Humanitarian actors and local authorities discuss disaster response in Geneva

On 2 May 2016 the city of Geneva hosted the first meeting of the Task Force on Local and Regional Government Disaster Response along with several partners including UN agencies and NGOs operating in the area of humanitarian crisis and resilience. The Taskforce has been brought together by the UCLG Working Group on Development Cooperation and City Diplomacy.

The meeting had three objectives:

  • Presentation of the activities of the taskforce including the study of eight cities in crisis
  • Reflection on collaboration between humanitarian actors and local authorities
  • Preparation for the World Humanitarian Summit and the Global Alliance for Urban Crises

The sessions opened with an interesting exchange between the elected representatives, NGOs and humanitarian agencies that led to discussion around the lack of knowledge and understanding between the different parties.

Improved knowledge is a prerequisite for cooperation and collaboration.  Those representatives of local governments present highlighted the scenario where, after NGOs and humanitarian agencies leave, local authorities are left alone to address the long-term consequences of crises.

CUF and Impact then presented a study of cities dealing with different aspects related to reducing disaster risk and resilience (Tacloban, Port au Prince), military conflicts (Bangui) and those related to refugees (Mafraq, Gazientep). The full study will be presented in Istanbul as part of a session at World Humanitarian Summit from 23-24 May 2016.

Finally UCLG and UN Habitat presented the objectives of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, including the launch of the "Global Alliance for Urban Crises" a place for action and synergy between the different actors of humanitarian action among them NGOs, UN agencies and local and other authorities.

Several UN agencies were involved in the meeting including; UNHCR, IFRC, UNISDR, WFP, UNITAR, UN Habitat, ECHO and also the EU. Elected officials from the Central African Republic, France, Lebanon, Mali and Mauritania and representatives of the city of Barcelona, Metropolis, Platforma, VNG and the Association of Turkish Cities also participated.