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Groupe URD 2017 Annual Report

As I take up my pen to write this President’s Report, my thoughts turn to Claire Pirotte, co-founder of Groupe URD, asking me to stand as President of Groupe URD in July 2017 so that she could face Death, which would finally get the better of her in early 2018. A socially committed and generous woman, she left behind a Groupe URD that is active in all the major crisis contexts in the world, and puts all its energy into bringing a little creative reflection to them.

2017 was another busy year when the team travelled from Nepal to Colombia, via the Sahel, the Lake Chad region, the periphery of the Syrian crisis, and the Myanmar conflict. As part of the preparations for ALNAP’s latest State of the Humanitarian System report, we were given the responsibility of listening to beneficiaries and local actors in 15 countries affected by crises, and particularly Lebanon, Kenya, Yemen, Mali and Bangladesh, with a view to producing 5 case studies.

It was also a year of working on sensitive issues: donors’ funding allocation criteria and processes; the use of military and civil defence assets in natural disasters and health crises; and the evaluation of the cholera response in Yemen are only a few of the issues that were covered.

Having previously run Observatories in Afghanistan, Chad and Haiti, we began preparing the launch of two new initiatives in 2018 to provide agile management support to numerous operators: in Mali, as part of a programme by the European Commission, and in the Lake Chad region, in partnership with ACF and CARE, with funding from the French Development Agency and the European Union.

We also commissioned an evaluation of the Sigmah project in order to learn lessons from the ten years it has been running, and explore possible ways to consolidate what has been achieved during this collective adventure and make it sustainable in the future.

And, of course, we have also tried to contribute to the main debates of the year with numerous interlocutors: within the humanitarian think tank network connected to OCHA; in providing support to donors (DG ECHO, DEVCO, DFID, DANIDA, OFDA, France); and with NGOs (aid localisation, migration to Europe, disaster risk management, etc.).

The quality of the organisation’s internal functioning, and the cohesion between the Administrative Board, the management and the staff, which were so important to Claire, have been central to the actions of the Vice President, Anne-Marie Mounier, and myself during 2017, and they will continue to be in 2018.

Groupe URD continues to forge its path, a respected player in the world of humanitarian and crisis management theory, forced to remain humble due to our constant contact with people living and surviving in crises and their extraordinary resilience.

Monique Cardot

Anne-Marie Mounier
Vice President