The Humanitarian Congress Vienna was initiated in 2010. One of the key aims of the Humanitarian Congress Vienna is to address changing humanitarian needs and thus to increase the visibility of humanitarian work. A second key aim is to raise awareness among decision makers regarding the relevance of humanitarian aid. A further focus is on the cooperation and coordination of actions, both at the national, European and international level.
What is Humanitarian Aid?
Humanitarian Aid is a set of measures for the saving of human life, the decrease of human suffering, and the protection of human dignity during and after armed conflicts and/or disasters as well to prevent and strengthen preparedness for the occurrence of such situations.
For further information see also: www.globalhumanitarianassistance.org
What is the Humanitarian Imperative?
The Humanitarian Imperative is the fundamental humanitarian principle that stipulates the right to receive humanitarian assistance when it is needed, the duty to allow it to be given and the obligation to offer it.
The imperative derives from the fundamental principle of humanity – that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights – emphatically proclaimed in Vienna in 1965.
The Principles of Humanitarian Aid
Humanitarianism/humanity: the uppermost aim is to ensure the survival of affected people in acute need and to alleviate their suffering. Correspondingly, the dignity of human beings must remain guaranteed.
Neutrality: humanitarian aid favours no side (party) in an armed conflict or any other confrontation.
Impartiality/non-discrimination: humanitarian aid is based exclusively on need without discrimination of the recipients (meaning unconditionally and without discrimination based on ethnic origin, sex, religion, social status, nationality or political opinion).
Independence: humanitarian aid is given independent of political, economic, military, or religious circumstances or the aims of the parties to the conflict.
The 6th Humanitarian Congress Vienna is organised by the following humanitarian organizations:
Doctors Without Borders, Caritas Austria, the Austrian Red Cross, SOS Children’s Villages, as well as the Austrian Platform for Development and Humanitarian Aid – Global Responsibility and in collaboration with: Arbeiter Samariterbund, CARE, CONCORDIA Social Projects, Diakonie, Hilfswerk Austria International, HOPE´87, Jugend Eine Welt, LIGHT FOR THE WORLD, RED NOSES, Volkshilfe Solidarität and World Vision
The Path from 2011 to 2023
After almost a year of preparation the first Humanitarian Congress Vienna was held in 2011 and since then the congress successfully takes place every two years bringing together experts from international humanitarian organisations, policy makers, media, academics and students of various disciplines, displaced persons, beneficiaries from affected countries and humanitarian aid staff who have been witnessing humanitarian crises up close. With more than 2000 international participants and speakers’ onsite and online in 2015, the Humanitarian Congress Vienna is now an important forum in the world of humanitarian aid and thus provides rare network opportunities. The congress offers a unique mix of humanitarian and political keynote speeches and innovative debates and thereby strengthens existing structures in order to reach new insights.
From the beginning it was important for the organisers that the Humanitarian Congress Vienna serves as a platform where both acute and protracted humanitarian crises are addressed. Based on this outlook the themes of the previous congresses were developed and lively debated in panel- and round-table discussions:
2011: “Humanitarian Aid — Quo Vadis?”
2013: “Humanitarian Aid — Gender Matters”
2015: “Humanitarian Aid under Fire”
2017: “Forced to Flee – Humanity on the Run”
2019: “The Future of Humanitarian Aid”
2022: “Health Systems and Humanitarian Aid: The Race Against COVID-19” (online session only)
The Humanitarian Congress Vienna 2023:
“Non-Negotiable: The Humanitarian Must-haves”
Due to the diverse nature, great need, and complexity of humanitarian aid, the erosion of the humanitarian imperative and the humanitarian values that we see can only be stopped if experienced organisations, politics, science, media, innovators and interested citizens work together. The aim of the Humanitarian Congress Vienna 2023 is to bring these groups together in an inspirational setting. Not only will concepts and issues be examined through presentations and discussions but the Humanitarian Congress Vienna aims to provide the space also for exchange of valuable practical experience and for the deepening of the national and international humanitarian networks.
To try to capture all of this under the theme “Non-Negotiable: The Humanitarian Must-haves” the following programme is envisaged for 2023:
Panel 1: The Humanitarian Imperative Is Non-Negotiable
Panel 2: Starvation As A Methode Of Warfare – As Old As War Itself, Outlawed Bud Deadly Popular And Creatively Used Again
Panel 3: When Nature Strikes Back – Humanitarian Aid In Times Of Climate Change
Panel 4: Forgotten Crises – Forgotten Suffering