Opening of the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation

Bern, 25.10.2016 - The Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation, in Geneva, has been opened on 25 October 2016 under the patronage of Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter. The Centre is being launched jointly by the heads of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.

More than 150 humanitarian practitioners and experts from around the world attended the opening of the centre. They shared their own experiences of humanitarian negotiations, that are confronting them with major challenges in armed conflicts nowadays. Relevant topics in this context are for example humanitarian access, the protection of medical missions, negotiations with armed groups, gender and diversity issues, as well as the expansion of capacities within humanitarian organisations.

The Centre's objective is to facilitate and promote the exchange and analysis of experiences and practices in humanitarian negotiations to enable humanitarian aid and protection to reach people in need rapidly and without hindrance. The Centre provides a forum for dialogue between various humanitarian organisations and a 'community of practice' comprising experienced humanitarian negotiators and leaders. The ICRC will host the Centre with the joint support of the five above-mentioned strategic partners for a period of five years.

The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs has promoted and supported the Centre from the outset: "Switzerland considers the Centre to be a crucial asset for humanitarian engagement and for humanitarian Geneva because it addresses some of the most urgent humanitarian challenges," said Mr Burkhalter at the opening.

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