The Forum on Localizing Response to Humanitarian Need was held from Oct 16-19 2017 at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Forum was organized as a follow on from the World Humanitarian Summit, responding to and reinforcing the localization of aid/Grand Bargain discussions, and designed to produce a body of evidence on questions of HOW to engage local faith actors, and actions to scale up their engagement as local partners.

142 people from 36 countries assembled to learn from Sri Lankan religious leaders and FBOs and from each other about local faith engagement in humanitarian response and to discuss how to scale up engagement. About 40 local actors received a subsidy to attend.


Overall Goal

Within the context of the localization of aid agenda, to provide a platform for diverse religious and faith-based organizations to come together with secular partners to showcase and critically reflect on their respective contributions to humanitarian preparedness, response and recovery, in order to strengthen partnerships with local religious and FBO networks, improve delivery, and scale up interventions.


The forum was planned by a diverse committee of international religious and faith-based networks active in humanitarian response, who have come together to explore and share innovative mechanisms of engagement between public and secular bodies and local religious networks in meeting the needs of victims, refugees, migrants, IDPs and their communities. A fine local host committee had been established, and its members worked diligently to engage the Sri Lankan government in this forum.


About the Sri Lankan Host Committee:

The Forum planning committee, in consultation with local experts, selected Sri Lanka as a location for the working meeting because we have so much to learn from its long experience of religious and faith-based leadership in humanitarian response

The local host committee, co-chaired by Reverend Ebenezer Joseph and the Venerable Banagala Upatissa Thero, prepared a panel of experts to present lessons learned from the Sri Lankan experiences of local religious and faith-based engagement in peace making and reconciliation, and in responding to natural disasters.

The local host committee includes:

  • Faizer Khan Muslim Aid
  • Firzan Hashim Asia Pacific Alliance for Disasters
  • Mohammed Saleem Development Activist
  • Kavitha Vijayaraj Sarvodaya
  • Rev. Ebenezer Joseph National Christian Council
  • Urmila Selvanayagam World Vision
  • Nagulan Nesiah Episcopal Relief & Development 
  • Saabira Mohideen Logistics Consultant

Read more about the forum leadership here


The following shows conference sessions (click on the session name for names of panelists and the resources)

Conference Sessions

Session Date Time
Opening Evening 16 October 2017 5:00 - 8:00 pm
Charges to the Conference from Leadership 17 October 2017 8:45 - 10:00 am
Sri Lankan Perspective Panel 17 October 2017 10:30am - 12:15pm
Conflict & Peacemaking Panel 17 October 2017 1:45 - 5:30 pm
Disaster Risk Reduction & Resilience 17 October 2017 1:45 - 5:30 pm
Disaster Response Panel 17 October 2017 1:45 - 5:30 pm
Refugees and Forced Migration Panel 17 October 2017 1:45 - 5:30 pm
Children & Health Panel 18 October 2017 8:50 - 10:30 am
Gender-based Violence Panel 18 October 2017 8:50 - 10:30 am
What is needed? What resources are available? What is next? 18 October 2017 1:00 - 2:15 pm
Closing Session: Child Advocate Report 18 October 2017 4:00 - 5:00 pm