The preparation of the next World Humanitarian Summit 2016 in Istanbul is living the idea that instead of creating an environment of reform and new ideas for the future is reinforcing the idea of a system much more similar to an “elephant with mud feet’s”. The organization MSF has identified this failure and has acted pulling out of the conference. A politically incorrect attitude although with a clear vision.
A great union of leaders and organizations is delivering more of the same in an attempt for keeping a status quo that has proven is it not working and doesn´t encompass the new challenges. Indeed, an overwhelmed reality of financial crisis and climate change challenges demands a new focus with renewed strategies. If that is not the idea of this event, we could definitely conclude that it´s just another meeting with good intentions but without a real basis on action and effectiveness towards a real reform of the humanitarian world system.
Like in the picture, it seems that humanitarian leaders are running in the opposite direction, searching for the same spaces and resources that has left the system vulnerable to this “status” of continuous shocks that are beating the global structure. Is a matter of changing the approach institutionally and also in the work with poor communities.
Vulnerability: that is the current state of the planet, that it´s so that we cannot even think in design programs based on the traditional concept of aid but from a renovated focus that could allow everybody and every community to be enough resilient to shocks. That it means work under the basis of a new concept of empowerment, giving them the tools to adapt to a new and tougher reality. Working before the shocks should be the main priority in the agenda under a new focus and concept of disaster preparedness, re-ordering priorities in the context of a renovated global humanitarian agenda.
The world cannot afford more of the same: a bureaucratic apparatus that is leading the humanitarian sector into stagnation and the continuity of a model that is not working and by sure, is not sustainable. The devastating impact that financial global crisis left in all sectors, particularly the humanitarian, has been also a great opportunity to change. However, this opportunity has been systematically loss by a weak leadership and a “contaminated” strategic focus. Budget deficits in humanitarian organisations because of wrong management and uncertainty of fund destinations have shown that the combination of corruption in local countries and a cumbersome hierarchical pyramid within the organisations have prevented to be sustainable financial and institutionally.
Working with local communities is one big aspect that needs to be at the top of the priorities. A vulnerable world cannot afford aid in its traditional concept but the swift to a new interconnected system of counterbalance efforts and budget.The resources are there to be used and to be changed at leadership and management level.
The passion that leads humanitarian workers to move forward in dangerous situations is the same that need to guide them into a process of recycling themselves and removes all the unproductive elements that are spoiling aid activity by dancing on the rhythm of the new global challenges.
*Picture: Tatsuya Tanaka Daily life in miniature.