Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Panel discussion on: Humanitarian aid: assistance, dependence or alibi?

Invitation to a panel discussion on:

Humanitarian aid: assistance, dependence or alibi?

Man-made and natural disasters cause immense suffering for millions of people every day.  There are currently more than 27 million internally displaced persons and 10 million refugees in the world. One out of every six people in the world is chronically hungry.  Humanitarian aid workers strive to ensure that all those who have experienced a traumatic event and need life saving assistance receive it regardless of where they are in the world and regardless of their religious or social group, or nationality.

Potential beneficiaries may be located within a zone of conflict or in areas with poor infrastructure, making it difficult and dangerous for humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance.


On the other hand there are claims that the provisions of humanitarian assistance can give a mistaken sense of security and protection by the international community and in fact the influx of aid and aid workers can create huge interferences for the future recovery of the local economy.

In the case of certain countries and regions, some even go as far as to talk of  a 'humanitarian alibi', pointing to the misuse of the humanitarian idea and the efforts of humanitarian workers by governments eager to do as little as possible in economically unpromising areas.            

To what extent is humanitarian assistance creating aid dependence and difficulties in putting recipients on a more sustainable development track?

This will be the focus of a panel discussion organized by the UN Brussels Team to which we have the pleasure of inviting you to. The event is held in observance of World Humanitarian Day that took place on 19 August.

2 September 2010, 13.00 to 14.30


Geert Vansintjan, Belgian Ministry for development Cooperation, Head of Unit D2.1 - Humanitarian Aid, Food Aid, Rehabilitation,

Antoine Gérard, Director OCHA,

Benoit Thiry, WFP Deputy Director,

Alain Lallemand, reporter, Belgian daily “Le Soir”,

A representative of OXFAM and Voice (tbc)

The panel members will give short 7-10 minute introductions followed by a debate.

The debate will be moderated by Janos Tisovszky, Deputy Director, UNRIC and former Spokesperson of the General Assembly President.

 UNRIC meeting room.  8th floor, Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat, 155.  Entrance block C2 (behind the Security Container)  

Language: English.

:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For more information:

Alexandra Froger This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel. +32 (0)2 788.84.61

Jean-Luc Onckelinx This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Tel. +32 (0) 476 215 485


Cine ONU, Brussels, 2 September: screening of "Sergio" to celebrate World Humanitarian Day

World Humanitarian Day and forthcoming events in Brussels

Testimonies from Belgian Humanitarians in the UN World Food Programme
What motivates them in their work? What is a day like for them?...

Forthcoming events in Brussels on Thursday the 2nd of September in connection with the commemoration of the Day:            

  • Press breakfast/conference by UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia (incl. Pakistan) Mr Daniel Toole
    at 10:15 AM – UNRIC – Residence Palace, rue de la Loi 155
  • Panel Discussion on “Security and Humanitarian workers”
    At 13:00-14:30 – UNRIC-Residence Palace, rue de la Loi 155
  • CINE-ONU on “Sergio”, HBO Film dedicated to Sergio Vierra de Mello
    At 18:30 - Goethe-Institut and UNRIC, Rue Belliard 58


In a resolution in December 2008, the General Assembly designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day (A/RES/63/139). World Humanitarian Day is in part dedicated to the memory of all those aid workers, who have lost their lives while bringing assistance to others, the majority of them from the communities they are trying to help. 19 August 2003 is the date on which a brutal terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad killed 22 people, including UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello.
There are three main areas of focus for the commemoration of the day:

  • To draw attention to humanitarian needs worldwide;
  • To explain, in simple, visual terms what humanitarian aid work entails;
  • To remember those who have lost their lives in humanitarian service.

Message of the Secretary-General for World Humanitarian Day 2010

For more information and all the films, materials and messages relating to World Humanitarian Day 2010, please visithttp://www.worldhumanitarianday.info.

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The United Nations team brings together 26 specialised agencies, funds and programmes spanning the development, humanitarian and human rights work of the UN. The team works to build understanding and support for UN system activities within the EU institutions and amongst a wider public in Europe.