On December 18 and 19 2018, Geneva Call organised a two-day workshop in Beirut, Lebanon covering International Humanitarian Law, and humanitarian protection and access in Syria for thirty-four different international and Syrian NGOs.
In light of the challenges in securing and sustaining humanitarian access and the central role that access plays in contributing to the protection of civilians, Geneva Call, in collaboration with the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), held this workshop with the objective of identifying opportunities, associated risks and mitigation measures.
Tailored for senior professionals with a minimum of 8-10 years working in the humanitarian sector, and with particular experience in humanitarian assistance, protection and negotiation, the workshop addressed how to incorporate humanitarian norms and principles into access and the delivery of humanitarian assistance, the challenges and dilemmas encountered in the provision of humanitarian assistance, and peer sharing of practical approaches to address these dilemmas.
In 2018, the conflict in Syria experienced major developments with regards to shifting military and political control and local agreements on formerly opposition-held areas. This resulted in over 13 million civilians becoming dependent on humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced people (IDP) who are food insecure. The civilian population is particularly vulnerable during the winter season. Yet, obtaining and maintaining humanitarian access remains a constant challenge for humanitarian actors.
Geneva Call’s workshop provided tools and frameworks for participants to enhance their own capacity, and to discover new methods and standards for operating in complex environments, where traditional approaches to humanitarian operations, International Humanitarian Law, access, and proximity to vulnerable populations are being challenged.
A report produced by Geneva Call summarising humanitarian access challenges and opportunities, including the recommendations shared during the workshop, was subsequently sent to the participants as well as to other humanitarian actors that could not attend the event.