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Unite. Inspire. Overcome.

The Global Humanitarian Forum brings together some of the most experienced and insightful people in the world to generate ideas and break new ground in the effort to overcome humanitarian challenges. Generally, we don’t produce the ideas. Rather, we find those who do, creating a structure of thinkers and doers greater than the sum of its parts.

Sometimes, however, we actually develop and scale up ideas.

We work in three basic areas: Raising awareness about humanitarian challenges, especially those that are overlooked; developing ideas that can stimulate debate and thoughtful response; and taking action that can alleviate humanitarian problems in innovative ways.

In May 2009 the Global Humanitarian Forum published a landmark report called Human Impact Report: Climate Change – The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis. The report, prepared for the Forum by Dalberg Global Development Advisors, described how some 300,000 people die every year as a result of climate change. The news media turned the statistic into headlines around the world, and for the first time, the human impact of climate change was news.

We also started the Time for Climate Justice campaign to alert people to the need for an agreement on climate change at the 2009 UN Conference in Copenhagen. The Campaign created a logo that has became the most recognized symbol of the climate justice movement, then released a pop song with the voices of more than 60 international media artists. The song was downloaded more than 170,000 times, and Climate Justice became the rallying cry for thousands of people at Copenhagen. The Forum also held a major conference in South Africa, then published Key Points on Climate Justice to help define some of the main issues.

Millions now know that the human impact of climate change is one of the world’s most serious humanitarian challenges, and that climate justice is a key to solving it.

Every year in June we hold a joint conference in Geneva: one part for some of the most influential leaders in the world, and the other for some of the most active young people. They all come together to develop ideas on how humanitarian challenges can be solved. At the 2008 Annual Forum we took up the human impact of climate change, and out of the conference came our Weather Info for All initiative in Africa and the Time for Climate Justice campaign.


The Youth Forum in 2009 served as a launching pad for innovative projects by conference participants, ranging from an alternative green algae-based energy initiative to an effort developing radio information for women and children in Africa. The 2009 Annual Forum followed up on the successful Human Impact Report with intense discussion on that issue. The 2010 Annual Forum and Youth Forum will highlight and develop ideas on the overarching issue that involves every phase of humanitarian work: chronic vulnerability.

Sometimes the Global Humanitarian Forum takes up ideas and nurtures them itself. The Weather Info for All initiative is a good example. After the 2008 Annual Forum, the Global Humanitarian Forum put together the major telecommunications company Ericsson, smaller telecom companies in Africa, the World Meteorological Organization, and meteorological services in several African countries to bring ground-level weather data to African communities badly in need of it.

The Youth Forum saw the need for better information for youth on the Copenhagen climate talks in December 2009 and formed Noize from the Future. This youth-oriented news agency blogged from Copenhagen and will do so again at key events.


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