Illustration for the 24th Humanitarian Congress Berlin 2022 "Feminist Humanitarian Action: From Affirmation to Transformation"

Feminist Humanitarian Action: From Affirmation to Transformation, 11-13 Oct 2022

In recent years, the Humanitarian Congress has took up major and controversial issues; critically addressed the causes and consequences of the climate crises, racism, global (in)justice, and the Covid19 pandemic.

The time had come to continue and develop the debates of the past years from intersectional feminist perspectives, because we felt that feminist approaches had not yet received enough attention in humanitarian action, thereby missing the potential to transform and improve humanitarian action. Feminism matters, and this was becoming increasingly clear in a variety of contexts. Also political actors discovered and acknowledged more and more that feminist approaches can contribute to a more sustainable and balanced system.

Why focus on a feminist approach in humanitarian action?

Despite some minor advancements, humanitarian challenges and crises are constantly evolving, some increasing in scale and scope, developing new dynamics and becoming more complex. The complexity of conflicts and crises requires structural change, not only in society but also for the humanitarian architecture. It is essential that feminist perspectives are used to analyse and challenge global inequalities and power structures, and to rethink the humanitarian action. In humanitarian contexts in marginalized communities in the Global South, access to basic essential services such as sexual and reproductive health often remains limited due to resource constraints and competing priorities.

How to approach ‘Feminist Humanitarian Action’ at #HCBerlin?

Therefore, at last year’s Humanitarian Congress, we discussed strategies and best practices for sexual and reproductive health and rights in crisis preparedness and response. Moreover, addressed the impact of humanitarian crises on LGBTQI+ persons, their marginalized (in)visibility in the humanitarian system and their limited access to health services. Following up from the previous year’s event, we also deepened our conversations on the humanitarian consequences of the climate crisis and elaborated on what changes and steps are necessary, from feminist perspectives, to achieve climate justice in humanitarian contexts. Additionally, we looked at the increasing number of food security crises and their implications for humanitarian action.

The illustration of this year’s HCBerlin was created by Pamela Calero.

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