Key NGO WHS Commitments and Calls

As a diverse NGO community, we need to better understand our successes and failures in order to advocate for the changes we seek as well as promote what is serving people affected by crises.

The WHS represents an opportunity for NGOs to develop common statements, position papers, calls and commitments. Maintaining an accurate picture of diversity is essential. However, the more collective the NGO voices are, the more powerful they will be.


NGO Briefs to the High Level Leaders' Roundtables

Due to the size and format of the Summit, opportunities for amplification of key NGO commitments, messages and calls to action are limited. On account of this, ICVA has created a series of short ‘NGO briefs’ for each of the seven High Level Leaders’ Roundtables (HLRTs). These HLRTs represent one key avenue for NGOs to amplify commitments, and table key issues of concern and calls to action for all humanitarian actors, and particularly to Member States and the United Nations.

These briefs were developed together with ICVA’s membership, with thanks to those NGOs who led and contributed, listed in the introduction to each brief.

The consolidated document of all the briefs is available here.

The individual briefs are as follow:

These briefs serve as a succinct, informed and collective resource and are encouraged to be shared and used widely in communication, advocacy and social media channels. 


ICVA’s WHS Commitments

ICVA’s commitments for the World Humanitarian Summit are grounded in our mission and Strategic Plan, and will be achieved through leveraging our position as a global humanitarian NGO consortium, our Regional Hubs, and our status as a standing invitee to the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC).

ICVA’s commitment demonstrates its ongoing support to and advocacy for principled and effective humanitarian action, and includes specific commitments arising from ICVA’s strong engagement in Humanitarian Financing and the Grand Bargain process.

Please access ICVA’s commitments in English, Arabic and French.


NGO Position Statements, Calls and Commitments

ICVA serves to provide a platform for increased collaboration and coordination between NGOs and other humanitarian actors. Through coordinating and engaging with NGOs, ICVA will highlight key WHS issues pertinent to NGOs. ICVA's website therefore acts as a vehicle for NGOs to share key statements, position papers, calls and commitments.


WHY NOT CASH? NGO calls to the World Humanitarian Summit to scale cash programming for safety, dignity and impact

The joint NGO calls on cash, signed by nine leading NGOs delivering cash programmes, are calling on world leaders to include nine key points in their commitments. Given the potential of cash to increase the safety, dignity, choice and resources of people affected by crises, the question should always be ‘why not cash? If not now, when? To access the full nine points, click here


ACBAR: The World Humanitarian Summit: A Call for Strengthened, Inclusive and Coordinated Action

The Agency Coordinating Body Of Afghan Relief And Development (ACBAR), lists a range of key messages aligning to the Core Responsibility areas, focused specifically on the context in Afghanistan. ACBAR further list key recommendations for the Afghanistan Humanitarian community to: 

  • Continue to support the relief programs responding to the needs of civilians affected by armed conflict, including IDPs, refugees and returnees.
  • Reaffirm their commitment to respect and promote the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.
  • Prioritize and fund needs-based humanitarian programs that target vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, and persons with disabilities. 
  • Invest further in strengthening humanitarian coordination, financing and leadership mechanisms in order to improve the quality, relevance and timeliness of humanitarian responses.
  • Provide support to Afghan institutions, NGOs and local communities for response capacity through increased funding to local humanitarian preparedness.

Access the document here.


ACT Alliance

The ACT Alliance membership, with over 140 churches and faith-based organizations from over 70 countries around the world, and with 70% of its members comprised of local and national responders, has made commitments inline with four of the core responsibility areas. ACT Alliance’s commitments are targeted towards: developing solutions with and for people; meeting people’s essential needs; putting people at the center; building community resilience; and investing in local capacities. Access the commitments here.

Act Alliance have also created a WHS blog, accessible here. This blog delves into key discussions in the lead up to – and during the Summit and serves as a useful resource across eight topics, including the Grand Bargain, humanitarian financing and others.


ActionAid-WHS Core commitments

ActionAid engages in humanitarian and resilience programming which is focused on: (1) promoting women’s leadership in humanitarian action; (2) shifting the power in favour of local actors; and (3) ensuring accountability to disaster affected communities.   ActionAid is committed to the delivery of the core commitments which they  consider fundamental contributions to system change. 

