UNU-WIDER conference aims to improve global responses to crises

Helsinki, Finland — Experts from around the world will gather this week at the ‘Responding to crises’ conference in Helsinki. The main goal of the event is to strengthen international responses by improving knowledge about current, unexpected, and future crises — ranging from large numbers of refugees to economic shocks to natural disasters.

The event, held 23-24 September, also aims to provide a forum for knowledge-sharing and vigorous debate, part of UNU-WIDER’s core mission to promote sustainable and equitable development for all.

‘The global community needs to get the facts right to ensure that we provide effective and efficient responses to crises. Our conference is an important step towards building a common understanding of the challenges being faced and how they can be addressed, while keeping in mind that each crisis is unique. One of the key ways in which we are doing this is by engaging development partners at all levels’, says Finn Tarp, Director of UNU-WIDER.

Conference brings together world-class experts

Among the diverse group of speakers is Elisabeth Rehn, a former Minister of Defence of Finland. She will deliver a keynote address on Friday morning, touching on the importance of inclusive responses and the role of women in their delivery. Other notable speakers at the two-day event include David Crawford of Oxfam, who will talk about valuable lessons learned in humanitarian response, and Blandina Kilama, a researcher with the Tanzanian think tank REPOA, who will speak on hunger and food security.

The conference programme features a variety of topics, including the economic and social impacts of crises, as well as the resources required to address them. Special sessions have also been organized on refugees and integration, as well as migration governance — timely themes given the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants earlier this week in New York.


The United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) began operations over three decades ago in Helsinki, Finland, as the first research centre of the United Nations University. Today it is a unique blend of think tank, research institute, and UN agency — providing a range of services from policy advice to governments to high-quality freely available original research.

Access to Quality Education in Responding to Crises

The right to education is most at risk during emergencies but it is also the exact time when it is needed the most. Conflict is a major barrier to education. Globally 63 million out-of-school children and youth live in conflict-affected areas.

As part of the conference, Finn Church Aid (FCA) is organising a panel discussion tackling challenges in Education in Emergencies. Experts in this panel will especially focus on need of innovative solutions for quality learning for children and youth on the move.  This session also discusses the need of joining up governments and humanitarian and development actors to deliver a more collaborative and rapid response to meet the educational needs of children and youth affected by crises.

Chair: Dean Brooks (Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies)
Panelists: Aboubakar Moukadas-Noure (Minister of Education, Central African Republic), Rana Abdullah Ahmed (Iraq), Johanna Kurki (FCA)

Contact details
For press inquiries, please contact Annett Victorero, Communications Coordinator, UNU-WIDER
For inquiries about FCA’s panel session and work, plase contact Minna Elo, Communication Officer, FCA
minna.elo(at)kua.fi, tel. +358 50 3309747