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: Adding to the evidence: the impact of sanctions and restrictive measures on humanitarian action (2021), VOICE Grand Bargain Task Force Position Paper - An NGO perspective on the drive for efficiency in the humanitarian sector (2020), 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, one Watch Group, and one Task Force
FPA Watch Group
Resilience-Nexus Working Group
The Resilience-Nexus Working Group was established in 2021, building on the successes and achievements of both the DRR-Resilience Working Group (2018-2020) and the DRR Working Group (2007-2017). The small revision made to the groups’ Terms of Reference gives it a greater focus on nexus, resilience and climate change.
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 and climate agendas.
The group's overarching goal is to provide the humanitarian NGO perspective for the European approach to resilience, climate change and the implementation of the humanitarian-development-peace 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 2.0 Working Group
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.
In 2021, the GB Annual Meeting on 15-17 June 2021 launched the Grand Bargain 2.0, focusing on two enabling priorities: quality funding and localisation.
Ahead of the meeting, VOICE launched the Policy Resolution Grand Bargain 2.0: let’s make it a turning point in the global humanitarian aid system where in addition to the two enabling priorities approved at the meeting the VOICE network called on the EU and Member States to make significant progress in the area of harmonisation and simplification.
To closely follow up the operationalisation of the GB 2.0 the VOICE network transformed the GB Task Force into the GB 2.0 Working Group.