In the lunchtime seminar of CCOUC Disaster & Humanitarian Series on 18 January 2018, Mr Nigel Timmins, Global Humanitarian Director of Oxfam International, was invited to talk about major humanitarian crises in 2017 and the forecast of humanitarian needs in 2018. Mr Timmins has been involved in many humanitarian response missions during his nearly twenty years in the relief and development sector.
At the beginning of the seminar, Mr Timmins explained that ‘more than 20 million people in 4 countries are currently facing starvation and famine and the world is facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of WWII’. According to Mr Timmins, wars and conflicts are the biggest driver of human suffering. He emphasized that humanitarian agencies need to explore and identify what would be the most suitable aids for each community to meet their needs. In this seminar, Mr Timmins shared his experience and challenges in delivering humanitarian aids in Yemen, Nigeria, South Sudan, and Somalia. He believes that it would be important to increase the evidence-based practice in order for humanitarian aids to be more effective. However, one of the major challenges for the practice is the lack of good quality data. Hence, he would appreciate collaborative inputs from other parties, such as research centres and academic institutions. At the end of his talk, Mr Timmins concluded by saying that in order to successfully implement an intervention, it is very crucial to understand people’s behaviours and think about how to change them.
Overall, the seminar was inspiring and thought-provoking for all the participants from a wide range of disciplines and was an invaluable opportunity for experience sharing by the highly experienced professional in the field of humanitarian response.