Humanitarian response protocols during the war, vertical coordination, and digitization: the Aspen Institute’s Kyiv seminar “Support for War-Affected Ukrainians: Coordination and Interaction”

Successful coordination of assistance for war-affected Ukrainians requires adequate communication at all levels of management and interaction between various stakeholders. Collaboration among key stakeholders, such as civil and international organizations, government, and municipal structures, can significantly facilitate humanitarian aid and improve its quality for war-affected individuals.

On February 16, 2024, the Aspen Institute Kyiv conducted the final seminar, “Support for War-Affected Ukrainians: Coordination and Interaction.” The Institute organized this event as part of the “Relief for Ukraine: Ecosystem of Support for Ukrainians” Program initiated by CORE Response and supported by the American Red Cross.

Distinguishing between standard and specialized procedures during war

Seminar participants agreed on the need to improve humanitarian response protocols. Communities require coordinated response plans for critical circumstances, primarily during military actions when standard procedures may not be applicable. Clear and understandable response protocols are also needed at the national level. Some participants agreed that vertical coordination would ensure the efficiency of addressing the needs of war-affected individuals. The state can take leadership in coordinating efforts. Effective interaction with livelihood support donors is also an important aspect.

Participants emphasized the need to improve specialized regulatory acts in terms of legislative framework and terminology. For example, it is necessary to legally distinguish between volunteers and donors, as their status affects their understanding of their rights and obligations.

As highlighted by participants, an essential aspect of the coordination mechanism is verifying and preventing fraud among livelihood support providers and recipients. Therefore, it is necessary to implement a system to alert citizens about possible misconduct.

Additional mechanisms for improving coordination for the adequate provision of livelihood support

During the discussion, participants concluded that it is worth developing a methodology for assessing the needs of war-affected individuals. To achieve this, it is necessary to have a unified platform that reflects both the consumers and providers of humanitarian aid. It is also essential to develop methods for recording and verifying needs.

An IT platform can be an effective tool for creating a unified registry of needs. It is essential to formulate the methodology correctly, considering the priority of requests to which one should respond.

Working with internally displaced persons

According to seminar participants, reintegrating internally displaced persons should be one of the state’s key priorities. Addressing only urgent humanitarian needs will not help restore citizens’ living standards and capabilities.

To successfully adapt and integrate internally displaced persons, it is necessary to implement a unified registry to collect and systematize information about them. Additionally, it is essential to precise mechanisms and develop criteria to determine when a person can be considered internally displaced. This will help avoid misunderstandings and ensure adequate support and protection of IDP rights.

Furthermore, participants emphasized the need to facilitate the return of Ukrainians who were forced to leave the country due to full-scale war.

The Aspen Institute Kyiv team is grateful to the participants for their productive dialogue and high engagement in discussing the seminar topics.

The “Relief for Ukraine: Support Ecosystem for Ukrainians” Program is implemented by Aspen Institute Kyiv, initiated by CORE Response, and supported by the American Red Cross.