First-ever European Humanitarian Forum opens in Brussels

The first-ever European Humanitarian Forum, which gathers policy makers, humanitarian partners and stakeholders for a dialogue on humanitarian policy and strategy, kicked off in Brussels on Monday March 21 and runs until Wednesday March 23 in a hybrid format.

United Nations funds, agencies and programmes are among those participating in the Forum, which is organised by the European Commission and France in the framework of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Unprecedented humanitarian needs

The Forum will identify solutions and actions to address the unprecedented level of requirements and constraints faced by humanitarian operators and beneficiaries.

“Humanitarian needs are standing at an all-time high (…) While the needs grow, the gap between the needs and the available resources widens,” said European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič at the conference opening.

Kelly T. Clements, Deputy High Commissioner at UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, wrote on Twitter that the Forum was “the perfect place to thank Europeans for opening their hearts and homes to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. “ Over 3.4 million refugees have so far fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.

On Monday, sessions at the Forum included discussions on protection from gender-based violence in emergencies; solutions to internal displacement; and climate change, disasters and displacement.

“The key message to take from today is opportunity. By working together, we can make a lasting difference between life and death for vulnerable children across the globe,” said Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Partnerships, who spoke at a session on fighting famine.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, sessions will be held on topics including providing education in conflict contexts; nature-based solutions to climate change; and addressing mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings.

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