ActionAid aligns with the core responsibilities of action outlined in One Humanity: Shared Responsibility, the Report of the Secretary-General for the World Humanitarian Summit. As a federation working in 47 countries, ActionAid will pursue the delivery of specific targets that include:

  • endorsing the Call to Action on Protection from GBV in emergencies in 2016, and commits to integrate women-led community based protection mechanisms as part of its core humanitarian response programming by 2020.
  • Ensuring that at least 50% of its implementing partners in humanitarian action are women-led or women’s organisations by 2020
  • Ensuring  the meaningful participation of women in all formal and informal decision making processes, ensuring that women make up at least 50% of rights-holders engaged in community decision making and consultation processes that ActionAid leads. 
  • providing increased support by way of direct funding and capacity building to national and local NGOs by 2020. This support will empower and allow them to play a central role in the programming and delivering of principled and coordinated humanitarian assistance. 

Read ActionAid's full list of targets and commitments here.



The All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (AIDMI) has developed a position paper, accessible here, highlighting the work undertaken by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) and AIDMI in building resilience to climate and disasters risks in Assam.

Titled ‘Building Resilience for All’, this position paper highlights the efforts of ASDMA and AIDMI, in partnership with UNICEF and UNDP in supporting vulnerable communities in Assam. The themes discussed in the paper closely align with the WHS core responsibility areas.


Call for Action on the protection of humanitarian aid and aid workers.  Action Contre La Faim (ACF) - France

Protecting aid workers is indispensable to the delivery of humanitarian aid, and a fundamental condition for vulnerable populations to access the services they need. In light of the violence facing aid workers in insecure environments and its impact on access by populations to basic needs, ACF France is has created a Call for the Protection of Aid Workers. This calls for the creation of a Special Procedure for the protection of aid workers, who could spearhead and coordinate the required advocacy, research and investigation of serious incidents that lead to withdrawal of, or restrictions to humanitarian access.

ACF is also committing to:

  • Ensuring the creation of a central database for the collection and analysis of attacks against aid workers, and calling for the systematic condemnation at the UN Security Council in the event of serious incidents and their resulting restrictions on access to populations in urgent need of relief.

  • Reinforcing respect and understanding for the humanitarian principles through the channeling of donor funds - and adapting our organizational strategic plans - to support stronger training on the principles and legal frameworks for all staff, as well as sensitizing local communities and relevant actors present in the field.


A Call for Humanity from global civil society to the World Humanitarian Summit

The call for humanity, endorsed/signed by numerous NGOs, calls on world leaders to rise to the challenge that the Summit represents.

It calls on world leaders to:

  • Address the root causes of crises that affect millions of people, acting far earlier to avert conflict,
  • Strengthening the resilience of States and communities to crises.
  • Reverse the growing lack of respect for international humanitarian law and other international norms meant to safeguard humanity.
  • Meet their fundamental responsibilities to protect civilians and allow unimpeded access to humanitarian relief.

The call lists several key messages in direct relation to each of the Core Responsibility areas outlined by the Secretary General, and is accessible here.


CARE’s Commitments at the World Humanitarian Summit

CARE will deliver on around one hundred joint and collective commitments as part of the WHS process, in addition to implementing priority commitments to:

  • More effectively assist and protect affected populations in challenging and high risk environments.
  • Empower women and girls as change agents and leaders.
  • Secure more resources for first and front line responders to spend on humanitarian action, DRR and climate adaptation and loss and damage.
  • Develop concrete organizational targets to increase direct and predictable financing for response, in particular national and local actors, and advocate for long-term support to ensure all humanitarians are able to maximise their impact.

CARE’s commitments document is accessible here, with further resources in the form of blogs and other materials.


The Charter for Change

The Charter for Change is an initiative, led by both national and nnternational NGOs, to practically implement changes to the way the Humanitarian System operates to enable more locally-led response.

The Charter includes eight (8) commitments that INGOs agree to implement by May 2018, and national NGOs endorse, pertaining to: Direct funding; Partnership; Transparency; Recruitment; Advocacy; Equality; Support and Promotion.

To learn more, endorse or commit to the Charter4Change, click here.


Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action

This Charter represents an opportunity for all stakeholders to further support a more inclusive humanitarian action. The charter has been developed by representatives from States, international organisations, UN agencies, organisations of persons with disabilities and NGOs, with a multi-stakeholder, transparent and inclusive procedure. It puts forward five core principles to support humanitarian actors’ practices to be more inclusive of persons with disabilities:

  1. non-discrimination
  2. participation
  3. inclusive policy
  4. inclusive response and services
  5. cooperation and coordination.

This charter is open for endorsement by a variety of stakeholders including States, UN and international organizations, NGOs and civil society organizations. Contact and to endorse: Camille Gosselin ( and Elena Bertozzi (


CHS Alliance

The members of the CHS Alliance - over 240 national and international organizations working in more than 160 countries - commit to adopting, using and monitoring the Core Humanitarian Standard (CHS), with the objective of making humanitarian action more appropriate, effective, and responsive to the needs of people and communities affected by crises”.  Learn more here.

The CHS Alliance is also calling upon all stakeholders to adopt the Core Humanitarian Standard and International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard, with clear benchmarks for achieving these.” The CHS Alliance Self-Assessment tool is one such benchmark. 


Christian Aid commitments to the World Humanitarian Summit

Christian’s Aid lists a series of priority areas for the WHS. These priority areas, each with a series of corresponding commitments, include:

  • A shift in power towards locally owned and led response.
  • Greater investment in building resilience and reducing disaster risks
  • Greater investment in accountability to vulnerable and disaster-affected populations

In addition to seven specific commitments, Christian Aid has further committed to the reform its practice through committing to the Charter4Change (also as a co-founder), in addition to the commitments of the ACT Alliance. A summary and full version of the commitments are available.  


Danish Refugee Council’s Commitments for the World Humanitarian Summit

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) welcomes the central positioning of forced displacement in the Secretary General’s Report for the World Humanitarian Summit and the Agenda for Humanity. DRC has developed commitments on each of the five core responsibility areas in the Agenda for Humanity and will work to implement and monitor these commitments in coming years.

DRC’s commitments are available here.


Global Alliance for Urban Crises

The Global Alliance for Urban Crises is a global, multi-disciplinary and collaborative community of practice, working to prevent, prepare for and effectively respond to humanitarian crises in urban settings.

The Alliance promotes a vision of inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities and towns (as laid out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development) in which urban communities, their leaders and members have the power, capacities and resources to address the risks and reality of humanitarian crises, to mitigate crisis impacts on the most vulnerable, including the displaced, and to enable affected people to determine, with dignity, the course of their lives and their futures. A charter has been developed and is open for further support.


HERE Geneva: On the Right Track? Reasserting the Priorities of Humanitarian Action

HERE-Geneva’s paper “On the right track? Reasserting the priorities of Humanitarian Action” is the result of a year-long project and three expert working meetings on humanitarian principles, protection and accountability. The paper stresses the need to remind ourselves that the problem does not lie in the lack of guidelines or frameworks. For more effective humanitarian action, we need to revisit our foundations. In our analysis, two conditions stand out as paramount: respect for the law and previous policy commitments, and a strengthened humanitarian identity.


Humanitarian Principles

A joint statement on the centrality of the humanitarian principles, endorsed by 38 humanitarian NGOs as a common contribution to the WHS, calling upon all Humanitarian actors, donors, states and all parties involved in conflicts to:

  • Reaffirm their commitment to respect and to promote the humanitarian principles of humanitarian, neutrality, impartiality and independence, towards any stakeholders involved in humanitarian crises, and re-affirm the value of the humanitarian imperative.

  • Review and design all humanitarian policies in compliance with the humanitarian principles and enhance existing commitments for good donor practices such as the Good Humanitarian Donorship principles.

  • Reaffirm and protect the fundamental right for affected populations to access humanitarian aid.

  • Allow and support full and unimpeded access to all people in need of assistance and promote the safely, protection and freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel.

The joint statement, created in 2015, is available here.


I commit - Personal commitment at the WHS

I commit to collaborate across boundaries to recognise, enable and sustain local and national humanitarian capabilities and leadership.

Click here to sign up:   

The World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) was an opportunity to agree a change in the way we respond to emergencies. While organisations and institutions were the focus, it takes the collective of individuals to make the change that is being called for. The WHS regional consultations have demonstrated the willingness of over 26,000 individuals to engage with this change, and served as a powerful reminder of the vast capabilities at the local, national and regional level.

