Shaping the future: Our strategy for research and innovation in humanitarian response.

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Our West Asia and North Africa (WANA) regional consultation report centres on the region’s priorities, the humanitarian research and innovation (HRI) system currently in place and provides insights into implementing culturally and contextually appropriate HRI responses.

The WANA region faces some of the largest emergencies and most protracted crises in the world. Issues include morbidity, displacement, political conflicts, natural disasters and socioeconomic collapse – all of which have generated profound humanitarian needs. Regional cooperation and research and innovation (R&I) can help effectively address these pressing issues.

Key findings:

  • Priority topics: topics requiring attention include morbidity, migration, food and water security, livelihoods, education, and climate change.
  • Misalignment factors: R&I investments and humanitarian topics misalignment exist and these were attributed to factors such as vested interests, priority mismatches, lack of recognition of topics requiring attention, and limited and insufficient funding.
  • Multi-level state engagement: there is considerable variation in the engagement level of states within the region.
  • Representation gap: there is a lack of representation of community members, populations affected by crises and local organisations at the priority-setting table.


  • National strategies: developing national HRI strategies to address priority topics.
  • Central coordination: establishing national central coordinating bodies within countries to regulate, prioritise, manage, and coordinate all HRI activities.
  • Regional collaboration: establishing a regional HRI platform to support collaboration, engagement and information dissemination.
  • Workforce empowerment: building a strong, sustainable, sufficiently skilled and resourced HRI workforce.

“R&I are the compass guiding humanity’s response to crises. In the vast expanse of West Asia and North Africa, these tools illuminate pathways to effective solutions. Yet, amidst this urgency, constraints bind their potential. It’s a pivotal moment where R&I, if nurtured and aligned, can spark a transformation. Let us build bridges between nations, empower local actors, and fuel these endeavors with the resources they need.”

Yousef Khader, CEAE Director, Center of Excellence For Applied Epidemiology (EMPHNET)


This WANA consultation was undertaken by a joint team from Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET) and the Alfred Deakin Institute, Deakin University as part of our landmark Global Prioritisation Exercise (GPE) for HRI. The consultation was led by Yousef Khader and Marian Abouzeid.  Data collection was undertaken by Majd Alsoukhni, Adna Maiteh, Sara Abu Khadair, and Ruba Alsouri. Data analysis was conducted by Zeinab El-Dirani and Chaza Akik. This report was written by Yousef Khader, Zeinab El-Dirani, Marian Abouzeid, Majd Alsoukhni, Sara Abu Khadair, Randa Saad and Adna Maiteh.

What is the Global Prioritisation Exercise?

The Global Prioritisation Exercise (GPE) for humanitarian research and innovation aims to improve outcomes for people affected by crisis by amplifying the impact of investments in research and innovation and understanding the priorities at all levels. It will provide a detailed overview of the progress and performance of the humanitarian research and innovation ecosystem with a clear set of priorities for research and innovation funding and attention.

Find out more about the GPE

Related Events

Follow the money: a deep dive into investments for humanitarian research and innovation

11 May 2022, 13:00-14:30 BST Hybrid: Geneva, Switzerland or virtually (Zoom)

Regional launches: Solutions for addressing humanitarian needs – insights from regional consultations on the role of research and innovation

Multiple dates Multiple locations
Read report GPE Regional KII Guide (English) GPE Regional KII Guide (Arabic)

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