Striving for effective humanitarian aid
The humanitarian principles are an essential tool for achieving effective humanitarian policy and operations for crisis-affected people. VOICE works to ensure the policies, practices and funding of EU and Member State institutions relevant to humanitarian aid increasingly follow core humanitarian principles and good practice. Therefore VOICE promotes the European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid and its implementation and advocates, for instance, for clear roles and mandates for the various actors involved in crisis and disaster response.
Showing European public solidarity with crisis-affected people
Humanitarian NGOs represent the solidarity of the European public with crisis-affected people around the world. VOICE works to increase the recognition of NGOs as key actors in the delivery of humanitarian aid and showcase their added value. Often, NGOs are the best equipped to respond to crises in affected countries due to their expertise and experience. They provide lifesaving goods and services such as food, shelter, water, sanitation, medical care as well as education in emergencies and protection to crisis-affected people in hard to reach areas. VOICE brings its NGO members together to share their knowledge and expertise and use it to shape relevant policy development.
“NGOs are essential to the humanitarian response as they deliver the majority of international humanitarian aid due to their field presence and flexibility, often with a high level of specialisation” – The European Consensus on Humanitarian Aid
To learn more about the added value of humanitarian NGOs click here
VOICE’s membership brings together policy and field expertise. VOICE builds common NGO positions through information sharing and gathering members in thematic working groups. The resulting positions are used to influence policy of EU institutions and Member States, including on funding and operational practice. Successful examples include the work of the DRR-Resilience Working Group on the nexus and VOICE’s work across EU Member States to secure additional funding for EU humanitarian aid in the next EU long-term budget (MFF).
To improve the effectiveness of its advocacy, VOICE builds alliances with other humanitarian actors e.g. the UN and the Red Cross movement. VOICE also seeks to build bridges between humanitarian aid and development by providing expertise on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and humanitarian-development-peace nexus.
- Position papers, studies and publications: VOICE builds common NGO positions through information sharing and collaboration in Working Groups. These are used to influence policy of EU institutions and Member States, including on funding and operational practice. Recent highlights include VOICE workshop Report: The impact of EU sanctions and restrictive measures on humanitarian action (2020), VOICE FPA Briefing. Partners in Humanitarian Aid: The development of the ECHO-NGO relationship as governed by the Framework Partnership Agreement (2019), VOICE Report - NGOs Perspectives on the EU's Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (2019 – see right). Since 2004, VOICE members share their expertise and work in the biannual magazine VOICE out loud.
- Events and Roundtables: VOICE organises and participates in events such as conferences, roundtables, trainings and meetings throughout Europe. Some of these are aimed at informing VOICE members about humanitarian policies and procedures, and assisting them with donor requirements (in particular of the humanitarian aid department of the European Commission, DG ECHO). Many of these activities aim to influence the European Institutions on humanitarian issues.
- Dialogue and Partnership: VOICE plays a key role in facilitating the dialogue and partnership between NGOs and the European Commission on humanitarian aid, including through the FPA Watch Group and its predecessors: one of the oldest official groups for NGO dialogue with the EU.
Quality and accountability initiatives VOICE commits to!
During the past decades, the humanitarian sector has developed and improved a number of voluntary quality and accountability initiatives through standards, guidelines, and indicators to reinforce technical quality and accountability of humanitarian operations.
VOICE members are strongly committed to international quality and accountability initiatives when responding to humanitarian crises for a more sustainable impact on the lives of affected populations and towards its implementing partners and staff. They have been at the forefront of developing, supporting and integrating quality initiatives into their humanitarian work.
VOICE as a network aims to support members’ access to tools, information, and resources related to developing quality assurance systems relevant to their humanitarian work. VOICE members’ concern with the quality of humanitarian aid underpins the network’s objective of principled humanitarian action.
VOICE Members are traditionally committed to The SPHERE standards, 40 VOICE members hold a membership with the Core Humanitarian Standard Alliance, 12 VOICE members are certified against the Core Humanitarian Standard.
VOICE currently has two Working Groups and one Task Force
FPA Watch Group
DRR-Resilience Working Group
The VOICE “DRR-Resilience” Working Group was established in January 2018, building upon the achievements and expanding the mandate of the DRR Working Group, established in March 2007. The DRR Working Group established itself as the main reference point for EU Institutions with NGOs on DRR policy and practice, and the new group seeks to expand this influence to the increasingly prominent resilience and nexus agendas.
The group's overarching goal is to contribute to and improve EU policy and practice on Disaster Risk Reduction (both as Member States and European level), as well as to provide the NGO perspective for the European approach to resilience and the implementation of the humanitarian-development nexus.
In 2019, the Working Group shaped the VOICE study NGOs Perspectives on the EU's Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, especially by providing case studies
Grand Bargain Task Force
In 2016, the VOICE network decided to create a Task Force to work on the Grand Bargain.
VOICE focuses on the implementation of the Grand Bargain at EU level. Through the Task Force, the network offers a forum for its members to engage in the EU delivery of the Grand Bargain and jointly advocate for its potential benefits to have a direct and positive impact in the field.
Roundtable to make progress on WHS commitments on Charter on inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian actionRepresentation of Lazio Region Rond-Point Schuman 14
1040 BrusselsOrganised by membersPublic event
ECHO partnership conference 2016Charlemagne Building Rue de la Loi
1000 BrusselsPublic event
VOICE event Donor counter-terrorism measures and principled humanitarian action: Where are we at?L42 Rue de la Loi 42
1000 BrusselsPublic event
Grand Bargain task force meetingVOICE office Rue Royale 71
1000 BrusselsMembers only
Bratislava Roundtable with Slovak Presidency and NGO PlatformBratislaviaPublic event
FPA Watch GroupIFRC rue de Treves BrusselsMembers only
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Working Group meetingVOICE office rue royale 71 BrusselsMembers only
Expert roundtable: Invest in and Empower Women and Girls affected by Crisis & FragilityEuropean Parliament - Room A5E-1 rue Wiertz 60
1047 BrusselsOrganised by membersPublic event
Humanitarian NGOs actors in the European refugee flow?
Conflict and EU humanitarian aid - the Comprehensive Approach - what does 'in but out' really mean?Brussels
Humanitarian Roundtable Spain, with the support of CONGDE and IECAHMadrid