The World Humanitarian Action Forum (WHAF) is an initiative, organised by several humanitarian and development organisations, that aims to encourage effective collaboration with local actors to better serve affected communities.

WHAF 2019 brought together over 480 delegates representing local and national NGOs, INGOs, Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, networks, philanthropists and academics from across the humanitarian, development and peace-building sector for a two-day forum in Istanbul on 15-16 October.

This was the second Forum, following the successful WHAF 2017 Forum in London and coincided with UN World Dignity Day on 16 October.

The 2019 Forum focused on the central theme of ‘Dignity in Humanity’ and combined a series of parallel solution-focused roundtables on four vital topics – Finance, Localisation, Conflict and Resilience.

The Forum also included four networking and partnership sessions where over 20 NGOs were given the opportunity to present their stories and projects to the rest of the delegates and exchange ideas and contacts.

We are grateful to our 53 partners, that made up the Advisory Group and the four Steering Groups, for putting together WHAF 2019.

WHAF is not simply a one-off, two-day event, it is a long-term initiative that starts with consultations, develops recommendations and culminates in action.

Download the Summary Report to find out what happened at the Forum, the 12 key recommendations put forward and the related activities in the six months that followed.

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WHAF 2019 short clip


The overall theme for WHAF 2019 was ‘Dignity in Humanity. Four key roundtable topics were addressed over the course of the two days, where delegates from the humanitarian, development and peacebuilding sector discussed key issues affecting the sector.

Networking & partnerships

Organised in a world café style enabled more partners to build relationships, share effective humanitarian practices and coordinate with other leading humanitarian actors and specialists across the globe. NGOs had the opportunity to present their projects and ideas during this structured networking session.

WHAF Media Training

Alongside the WHAF programme, a two-day media training programme was delivered in partnership with AL Jazeera Media Institute and TRT World. This addressed crises media management and a discussion on impact of war on women with a documentary screening of ‘Women of War’ by TRT World.

Post-WHAF Activities

The WHAF is not simply a one-off, two-day event, it is a long-term initiative that starts with consultations, develops recommendations and culminates in action. Between the Forum in October 2019 and March 2020, WHAF delivered six activities to address some of the recommendations from the four roundtables.


Humanitarian and development experts from the Global North and South

Round Tables

Solutions focused discussion across four topics


WHAF is developed and organised in collaboration with over 50 partners bringing together a plethora of expertise and experiences



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