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20 years exploring humanitarian practice

In 2013, Groupe URD will celebrate twenty years of existence. Twenty memorable years of activity that began when a few people had the intuition that there was a need to create links between the humanitarian and development sectors. We started by writing a book on all the ideas which had emerged during exchanges with all those who felt, as we did, that there was a need for change. Without a budget, but with the conviction that humanitarian practices needed to be re-assessed, we explored crisis contexts and ideas. For twenty years, having weathered storms and tides, having thought a thousand times that we were going to sink only to come back to the surface again, we have shown the relevance of our approach, the importance of our role as an independent observer and our resilience.

Today we have a close-knit team of around twenty people who have moved on from that initial intuition. Our mandate to improve practices in multiple and complex crisis contexts remains as relevant today as ever. Through training, evaluations, research and debates, we hope to contribute to help change the way aid is provided to people.

However, the reason we continue to be relevant today is that so much remains to be done in an increasingly fragile world. So why celebrate our 20 years of existence?
Because the last 20 years have also been 20 years of exchange and we would like to thank our partners and those who have helped to nourish our reflections,
Because 20 years is also a good time to take stock of what we have become and what we have done and to learn lessons for the future,
And, finally, because 20 years is also the beginning of a new adventure. Childhood and adolescence may have passed, but the desire to boldly question practices remains.


Claire Pirotte, President of Groupe URD
François Grunewald, Executive Director of Groupe URD