Workshop 6 years after the Agenda for Humanity: humanitarianism challenged

Friday 25 Nov 2022, 09:00 - 19:00
Spoken Language
Erasmus Hall
Erasmus University College
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Representatives from humanitarian organizations, governments, academics and leaders of crisis-affected communities uniquely gathered in Istanbul in 2016 to discuss how to better address the need of people caught in humanitairan crises. It led to the adoption of the Agenda for Humanity, a five-point programme aiming to “outline the changes that are needed to alleviate suffering, reduce risk and lessen vulnerability on a global scale”. The Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences and the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies are organising a workshop on the topic: Six years after the Agenda for Humanity : humanitarianism challenged on November 25th at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
With a keynote by Prof.Dr. Thea Hilhorst (ISS). 

The objective of the workshop Six years after the Agenda for Humanity: humanitarianism challenged is to take stock of the progress of the Agenda for Humanity six years after its adoption. The event will bring together international scholars from various disciplinary fields, humanitarian practitioners and policy-makers to address the following questions: 

  1. How do changes in international and domestic politics alter humanitarian commitments?
  2. How is the Agenda for Humanity’s narrative used to further political agenda?
  3. What are the implications of the Agenda’s core responsibilities on the power dynamics shaping the humanitarian field?


9.00 Doors open

9.30 Opening remarks (Clara Egger, EUR )

10.00 Panel 1: Afghanistan, Yemen, Ukraine : IHL in crisis?
Antonio Donini, Tuft University
Ghassan El Kahlout, DOHA Institute
Sara Gamha, Geneva Call
Alex Odlum, Geneva Centre for Humanitarian Studies

11.15 – Coffee break
11.30 – 13.00 - Panel 2 : Moving forward with the localization agenda: addressing power imbalances in governance structures (organised in partnership with KUNO)

Representatives from the Alliance for Empowering Partnerships (A4EP), the Dutch Relief Alliance and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

13.00 – 14.30 Lunch break
14.30 – 15.45 Panel 3: From addressing to ending needs: the promises and perils of linking humanitarian action and development agendas

Haley Swedlund, Radboud University Nijmegen; Marie Eve Derosieres, University of Ottawa; Samiratou Dipama, Thomas Sankara University
Ronan Mc Dermott, University of Groningen
Cornelia C. Walther
Jon Harald Sande Lie, NUPI

15.45 – 16.00 – Coffee break
16.00 – 17.15 Panel 4: Humanitarianism under siege: nationalism, illiberal humanitarianism and humanitarian commitments

Kristoffer Liden & Kristina Roepstorff, PRIO
Cristina Churruca, University of Deusto
Clara Egger, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Talita Cetinoglu, University of Groningen

17.15  Closing keynote (Thea Hilhorst, International Institute of Social Studies)

18.00  Closing drinks

The conference will be followed by a special collection in the Journal of International Humanitarian Action.


Six years after the adoption of the Agenda for Humanity , challenges to transnational solidarity and attacks on humanitarian values have never seemed so acute. The COVID-19 pandemic has served as «vulnerability multiplier» and raised unprecedented challenges for humanitarian operations.  The rise of nationalistic and far right parties and their coming to power in Brazil, Italy, Hungary or Sweden daily challenge the capacity to maintain humanitarian commitments, in particular towards migrant populations. Humanitarian norms are under siege in Ukraine, Yemen or Burkina Faso. The goal of “leaving no one behind” has evacuated debates on the use of the concept of vulnerabilities as a political tool to build hierarchies among those deserving aid or not. Lastly, the aid localisation agenda has seen crisis-affected governments exercise a stronger grip on humanitarian activities, aligning aid with their priorities and closing civil society independent space.

Organisation workshop

The workshop is jointly organised by the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences and the Norwegian Centre for Humanitarian Studies and is made possible by :

More information


Marjolein Kooistra, communications ESSB,


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