UN Integration and Humanitarian Space, Washington DC Launch

March 12, 2012

UN Integration and Humanitarian Space
A new report by Stimson and the Humanitarian Policy Group

On March 12, 2012, the Stimson Center hosted the Washington DC launch of a new publication, looking at the benefits and risks of UN integration for humanitarian space, an issue that is highly contentious in settings as diverse as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia. After decades of reform of UN integration policies and practices, many humanitarian staff remained skeptical that UN integration can benefit humanitarian action. Others stress the need for enhanced coherence and highlight the positive experiences of UN integration. As a result, the UN Integration Steering Group commissioned the Stimson Center and the Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) to undertake this independent study in 2011 to explore, and make recommendations on how to better manage, the impact of UN integration arrangements on humanitarian space.

The resulting report, UN Integration and Humanitarian Space , was previously launched at UN Headquarters in New York City (December 15) and Geneva (February 27), in London (February 28) and in Brussels for EU Member States at a COAFA meeting (February 29). Each launch featured the report authors Victoria Metcalfe, Alison Giffen and Samir Elhawary. In addition, the New York launch included presentations by the Permanent Representative of Denmark to the UN, the Minister for Development and Cooperation of Denmark and the UN Under-Secretary-Generals of the Department  of Peacekeeping, the Department of Political Affairs and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Victoria Holt, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Organization Affairs, United States Department of State moderated the Washington DC panel on March 12. Panelists included Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR Regional Representative and head of the UNHCR Washington Regional Office;  Alison Giffen, Senior Associate and Deputy Director of Stimson's Future of Peace Operations Program; Victoria Metcalfe, HPG Research Fellow; and Oliver Ulich,

Head, Partnerships Team, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, United Nations. Author Samir Elhawary of HPG and representatives of InterAction, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and the UN Department of Political Affairs also provided comments on the study.

The Washington DC launch focused on the report findings and steps that the UN Integration Steering Group and other stakeholders are already undertaking to implement the study's recommendations. Audio of the presentations and subsequent debate can be found above.