Now available-Recording of webinar on the impact of bank de-risking on humanitarian action

Access the video and audio recordings of the third session of the PHAP and ICVA Learning Stream on Risk Management  

On 22 October, International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) and PHAP organized a webinar focusing on bank de-risking and its impact on humanitarian action. Often related to compliance with counter-terrorism measures, bank de-risking measures by financial institutions manifest themselves to humanitarian organizations in the form of refused transactions, closed accounts, or other restrictions. While bank de-risking issues for humanitarian organizations have to a large degree concerned money transfers to operations in fragile countries, there are more and more examples of humanitarian organisations facing difficulties transferring funds even at the headquarters level. Bank de-risking is lacking research and advocacy since most organisations avoid discussing how it affects them. This is why humanitarian organisations need to step up both the management of this risk and common advocacy towards both donors and financial regulators.

With over 600 registrants for the event, the session began with an introductory briefing, after which we discussed with a panel of experts the practical challenges faced by humanitarian NGOs and how to approach this issue from a risk management perspective.

Participants had the opportunity to hear from an experienced panel of experts with Sangeeta Goswami, the Advocacy and Communications Officer of Human Security Collective, who provided an overview of bank de-risking and what it means for NGOs and how to tackle the challenges associated with it. She underlined that the solutions to these challenges would need multilateral attention rather than just a national focus. Khaleel Desai, Head of Governance at Islamic Relief Worldwide shared the experiences of his organization related the costs and risks faced in delivering humanitarian aid in the past year including challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they were compounded by restrictions from, and a lack of transparency of financial institutions. 

We also heard from Philippe Besson, the Head of the Multilateral Division of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) on behalf of the Good Humanitarian Donorship Co-chairs. He offered his perspectives working with donors on the impact of de-risking and de-banking. He emphasised the need for the banking sector to be more aware of IHL obligations, coupled with those within the humanitarian ecosystem to do their due diligence when it comes financial transactions for humanitarian programs. 

This event followed the first two sessions in the series on risk management that looked at security risk management duty of care during the COVID-19 pandemic, and on balancing risk appetite and risk tolerance.

If you missed this event, you can now access video recordings and audio podcasts versions of the session on the event page. For increased accessibility, the YouTube version has captions in English, with French and Arabic translations coming soon.

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