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Programme 2023

The Humanitarian Congress Vienna brings together international stakeholders from humanitarian aid, politics, media, academia, civil society and business to engage in dialogue on policy, good practices, recent developments and future visions in the field of humanitarian aid. Join us to shape the debate on the future of the Humanitarian Imperative and the Humanitarian Principles, the guiding stars of our work and engagement. Engage with leaders, experts and practitioners, contribute your experiences and insights, and participate in peer-to-peer networking: 6th Humanitarian Congress Vienna. Register now!

08:00 - 09:00
09:00 - 09:45

Opening remarks: Lukas Wank   Welcome note: Leonore Gewessler
Keynote address: Janez Lenarčič

09:45 - 11:15
All human beings are equal. The mandate of humanitarian organisations is therefore to save lives on the basis of need only - without discrimination and in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality. This panel will discuss how we can uphold our commitment to the humanitarian imperative in an environment of rising need, limited funding, shrinking humanitarian space, and global crises, where national and foreign policy goals often conflict with the humanitarian commitment to alleviate suffering wherever it may be found.
11:15 - 11:45
Networking Break
11:45 - 13:15
The consequences of climate change are being felt around the world. Least Developed Countries, who contribute little to emissions, are disproportionately affected by changing weather patterns that lead to more frequent disasters and loss of livelihood. Climate change is already a threat-multiplier but may in the future lead to even more displacement, to conflicts over resources and to new disease patterns. What is necessary for future humanitarian assistance to live up to the humanitarian imperative in the climate crisis?
13:15 - 14:00
Lunch Break
14:00 - 15:30
An ever-growing number of humanitarian crises are competing for public attention and for funding to alleviate suffering. Forced displacement reached a new peak in 2022, driven by conflicts and extreme weather events. Displaced persons across the world often lack access to basic services and humanitarian aid, particularly when on the move. In their case, compliance with the humanitarian imperative is threatened and the principle of impartiality put under pressure by delegitimization and criminalisation of humanitarian assistance to people on the move. The panel will discuss how to overcome inequalities in access to humanitarian aid for the most vulnerable and most invisible.
15:30 - 16:00
Networking Break
16:00 - 17:30
Intentional and systematic starvation of civilians in war is as old as war itself. It is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions - which protect civilians in armed conflict - but is often hard to identify and to prosecute as a war crime. Still, it is a gross violation of international humanitarian law. Looking at current and recent conflicts, how can legal accountability for starvation as a method of warfare be increased? In armed conflicts, is it possible to safeguard the humanitarian imperative with respect to food supply for civilians?