work is in most cases carried out in insecure environments and situations, making it critical for organizations to be able to identify and manage security risks affecting their operations. Although Security Risk Management (SRM) in the humanitarian sector has increasingly gained the attention of policy makers and practitioners, the current COVID-19 crisis highlights challenges in how to apply risk management, including in terms of duty of care. Delivering humanitarian aid under COVID-19 restrictions has also underlined the critical role of local actors and the importance to discuss risk transfer and risk sharing between international, national, and local humanitarian actors.

On 3 June, ICVA and PHAP organized the first webinar in the new Learning Stream on Risk Management in Practice, aimed at exploring the current state of risk management in the humanitarian sector. In this webinar, we looked at the key findings from a new briefing paper from ICVA and researchers from the Graduate Institute on security risk management in humanitarian organizations and framed them around the challenges that the current COVID-19 crisis presents to the humanitarian sector. We heard from practitioners and experts about the current SRM challenges and solutions in their organizations, including risk transfer, risk sharing, and challenges related to duty of care.
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Negotiating access for humanitarian protection

Humanitarian actors often need to negotiate to gain access to populations affected by conflicts and other crises. While negotiating for access for humanitarian assistance is often challenging in and of itself, practitioners and organizations face a distinct set of issues in access negotiations that relate to protection.

On 28 May, the second session of the webinar series on access and protection focused on challenges that practitioners face when trying to gain or maintain access for protection, whether negotiating directly for protection programming access or negotiating for humanitarian access in general while considering protection concerns.

We were joined by a panel of experts who discussed some of the situations that practitioners face, including:

- Authorities invite assistance but not protection: We are being actively invited by the authorities or gatekeepers to provide assistance, but not protection.
- Reporting on protection concerns could limit access: We have access and have discovered protection issues. We now have to weigh reporting or advocacy on these issues versus having our access restricted.
- Restricted channels for access: We are allowed to provide assistance and protection, but only through the channels of the government or an armed group.
- Needs assessments cannot include protection: We are unable to include protection in our needs assessments for fear of restricted access, so we do not understand the needs of vulnerable populations.

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Access and Humanitarian Protection: Restricted operational contexts and COVID-19

Humanitarian protection is often the most needed in the very conflict zones where access is also the most restricted. Whether in areas controlled by armed groups or government forces, in situations when civilians have their basic rights and physical safety threatened, humanitarians carrying out protection work and advocacy are likely to face actors trying to restrict their access and ability to operate, or simply keep them out.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to sudden changes in how protection actors can access populations of concern, with additional restrictions on how they are able to operate in the short and medium term. What can we learn from the experience of protection actors operating in hard-to-reach areas that we can apply to the new challenges of the current operational environment?

On 22 April, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), PHAP, and the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) organized the first of a series of webinars on access and humanitarian protection. The event provided an overview of the key terms, concepts, interlinkages, and dilemmas of protection and access in armed conflict, disaster, and health emergencies. What are the main protection concerns particular to hard-to-reach areas? What challenges do protection actors face in terms of access? Are maintaining access and protection priorities at cross purposes or can they help reinforce each other? This introduction was followed by a discussion with protection experts, exploring the ways in which existing lessons from protection programming in hard-to-reach areas can be applied to protection operations in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Operationalizing standards: Sphere and the COVID-19 response in camp settings

As the novel coronavirus disease, or COVID-19, continues to spread globally, the risk it presents to populations living in camps and camp-like settings is growing. Camp managers are working quickly to adjust their programs to accommodate social distancing while continuing to communicate with communities and working with partners to improve communal sanitation.

Sphere recently released guidance for how the Sphere Handbook can help guide humanitarian staff in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. But how should camp managers apply those standards and strengthen the prevention measures recommended by technical sectors?

During our webinar on 2 April, organized by the CCCM Cluster and PHAP, we learned about COVID-19 prevention measures critical to the work of Camp Managers and others working in displacement settings. We heard from WASH specialists, as well as experienced Camp program staff who have recently been involved in setting up special measures to prevent the spread of disease and develop key messages for populations living in temporary settlements. A representative from Sphere also provided guidance for how the Sphere Handbook can be a useful tool for practitioners in this situation.

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Participation in Practice: Examples of inclusive action for a ?Participation Revolution?

Through the Grand Bargain, humanitarian organizations and donors have committed to change the way humanitarian action is carried out and create a ?Participation Revolution.? But how does including the people and communities affected by humanitarian crises look in practice? How are organizations ensuring that the voices of the most vulnerable groups considering gender, age, ethnicity, language, and special needs are heard and acted upon? How are they designing program activities and budgets to support the changes that affected people demand?