Individuals were invited to sign up to this personal commitment and put collaboration at the forefront of minds and work. Over 375 people sign up to this commitment, and it was shared and supported by over 15,000 people. We wanted a commitment to go beyond the physical, linguistic, partnership or sector boundaries that we may face and highlight the importance of recognising, enabling and sustaining local and national humanitarian capabilities and leadership.

To ensure the personal nature of this commitment, we did not ask for the support or branding of organisations but instead went logo-less. In the future, we plan to return to this commitment and gather voluntary examples of progress and learning that may result from it.


Inclusion Charter

The Inclusion Charter was developed by a number of agencies to build some coherent effort towards a humanitarian system that supports inclusive approaches. The inclusion charter, supported by 10 leading NGOs, outlines five key steps to inclusion, including: participation, data, funding, capacity and coordination.

Please access and support the Inclusion Charter here


International Rescue Committee (IRC): Commitments to the WHS

IRC has listed five key commitment areas for the WHS, focusing on the following:

Within each of these commitment areas, IRC highlights its own concrete commitments, alongside calls to others to assist in realizing these commitments. 


The Johanniter: Commitments to the Agenda for Humanity

Johanniter list a series of nine commitments, with some commitments speaking directly to the HLRTs and others focused on Special Sessions and cross cutting thematic areas, including:

  • Humanitarian Principles
  • People at the Centre
  • Protecting and promoting the health of crisis-affected people
  • Women and Girls: Catalyzing to achieve gender equality
  • Inclusion of persons with disabilities in humanitarian action
  • Humanitarian Financing: Investing in humanity
  • Changing people’s lives: From delivering aid to ending need
  • Natural disasters and climate change: Managing risks and crises differently  
  • Leaving no-one behind: A commitment to address forced displacement

Johanniter’s commitment document is available here.


Joint letter to the UNSG from Civil Society actors in Lebanon

The joint letter, signed by 57 organisations active in Lebanon, speaks specifically towards the UNSG’s report for the WHS, explicitly calling for:

  • Preventing and ending conflict
  • Addressing root causes of conflict to prevent recurrent crises
  • Addressing the complementarity of humanitarian action and putting greater emphasis on localized and contextualized responses to crises
  • Recognizing the role of volunteerism as a vector of local expertise in humanitarian action

The joint letter is available here


Malteser International - WHS Commitments for Alignment

Malteser International’s compilation of commitments for alignment reflect the core commitments of the High Level Leaders’ Roundtables, and the Special Sessions.  These aligned commitments will be reflected within their internal strategy development, programme design and monitoring and reporting procedures.

Read the full compilation of commitments here.


Médecins du Monde (Doctors Of The World): Our commitments
 for the World Humanitarian Summit

Linking to the proposed Core Responsibility areas, at the WHS, Doctors of the World (Médecins du Monde - MdM) will champion three priority areas:

  • Alliance with Southern NGOs
  • Ensuring the safety of healthcare facilities and those providing and receiving healthcare
  • Attention to migrants and advocacy towards states on migration policies

MdM list a range of specific commitments for concrete actions within these priority areas. MdM’s commitment document is available here


Norwegian Refugee Council – commitments for the World Humanitarian Summit

The Norwegian Refugee Council welcomes the opportunity of the first World Humanitarian Summit to present its ongoing commitments to principled humanitarian action and promote the centrality of protection for displaced persons around the globe. The Norwegian Refugee Council promotes and protects the rights of refugees and people who have been displaced within their own country. They take action during situations of armed conflict, and engage in other contexts where our competences will add value. With these actions in mind we submit the following commitments in support of strengthening the provision of assistance and protection to people affected by crises.

With these actions in mind the Norwegian Refugee Council has submitted a range of commitments  in support of strengthening the provision of assistance and protection to people affected by crises. These include:

  • Commitments to uphold the norms that safeguard humanity
  • Commitments to leave no one behind
  • Commitments to transition from delivering aid to ending need
  • Commitments to improve humanitarian financing.

The Norwegian Refugee Council's full commitments can be found here.


