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  5. Innovative Approaches to Increasing Effectiveness of Humanitarian Crises Assistance

Innovative Approaches to Increasing Effectiveness of Humanitarian Crises Assistance


貧困削減といった開発支援の目標のためには民間セクターとの協働が進む一方、紛争や災害等の人道危機への対応においては、危険も伴うことから民間セクターとの連携は限定的であるのが現状である。他方で、2016年にトルコで開催された世界人道サミット(World Humanitarian Summit)以降、より複雑化・大規模化・長期化する人道危機に対して、民間の技術やイノベーションを取り入れて、一人でも多くの命を救い、より効率的・効果的に人道支援を行っていこうとする動きが国連等を中心に起こっている。当時の潘基文(バン・キムン)国連事務総長は5つの「人道への課題」を発表し(Table 1参照)、その中でも特に、民間セクターによる積極的なコミットメントは、①だれも置き去りにしない、②届ける支援から人道ニーズ解消に向けた取組みを進める、③人道への投資を加速させる、という課題の解決に寄与すると考えられる。本レポートではまず人道支援の歴史とスフィア・スタンダード(人道支援者が守るべき最低基準)が策定された背景を紐解き、民間セクターによるICTやブロックチェーン等の最新イノベーションを活用した人道支援活動の事例を紹介する。

1. Call for Innovative Humanitarian Approach
The world is witnessing an unprecedented level of human suffering. Humanitarian crises have become more complicated, protracted and larger-scale, due to the impacts of continuous conflicts, natural disasters, rapid population growth, severe poverty and climate change. In 2015, the number of people forced to evacuate due to conflict and violence has reached to the worst level since the World War II1 . It is clear that a traditional humanitarian approach alone cannot reduce the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people. Innovative approaches are required to save as many people as possible in the world crises and to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of humanitarian assistance.

2. History of Humanitarianism and Creation of Humanitarian Standards
The history of humanitarianism is very old and goes back to the era of Hippocrates in 460 B.C. He established the notion of “Do No Harm,” providing medical care to everyone who needed it without any prejudice. The humanitarian approach of protecting the rights of prisoners and sick people during wars was developed by the establishment of the Red Cross Society in 1863 and the adoption of the Geneva Convention2. Although several other international agreements, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention of the Rights of the Child, emphasize the importance of protecting human rights during humanitarian crises, the 1994 Rwanda Genocide brought this to the forefront concern. The genocide was an enormous tragedy, as approximately 800,000 people, which were 10-20% of the entire Rwanda’s population, were massacred by ethnic Hutu extremists in just 100 days3. The internally displaced people numbered more than 100 million, with the fear of further violence and retaliation. In response to this crisis, more than 200 aid organizations were actively engaged in humanitarian assistance, but sadly more than 80,000 people died in the refugee camps, where their lives were supposed to have been protected.

The humanitarian issues raised by the fact that the international aid workers failed to save the lives of the most vulnerable in the refugee camps in Rwanda, were evaluated and analyzed by a joint evaluation group. The major challenges were identified, such as lack of needs identification, ad hoc assistance without concrete plans, lack of coordination among aid organizations, absence of performance indicators and standards4. This joint evaluation emphasized the urgent need for increasing the quality of humanitarian assistance which aims to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable in a timely fashion, while protecting their dignity as well as ensuring accountability of aid workers for those who are influenced by the aid. The notion of quality and accountability of humanitarian assistance has become the basis of standardization, which led to the establishment of the Sphere Project and Core Humanitarian Standard . In more recent interventions, aid organizations including governments, the United Nations, International Red Cross societies, and civil societies are striving to follow these standards.

3. Agenda for Humanity and Innovations by the Private Sector
Although the humanitarian standards have been developed and are constantly being updated according to the lessons learnt from past tragedies, coherent but innovative ways for coping with humanitarian crises are becoming urgently required, as the number of people trapped in conflicts, disasters and infectious diseases continues to rise. At the World Humanitarian Summit held in Istanbul in 2016, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (at that time) announced the Agenda for Humanity and called on all humanitarian aid actors, including the private sector, to actively take part in the following five core responsibilities as shown in Table 1. He emphasized the importance of incorporating new technologies and know-how of the private sector to increase the effectiveness of humanitarian coordination and assistance, especially in complex and protracted crises.

Table 1:Agenda for Humanity

(Source)Agenda for Humanity Five Core Responsibilities 24 Transformations

On the other hand, it is evident that private companies find it difficult to engage in humanitarian activities due to high-level security risks and seemingly unprofitable business opportunities. In fact, in Japan’s case, the Public-Private Partnerships scheme called the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Business Assistance funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) mainly focuses on solving development issues in the least developed countries by utilizing the products and technologies of private companies . Also, there are very few companies that know how to reach out with other humanitarian aid organizations for partnerships and / or sell the benefits of their know-how in a life-saving way.

Nevertheless, as scientific and technological innovation has been surprisingly improved in recent years, positive contributions by the private sector in the fields of humanitarian aid is increasingly anticipated. It is believed that the strong commitments by the private sector will be essential and beneficial, especially in the following three core responsibilities identified in the Summit.

Table 2:Three Core Responsibilities needed by the Private Sector’s Commitments

(Source)Chair’s Summary by the United Nations Secretary-General Standing up for Humanity: Committing to Action7

Partnership with the private sector in humanitarian intervention has just started and innovative aid approaches will have to flourish more to enhance aid delivery. Though Japanese private companies show less visibility in the fields, several new approaches are emerging through collaboration with the private sector and International Organizations.

Table 3:Some Examples of Emerging Innovative Approaches

(Source)Research by the Mitsubishi UFJ Research & Consulting

4. Further Possibility
Private sector plays a key role in promoting scientific innovation including Block Chain, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and it has an enormous potential that can drastically change the efficiency and impact of aid processes in a global scale. But the problems remain, as private sector do not know what humanitarian needs are and what kind of technologies aid actors are looking for, while aid actors do not know what type of innovation the private sector can offer. Thus, it might be quite beneficial to create a matching platform to show needs and possible solutions from both sides. Furthermore, more Japanese private sectors should be encouraged to recognize that there can be a business chance by selling their know-how and innovation to humanitarian actors in order to leave no one behind in emergencies.

1 UNOCHA website. “World Humanitarian Summit” . Accessed in 27 May 2019
2 ICRC website. Accessed in 27 May 2019
3 BBC News (April 2019) “Rwanda genocide: 100 days of slaughter” . Accessed in 27 May 2019
4 John Borton and John Eriksson (December 2004) “Assessment of the Impact and Influence of Joint Evaluation of Emergency Assistance to Rwanda”. Accessed in 27 May 2019
5 JQAN website. Accessed in 27 May 2019
6 JICA website. Accessed in 27 May 2019
7 CHAIR’S SUMMARY. Accessed in 27 May 27, 2019