Unique partnership to modernise emergency aid

The government, the business world, aid organisations and knowledge institutions are joining forces to modernise emergency aid. The Dutch Coalition for Humanitarian Innovation (DCHI) was launched today at the initiative of Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. The coalition’s goal is to find new ways of working together to assist people affected by war and disasters. ‘The goal of this unique partnership is to modernise emergency aid and make it more effective,’ said Ms Ploumen.

The key members of the partnership are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers (VNO-NCW), the Netherlands Red Cross, CARE Nederland, UNICEF, Capgemini Consulting and the municipality of The Hague. In addition to the minister, the main initiators have been VNO-NCW chairman Hans de Boer and Red Cross director Gijs de Vries. Over 20 knowledge institutions, companies and aid organisations are now involved in the coalition. Partners share their knowledge and experience and offer practical assistance, something that had previously only happened on an ad hoc basis. Examples include the partnership between the Red Cross and UNICEF with the Philips Foundation in the area of health care and the DSM’s contributions to the World Food Programme in the area of food and innovation. The latter programme helps 25 million people a year.

‘This coalition is a breakthrough,’ said Ms Ploumen. ‘Companies are already working with aid organisations. But now they will be providing each other with knowledge and expertise on an unprecedented scale. I have high hopes this will lead to innovative approaches to aid. The question is, how can we reach more people in more effective ways? At the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May, I will cite the coalition as a good example of how better collaboration worldwide can improve aid.’

In the last ten years the number of people affected by crises has doubled to 125 million, while costs for this period have tripled. The present form of aid is proving inadequate. It is also unsustainable. As a result, too many people are deprived of aid, and the type of aid needed is changing. Innovation is needed to respond adequately to these developments and to provide better support to people in need.