Humanitarian sector: a Super institution that is losing global effectiveness

Anish Kapoor Leviathan gat Grand PalaisAs the sculpture of Anish Kapoor “Leviathan” (Grand Palais, Paris, France) the humanitarian sector is turning into a Super structure that doesn’t fit with current global standards. Being global means more than just international institutions delivering aid assistance but the capacity to merge with the local institutions and help them build their own resilience. Interconnected processes and full involvement with the public and private sector establishes their level of effectiveness.

 Is it good to make the distinction between “super” and “global” institution because is exactly this aspect that makes the difference at time to evaluate their performance and goals. Agents of delivering assistance or solid institutions that counterbalanced efforts for alleviating emergency situations by exercising diplomacy that works as prevention measures? Taking in account that emergency situations –climate change, violent conflicts, etc.- would be anticipated by a strong work of diplomacy and/or prevention that at least reduces their impact substantially.

My idea is that the humanitarian structures become part of a broader global structure, which helps to reinforce national political systems by assisting them on different processes including adaptation and mitigation. A steady work of diplomacy from the humanitarian organizations is not only feasible but would be very effective, as it have always been considered neutral and independent (ICRC). However for achieving those goals in current threaten reality a transformation of those basic principles need to come about under a new adaptive political leadership. Is curious to see that is an aspect that the humanitarian sector already holds, although only at internal organizational level.

Is for this reason that what I consider “humanitarian crisis” is it just a consequence of this lack not exactly the reason.

The sector is in an urgent need of innovation and in-depth changes that go through funding, management of funding, reshape of structures and deliver of aid. Working under the basis of a new concept of empowerment, diplomacy and delivering emergency aid: basic pillars for a new innovative humanitarian approach.

Working before the shocks should be the main priority for a humanitarian agenda under a new focus based on diplomacy and active commitment with public-private national and global organizations.  Decentralisation and reorder of priorities under a framework of a global-adaptive humanitarian agenda. 

ICRC and the good intention of implementing International Humanitarian Law as a way to prevent violent conflicts exposures a total ineffectiveness despite the commitment from the public sector on assigning budget to this goal. This failure is not exclusively because of an institutional crisis and/or global reality but to the fact of becoming a super institution and not a real global institution that with diplomacy and leadership integrates all actors on stage. This goal is not easy to achieve…. but is not impossible.

In other areas as climate change action, COP21 is the best example to show that global agreements may be better and stronger than super institutions. The global feature of this agreement has being printed by the leadership of countries and individuals more than super-structures that fall of its own weight, as unfortunately is happening with United Nations.

The world and its current emergencies cannot afford more of the same: a bureaucratic big 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. Innovation must be seeing through the ideas of political leaders and organisations that go beyond “aid delivering” but of a solid-steady work on diplomacy.


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 New humanitarian order: running on the rhythm of the new challenges

Innovation in the humanitarian sector: a must for surviving!


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