Catherine Bragg

Adjunct Professor
Centre for Humanitarian Action
University College Dublin


In this edition of the Current Issues Podcasts, host Alistair Edgar joins Catherine Bragg in Istanbul, Turkey to discuss the upcoming World Humanitarian Summit and her new article “World Humanitarian Summit: Nobody is off the Hook.”  Bragg discusses how the Secretary-General’s report for the summit took a lot of people by surprise by broadening the topics to be discussed at the summit, which led to some controversy and  organizations withdrawing from the summit.  She also focuses on the genuine effort of understanding what localization means and how The Grand Bargain is one of the items on the agenda for the summit that well help involve more local organizations.  Bragg touches on the encouraging side events and exhibits at the summit around data and transparency that will help with needs assessment.  Bragg also mentions the difficulty of reform of the UN system to help deliver aid, system to help assess needs, and the system to help connect to people on the ground.

Read Catherine Bragg’s article “World Humanitarian Summit: Nobody is off the Hook“.

To read the Secretary-General’s report for the World Humanitarian Summit, “One Humanity, Shared Responsibility” visit the Summit’s website.

Download the Chair’s Summary of the World Humanitarian Summit, “Standing up for Humanity: Committing to Action”.  PDF Download Button

Dr. Bragg is a former Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator in the United Nations (2008–2013). As the ASG, she was the deputy head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Prior to her secondment to the UN, she has spent 24 years in the federal public service of Canada. During this time, her portfolios included criminal and Aboriginal justice, Northern devolution and the voluntary sector, among others. She served in seven federal departments, including the Canadian International Development Agency.

Dr. Bragg was appointed by the UN Secretary-General in 2005 and served two terms as a member of the Advisory Group of the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. She also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre and represented Canada on the Executive Committee and Executive Board of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the World Food Program. In total, she has visited over 100 countries and been involved in response to close to 30 humanitarian crises and situations. She is currently Adjunct Professor of Humanitarian Action in the Centre for Humanitarian Action, School of Agriculture and Food Science, University College Dublin.

Dr. Bragg received her degrees from University of Toronto (B.Sc. Psychology), University of Cambridge (M.Phil. Criminology) and the State University of New York at Albany (Ph.D. Criminal Justice). She is married and has two children. A Canadian, she currently resides in Toronto.