The Paris Peace Forum 2020 was an excellent opportunity to present Geneva Call’s COVID-19 Armed Non-State Actor (ANSA) Response Monitor, which showcases a variety of responses and measures ANSAs have adopted and continue to adopt around the world in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. One year since its launch, Geneva Call’s ANSA COVID-19 Response Monitor has proven to be an innovative and successful tool that gives visibility to a broad variety of ANSAs’ approaches to fight against COVID-19. With almost 400 different ANSA responses, almost 80 ANSAs from 27 countries, the Response Monitor has proven to maintain its relevance throughout 2020-21. It has caught the attention of international, regional, national and local stakeholders that seek to tailor strategies aiming to address the ongoing health crisis and propose alternative solutions in non-governmental controlled areas (NGCA) and contested areas.

Given the vulnerability of individuals when health crises and/or natural disasters collide with armed conflict, especially those living in ANSA-controlled or contested areas, it is unsurprising that several ANSAs adopt certain responses to contain crises and in some instances have requested support from governments and aid agencies to manage crises. Ignoring these responses would be a missed opportunity to not only address crises (preparedness and response) but also to build longer-term relationships with armed actors that could facilitate better humanitarian access in the future, create better understanding between ANSAs and humanitarian actors in relation to humanitarian principles and response, as well as promote adherence to humanitarian norms and increase the protection of civilians in conflict-affected areas. For this reason, Geneva Call has the pleasure to announce the expansion of the COVID-19 ANSA Response Monitor to track ANSA responses to other health crises (i.e. ebola, measles polio, etc.), natural disasters (i.e. floods, hurricanes, droughts and other geologic processes) and conflict-related starvation and food insecurity taking place in conflict-affected contexts. As an innovative feature, Geneva Call will also endeavour to provide its users with an analytical dashboard of the variety of responses, with the possibility of disaggregating data.

The expansion aims to continue giving visibility to ANSA responses during crises and support Geneva Call’s efforts in monitoring ANSAs’ policies and practices with regard to the protection of health care, protection of the environment, prevention of starvation and food insecurity due to crises and more broadly the protection of civilians in times of conflict and crisis. Showcasing the different responses to crises may create leverage and pressure on other parties to armed conflicts to adopt similar positive practices and adhere to relevant international humanitarian norms. As with the first edition of the tool, we trust this database will facilitate coordination in terms of crises preparedness and response between ANSAs and governments as well as support the humanitarian fora in the development of strategies to respond to health crises and natural disasters in conflict affected areas, particularly in NGCA and contested areas to make sure no one is left behind. Additionally, this development will complement and support Geneva Call’s upcoming launch of a new thematic and Deed of Commitment focused on the prevention of starvation and conflict-related food insecurity in contexts where we operate, as natural disasters and health crises have the potential to fuel food insecurity and starvation.

We are appreciative of the European Union’s ongoing support which will fund the expansion.

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