Oxfam: Commitment to Change - What world leaders must promise at the World Humanitarian Summit

The paper sets out Oxfam’s challenge to world leaders who fail to resolve conflicts, permit warring parties to ignore International Humanitarian Law, and do everything possible to keep the world’s refugees and displaced people from their doors. Oxfam, other NGOs and UN agencies must change too in the face of escalating humanitarian demands – including by giving a greater role and more funding directly to local actors, and sets out Oxfam’s own commitments to change.

Oxfam’s commitment document is available here.


Plan International: World Humanitarian Summit: Position and Commitments

The paper outlines Plan International’s response to and recommendations based on the Core Responsibilities in the Agenda for Humanity and sets out our own commitments in support of the Agenda.

As an independent child rights and humanitarian organisation committed to children living a life free of poverty, violence and injustice, Plan particularly endorse the emphasis on leaving no one behind. A list of 13 corresponding commitments are listed in Plan International’s paper.  


Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS)

ReDSS members commit to work together and to be collectively held accountable for the implementation of joint agenda highlighted below. The proposed commitments include:
  • Support the integration of protracted displacement and durable solutions in national development plans 
and in peace negotiations and agreements 

  • Support national and regional institutions in the implementation of legal and policy frameworks in the search of durable solutions for displacement affected communities 

  • Strengthen initiatives that support the self-reliance of refugees, IDPs and returnees and empower their contribution to both host communities and countries of origin 

  • Foster localized approaches and better engage local actors and communities in the search for durable solutions to ensue ownership, local relevance and social cohesion. 

Further information is available here.


Save the Children’s Commitments for the World Humanitarian Summit

Save the Children are leveraging the opportunity of the WHS to enshrine the norm that no child should lose their right to learn just because they are a refugee. Save the Children have listed a range of calls to donors and Member States to increase support for host country governments to expand education to refugee populations through various avenues. In addition to calling for a new approach for every forcible displaced child, unpacked here, Save the Children have made priority commitments in the following areas: 

  • Forced displacement
  • Protection
  • Education
  • Child participation and accountability
  • Gender equality and empowerment
  • Localisation
  • Cash transfers and social protection in humanitarian action
  • Health 
  • Support for the ‘Grand Bargain’.

Access Save the Children’s commitments here.  


Southern NGO network

The official launch of the Southern NGO network will occur on the margins of the WHS. The Network will bring together leaders from various SNGOs, with a focus on:
  • Enhanced policy-level and operational collaboration between SNGOs, including networking and communication activities.
  • Securing predictable and sustainable capacity development resources for members.
  • Playing a representative role in humanitarian advocacy and policy debates, on part with INGOs and UN agencies.
  • Strengthening the contribution of SNGOs to research and the humanitarian evidence-base.
  • Managing a pooled funding mechanism to provide members with a rapid response fund and help them establish a track record of grant management and implementation.


World Vision International core commitments

In line with World Vision’s global mission and vision for every child to experience life in all its fullness, and in line with the UN Secretary General’s call to action to deliver on his Agenda for Humanity, World Vision is committing to twelve specific commitments, relating to:
  • Working with actors to support platforms for dialogue, conflict prevention, humanitarian response and social cohesion, promoting ‘constituencies of peace and nonviolence’.
  • Advocating for accountability and respect of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law.
  • Aiming to reach 20% of all affected children when responding to conflict and natural disasters, investing significant resources to realise this goal.
  • Work towards collective outcomes wherever possible, empowering national and local actors and engages with communities as first responders.
  • Promoting and practicing good practice and standards through the Core Humanitarian Standard and International Aid Transparency Initiative Standard; promoting ethical principled humanitarian action in engagement with businesses, in promoting innovation and as a partner of the Global Urban Crisis Alliance.
  • Commit to allocate up to 20% of our development funding as a crisis modifier when our national affiliates decide, whilst seeking to deliver 50% of its humanitarian aid through a multi-sectoral and multi-purpose cash first approach by 2020, where context appropriate

World Vision’s commitments document is available here. A series of blogs focused on children, humanitarian financing and cash programming is also available here.



NGO Position Papers and Statements (2015)

World Humanitarian Summit: background

Emerging WHS key messages and NGO engagement

World Humanitarian Summit: what is ICVA doing?

World Humanitarian Summit: Questions and Answers