Slider schmal Frau (Key Sujet)

Programme 2015

08:00 Registration opens

09:00 Opening Speech / Main Ceremonial Chamber / Großer Festsaal

Opening remarks: Annelies Vilim Director, Global Responsibility, Austrian Platform

for Development and Humanitarian Aid

Welcoming note: Rudolf Hundstorfer Austrian Minister for Social Affairs

Welcoming note: Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal Director General, Department for Development

Cooperation, Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs

Opening Speech

Access to Victims of Violence – Humanitarian Aid under Fire

Kyung-wha Kang Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and

Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations

09:30 – 10:45 / Main Ceremonial Chamber / Großer Festsaal

Humanitarian Aid in between International Politics

Today’s ongoing transformations in the political, economic, social and environmental sphere

pose huge challenges to people in need. The number and severity of disasters, armed conflict

and violence has increased. Complex emergencies – the coincidence of multiple conflicts,

political crisis, and disasters – are no longer the exception.

The pressure on people already affected by complex emergencies is intensified by global trends

such as climate change, rapid urbanisation and demographic changes, to name but a few. These

factors hit poor people and societies hardest. 1.5 billion Human beings live in areas affected

by conflict and/or in a situation with dysfunctional state institutions, poor governance, and

states being unable or unwilling to provide basic services and security to its people. NGOs are

witnessing on daily basis what the consequences of this insecurity meant for people in need of

life saving activities. Humanitarian aid can be suspended, withdrawn or rendered impossible by

violent events. For example wounded and sick people can be denied effective healthcare when

hospitals are damaged by explosive weapons or forcibly entered by fighters, when ambulances

are hijacked and when healthcare personnel are threatened, kidnapped, injured or killed.

The huge short- and midterm needs of affected populations are met by an increasing amount

of humanitarian assistance channelled through the international community and humanitarian

organisations. What are the implications for the delivery of humanitarian aid in the international

order? How does humanitarian aid, humanitarian intervention and human rights interlink with

each other? Is it that state sovereignty comes first, potential instrumentalisation of humanitarian

aid next, and people are often left alone at the end? What can be done? Is there a way out?

Moderator & Master of Ceremony

Irene Jancsy Director of Communications, MSF, Vienna

Panel Members

Kyung-wha Kang Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations

Yves Daccord Director General, International Committee of the Red Cross

Wolfgang Petritsch Former UN High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Diplomat

Program / 2015

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In collaboration with CARE / Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe / Hilfswerk / HOPE‘87

Jugend Eine Welt / Light for the World / SOS Children‘s Villages / World Vision

11:00 – 12:30 / Main Ceremonial Chamber / Großer Festsaal

Social Media: Heaven or Hell?

The impact of social media on a global information flow and society’s opinion making processes

has increased drastically within the last decade.

From tweets in Egypt to blogs in Syria and Facebook campaigns in Sudan, the world recognized

the impact “civil journalists” create through sharing their reality within seconds. For the humanitarian

world, social media made it possible to hear the voices of disaster affected people, even if

the area of those people is not accessible. Innovative methods, like transferring messages from

platforms like Twitter into people’s phones has positive impacts, but simultaneously also bears

negative risks.

Does social media revolutionise humanitarian assistance? How to deal with negative effects, like

data overflow and protection of the users? Heaven or Hell?

Keynote Speech

Mahmoud Shabeeb Regional Communications Officer for the Syria Crisis, Care


Lisa Stadler Journalist, Social Media Standard

Panel Members

Ingrid Brodnig Journalist, Profil

Timo Lüge Journalist, Aid Worker

Thomas Seifert Journalist, Wiener Zeitung

Mahmoud Shabeeb Regional Communications Officer for the Syria Crisis, Care

11:00 – 12:30 / Small Ceremonial Chamber / Kleiner Festsaal

Access: Humanitarian Space – Life and Work in War

The principle that civilians have to be protected in armed conflicts and war and have a right

to humanitarian assistance lies at the core of humanitarian action. Although embedded in the

Geneva Conventions, in practice this principle is often violated: civilians, as well as aid workers,

are often targeted; and humanitarian organizations are too often prevented from reaching

people in desperate need of aid. Humanitarian practitioners thus often claim that the so called

humanitarian space has been shrinking. The term “humanitarian space” is used slightly differently

by different actors. There are however three main criteria against which to assess this common

claim: respect for the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law, the relative safety of

humanitarian workers and the degree of access to populations at risk. On the basis of CAR

(Central African Republic) the panel will discuss to what extent the claim that humanitarian

space has been shrinking is supported by evidence; Is CAR heading towards a genocide like

Ruanda in 1994 and are thus options to protect civilians possibly being even more undermined

in the future?

Keynote Speech

Dieudonne Nzapalainga Bishop, Central African Republic

Layama Oumar Kobine Imam, Central African Republic


Cornelia Vospernik Journalist ORF

Panel Members

Karoline Kleijer Emergency Coordinator, MSF

Dieudonne Nzapalainga Bishop, Central African Republic

Layama Oumar Kobine Imam, Central African Republic

Kathrin Schick Director, VOICE

12:30 – 13:30 Lunch Break

13:30 – 15:00 / Main Ceremonial Chamber / Großer Festsaal

Lampedusa – European Responsibility at Stake

Tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers escaping from war and conflicts have

been arriving over the last years to European shores. Although Italy is a major gateway for

those who cross the Mediterranean, arriving from Syria, Libya and the Horn of Africa, often

in overcrowded boats and at the risk of their lives, this is a European Union issue rather than

solely an Italian one. The Italian borders are the borders of Europe in this context, and

according to agreements signed by all European Union countries, people have the right to

arrive safely and be received in an atmosphere where they feel safe. The appalling reality

is that unacceptable numbers of people are dying in the most distressing way as they seek

a better life for their families.

