The Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) continued to expand its operations in 2016, responding to a growing demand for its experience and skills in engaging with those involved in armed conflict, particularly hard-to-reach groups. By the end of 2016, HD had more than 40 ongoing projects in over 25 countries, working at the heart of the world’s most dangerous conflicts in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, as well as East and Central Asia.
HD’s mediation initiatives are detailed in its Annual Report 2016, released today. The report provides a concise overview of the organisation’s operations along with updates on its governance and funding. It also includes an essay in which its Executive Director, Dr David Harland, reflects on the international response to armed conflict.
In the last five years, HD has helped bring about almost 40 peace or conflict management agreements. In 2016, these included a Humanitarian Appeal which made possible the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians in the Libyan city of Benghazi, and the Kafanchan Peace Declaration which promoted dialogue among 29 communities in Nigeria’s Kaduna State.
HD’s initiatives also produced other less visible, but nonetheless significant, outcomes including local agreements reached by networks of community leaders established by HD in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger; keeping open discreet channels of communication in Ukraine which enabled aid and commercial goods to cross conflict lines; and supporting local mediators in the settlement of 17 clan conflicts in the province of Sulu in the Philippines.
War, uprisings, political crises, fragile political processes, or intercommunal tensions – every situation is unique. The outcomes HD has achieved reflect the diversity of its efforts to support peace. HD will work with any group or stakeholder provided it can contribute to preventing or ending armed conflict and violence, and will endeavour to find the solutions that best fit each context. This may involve confidential engagement with armed groups and governments, setting up dialogue between communities, or working with political parties to ensure peaceful elections.
In 2016, HD also continued to play a leadership role across the mediation sector, promoting the discussion of emerging challenges and sharing insights drawn from its own experiences. The organisation co-hosted the 14th Oslo Forum with Norway which has become the premier international network for those involved in conflict resolution. The then United States’ Secretary of State John Kerry, the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, were among more than 100 participants examining the dynamic of conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Libya and Colombia as part of discussions at the Forum on the theme of ‘Adapting to a new conflict landscape’.
This year, HD is dedicating its Annual Report to David Lambo, one of the organisation’s Senior Advisers who sadly passed away in March 2017. A special tribute to David in the Annual Report highlights his outstanding career as a humanitarian as well as his remarkable contribution to peacemaking across Africa – particularly in Kenya, Liberia, Somalia and Nigeria. There are few people who can be said to have contributed to shaping the continent around them and David was one of those people. His humanitarian work and peacemaking efforts will continue to inspire his colleagues at HD in their unceasing efforts to promote peace.