The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator (DERC) Ursula Mueller welcomed the IASC Deputies to their fifth IASC Deputies Forum, which was also their first meeting after the new IASC structural reform.
Session 1: Humanitarian-development-peace nexus in the context of the Central African Republic and Cameroon
The session began with a presentation from Ms. Denise Brown, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA); and Ms. Allegra Baiocchi, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Cameroon, both of whom briefed on the evolving situation in their respective country and the role of the IASC in strengthening the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.
Ms. Brown expressed that the humanitarian-development-peace nexus is indeed the right approach to ensure an integrated joint programming that can help tackle the many challenges faced in the Central African Republic, including gaps between the global and country-level conversations around the nexus and the suspicions around the UN peacekeeping mission’s goals. She emphasized the importance of refining the UN-World Bank partnership around the nexus, and the need for a clearer way forward in terms of how global discussions on the nexus translates into the field contexts, particularly in places like the Central African Republic. She highlighted opportunities for complementarity by combining financial instruments, joint programming and leveraging humanitarian footprints for the development and peace programming. She stressed that the architecture behind the nexus should stem from the country level and asked the IASC to support models applicable to and that enhance field effectiveness, including opportunities to learn from other operational contexts.
Ms. Allegra Baiocchi drew the Deputies’ attention to the forgotten crises in Cameroon, noting challenges related to lack of strong humanitarian-development collaboration, particularly in a country that is highly centralized in terms of government strategies. She highlighted good examples such as the “Joint Recovery and Peacebuilding Assessments (RPBAs)”, conducted by the UN and World Bank together with the Government of Cameroon, which brought about a positive shift in the Government’s position towards the nexus, as well as the “Regional Sub-Windows for refugees and host communities”, which facilitated the World Bank and UNHCR to strategize and plan in tandem. However, such initiatives would benefit from further coherence and complementarity. She also pointed to capacity gaps, which was supported by and large by Humanitarian Coordinators, particularly in terms of dedicated analytical capacity to support work on the nexus. This was a call that had been raised to the Joint Steering Committee to Advance Humanitarian and Development Collaboration (JSC). In addition, she noted the need to establish mechanisms to capture ad-hoc funding flows, as resource alignment is essential to advance the nexus. She presented several recommendations to the IASC, including: the need to deepen collaboration with development actors beyond the World Bank; the use the call of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “leave no one behind” in order to mobilize development actors towards the nexus; the need for IASC studies on collective/hybrid funding, including finalising the guidance on collective outcomes; the need for greater visibility of forgotten crises, including through heightened advocacy; the need for dedicated capacity in the nexus at headquarters level; and the need to collaborate with entities outside the IASC structures such as the OECD INCAF to better inform donors.
The DERC thanked both presenters and reminded the Deputies of the added value of the IASC as a unique platform for non-governmental organizations to feed into the JSC and of the need to strengthen collaboration between the IASC and the JSC. She also underlined that the humanitarian-development collaboration is one of the five strategic priorities of the IASC in its 2019-2020 biennium workplan, and that the IASC will engage more on nexus-related issues, including through relevant IASC Results Groups, such as Results Group 4 on Humanitarian-Development Collaboration.
In the ensuing discussion, members suggested that, in addition to working closely with the JSC, the IASC Results Group 4 on Humanitarian-Development Collaboration needed to double its efforts on concrete deliverables, particularly on how to respond to capacity gaps. In addition, the Deputies suggested that the IASC Results Group 5 on Humanitarian Financing was already working towards mapping and promoting financing instruments supporting humanitarian interventions with development co-benefits. They also mentioned that both UN and non-UN entities, particularly those with both development and humanitarian mandates, have a high interest in taking the nexus forward and suggested the possibility of mobilizing collective efforts to address capacity gaps. Members stressed the need to ensure that protection and human rights feed into the nexus outcomes, as well as the need to focus on livelihood development at community level by engaging local innovation, so that humanitarian concerns are not overshadowed by development concerns. Deputies also stressed the need to ensure linkages with education funds to more effectively benefit from peace dividends.
Members also stressed the importance of humanitarian actors to engage more effectively with governments, including to better support the need to expand the scope of humanitarian inputs within the JSC; as well as the need for coherence and a unity of purpose among development, humanitarian and peace actors. In this regard, it was noted the HABITAT visit to Cameroon in July would ensure consultation with Ms. Baiocchi to ensure complementarity. Members overwhelmingly noted the need to adapt IASC policies and outputs to the local level beyond national levels, including to facilitate the operationalization of the nexus. The “Sahel Women's Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project” was noted as a unique partnership that included governments with focus on long-term investment and active participation of women and youth. Members agreed on the need to reflect on lessons learned and best practices to better connect the dots, without duplicating efforts or creating additional coordination mechanisms.
The IASC Deputies Forum recommended that:
Results Group 4 on Humanitarian-Development Collaboration explore ways to reduce capacity gaps in advancing the nexus. In addition, to ensure a common understanding of analysis, funding and financial strategies, and effective coordination initiatives, Results Group 4 should ensure the quick finalization and dissemination of the Guidance for Collective Outcomes and Best Practices on Humanitarian-Development Nexus.
Session 2: An update by Mr. Geir Olav Lisle, Co-chair of the Operational Policy and Advocacy Group (OPAG)
Mr. Geir Olav Lisle, co-Chair of the Operational Policy and Advocacy Group (OPAG), briefed the Deputies on the key results of the first meeting of the IASC Operational Policy and Advocacy Group (OPAG) which took place on 11-12 April. He highlighted that renewed and re-energized commitments were manifested with a strong focus on field effectiveness. He also shared that Results Groups are now up and running, translating priority areas of work to concrete deliverables to be achieved by the end of 2019, including the completion of the Guidance for Collective Outcomes and Best Practices on Humanitarian-Development Nexus by the Results Group 4 on Humanitarian-Development Collaboration. He informed the Deputies that the next OPAG meeting is scheduled in November and will be an opportunity to measure progress, while results need to be demonstrated as soon as possible. He noted the importance of collaborating with the Emergency Directors Group (EDG) to ensure synergies in cross-cutting priorities, such as addressing bureaucratic impediments, protection and impact of counter terrorism legislation. He asked for the Deputy-level support to better translate the normative work done by the OPAG into action on the ground, as well as to better address and target systemic issues, including on data protection.
The DERC welcomed the rejuvenation of the IASC’s normative mandate and congratulated Mr. Lisle on the successful first OPAG meeting, which received positive feedback from members and donors. She also agreed to the importance of close collaboration with the EDG and the Deputies for the successful delivery of IASC priorities.
Session 3: An update on the discussions and outcomes of the 29 May Principals meeting
The DERC shared a brief overview of the IASC Principals meeting in Geneva on 29 May, where the Principals discussed ways to address key humanitarian crises; how to strengthen humanitarian and development collaboration in order to reduce humanitarian needs and address vulnerabilities; how to improve the Global Humanitarian Overview 2020 through reinforcing the evidence-base and a multi-year approach; how to ensure system-wide, collective efforts and track progress made to better prevent sexual exploitation and abuse and harassment; and the need to step up efforts for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action. A summary note of the meeting was available on the IASC website.
The DERC suggested that the Deputies consider seconding staff to the IASC secretariat, in order to more effectively support the IASC’s work.