Stellenbosch University hosts UN OCHA workshop
The two-day workshop of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) kicked off at Stellenbosch University’s Institute for Advanced Studies (STIAS) today.
OCHA mobilises and coordinates effective and principled humanitarian action in partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies.
Prof Julian Smith, Vice-Rector: Community Interaction and Personnel, welcomed guests at the Wallenberg Research Centre at STIAS this morning. “Stellenbosch University’s HOPE Project, which is aligned with the millennium development goals have been recognized by the UN and therefore it is symbolic that this workshop is held in Stellenbosch. I hope that this meeting will be a reference point in the future and that the partnerships that are formed here will make a significant impact on the continent.”
He invited the delegates to enjoy the town’s hospitality and sample the wine and culture of the region.
According to Mr Daniel Gilman, Humanitarian Affairs Officer of OCHA and chair of the workshop, an OCHA Humanitarian Policy Conference was held in December 2011, which identified a need to enhance cooperation with NGOs, think tanks and other groups involved in humanitarian work. “As a follow up, OCHA is convening a series of humanitarian policy workshops to listen to and learn from national and regional actors as to their priorities and challenges. These discussions will inform and drive a humanitarian policy agenda.”
The two-day workshop brings together some 40 representatives from African Universities, national civil society groups, and regional organizations that have relevant humanitarian and development field experience to deliberate on issues around improving the effectiveness of humanitarian response.