On September 30, 2019, members of the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada (HRN) met in Montreal at the HRN Heads of Agency Meeting (HoA), an annual event that convenes Executive Directors and CEOs of HRN members, their senior humanitarian staff, and Government of Canada representatives to discuss their collective experiences in humanitarian response. At the HoA, they confirmed their commitment to work in an integrated , inclusive and principled approach to enable better collaboration between the humanitarian, development and peace sectors. This declaration is a first of its kind made by a group of heads of agencies in Canada.
We, leaders of 29 humanitarian organizations and members of the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada, continue to witness an increase in complex, protracted crises. We therefore reaffirm our commitment to support the design and implementation of programming in the humanitarian-development-peace nexus. This means enhancing collaboration between humanitarian, development, and peace organizations and initiatives, with a view to building comprehensive responses that address immediate vulnerabilities and uphold humanitarian principles of impartiality, neutrality, independence, and humanity, while integrating more sustainable, long-term, resilience-building, and gender-responsive solutions into responses to protracted crises and conflicts.
Recent global initiatives have sought to address immediate vulnerabilities while establishing more sustainable long-term solutions. At the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, the United Nations Secretary General’s Agenda for Humanity and the Grand Bargain urged and committed states, including Canada, to increase efficiency and durability of humanitarian interventions through integrated nexus approaches. This commitment was echoed in the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and the OECD-DAC Recommendation on the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus.
Canada can continue leading by example and catalyze a shift towards more comprehensive and agile responses, with government and civil society partners working in tandem. As organizational leaders, we are committed to ensuring that our organizations’ strategies and operational approaches are fit for purpose to design and implement programs across the humanitarian-development-peace nexus.
Canada’s institutional structure – with humanitarian, development, and peace programming all under the mandate of Global Affairs Canada – offers opportunities for integrated and innovative responses that can serve as a global model. Capitalizing on this opportunity requires that all of us – civil society and government alike – examine our structures and partnerships to identify barriers to supporting effective nexus programming. In order to meet the needs of affected populations, all partners working in the nexus must be able to pivot between approaches as operational contexts change, building on the Government of Canada’s existing commitment to predictable and flexible multi-year humanitarian financing. As humanitarian organizations, we will continue supporting capacity building for civil society and local organizations, including capacity building for peace, to help build resilience and sustainability. We are committed to engaging those affected by crises, especially women’s organizations and children and youth – recognizing that girls and boys represent a large proportion of people affected by conflict and that their wellbeing is key to long-term global peace, stability and sustainable development. We encourage the Government of Canada to take a similarly integrated and inclusive approach, including by leveraging its diplomatic resources to support an enabling policy environment for durable solutions. Sustainable solutions for crisis-affected people must be the ultimate objective of all integrated approaches.
As members of the humanitarian community, we are ready to contribute our collective operational and policy expertise to help design and implement these new ways of working, and ensure they are reflected in our own organizations’ structures and strategies. We are committed to work with each other to share good practices and lessons learned with respect to nexus programming, including through the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and the Humanitarian Response Network of Canada, and to continued collaboration with Global Affairs Canada.
Statement also available in PDF format.