The African Union (AU) is set to convene the 11th Session of the African Humanitarian Symposium from 28 to 30 November 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya. The theme of the symposium is “Advancing Effective and Inclusive Humanitarian Action in Africa”.

The symposium is organized by the Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development of the African Union Commission (AUC), in collaboration with AU Humanitarian Partners, namely, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The symposium aims to provide a platform for dialogue and exchange of best practices among policy makers and practitioners from Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Donors, UN Agencies, African and International Humanitarian Organizations and other stakeholders on how to advance effective and inclusive humanitarian action in Africa.

The symposium will also discuss the progress and challenges in the implementation of the collective commitments of the African Union Member States as encapsulated in the 2016 Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness (CAP), the 2022 Malabo Declaration and the Global Compact on Refugees.

The symposium will also explore the opportunities and implications of the establishment of the African Humanitarian Agency as Africa’s Institutional pillar in responding to forced displacements and disasters on the continent. The agency is expected to give effect to the centrality of African States in humanitarian action on the continent and mark a significant development in shaping Africa’s Humanitarian Agenda and Architecture.

In addition, the symposium will address the need to integrate humanitarian needs and displacement issues into national and local development plans as well as the need to anchor humanitarian action in appropriate inclusive strategies in order to promote effective and inclusive humanitarian action in Africa. This is in line with the recent initiatives of the AU, such as the Extraordinary Humanitarian Summit and Pledging Conference held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in May 2022, and the Resolution on socio-economic inclusion of vulnerable persons in Africa issued by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights on 2 August 2023.

The expected outcomes of the symposium include:

  • Proposals of strategies and immediate action for effective operationalization of the African Humanitarian Agency.
  • Proposals for synergies, tools, and mechanisms for approach to providing an effective and inclusive humanitarian response in Africa.
  • Proposals of inclusive approaches to humanitarian response in Africa
  • Proposals of partnerships and identified resources necessary for improvement of humanitarian governance and response in Africa.

The participants of the symposium will include Senior Officials from Ministries and National Agencies from AU Member States responsible for Humanitarian Affairs; Ambassadors Members of the PRC Sub- Committee on Refugees; Regional Economic Communities; Organs of the AU and relevant Departments of the African Union Commission, Humanitarian Partners, Social and Private Sectors; United Nations Agencies.

The symposium is part of the Annual Humanitarian Symposium series that was institutionalized in 2013 as a platform to bring together policy makers and practitioners from Member States, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), Donors, UN Agencies, African and International Humanitarian Organizations and other stakeholders to discuss and review the state of humanitarian action in Africa.

The symposium is expected to contribute to the enhancement of the humanitarian response capacity and effectiveness of the AU and its Member States, as well as to the promotion of the humanitarian principles and values of the AU.

The symposium will be held in a hybrid format, with both physical and virtual participation. The registration for the symposium is open until 15 November 2023. For more information, please visit the official website of the symposium.


Evina Elise