ICVA 2024 Annual Conference



Maison de la Paix








Annual Conference

ICVA’s 2024 Annual Conference will be held on:

Date: Thursday, 21 March

Location: Maison de la Paix, Geneva, Switzerland

Theme: Rethinking Coordination: Accountability, Credibility and Trust in Principled Humanitarian Action


ICVA members operate in an environment marked by increasingly evident breaches of international norms and values. The fundamental tenets of humanitarianism are facing challenges, with the space for NGOs and other civil society actors to deliver assistance and protection steadily diminishing. 

The effectiveness of humanitarian efforts relies on gaining acceptance, wherein accountability, credibility, and trust play pivotal roles in striking a vital balance between principles and practical considerations. This balance between the two is an ongoing negotiation process among humanitarian actors themselves and with the various other stakeholders, including communities, local leaders, states, and non-state actors, upon whom they depend on to facilitate their work. 

Coordination helps achieve this balance.  

As those responsible for the largest share of delivery of humanitarian assistance and protection, NGOs have much at stake when it comes to rethinking coordination and improving accountability, credibility and trust in principled humanitarian action

Aim and Objectives

The 2024 ICVA Annual Conference will bring together ICVA members and partners to share their experiences, discuss challenges and identify ways forward around the following questions:

  • Can a renewed focus on trust within and between humanitarian actors help them balance competing priorities and mandates and act together according to humanitarian principles?
  • With humanitarian actors stretching further to address challenges that often have their roots in the failure of development or political processes, is ‘boundary setting’ an effective way to improve the credibility of the system?
  • How do we collectively advance system-wide commitments to the genuine inclusion and participation of affected people and local actors?


Time Topic
09.00-10.00 Registration, Coffee and Networking
10.00-10.15 Welcome and scene setting by ICVA Executive Director
10.15-12.00 Session 1: Trust and Principled Humanitarian Action
12.00-13.30 Lunch and Networking
13.30-15.15 Session 2: Are we credible?
15.15-16.00 Coffee Break and Networking
16.00-17.00 Core Humanitarian Standard Global Launch
18.00-20.00 Reception

Opening Session

Welcome and scene setting by ICVA Executive Director.

Session 1: The Erosion of Trust and Principled Humanitarian Action

Trust is essential for humanitarian access to deliver life-saving services. It requires demonstrating integrity, consistency, efficacy, accountability, and respect. However, in the current divisive climate, humanitarian principles and international humanitarian law are under threat, leading to pressures on humanitarian actors and risks of instrumentalization. Compromises to principles for short-term access raise questions about trust and acceptance in the medium term.

Additionally, there’s a trust deficit and friction within the humanitarian system due to unequal power dynamics and weak consultation processes, impacting joint problem solving and coordination. ICVA members are challenged to meaningfully engage in coordination mechanisms and navigate access challenges jointly due, in no small part, to an absence of trust.  

Session objective:  

This interactive session aims to explore the relationship between trust and the humanitarian principles, and what humanitarian NGO leaders can do to build trust and promote IHL in an increasingly polarized and divided world. 


Mirno Robert Pasquali
Mr. Mirno Pasquali
Global Access Specialist, Danish Refugee Council / Dansk Flygtningehjælp
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Mirno Pasquali has extensive experience in program management, access facilitation, coordination, and advocacy within diverse humanitarian settings, including Yemen, Iraq, and Bangladesh. Starting in 2022, Mirno took on the responsibility of establishing DRC’s Global Humanitarian Access Unit and leading the implementation of DRC’s Hard to Reach Initiative. This strategic initiative aims to systematically identify, access, and provide programs for Hard to Reach populations across DRC country operations.

Anthony Neal
Mr. Anthony Neal
Coordinator of the Sudan INGO Forum
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Anthony currently serves as the Coordinator of the Sudan INGO Forum, having been based in Khartoum until the recent evacuation. Prior to this, he held the position of Country Director for Geneva Call in Myanmar, focusing on engaging with Non-State Armed Groups to address protection issues such as child recruitment, the safeguarding of medical facilities, gender-based violence, and the use of landmines. Before his senior roles, Anthony accumulated extensive experience in advocacy and policy across Afghanistan, Lebanon, and the UK, with a focus on Humanitarian Financing, Localization, and Humanitarian Negotiations.

Mr. Kiran Kothwari
Head of Humanitarian Access and Relations with Armed Actors Unit, Save the Children
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Kiran is the current Head of the Humanitarian Access and Armed Actors Relations Unit at Save the Children. Previously, he served as a strategic advisor within the team, focusing on protecting children in conflict situations. Before that, Kiran gained extensive experience as a field researcher, analyst, coordinator, and advisor, specializing in serious crimes, rights, and laws aimed at safeguarding civilians and children during conflicts and crises. His background spans across international and non-governmental organizations.