In this webinar, organized on 26 March 2020 by PHAP and the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response, we took stock of the progress to date on workstream six of the Grand Bargain and heard success stories from the field that can help agencies achieve a sustained change in how they design and deliver their programs.

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What Next? (Session 3 - ICVA's Virtual Annual Conference 2020)

In the first sessions of the conference, we had heard from NGOs and other humanitarian actors on the challenges and risks related to principled humanitarian action faced in their work. In the third and final session, we looked at relevant initiatives for mobilizing collaborative and collective action among NGOs, UN agencies and Member States, donors, and affected people.

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This session was part of ICVA's Virtual Annual Conference 2020. Read more about the conference on the event page
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What Risks? (Session 2 - ICVA's Virtual Annual Conference 2020)

With challenges to principled humanitarian action, NGOs are facing increased risks in their work. While NGOs accept risk as part of their work, many organizations are taking on more risk than they may be aware of and have the capacity to manage. In the second session of the Annual Conference, we explored the types of risks faced by NGOs linked to the humanitarian principles, how they can be managed, and how the gap between risk appetite and risk tolerance can be addressed in the sector.

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This session was part of ICVA's Virtual Annual Conference 2020. Read more about the conference on the event page
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Principles at Risk (Session 1 ? ICVA Virtual Annual Conference 2020)

Principled humanitarian action may be more important than ever for humanitarian actors managing risk in highly political and volatile operational contexts. However, humanitarian principles are being challenged on multiple fronts. This first session helped frame the discussions of the Annual Conference and explored the importance of protecting and promoting principled humanitarian action.

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This session was part of ICVA's Virtual Annual Conference 2020. Read more about the conference on the event page
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Persons with disabilities in humanitarian response: New guidelines for more inclusive humanitarian action

The IASC recently endorsed guidelines for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action. How can these guidelines help make humanitarian action more inclusive? On 26 February 2020, ICVA and PHAP organized a webinar together with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) secretariat and the Reference Group on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which introduced the guidelines and discuss how they can be implemented in practice. The three interim co-chairs of the Reference Group, as well as one of the NGOs that has been implementing the IASC Guidelines in their organization, spoke about the guidelines, their development, structure, and how they can be used in practice.

For more information about the event, please visit

Persons with disabilities are among the most marginalized people in crisis-affected communities and disproportionately affected by conflict and disasters. In some contexts, their mortality rate is two to four times higher than that of persons without disabilities and persons with disabilities face substantial barriers to accessing assistance. A recent study found that 92% of humanitarian actors think that persons with disabilities are not properly taken into account in humanitarian response and are often considered only as recipients of aid and not as actors in the response.

That is also why delivering better for persons with disabilities was part of the discussions of the World Humanitarian Summit and its follow-up commitments, including through the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action (2016). In 2016, the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Working Group agreed to the establishment of a Task Team on the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which drafted the Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action. The IASC Guidelines were drafted through a large number of consultations with member States, organizations of persons with disabilities, civil society organizations working with persons with disabilities and/or in humanitarian action, and UN agencies. They were endorsed by the IASC Principals in October 2019 and launched in New York in November 2019 and in Geneva in February 2020. At the same time, a Reference Group was established to continue to bring together key stakeholders for coordinated efforts on the implementation of the IASC Guidelines on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities and provide support, among others, their dissemination and to develop supporting tools and resources.

As one of the few global initiatives where the persons concerned have been directly involved in the drafting of a tool serving intervention at their benefit, these Guidelines are a crucial step forward to achieve disability-inclusive humanitarian action. They serve the following four objectives:

1. To provide practical guidance on including persons with disabilities in humanitarian programming and coordination;
2. To increase capacity among humanitarian stakeholders to develop and implement quality programs that are inclusive of persons with disabilities;
3. To describe the roles and responsibilities of humanitarian stakeholders to include persons with disabilities in humanitarian action; and
4. To increase and improve the participation of persons with disabilities and organization of persons with disabilities in preparedness, response and recovery.

However, what will make the real difference for persons with disabilities is how these guidelines are implemented in practice. Humanitarian actors need to translate the IASC Guidelines into concrete improvements in their daily activities, continuing to work closely with persons with disabilities and their representative organizations.
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Coordination and Collaboration with the GPC

Coordination and collaboration are critical for humanitarian protection ? just as it is for an effective overall humanitarian response. Recent crises have highlighted that there remains a need to reinforce protection programming with clear leadership and further articulation of roles and responsibilities. Research has shown that effective coordination during disaster response has been lacking to the extent that it has become the expected norm. How can the GPC ensure it leads on coordination and overcomes identified problems in its work over the next five years?

