IRC chief: No summit success until it changes life on the ground

International Rescue Committee’s President and CEO David Miliband is one of the most vocal critics of the way the humanitarian sector currently works.

Reform of the humanitarian system was high on the agenda at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, with the “grand bargain” agreement heralded as a step towards more efficient humanitarian financing. But according to International Rescue Committee President and CEO David Miliband, there’s still a long way to go before the outcomes of the summit can be declared a success.

“The proof of the pudding will be in the eating … I don’t think we can say it’s been a success until it changes life on the ground,” he told Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar.

According to Miliband, three big changes still need to happen: better alignment and shared objectives among different humanitarian and development actors; more evidence-based programming; and harmonized standards in humanitarian financing. He called for a high-level panel on cost-effectiveness to “set the cost benchmarks” and ensure that implementers are “competing on a level playing field.”  

Watch the video above for more on Miliband’s thoughts on WHS outcomes, how the aid sector can reform, and why more attention needs to be paid to providing support for refugees to integrate into local economies.

Following the World Humanitarian Summit, Devex — along with its partners Deloitte, Ericsson, United Nations Development Programme, and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs — have come together for #ShareHumanity. This six-week online conversation explores the role the private sector plays in humanitarian relief efforts, preparedness and response, both now and in the future.

Use #ShareHumanity and tag @devex to have your say.

About the author

  • Naomi Mihara

    Naomi Mihara is a Video Journalist for Devex, based in Barcelona. She has a background in journalism and international development, having previously worked as an assistant correspondent for Japan's Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper and as a communications officer for the International Organization for Migration in Southeast Asia. She holds a master's degree in multimedia journalism from Bournemouth University.

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