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How is the humanitarian system performing?

In recent years the geopolitical landscape has changed, with powerful effects on the context and practices of humanitarian action. Irregular migration, epidemics and conflict have stretched the capacity of the humanitarian system and are reshaping the relationships not only within it, but also with development actors, governments and civil society organisations, amongst others. This discussion, drawing on The 4th edition of The State of the Humanitarian System (SOHS), looks back at what has shaped the humanitarian landscape from 2015 to 2017 and forward to the challenges ahead. It outlines humanitarian needs in the period, provides an overview of the resources that were available to address these needs, describes the current size and structure of the humanitarian system and presents an assessment of the performance of the system in addressing these needs.

United Kingdom
13th November, 2018
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John Mitchell is the Director at ALNAP, which he has led for the past 15 years. ALNAP is a global network of NGOs, UN agencies, members of the Red Cross/Crescent Movement, donors, academics and consultants dedicated to learning how to improve responses to humanitarian crises, hosted at ODI. John is a committed humanitarian leader with over thirty years’ experience in humanitarian action, and a leading exponent of humanitarian practice and policy. Over the course of his career he has worked for donor organisations, UN agencies and NGOs.

Mike Wooldridge is a former International Affairs Correspondent for the BBC. Mike joined BBC News in 1970 as a sub-editor. Over the course of 45 years he was a correspondent for the BBC in East Africa, South Africa and South Asia, reporting on some of the worlds biggest news stories. He is a trustee of BBC Media Action.

Helen Alderson is Head of the Regional Delegation for the UK and Ireland for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She oversees the ICRC's relationship with the UK Government on humanitarian policy, humanitarian law in armed conflict, and the UK's support of the ICRC in its worldwide operations. Helen began her career at UNICEF in 1985 and has over 30 years experience working in a number of posts at both field and HQ level. 

Sara Almer is currently the Interim Country Director for Oxfam Ethiopia. Previously with Oxfam, she led large-scale humanitarian programmes around the world with their Global Humanitarian Team. Sara has more than 17 years of experience in humanitarian relief, rehabilitation and development work for INGOs in South Sudan, Sudan, Indonesia, Haiti, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Ethiopia and the UK.

Paul Knox Clarke is Head of Research at ALNAP, and the lead author of The State of the Humanitarian System report 2018. At ALNAP, hsupports all ALNAP research and is particularly engaged with issues of accountability, humanitarian effectiveness, urban response and leadershipPrior to ALNAP, Paul worked with the WFP and Save the Children, focusing on issues of food security, policies around accountability and participation, and organisational effectiveness.