Geneva Call Unveils its 2024-2027 Strategy and Secures Renewed Support for Humanitarian Efforts in 2024
4 December 2023
“More than 175 million people see their daily lives affected by the behavior of armed groups and de facto authorities, and this is the equivalent of 1/3 of the population of the European Union. This is quite difficult to comprehend, and yet each of these many millions is a person. A person whose life has been changed dramatically.”
In his opening remarks at Geneva Call’s Pledging Conference, Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, touched upon some of the current humanitarian crises and emphasized the importance of compliance with International Humanitarian Law (IHL) by armed groups and de facto authorities. This, he stressed, is vital for safeguarding millions of civilians residing in conflict and disaster-affected areas under the influence of armed groups. Against this backdrop, Commissioner Lenarčič commended the work of Geneva Call, recognizing its increasing significance amid the proliferation of new armed groups and their growing impact in current conflicts. Commissioner Lenarčič concluded his intervention by outlining three action points for both the donors present in the room and the broader humanitarian sector. Firstly, he urged the continued promotion of IHL and humanitarian norms to enhance the protection of civilians in conflict zones. Secondly, he underscored the importance of establishing a humanitarian dialogue with armed groups to facilitate the delivery of aid to those in need. Lastly, he emphasized the necessity of building the capacity to engage effectively with armed groups and de facto authorities, enhancing understanding of the behaviors exhibited by conflict actors — a mission already underway by Geneva Call.
At this year’s Pledging Conference held last 17 November, Geneva Call was able to welcome 28 participants representing the organization’s donors and partners, who have renewed their support to Geneva Call’s objectives for the upcoming year. During the conference, the participants learned about Geneva Call’s impact through 2023, and the goals and priorities moving forward presented by the Geneva Call’s Directorate.
During the Conference, we also took the opportunity to present our new 2024-2027 Strategic Plan and Enhanced Theory of Change. By the end of this year, we will have completed our 2020-2023 strategy which had two general goals: enhancing our expertise as well as engagement with AGDAs and improving our capacity to operate efficiently and sustainably. Our new 2024-2027 strategy has four mutually reinforcing objectives, which were presented to the Pledging Conference participants followed by an insightful and motivating conversation.
Geneva Call’s new strategy reaffirms its mission of fostering long-lasting behavioral change among AGDAs. Against this backdrop, while Geneva Call’s well-proven Deeds of Commitment will remain a central component of the toolkit that is used to advance its mission, the new strategic plan also draws on other engagement tools such as awareness-raising and capacity-building sessions, technical workshops, access facilitation, and public advocacy to promote long-lasting commitments.
“Our broad range of engagement tools reflects our unique strength in engaging with AGDAs in the field for the benefit of civilians,” Director General Alain Délétroz said. “By helping raise AGDAs’ awareness about IHL norms and principles and encouraging them to better comply with these important standards and commitments, Geneva Call puts AGDAs in a position to better protect civilians, particularly women, children, and marginalized groups most at risk in situations of armed conflicts and other conflict-related humanitarian crises.”
Geneva Call’s new Strategic Plan will adapt to the fast-changing nature of armed conflict to prioritize protection, especially for women, children, and marginalized groups most at risk. The plan will also integrate gender-sensitive and intersectional approaches into Geneva Call’s activities and will continue Geneva Call’s participatory approach by keeping affected communities and AGDAs central to the design and implementation of its work.
Another priority of the new strategic plan will be to explore new thematic areas, including conflict-related environmental issues, the intersection of IHL and international human rights law, and issues related to housing, land, and property.
In line with the new strategy, Doris Pfister, the Board’s Vice-Chair, emphasized during the Pledging Conference that “the Board of Trustees of Geneva Call sees the pressing necessity in these challenging times and increasingly complex situations to engage more and more AGDAs on IHL and to ensure they respect basic humanitarian rules and principles with the aim of ensuring the protection of civilians”.
The closing remarks of Geneva Call’s Pledging Conference were given by Ambassador Simon Geissbühler, Head of the Peace and Human Rights Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, who praised the efforts of Geneva Call in tirelessly promoting the application of IHL and connecting the needs of the population with the work of policymakers and donors. Amb. Geissbühler also added that engaging with armed groups and de facto authorities is of paramount importance, and “if and when Geneva Call manages to change the behavior of such groups to become more compliant with IHL and International Human Rights Law, it will also influence peacebuilding and peacemaking efforts”.
“I am delighted to share the success of our recent Pledging Conference, and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to our donors for their invaluable participation and contribution to this achievement. Their commitment and support have played a pivotal role in advancing our mission and we are immensely grateful for the positive impact their support has on the lives of those we serve” acknowledged Anila Hazizi, Head of Donor Relations at the end of the Pledging Conference.
Geneva Call is very grateful to the participants for their engagement in this Pledging Conference and for their generous pledges and commitment to our mission looking forward into 2024.