Humanitarian aid

Geneva is often referred to as the humanitarian capital of the world: it is home to the headquarters or regional offices of many humanitarian organisations. The Permanent Mission of Finland maintains cooperative relations with these organisations and coordinates the humanitarian aid provided by the Finnish government to the organisations. In addition to the international aid agencies, the Delegation works closely with other members of the donor community in Geneva and with NGOs.

Finland is a medium-sized donor and a strong advocate of principled aid. Finland's humanitarian action is based on international humanitarian law, human rights treaties, refugee law and principles established by the UN. Finland is committed to the principles of Good Humanitarian Donorship. Internationally agreed practices emphasise humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. Aid should be provided solely on the basis of need - not for political, military or economic reasons.

EU cooperation with humanitarian organisations is based on common objectives and commitments, but there is no formal EU coordination. At major humanitarian meetings, the EU Presidency usually presents the common EU position, after which Member States can also present their own national perspectives. On humanitarian issues, the positions of EU Member States are often quite similar.

In humanitarian aid, donor countries stress the importance of coordinating aid to ensure the most appropriate and effective response to emergencies. A concrete example of coordination is the annual Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) appeals, where UN agencies jointly present their funding needs for the following year.  Coordination on the ground, at the point of intervention, is also a key element of humanitarian aid coordination.The cluster model is used to manage and coordinate aid operations. There are eleven clusters, each headed by a relevant UN agency. NGOs are also involved in coordination within the framework of cluster activities.The cluster approach aims to reduce duplication and improve effectiveness in crisis situations through a clear division of responsibilities.

The Office for Coordination on Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) under the UN Secretariat, with offices in Geneva and New York, is responsible for humanitarian aid coordination.

Every year, humanitarian aid reaches millions of people affected by natural disasters, armed crises and conflicts around the world.  Their aim is to get aid to the people affected as quickly as possible in the event of a crisis. Humanitarian aid also aims to prevent and prepare for crises.

Humanitarian aid is usually short-term. Once the worst is over, humanitarian actors step aside and longer-term development cooperation takes over, focusing on reconstruction and regional development, among other things. The continuum between humanitarian aid, development and peace-building (the so-called triple nex) has received increasing attention in recent years.

Humanitarian organizations based in Geneva

Within the UN system, a number of UN agencies are active in Geneva, focusing on humanitarian aid and assistance to refugees.The main ones are: