Most humanitarian need is caused by conflict. Needs are higher than they ought to be, and harder to respond to, because of widespread violations of the laws of war. What can be done to try to recover some of the ground lost in recent years in protecting civilian populations against the effects of conflict and to enable humanitarian agencies to support people better?
Meet our speaker and chair
Mark Lowcock (@UNReliefChief) of the United Kingdom assumed office as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and Emergency Relief Coordinator in September 2017.
As chief coordinator of the world’s humanitarian response to urgent crises, Mr. Lowcock holds oversight for all emergencies requiring United Nations humanitarian assistance. He advocates in the United Nations Security Council for people affected by conflicts and disasters, and through discussions with Member States, donors and the media. He also mobilizes resources for global humanitarian action, pooled funds and OCHA, and leads the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC), a forum of United Nations and non-United Nations humanitarian organizations focused on strengthening humanitarian assistance.
Mr. Lowcock has more than 30 years of experience leading and managing responses to humanitarian crises across the globe, as well as wider strategic leadership in international development. Prior to taking up his role at OCHA, he was the Permanent Secretary of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Mr. Lowcock began his career at DFID (formerly the Overseas Development Administration) in 1985, and served in a range of roles, including postings in Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe.
He holds a Master of Science in Economics from the University of London and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and History from Oxford University. He is a charted accountant.
Dr Stuart Gordon is the Programme Director for the International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies MSc and currently the Deputy Head (Teaching) for the department. He is an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute for International Affairs (Chatham House) and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
He also coordinates the International Development department development and humanitarian consultancy programmes. He is a research adviser to both the Humanitarian Forum and the Moslem Charities Forum. He sits on the editorial board of the Disasters journal and co-directs, with Sara Pantuliano, the LSE-ODI Senior Level Course on Conflcit and Humanitarian Response. He writes on the roles of institutions in conflict and complex emergencies with a particular focus on the interactions between humanitarian and security organisations (state militaries and non-state armed groups).
Prior to joining LSE he was a senior adviser on the UK’s Helmand and Afghan Strategies working with the military, diplomatic and development branches of the UK government. He has conducted field research in conflict settings including Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria, Uganda, Somalia and Ethiopia. He has served in the UK Armed Forces (RAF and Army) as both a regular and reserve officer, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel.
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