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Over 168 million people are estimated to need humanitarian assistance in 2021, and this number is expected to increase due to the changing nature of conflict and compounding effects of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic, making health in humanitarian crises a global political priority. The combination of the growing number of people displaced by crises, protracted duration of humanitarian emergencies, and increasingly limited resources necessitates improved response. People affected by crises present a multiplicity of needs that cut across sectors and have a range of immediate, underlying, and root causes. Understanding the intersection of humanitarian needs and the web of factors that create, aggravate, or mitigate these needs, is indispensable to humanitarian decision-making. And yet, estimates of need are often calculated at the sectoral level, resulting in potentially siloed funding and programming, and undermining coordination efforts.
This panel focuses on novel methods for improving humanitarian need assessment. We will 1) investigate the current use of data to estimate need in humanitarian emergencies, 2) examine the equity implications of needs assessment methods, and 3) identify challenges that must be addressed to generate technically rigorous, relevant, and ethical conclusions in complex humanitarian environments with diverse needs, capacities and perspectives.
We welcome empirical or theoretical submissions broadly contributing to the advancement of humanitarian needs assessments.