A year after the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Turkey, 83 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), government agencies, UN agencies, NGOs and private sector in the Philippines gathered to update on the progress made on WHS commitments in terms of policies, programs and practice. Organized by Balikbayan network made up of various national and international NGOs including the Humanitarian Leadership Academy, the Forum aimed to come up with a common direction and plan in firming up and implementing the said commitments.

Stakeholders provided updates on their commitment and efforts. One of the key of programs shared by Mel Lavente (left) of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) as part of their commitment to WHS, is the Business Continuity Planning project with the Academy.

A workshop was held to identify issues and recommendations for a locally-led humanitarian response framework. There were discussions about: Increasing local capacities, Improving leadership and coordination, Improving access to resources, Improving transparency and accountability, and Developing partnerships.

The recent pronouncement of martial law in Mindanao and its impact to the people was discussed during the breakout session. One group from Mindanao noted their humanitarian issues as martial law, bombing incidences, war on drugs and power plant construction as humanitarian issues. They recommended awareness raising, advocacy and accelerated peace building, among others as humanitarian response to protect civilians.

“We need peace,” said the representative from Mindanao during the plenary.

The Forum identified ways forward such as improving coordination among networks through MOUs; adopting feedback mechanism of CSO representatives in decision-making bodies within and outside government structure, internal organizational strengthening – personnel and system; regular summit, learning events; regular dialogue between the local NGOs, INGOs, government, etc., updating on progress of internal policies, practices and challenges on localization.

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