On Tuesday, 26 November, PHAP organized a webinar in partnership with the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) on coordination and collaboration for humanitarian protection. We discussed current weaknesses in protection coordination and what role the GPC may have in ensuring protection programming is well-coordinated ? avoiding gaps and duplication ? and that responding to the needs of marginalized communities does not fall between different actors. Issues discussed included how global protection coordination fits in with local realities, contextualization of protection coordination, and supporting local coordination mechanisms; the impact of regionalization on protection roles and responsibilities; and how to ensure a bottom-up approach to protection coordination.

More information available at
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Risky Business: Reframing the fundamentals of risk management for humanitarians

The discipline of risk management is not new, and there has already been a significant amount of work to translate risk management practice and tools for use in humanitarian operations. Despite this, humanitarian organizations continue to struggle with applying risk management in their decision-making process.

On 21 November, ICVA and PHAP organized the first webinar in a series aimed at exploring the current state of risk management in the humanitarian sector. This webinar provided an introduction to the concept of risk management and an overview of the particular challenges to apply this in humanitarian work. As part of framing how these challenges can be overcome, we heard from Jeremy Rempel, Head of Humanitarian Financing at ICVA, and Patroba Otieno, Risk and Financial Specialist at World Vision Somalia.

Participants in the webinar learned about the need to balance management of the risks inherent to the work with the desire to reach people in need in the most difficult contexts. They also learned about the importance of developing an organizational culture that understands risk management as a discipline that cuts across all levels of an organization.
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Climate preparedness and community based protection

The effects of a warming climate will likely be far-reaching and profound. In addition to warming and changed weather patterns, climate change will increasingly spark extremes in weather ? a greater frequency and intensity of storms, heat, and cold. Critically, the effects of climate change exacerbate the scarcity of key resources, and hence contribute to armed conflict and impoverishment. To respond to these effects, humanitarian action needs to focus more on climate preparedness and response to slow-onset disasters ? but how does humanitarian protection work fit into this shift?

On 19 November, PHAP and the Global Protection Cluster (GPC) organized a webinar organized on climate change preparedness and community-based protection. The discussion focused on how protection concerns can be better included in preparedness work and in slow-onset disasters to avoid protection gaps and include marginalized communities. What is the role of the Protection Cluster in this? Are structural changes for coordination and communication called for, especially as Protection Clusters are normally not activated for preparedness work?

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The future of protection in the nexus

Humanitarian action is increasingly connected to development, peace, and security work. What does this mean for the future of humanitarian protection and the role of the Global Protection Cluster (GPC)?

On 22 October, PHAP organized a webinar organized in partnership with GPC on the future of humanitarian protection in the nexus, discussing how humanitarian protection fits into the vision and concrete plans for humanitarian action in the coming decade.

Humanitarian action has never been carried out in isolation from other sectors. Building on long-running initiatives, such as ?linking relief rehabilitation and development? (LRRD) and disaster risk reduction (DRR), efforts to strengthen connections with other sectors have accelerated over the past few years, especially following the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit. The UN and World Bank?s New Way of Working (NWoW), the EU?s Joint Humanitarian and Development Frameworks, and other initiatives have in common a focus on the ?nexus? between humanitarian work and development, as well as with peace and security to ensure that common objectives are reached.

In these new models connecting and aligning humanitarian action, development, peace, and security, the vision of the role for humanitarian protection is less clear. There may be agreement that the overarching responsibility for protection is shared, but key practical questions remain, including:

- Who carries out humanitarian protection work in practice in the nexus?
- How is the need for independence of certain protection work ensured in conflict-affected and politically sensitive contexts?
- Are we facing risks that we will create protection gaps?
- Who should be tasked with coordinating to ensure any such gaps are covered?

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Operational camp management: An introduction to the Camp Management Standards

How would you run a camp for displaced persons? Who would you hire to manage a site following a hurricane? If a conflict suddenly broke out and only your agency had access to a neighborhood where displaced people were staying, what would you do? What core activities would your team be responsible for? Where would you look for this information? And what standards would guide your interventions?

National authorities have the responsibility to prevent displacement and protect IDPs and other populations affected within their own country. But in crisis situations, they often receive support from the international humanitarian community in the form of lifesaving assistance, including the management of temporary displacement sites.

On 23 September, PHAP and the Global CCCM Cluster organized a webinar on the critical work of Camp Managers and the draft Camp Management Standards. This included experienced Camp Managers who have been involved in the standards development process and was an opportunity for practitioners worldwide to provide their input on the draft standards.

Ahead of the event, a pre-event survey was organized with more than 400 respondents providing their input on the scope and purpose of the standards, as well as comments on the content of the drafts.

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Exploring protection challenges in humanitarian logistics

On Wednesday, 3 July, PHAP in partnership with the Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA) organized a webinar exploring the topic of protection in humanitarian logistics, aiming to clarify key protection issues that should be of direct concern with respect to humanitarian logistics and related functions.

