On June 9th, NCHS researcher Kristin Bergtora Sandvik was interviewed together with Gry Ballestad, Head of Humanitarian Section of Save the Children Norway, in the God Morgen Norge program of Norwegian television channel TV2. Sandvik argued that the needs facing the current humanitarian system are enormous, and called for more efficient ways in managing and implementing relief efforts. Against a backdrop of limited resources and access obstacles, it is crucial that local actors play a larger role and get a fairer slice of the pie in the conduction of humanitarian efforts. Sandvik noted that local players, rather than large humanitarian organizations, should get more funds in order to enable humanitarians to deliver more on the ground. She further observed that donors such as Norwegian authorities do not yet have a system where smaller funds can be given to smaller organizations. Rather, the largest share of humanitarian financing continues to be channeled through the major players. Accordingly, while actors have become better in documenting and reporting their activities, it remains difficult for local humanitarian players to get into the system. Sandvik also called for an improved, more open and honest UN system, and stressed that Norway must have a more coherent and slightly tougher political discussion on the priorities and measures set to provide support to humanitarian activities.
The issues and challenges affecting the humanitarian system raised by Sandvik and Ballestad in the interview were addressed more thoroughly later in the day at the Humanitarian Point Break seminar, co-hosted by NCHS and Save the Cildren Norway and bringing together humanitarian academics, practitioners and policy-makers.