OECD DAC HLM - Humanitarian–Development–Peace Coherence, October 2017

OECD Development Assistance Committee High-Level Meeting - October 2017

Delegations from the 30 richest donor countries met in late October 2017 at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) in Paris to discuss changes to the rules governing overseas aid. The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD holds its high-level meeting (HLM) every two years, which is a formal, ministerial-level meeting of DAC members and observers to advance the global agenda on key development issues.

Winnie Byanyima was invited to contribute to the meeting on behalf of Oxfam.

Some more information can be found on the OECD website, on Devex here and here, and Oxfam's reaction to the meetings can be found here.

Session: "Improving Development Effectiveness to Ensure Humanitarian–Development–Peace Coherence ” 


As the head of an organisation that spends roughly equal amounts on humanitarian and long-term development, I know how complex these issues are.

The New Way of Working presents opportunities for more effectiveness, coherence and impact amongst humanitarian and development actors. 

Donors can make this agenda more achievable. When you make your funding more flexible to respond to shifting contexts programs can be more responsive, scale-up and down, or shift focus as required. And when you pool your funds rather than restrict them to individual projects, you incentivise collective outcomes.

But what I really want us to do is turn the New Way of Working on its head. It’s currently driven from the top down. It needs to be localised. It’s not going to be a new way of working until power and resources shift to affected people, local actors, NGOs, particularly women’s rights organizations.

Yet despite this, local actors, including national governments, received only 1.87% of international humanitarian assistance between 2007 and 2013.

To help drive internal change Oxfam proudly signed up to the Charter for Change across our global confederation. Its eight commitments are geared to reform in the humanitarian system by enabling the localization of humanitarian response. One component of the Charter commits us to pass 20 per cent of humanitarian funding to national CSOs. But we know we could and should do more (at the time of pledging we were averaging 24 per cent) – so we have set our own target at 30 per cent.

A very practical step forward for donors is to accelerate collective Early Action to forecast crises. We have seen some innovation and improvements since the catastrophic Somalia famine in 2011 but not enough and not at scale. I call on donors to champion an Early Action conference in 2018 and increase funding for early action. 

I also want to talk about mobility.

Mobility is an essential pathway to development as demonstrated by the European Union’s formation of its own internal market and free movement zone. Maintaining free movement is a priority of the African Union as it benefits communities in countries of origin and destination.

I end with saying that I worry most when I see donor funding designed to prop up migration and security interests.  

Take the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa for example:
•    Only 1% of the total budget is allocated to supporting safe pathways in Africa.
•    While almost a third is about restricting and discouraging migration, easing returns and supporting security forces operating along borders in the Sahel and Horn of Africa.  

These kinds of approaches do not solve challenges. Fortress Europe keeps desperate people desperate: in fact, it forces them to take more dangerous routes. And then it bears impact in countries like Libya – Oxfam’s research shows how such policies have created hell-like conditions for people. Let’s be honest about the impact of such policies.

Let’s discuss. Thank you.