Ed Schenkenberg
Mr. Ed Schenkenberg
Co-founder and Executive Director of HERE-Geneva
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Ed brings to HERE three decades of experience in humanitarian affairs both at the global level and on the ground. He has led major reviews and evaluations of collective responses to large-scale humanitarian crises as well as of the work of UN and non-UN humanitarian agencies. He has also been part of a number of major international bodies and forums that are responsible for humanitarian coordination, policy development, and standard setting. Ed’s special interests include humanitarian law and principles; protection and rights; inter-agency coordination; and quality and accountability of humanitarian actors.  

Before HERE, Ed was the Chief Executive of DARA in Madrid (2012- 2014) and led ICVA, the NGO consortium for humanitarian action in Geneva (1999-2011). Earlier, he worked with MSF, where he co-created the humanitarian affairs department in Amsterdam and worked as a humanitarian affairs officer is several crisis areas. Ed is a member of the Supervisory Board of Stichting Vluchteling, a Dutch NGO that works for refugees and internally displaced people in crises.  

Maria Duncan
Ms. Maria Duncan
Humanitarian Access Technical Advisor, International Rescue Committee, New Zealand
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Maria has over 12 years of experience in humanitarian settings across the Middle East, East Africa, and South Asia. Now based in Nairobi, she provides technical and operational support to IRC’s Country Programs globally to open and improve humanitarian access, including to develop and implement strategies for humanitarian access, and guidance and training on negotiations and engagement. 

Rehan Zahid
Mr. Rehan Zahid
Deputy Director of the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN)
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Rehan Zahid is the Deputy Director of the Centre of Competence on Humanitarian Negotiation (CCHN), a joint initiative of the International Committee of the Red Cross, MSF Switzerland, UNHCR, and the UN World Food Programme.  

Before taking up this role in 2022, he had been involved in the CCHN’s work as Chief of Advisory Services, providing humanitarian agencies with advisory support in the management of negotiation processes.  

During his 10-year tenure at the World Food Programme, he served in various roles in the field as well as in leadership positions at the organization’s Rome Headquarters; most recently, as the Deputy Chief of Staff. Rehan has negotiation experiences across a range of contexts, including Yemen, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Sudan, South Sudan. 

Rehan holds a Master of Public Affairs in Social and Economic Policy awarded by the University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs (USA) and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics awarded by the Lahore University of Management Sciences (Pakistan). 

Session 2: Our Ability to Deliver Aid at the Core of our Credibility

Amid increasingly complex and politicized humanitarian contexts, the fundamental measure of success remains simple: can we ensure the necessary assistance and protection reaches those in need?  

The humanitarian system has in recent years seen a multiplying of tools and policies in an attempt at providing better quality aid. Despite these improvements, we have largely been unable to address our increasing inability to fulfil our core function. In Burkina Faso, Myanmar, Sudan, Eastern Ukraine, and now Gaza, we are simply not able to respond to the needs at the necessary speed and scale. Failures on this front undermine accountability and credibility with donors and communities.  


Our credibility hinges on our ability to deliver aid effectively, even as the landscape evolves. If adaptation is a necessity, we need to ensure that whatever form humanitarian action takes in the future, it is still able to fulfil its core function, at the risk of losing the trust of the very people we aim at serving. While political solutions are beyond our scope, can we take steps to ensure unhindered aid delivery until these blockages are resolved? 

Session objective: 

Building on the morning’s first session, session 2 will aim at taking a frank look at existing operational contexts, outlining the core issues that have led to our inability to respond fully, to encourage an equally frank discussion among the audience on the future of humanitarian assistance.   



Ms. Keya Saha-Chaudhury
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, ICVA
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Keya joined ICVA in 2020 and hopes to translate her experiences working in gender and health across the development and humanitarian space into an asset for the work of ICVA in the region.

She has over 12 years of experience working with local and international NGOs in the Asia Pacific Region including the Red Cross and International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). She has worked with a diverse country portfolio, including Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Afghanistan, Nepal, Philippines and PNG.  Her work has focused on strengthening engagement of local NGOs in the humanitarian system, emergency preparedness and partnership development.

Core Humanitarian Standard Global Launch

Join us for the global launch of the updated Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), a significant milestone resulting from the collaborative efforts of numerous organizations and individuals dedicated to enhancing quality and accountability in aid.

You’ll learn why and how the CHS has been strengthened and gain insights from diverse speakers on how the standard will drive greater accountability, prioritising the needs of people affected by crises.


The launch will be organised as a hybrid event, allowing you to participate online or to join us in person in Geneva.

The event will be conducted in English, with simultaneous interpretation available in Arabic and French. Secure your spot by registering now.

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