The Center of Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS), in partnership with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS), held a co-organised a workshop on 'Comparing Gulf and European Union Donors in Yemen'. The event was held on Tuesday, the 21st March 2023, at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, Qatar.
The workshop witnessed the participation of experts from academia, think tanks, policymakers, and development and humanitarian agencies based in the Gulf, European Union (EU), and Yemen. The workshop was divided into four sessions: (1) Aid Modalities of Gulf and EU Donors, (2) Countering the Politicisation of Humanitarian Aid, (3) Operationalising the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, and (4) Policy Recommendations.
The sessions contributed to the advancement of knowledge on the effectiveness of humanitarian and development aid within the context of Yemen, primarily through a novel comparison of donors from the Gulf and EU. The workshop aimed to bring together aid communities from different parts of the world to bridge the existing gaps, facilitate common understanding, and foster greater humanitarian and development coordination and partnerships.
The first session included presentations by Sherine El Taraboulsi-McCarthy, the Director of NatCen International, and Sebastian Sons, a Senior Researcher at the Center for Applied Research in Partnership with the Orient (CARPO). Both speakers emphasised the importance of finding ways to enhance a mutual understanding of aid practices between Gulf and EU donors. To that end, the speakers and participants engaged in a vigorous discussion on the challenges to and opportunities for the potential collaboration between Gulf and EU countries.
The second session focused on the issues around the politicisation of humanitarian aid not only regionally but also globally. The presenters, Khaled Almezaini, an Associate Professor at Zayed University, and Sajjad Mohammad Sajid, the Head of Office at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Yemen, touched on important topics related to the neutrality of aid delivery, aid diversion, taxation, and blockage. Professor Almezaini highlighted the difference between the politicisation of aid and the solidarity of aid by comparing Gulf and EU aid using data from the Financial Tracking Service (FTS). Additionally, Mr Sajid shared the experiences of OCHA Yemen to highlight the needs of the Yemeni people and the contributions provided by donors. The session's Q&A session raised many specific questions regarding the negotiation of access for the delivery of humanitarian aid, such as the matter of the 'mahram' requirement in the Yemeni context to facilitate access to those in need.
During the third session, the panel speakers, Dr Mohamed El Dahshan, a Senior Economic Adviser at the UN Office of the Special Envoy to the Secretary-General on Yemen (OSEGSY) and Dr Nadia Al-Sakkaf, a researcher and former Yemeni Minister of Information, contributed to the broad understanding of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus. Dr Mohamed El Dahshan explained how interdependent the discussed notions are, while Dr Nadia Al-Sakkaf proposed to tackle the issues related to empowering the discussed Nexus notion through close engagement with the local community and actions taken on the microlevels.
The fourth session synthesised key themes discussed and resulted in agreement upon a set of policy recommendations related to Gulf and EU roles as humanitarian donors in Yemen that are intended to facilitate mutual understanding and advance inclusive policy dialogue going forward.
The workshop was concluded with remarks delivered by the co-organisers of the event, where the parties thanked the participants for a highly valuable input and productive discussion. Furthermore, both of the partners agreed on the importance of strengthening their cooperation and converting their participation in the event into action to promote sustainable partnership for future collaboration between the Gulf and EU donors. Ultimately, the workshop could serve as a milestone toward achieving greater cooperation between the Gulf and EU countries.