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Message from the Chair

2 August 2022

For those of you I haven’t met yet, I am Anissa Toscano, Vice President for Humanitarian Leadership and Response with Mercy Corps and I have been Chair of the CALP Network Board for just over eight months. As we head into another month, I wanted to take an opportunity to reach out and connect with all of you on some of my reflections to date.

The past years have been a period of incredible change and transition and energy for CALP, particularly as the world confronts mounting humanitarian challenges in the Horn of Africa drought, with global inflation, and in the face of climate change. It’s been exciting to see much positive change in a system that is often resistant to reform, with CALP driving understanding of CVA and supporting its effective use across so many contexts and within so many conversations in order to make a difference for crisis-affected populations.

Being the CALP chair – first impressions

I have found being a part of the CALP Board during this time both interesting and inspiring! As you’d expect, first and foremost as a Board, we oversee the functioning of CALP – agreeing plans and checking in on CALP’s performance. In addition, though, every meeting delves into a different set of topical CVA issues, covering such topics as cash coordination leadership, linkages to social protection and risk management.  The exchange of views with leaders from different organisations and different perspectives is enlightening and makes us stronger and more self-reflective about the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Board diversity

We’ve also been looking at ourselves as a Board, conscious of the need to evolve to reflect the diversity of the CALP Network and reflect the evolving needs of the network. As some of you may know, while CALP has existed for well over a decade in a variety of forms, it was only when the structure of CALP changed and opened the door to membership in 2016 that the Board came into existence. As with CALP, the Board has evolved significantly in recent years.

The Board brings together senior leaders from across the CALP membership. We look for people who have a passion for what CALP is about and who have deep and diverse skills and experience to bring to the Board. Over the past years, we’ve been working to ensure the Board is more representative of the membership: diversity of thought, of individual experience, of the organisations they work with and where they are based.

Currently we have Board members who live in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, they are drawn from the United Nations, the International Movement of Red Cross/Red Crescent Societies, the Private Sector, and NGOs – both international and regional. From having a predominantly white, male Board some years ago, diversity has improved – but we still need to go further.

Board transparency and values

We’re also working to increase awareness and transparency about what the Board does. We now publish the dates of and updates from Board meetings on the website and share these further through newsletters that go to member focal points.

In recent months, we’ve been updating the Board Operational Framework. It has been important to us all to ensure we embed the practical changes we’ve been making into this foundational document. In addition to commitments about diversity and openness, we’ve committed to Board meetings always being virtual – in keeping with our Principles and with the pledge CALP made when signing the Climate Charter.

Alongside this we’ve recently developed a Code of Conduct for the CALP Board. The Code reflects the values and ways of working to which we commit. It underscores, for example, that while Board members are drawn from the membership – in their role as Board members they leave behind mandates and organisational interests and work instead for the benefit of the Network as a whole. The Code draws on established good practice with the Board working to ‘walk the talk’ of decision making based on evidence and good practice.

Global events continue to emphasise and demand agility and self-reflection from us all. I’m so proud to be a part of the CALP Network and its Board at this pivotal time for CALP as well as the wider humanitarian sector. Thank you for your continued engagement in the Network and, more broadly in delivering on CALP’s vision: a future where people are enabled to overcome crisis with dignity, by exercising choice and their right to self-determination.

With warm regards,