How the SDGs Change the Role of Humanitarian Innovation

In the fanfare surrounding the release of the Sustainable Development Goals it may be easy to miss a shift in thinking that can have a dramatic impact on the role of Humanitarian innovators.  Our job as advocates and practitioners of innovation is about to get much harder … and more important.

In closing remarks at the recently concluded OCHA Global Humanitarian Policy Forum in New York, Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Chief of the Policy Development and Studies Branch of OCHA, challenged the current humanitarian model, where extended displacements can run for 10 years using the same mode of operation.

He sees the Sustainable Development Goals as an opportunity to change this thinking. Simply meeting ongoing needs for the delivery of aid should no longer be enough. Humanitarians need to accept responsibility for scaling up local actors instead of just funding the sector’s own operations.

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The themes are repeated in OCHA’s newly released report, Leaving No One Behind, Humanitarian Effectiveness in the Age of Sustainable Development GoalsThe report reinforces the message that investments in aid often create humanitarian holding patterns, ultimately denying opportunities for self-reliance and real resilience.  There is call for change.  Reducing vulnerability and improving resilience needs to be seen as an essential component of humanitarian action.

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