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The global humanitarian system inquiry launched

16 December 2015

The International Development Committee is holding an inquiry into the global humanitarian system. 

Scope of the inquiry

The International Development Committee is inquiring into priorities for the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit and, in particular, evidence should address the following:

  • What should DFID's priorities be for next year's Humanitarian Summit and how can it push these up the agenda?
  • In the case of protracted crises, how can the global approach better ensure that humanitarian assistance evolves into longer term development support when needed?
  • What are the shortcomings of the global humanitarian assistance funding model and how can these be overcome?
  • To what extent are improvements to humanitarian responses inhibited by the slow pace of reform within the UN system?

Vulnerable groups

  • Are responses sufficiently tailored to particularly vulnerable groups? Do early responders have the necessary expertise in areas such as child protection and gender-based violence (GBV), and are there effective processes for integrating these priorities into longer term plans?
  • The No Lost Generation Initiative (NLGI) has highlighted the impact of humanitarian crises on children. What more can be done to ensure that the potential for negative lifelong impact of crises on children is minimised?

Written Submissions

The deadline for written submissions is Monday 8 February 2016.

The Committee considers requests for reasonable adjustments to its usual arrangements for taking evidence and publishing material, to enhance access. Please contact or telephone 020 7219 1223.


Humanitarian agencies and their partners are facing unprecedented global demands. The crisis in Syria has created the largest number of refugees from any single conflict since World War 2. Continued conflict in Yemen, tensions in Central African Republic, and the ongoing threat of violence and persecution elsewhere in the world, caused over 58 million people to flee their homes in 2014 – the highest number to date.

In addition an estimated 107.3 million were affected by disasters caused by natural hazards in 2014 – over 10.7 million people more than in the previous year. As such, demands on global actors to respond to these crises are like never before.

The UK has reacted to the increasing scale of humanitarian needs, more than doubling its bilateral humanitarian aid to £1.1 billion in 2014. However, global requirements remain unmet. Humanitarian agencies have estimated requirements of US$20.1 billion in 2016 to meet the needs of over 87 million people in 37 countries, an increase on the 2015 requirement which has only been approximately half met.

The Committee heard concerns in its inquiry into the Syrian refugee crisis about the global aid architecture being unfit for purpose for current humanitarian needs.

The World Humanitarian Summit taking place in Istanbul in May 2016 will attempt to address these concerns, particularly in terms of: improving humanitarian effectiveness; reducing vulnerability and managing risk; transformation through innovation; and serving the needs of people in conflict.

Further information

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