European Humanitarian Forum 2023: VOICE’s digest

The second edition of the European Humanitarian Forum was held on 20 and 21 March. The event was jointly organised by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The aim of this edition of the European Humanitarian Forum was to “offer an opportunity to strengthen the cooperation and partnership among countries affected by the crises, donors, international stakeholders, the EU, and its Member States in a context of sharply increasing humanitarian needs, changing geopolitical realities, and shrinking humanitarian space”.

During the months before the celebration of the Forum, and as part of the DG ECHO led-EHF partners Task Force, VOICE has been working intensively to shape this year’s event and to give our members the necessary voice and space to share their perspectives on the challenges of rising humanitarian needs, the delivery of principled humanitarian aid, the localisation agenda, or the application of the triple nexus among others.

VOICE presence during the EHF 2023

Dominic Crowley, VOICE President, was present in the panel “Localisation: The guidance on the promotion of equal partnerships with local responders”,  welcoming the Localisation Guidance recently published by DG ECHO and calling on donors to ensure an enabling environment for the development of equitable partnerships.

Dominic Crowley at the panel on localisation during the EHF 2023

Fie Lauritzen, VOICE Board member and Senior Humanitarian Policy Lead at DanChurch Aid (DCA), participated in the panel “Leading by example: One year into the Donor Declaration and charter on Climate and Environment”, to discuss the implementation of the Donor Declaration one year on from its launch at the European Humanitarian Forum 2022.

Fie Lauritzen, speaking about the Donor Declaration and climate at the EHF 2023

Numerous VOICE NGO members took part in the high-level panels and Humanitarian Talks during the two days event,  to discuss  the most pressing humanitarian issues with the European Union, Member States and the wider humanitarian community. Click here to have a full overview of our members’ participation in the event

Outcome of the Forum

The EHF 2023 provided a big platform for debate around the humanitarian funding gap, the negative effects of climate change, and the localisation agenda among others. It also gave the opportunity to local voices to speak up about concrete crises, such as the cases of Yemen and Afghanistan.

The “Co-Hosts Summary by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU” highlights the importance of increasing humanitarian funding to respond to the sharply increasing humanitarian needs, shrinking humanitarian space, and changing geopolitical realities. During the closing session, Commissioner Lenarčič also emphasized this issue, and proposed a common target of global humanitarian funding that would fix a percentage of gross domestic income reserved for humanitarian aid. The Commissioner also announced the 2023 European Prize for Humanitarian Innovation. A prize offering up to half a million euros to support organisations that develop the best new technologies in the field that would make humanitarian aid more efficient and effective. 

In the coming days, the VOICE Secretariat will identify the lessons learned from this EHF and gather inputs from our members regarding the most important advocacy messages. These inputs will feed into a VOICE Statement Paper on the European Humanitarian Forum 2023. Stay tuned. 


Cover image: © European Commission, 2023