POST TIME: 24 May, 2016 00:00 00 AM
Global network to monitor use of humanitarian aid

Global network to 
monitor use of 
humanitarian aid

A new global network for local and national organisations has been launched ahead of the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul. It will monitor whether global humanitarian aid is being properly utilised.
Degan Ali of Somalia has been elected chairperson of the Network for Empowered Aid Response (NEAR), while Smruti Patel, an Indian-origin Swiss citizen, has been made interim director and Rezaul Karim Chowdhury of Coast Bangladesh its treasurer, according to sources in Dhaka.
The network was launched at a formal meeting in Istanbul on Sunday, aiming to reduce the expanding gap between affected population and aid resources.
The two-day World Humanitarian Summit began yesterday in Istanbul in an attempt to reform the global humanitarian system, despite criticism that the summit is a photo-opportunity which will achieve little.
Representatives of 175 countries, including 57 heads of state or government, are attending the world humanitarian summit with a view to restructuring the way the world responds to humanitarian crises.
In his keynote speech, AFAD president Fuat Oktay welcomed the network as a new way of engaging local actors. “The reason we are gathered here is because more and more people believe that the humanitarian system cannot cope with the challenges of today,” he said. To tackle these challenges, Fuat Oktay stressed the need for innovation, creativity and courage.
Azwar Hasan, a local responder to the tsunami in Indonesia, expressed his concern on how often international actors exit without much investment in the preparedness for local communities. "If a tsunami happens again, I don't think the world would be better prepared to respond,” he said.
The newly launched network promises to work with international actors and other networks to make sure that people are at the centre of the system. Degan Ali, chairperson of the network and executive director of Adeso, said NEAR is not seeking a system devoid of international actors. “We want a system that recognises, enables, and respects local and national actors,” he added.
In its seven commitments, the network iterates its pledge to raise the voice of local and national actors, and to track progress on localisation commitments made at the WHS through research and documentation.
The treasurer of NEAR, Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, said NEAR would be a decentralised movement. “It will monitor localisation, how much is the aid transaction cost, and how much is going to local NGOs. NEAR will put emphasis on the demand side of localisation.