09 November 2016, Wednesday
UN Humanitarian Chief calls for new approach to tackling crises at Emirates Diplomatic Academy lecture series

Addressing the students and faculty of Emirates Diplomatic Academy (EDA), the UAE’s international relations and diplomacy, academic, training, best-practice and research institution, Stephen O’Brien, United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, called for a new approach to international humanitarian efforts. The UN envoy was visiting the UAE as part of a 10-day diplomatic mission spanning four countries of the GCC region.

Presenting a lecture on ‘The Future of Humanitarian Response’, the UN humanitarian chief turned the scanner on the situation in the Middle East, and examined ways of initiating collaborative action to garner support for the people directly impacted by the displacement crises. O’Brien also highlighted conflicts within the current landscape, and encouraged the adoption of a more dynamic and flexible framework for focused international action. He noted that although international response in conflict management and humanitarian aid is in high demand, it is not always delivered promptly and effectively.

The former UK International Development Minister and global lead in the campaign to control malaria and neglected tropical diseases elaborated on the significance of the just concluded World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul and its implications for the wider humanitarian community.

The Emergency Chief Coordinator said: “In a world with differing political priorities, responding to, and learning from humanitarian situations, remains an area of collective global responsibility and a platform for concerted human action. However, we need to create diplomatic relationships, platforms and mechanisms at the highest level to make this action meaningful. We need to leverage multiple ways and approaches - from those of the UN and regional blocs to bi-lateral support with supranational organizations - to implement a unified framework for action.”

He added: “Every one of us has to be more receptive to using new technologies to aid information sharing and, equally, to measure impact. In addition, we need to draw more effectively on the combined resources and insights of governments, agencies, businesses and the charitable sector in order to ensure optimum utilization of scarce resources and truly make a difference with the projects we undertake.”

Thanking Stephen O’Brien for his presentation to the students, Leon Bernardino, EDA President, said “The Emirates Diplomatic Academy is focused on providing the UAE-based diplomatic community with the latest trends and developments in the region. The public lecture by Stephen O’Brien on the challenges of humanitarian efforts in the MENA region, not only equip our students with expert knowledge that will further help their career development, but showcases the EDA’s unique approach in hosting a wide range of experts from various fields relating to international relations and diplomacy.”

The talk was part of Emirates Diplomatic Academy’s distinguished lecture series that serves as a platform to share innovative international relations and diplomatic theory and best-practice with students from across the UAE’s government sector. Prominent speakers from across the world are periodically invited to the Academy to share insights on the multi-faceted nature of modern diplomacy.