ICRC at the 2024 European Humanitarian Forum

The ICRC will attend the third edition of the European Humanitarian Forum (EHF), taking place Monday 18 - Tuesday 19 March 2024 in Brussels and livestreamed via the EHF website.
Article 07 March 2024 Belgium

The European Humanitarian Forum

The Forum, co-organised by the European Commission (DG ECHO) and Belgium in the framework of its Presidency of the Council of the EU, takes place in a global context of sharply growing humanitarian needs, shrinking humanitarian space, lack of respect for IHL, and increasingly complex and protracted conflicts.

After the 2022 and 2023 editions, the Forum will continue to examine humanitarian action in a broader, cross-sectoral context, exploring and addressing the implications of the current humanitarian crises. The EHF is also a space for local actors to jointly propose innovative, more sustainable solutions to contemporary challenges.

ICRC participation in the 2024 European Humanitarian Forum

At this year's EHF, the ICRC participates in three high-level panels and two humanitarian talks. The ICRC President Miriana Spoljaric will also address the Forum with a speech during the opening ceremony together with European Commissioner Lenarcic, Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Genez, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Borrell and the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths.

Participants in the EHF will also be able to visit the ICRC's Digital Dilemmas exhibition, an immersive VR experience on digital risks in humanitarian settings.

Our events

Monday 18 March 2024 17.10 – 18.40

Plenary: The hidden cost of conflict: addressing sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo

With Patrick Youssef, Regional Director for Africa

Deeply rooted conflict over natural resource,s as well as ongoing hostilities between armed groups in eastern DR,C have led to the internal displacement of millions of people forced to seek shelter in makeshift camps or with host communities. Insecurity, coupled with displacement, inadequate living conditions and lack of livelihood opportunities, have led to shocking rates of sexual violence and negative coping strategies such as survival sex. The scale of the problem is alarming, children are also among the victims.

The panellists, with global and local perspectives, will discuss the causes of growing rates of sexual violence in eastern DRC and present recommendations on how to urgently tackle the issue in a collective approach.


Tuesday 19 March 2024 9.00-10.30

Panel: One year after UNSCR 2664: where do we stand, and where to next?

With Eva Svoboda, Head of Policy and Humanitarian Diplomacy

Humanitarian exemptions enable the legitimate humanitarian aid delivery, addressing the essential needs of vulnerable populations while ensuring the effective implementation of restrictive measures. UNSCR 2664, adopted in 2022, introduced a standing humanitarian exemption from asset freeze measures in UN sanctions regimes and represented a milestone in this discussion. The EU has already transposed humanitarian exemptions in line with UNSCR 2664 to several regimes.

This panel aims to take stock of what has already been achieved and look ahead, engaging in other aspects such as implementation and potential impacts. What are the next steps? How can we foster implementation?


Tuesday 19 March 2024 15.45-17.15

Panel: Building stronger community resilience in fragile countries through better access to climate finance

Moderated by Catherine-Lune Grayson, Head of Policy

Climate change is an existential challenge for all of humanity, but its effects are felt most acutely in countries and regions already impacted by conflict and fragility. At the same time, climate action and climate finance are insufficiently reaching fragile and conflict-affected countries.

This session will lay out the main barriers to accessing climate finance for the most climate- vulnerable countries and communities, focusing on those affected by violence and conflict. It will build upon past discussions, delving deeper into the issues anddiscussings ways to concretely overcome them, with representatives from development actors, the private sector and non-government organisations.


Tuesday 19 March 2024 10.45 - 12.15

Humanitarian talk: Unpacking new technologies and addressing the tech hype in humanitarian settings – Artificial Intelligence, Misinformation, Disinformation and Hate Speech, Data Protection

Organised by the ICRC, UNDRR and UNHCR, with the participation of Czech Republic and Luxembourg. Speaker: Philippe Stoll, Senior Techplomacy Delegate

New technologies represent an opportunity for humanitarian action, enabling new services and forms of assistance that bring about more efficiency, accountability and proximity. However, the increasing digitalisation of humanitarian responses also brings significant risks in fragile contexts – for populations affected by conflict and other crises and for principled humanitarian action. Despite progress in terms of awareness, policy tools and commitments, significant gaps in the operational reality and practices of humanitarian organisations remain – with negative knock-on effects for affected populations, perception, trust and acceptance of humanitarian actors.

The discussion will focus on identifying neglected risks, remaining gaps, and concrete mechanisms and organisational solutions to ensure that humanitarian organisations turn their promise of "responsible tech" into a reality.


Tuesday 19 March 2024 15.45 - 17.15

Humanitarian Talk: Joined-up action for collective outcomes: accelerating access and coordination for water, sanitation and hygiene in fragile contexts and forgotten crises

Moderated by David Kaelin, Water and Habitat Policy Adviser

The session will spotlight the central role that effective and accountable coordination plays in reducing the impact of crises, to meet life-saving needs and to drive investment for durable and efficient solutions.


Throughout the event

Digital Dilemmas Virtual Reality exhibition

New technologies represent an opportunity for humanitarian action by bringing about more efficiency, accountability, and proximity, hence they are relevant when discussing the funding gap and fragile contexts. However, given the crucial impacts of digital technologies, humanitarian organisations, technology companies, and States have a shared responsibility to ensure that technologies are not creating new vulnerabilities, in particular in times of conflict.

The Digital Dilemmas experience is a multi-media initiative developed by the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Its objective is to immerse visitors in a crisis situation to see how digital technologies, from social networks to biometrics and connectivity, are transforming lives in such an environment. The aim is to create a sense of urgency around the massive impact of these technologies, and encourage people and decision-makers to take action to improve the infrastructure necessary to protect everyone.