The event featured speakers representing a wide range of perspectives. Will Holden, Managing Director of the Emergency Logistics Team, provided an overview of protection issues faced by logistics practitioners. Tikhwi Muyundo, Castelbarco Capacity Building Consultants and Africa Regional Representative, Humanitarian Logistics Association (HLA), shared her perspectives on protection issues related to how logistics is carried out. Valerie Craigie, Supply Chain and Communications Consultant, described her findings from a study on protection issues and gender-based violence in logistics and camp management. Pierre Gentile, former Head of the Protection Division at the ICRC and currently working as a consultant, shared his perspectives as a protection specialist on the protection issues that the other speakers had raised.

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How do NGOs navigate shrinking civil society space?

On Thursday, 20 June, ICVA and PHAP organized the second session in the learning stream on the Navigating change. The discussion provided an overview of current challenges and trends regarding civil society space and how NGOs and other actors are working to counter initiatives that shrink this space.

For more information about this event and further resources, please visit
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Localization: Perspectives on change

On Thursday, 8 November, ICVA and PHAP organized the first session in the learning stream on the Navigating change. The discussion provided an overview of the concept of localizationin the humanitarian sector, how it has evolved, and how it is currently used. Participants learned more about how governments, private donors, the business community, and diaspora actors see current opportunities, trends, and challenges. The potential impact of localization initiatives on principled and effective humanitarian action were also examined.

This webinar is part of the ?Navigating Change? Learning Stream which includes a total of six webinars, briefing papers, and other resources.

For more information about this event and further resources, please visit
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Donor perspectives on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus

On 11 September, ICVA and PHAP organized the fifth and final session in the learning stream on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. After having explored how the three main types of actors in this nexus view the current processes and discussions, it was discussed on how donors are approaching the issue.

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All In Diary: Launching the sixth edition

For the past 12 years, the All In Diary has been providing humanitarian practitioners with essential, up-to-date, and succinct guidance for humanitarian workers in a convenient format. Following a revision process carried out on a voluntary basis by practitioners from across the sector over the past year, the sixth edition of the AID is now available. On 22 August, we learned more about this practical resource from its co-founders, as well as from practitioners who are using it and have been contributing to help ensure that the latest edition reflects recent developments in the sector.
For more information about this event and further resources, please visit
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Perspectives of peacebuilding actors in the humanitarian-development-peace nexus

On 19 July, PHAP and ICVA organized an online event exploring how peace actors see their role in the nexus ? including both what humanitarian and development actors can learn from peacebuilding and how peacebuilding efforts can better work towards shared outcomes with other actors in the nexus.

This fourth session of the learning stream on the "nexus," featured Scott Weber of Interpeace, who provided an overview of peacebuilding work in ongoing emergency contexts. Anna Chernova shared some of the experiences of Oxfam and how they have been integrating peacebuilding in their work as a multi-mandated organization. Rabia Nusrat of International Alert also shared her perspectives on how humanitarian organizations interact with peacebuilding in emergency contexts in Asia.

For more information about this event and further resources, please visit
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The Child Protection Minimum Standards revision: Application in practice and next steps

Since they were launched six years ago, the Child Protection Minimum Standards (CPMS) have become an important reference to help ensure that measures to protect children are a central component of all humanitarian action. As part of launching the next stage of the consultation and revision process to update the standards.

On 19 June, PHAP organized an online session together with the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action on the standards and how they are being used in practice. This was an opportunity to learn more about the standards and how practitioners are using them, what is changing in the revision, and what the next steps are for contributing to the consultations.

For more information about this event and further resources, please visit
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UN reform: The link to the "nexus" and what it means for non-UN actors

The UN is currently undergoing reforms concerning its development, peace, and humanitarian work. On 8 June, PHAP and ICVA organized an online event exploring the various UN reforms that are currently being rolled out in relation to the humanitarian-development-peace nexus ? including the repositioning of the UN development system to deliver on the 2030 Agenda, the restructuring of the UN peace and security pillar, and the shifting of the management paradigm in the UN.

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The World Bank and the humanitarian-development-peace nexus

On 24 May, ICVA and PHAP organized the second session of the learning stream on the humanitarian-development-peace nexus, which explored the role of the World Bank when working in conflict situations and fragile contexts, and how their approach has changed since the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016. The event featured presentations from Xavier Devictor and Hannah George on the World Bank's approach in such contexts. Moreover, Lauren Post from the International Rescue Committee and Thomas Jepson-Lay from Save the Children Somalia, shared their perspectives on engaging with the World Bank in complex settings.

For more information and additional resources, go to
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