Navigating Change Learning Stream

Humanitarians operate in a constantly changing environment. New emergencies, technological evolutions, and changing political landscapes constantly pose new challenges and prompt new approaches for humanitarian action. 

In many parts of the world, respect for humanitarian principles is eroding and so too is the NGOs’ space to operate.  The humanitarian community struggles to keep up with the multiple reforms, initiatives and discussions that are happening at the global policy level and at the regional and country levels.

In this context, ICVA and PHAP’s fourth online Learning Stream “Navigating Change” provides a platform for the NGO community to better understand changes affecting the humanitarian sector. 

The ICVA-PHAP Learning Streams create a space for the broader humanitarian community to come together and discuss these changes, learn from one another, and share solutions. The “Navigating Change” Learning Stream includes a series of six webinars, the first of which kicks off on 8 November 2018, in addition to briefing papers and other resources.


The “Navigating Change” Learning Stream provides NGO staff, including field, policy and headquarter staff an opportunity to:

  1. have an overview on the global-level policy discussions on humanitarian action;
  2. explore the avenues available for humanitarian actors to engage in policy discussions at global, regional and country levels;
  3. understand what such a changing landscape means for them; 
  4. hear from different actors working on these issues on how to build synergies;
  5. understand the challenges, the risks and opportunities for principled and effective humanitarian action, especially at the country and regional levels;
  6. become acquainted with the efforts underway to help NGOs and other actors navigate change;
  7. share lessons learned, best practices from different contexts with the wider NGO and humanitarian community.


ICVA-PHAP Learning Streams are open to anyone interested in improving their understanding of the changing humanitarian landscape.




Over the past few years, a diverse set of actors have engaged in initiatives aiming to make the international humanitarian ecosystem more inclusive of local and national actors.

This webinar will aim at answering the following questions:

  • What does localization mean, how has it evolved, how is it currently used?
  • How do governments, non-State donors, private sector actors, and diaspora actors see current opportunities, challenges, and future trends?
  • What is the impact of localization initiatives on principled and effective humanitarian action?

An ICVA briefing paper is available here.


  • Topic 2: How do NGOs navigate the shrinking civil society space? Date to be confirmed

The space in which civil society organisations operate is shrinking in many parts of the world, with freedoms of association and assembly increasingly restricted. This is also the case for NGOs working the in humanitarian action.
This webinar will aim at answering the following questions:

  • How can NGOs navigate the shrinking space and what are other actors doing?
  • How can humanitarian NGOs improve their engagement?

Participants will also hear from ICVA on its scoping study on civil society space and related recommendations, and will be given the opportunity to share their feedback.


  • Topic 3: Navigating standards for  humanitarian assistance? Date to be confirmed

The past few years have seen major developments in the area of humanitarian standards and other quality and accountability efforts. These developments include: the convergence around the Core Humanitarian Standard on Quality and Accountability (CHS), the merger of HAP International and People in Aid into the new CHS Alliance, the launch of the Humanitarian Quality Assurance Initiative (HQAI), the revision of Sphere and other standards, among others.
This webinar will aim at answering the following questions:   

  • How are these standards and related tools and mechanisms being used?
  • Are they fulfilling their intended purposes?
  • How are these standards currently changing?  What are the processes and timelines for these changes? 
  • What resources are available for NGOs to help them take on board standards in their work?

An ICVA briefing paper on “Navigating the Standards” will be available in February 2019.


  • Topic 4: The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR): What does it mean for NGOs? Date to be confirmed

Since the adoption of the New York Declaration in September 2016, new multi-stakeholder approaches have emerged in refugee response. The Global Compact on Refugees aims at compiling a set of arrangements to ensure comprehensive and predictable responses to large-scale movements of refugees, based on international cooperation and responsibility-sharing.

This webinar will aim at answering the following questions:  

  • What does the GCR mean for NGOs?
  • How will the GCR impact NGO activities and programming?
  • How can NGOs contribute to harnessing the full potential of the global compact?
  • How do we work through a “Whole of Society” approach? 
  • What will be different in terms of responsibility sharing? 

An ICVA briefing paper on “The GCR: what it means for NGOs” will be available in Q1 2019.


  • Topic 5:  Sharing and mitigating risk in a changing humanitarian environment. Date to be confirmed

Management of risk in humanitarian operations have become an increasingly central focus in  humanitarian discussions. Improved management of risk is one of the few paths through which donors are likely to trust partners with greater funds, over longer periods of time, with reduced oversight burdens – characteristics which cut across many of the worsktreams in the Grand Bargain framework. Central to such improvement are issues like risk transfer and risk sharing, among others. 

This webinar will aim at answering the following questions:  

  • How can NGOs be better prepared to face risk in a changing environment?
  • How risk is transferred between humanitarian actors?
  • how it can be better collectively shared and mitigated?

This webinar will build on a an analysis of existing risk-related studies and initiatives.  (available in Q1 2019)


  • Topic 6: Lessons from the Learning Lab on Innovative Financing. Date to be confirmed

In early 2018, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Humanitarian Financing Task Team (HFTT) decided to launch a platform to share learning about potential ways to close the system-wide funding gap for humanitarian action.  This webinar will present findings to date.