First of all, we consider humanitarian disasters to be the combined result of both the weakening of individuals, societies or states and the breakdown of political, social and natural equilibriums. We therefore do not believe that there is anything inevitable about the impact of crises on the most vulnerable sections of society but rather that all public and private actors need to take action to limit this impact. Crises reveal pre-existing vulnerabilities, and as such, they require more than an emergency response. They show the crucial role of political action in managing and preventing crises.
We are therefore part of the civil society movement which aims to remind government institutions and businesses of their responsibility to take social, environmental and political risks into account in their actions. We advocate for the integration of new paradigms like resilience and access to increasingly limited resources into development aid. To this end we are engaged in constructive dialogue with political stakeholders to develop appropriate policies in disaster and crisis prevention, humanitarian action and reconstruction.
There are a large number of stakeholders with different capacities and mandates involved in disaster and crisis prevention, humanitarian action and reconstruction. Such a variety of local and international organisations allows the sector to cover a variety of needs, but it also makes coordination necessary. Coordination, however, should not lead to uniformity between stakeholders. We believe that the humanitarian sector must rigorously apply and defend the principles of humanity, independence and impartiality in order to ensure effectiveness and access to local populations.
In keeping with this approach, we are committed to promoting quality in humanitarian aid. Quality aid meets people’s real needs as effectively as possible, both in terms of assistance and protection; it takes into account the specific vulnerabilities and capacities which exist in each context; it produces useful results having taken into account the various short- and long-term dimensions of its activities; and it respects the human and natural environment in which it takes place. Central to this approach to aid is the position of local people who are not seen simply as beneficiaries but as real partners.
Finally, Groupe URD also works towards an increasingly responsible humanitarian sector which is accountable to both donors and beneficiaries, thereby increasing confidence in aid and the legitimacy of aid organizations. It is also with a view to greater responsibility that we provide the sector with support to build its capacity to learn, anticipate, innovate and adapt to new realities so that it can meet the challenges of our rapidly-changing world.