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While donor countries have poured significant resources into branding aid—emblazing a donor’s flag or aid agency logo on everything from food aid to bridges—the benefits of branding are iffy at best and counterproductive at worst. Studies of its impact tend to pay little attention to how branding affects the relationship between recipient governments and their publics, but evidence shows that it can have corrosive systemic impacts.
How can the world find realistic, workable solutions to bridge the divide between humanitarian response and development assistance? This question was front and center at a high-level discussion, co-hosted by CGD and the International Rescue Committee (IRC), in the run up to last week’s Spring Meetings. The event marked the launch of a new CGD-IRC report, which puts forth one emerging solution to the refugee crisis—compact agreements between host governments and development and humanitarian actors. The discussion featured three global leaders on the frontline of today’s displacement challenge: Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Imad Fakhoury, World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, and IRC President and CEO David Miliband. Here are three takeaways.
For refugees and internally displaced people, business-as-usual is no longer working. The “new normal” of displacement means that development and humanitarian actors urgently need to adapt their approach. That's the impetus for a new CGD study group, convened in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee and co-chaired by Cindy Huang and Nazanin Ash.
Nine thousand delegates gathered in Istanbul for the first World Humanitarian Summit. There was no shortage of great commentary in advance, all of which pointed to the pivotal role that the WHS could play in the future of humanitarian aid. Depending on who you ask, the humanitarian system is either broke or broken. How could the Summit have tackled the system's mounting problems?