Annual Conference Humanitarian Aid and SHA
Friday, 27th March 2020, 1.30 pm
The humanitarian landscape has changed radically in recent decades. Crises have become more protracted and complex. Armed combat increasingly takes place in urban areas, with little regard for civilian lives and infrastructure – even hospitals. In this new environment, traditional humanitarian action is reaching its limits, and so is Swiss Humanitarian Aid.
The added value of Switzerland's responses, especially in the wake of natural disasters, is still much appreciated. However, many governments have grown their capacities in recent years – some with Swiss support – and gained the confidence to say 'no thanks' to international aid. At the same time, most emergency relief is today dispensed in protracted crises such as those in Syria and South Sudan. There are no humanitarian solutions for such crises. Is the humanitarian community itself cementing the status quo? Or can it make a difference?
The mandate of humanitarian aid is to save lives and alleviate suffering. Modern technologies can improve efficiency and quality, and help target aid more effectively. However, humanitarian actors are not the only ones using them. So, are these new technologies a digital curse or a humanitarian blessing?
The changed situation has raised questions about the future shape of humanitarian aid. Is principled humanitarian action still possible? Where and how can Switzerland really make a difference as a humanitarian actor? And, should Swiss Humanitarian Aid be the one to say 'no thanks' in some contexts?
The 2020 Annual Conference of Swiss Humanitarian Aid and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) will focus on these current humanitarian dilemmas and look into potential solutions.