This situation calls for urgent action: All European Governments need to grant in line with

the relevant international law and national legislation to migrants appropriate international

protection and to ensure their access to urgent humanitarian services, such as health care,

shelter or assistance to make contact with their families. Europe needs to strengthen its joint

responsibility to ensure adequate safeguards to protect migrants. Is there a sign it will do so? Is

the European responsibility at stake when it comes to the protection of most vulnerable people?

Keynote Speech

Giuseppina Maria Nicolini Mayor of Lampedusa


Erhard Busek Politician

Panel Members

Tareke Brhane Spokesperson of the ‘3rd of october Committee’, Italy

Oliviero Forti Caritas Italiana Migration Office

Giuseppina Maria Nicolini Mayor of Lampedusa

Michel Reimon Member of the European Parliament

Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger Director General for Legal and Consular Affairs

in the Austrian Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA)

13:30 – 15:00 / Small Ceremonial Chamber / Kleiner Festsaal

What’s App: Innovation and New Technologies Improving the Effectiveness

of Humanitarian Action – Myth or Fact?

´Innovation´ and ´new technologies´ are some of the buzzwords floating around when it comes

to the debate of how effective humanitarian aid activities nowadays are. The profound impact

of technological innovations on humanitarian action over the past decades is beyond question.

But it is always difficult to justify large budgets for Research & Developement projects when the

outcome does not relate with the desired results. This could be crucial for humanitarian aid

actors spending donor money, which has been initially donated to enable the NGOs to save

human lives, on research projects. How are humanitarians able to employ state of the art

technology in new and creative ways, and what risks and opportunities may emerge as a result

of technological innovations?

Keynote Speech

Paul Conneally Head of Communication, International Telecommunication Union


Julia Herrnböck Journalist, NZZ

Panel Members

Paul Conneally Head of Communication, International Telecommunication Union

Peter Hulsroj European Space and Policy Centre, Director

Arkadiusz Kwasny Technology Consultant / CEO, Selleo

Robbert Mica Entrepreneur, Outernet Inc.

15:30 – 17:00 / Main Ceremonial Chamber / Großer Festsaal

Does Humanitarian Aid Prolong War?

The humanitarian space as well as humanitarian aid itself, have become increasingly threatened

over the past decade. Still those attacks or threats towards humanitarian aid constitute

just one aspect of the interface between NGOs’ activities and armed conflict. The aid-conflict

interaction is a two-way process and is not limited to effects of conflict on humanitarian aid.

Recent year’s research shows that any project set in a conflict-prone region will inevitably have

an impact on the peace and conflict environment – positive or negative, direct or indirect,

intentional or unintentional. In the midst of conflict, humanitarian aid projects become part

of the context and therefore have political, economic and social effects. The panel will

shed light on the different aspects and causes of potential negative effects of humanitarian aid

on armed conflict. Central to the discussion will be question: how to avoid or anticipate

negative effects?

Keynote Speech

Bertrand Taithe Professor University of Manchester


Thomas Seifert Journalist, Wiener Zeitung

Panel Members

Günther Barnet Austrian Ministry of National Defence and Sport

Jose Antonio Bastos President of MSF Spain, Member of the International Board

Bertrand Taithe Professor University of Manchester

Suzanna Tkalec Humanitarian Director of Caritas Internationalis

15:30 – 17:00 / Small Ceremonial Chamber / Kleiner Festsaal

Violence in the Middle East – No Space for Humanitarians?

European geopolitics in the 20th century in the wider Middle East region contributed to a lot

of overall instability: parts of the Middle East were carved up, which required artificial borders

and the support of leaders that could be bought and influenced by external powers. Supporting

authoritarian regimes was seen as a useful tool to safeguard foreign interests, ignoring the

fact that people in the region were suffering and losing out. The Middle East remains one of

the world’s political and humanitarian hotspots. The recent scale of displacement resulting

from the Syrian crisis has a tremendous impact on the region, and specifically on Iraq.

In 2014 Syria’s neighbouring countries and particular Iraq’s Kurdistan Region have seen a

continuous influx of Syrian refugees, and millions of IDP’s are on the run in their own countries.

The humanitarian consequences of a protracted displacement, as well as the on-going

violence and instability in Syria and the region, are resulting in a major humanitarian catastrophe.

What does this political failure imply if the basic means of a decent human existence,

which acknowledges the distinctive culture, history, basic rights and entitlements, are denied to

hundreds of thousands of people affected by instability and conflict?

Keynote Speech

Karin Kneissl Journalist, Lecturer, Analyst


Walter Posch National Defence Academy, Vienna

Panel Members

Karin Kneissl Journalist, Lecturer, Analyst

Omar Nuseir Deputy Director, Humanitarian Relief Coordination Unit, Ministry

of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan

Mark Ohanian Director of Programs, International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC)

17:00 End of the congress