Displaying items by tag: Donors/governments

  Cash has rapidly become an effective part of the humanitarian toolbox. Debates about its use now focus less on the pros and cons, and more on the complexities and challenges of implementation. In part, this stems from a recognition that fears about corrupt or unintended use have not been borne out in practice, and that the relative risks of cash versus in-kind alternatives need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, to determine when, where and how cash programmes might be appropriate. Cash transfers are simpler to implement in situations where robust markets and cash delivery systems are already…
The Humanitarian Reform (HR) process, initiated three years ago in Colombia, has significantly improved the quality of humanitarian coordination and response. Although much is still to be done to fully consolidate the reform, Colombia has made great progress towards its ultimate objective, which is ‘to improve the effectiveness of humanitarian response by ensuring greater predictability, accountability and partnership; and to reach more beneficiaries, with more comprehensive needs-based relief and protection, in a more effective and timely manner’.[1]   Why Colombia? Back in 2006, a number of reasons for selecting Colombia as one of the reform’s roll-out countries were considered. First…
In the two decades prior to President Alvaro Uribe’s election in 2001, illicit crop production in Colombia grew from 3,500 to 144,000 hectares, representing an annual increase of 25.6%, with Colombia producing more than 70% of the world’s cocaine. This trend was coupled with a worsening of the armed conflict, which according to Uribe was due to guerrillas’ involvement in the drug trade. Drug-trafficking was deemed to constitute one of the main sources of funding for Colombia’s guerrilla groups; according to government figures, between 1991 and 1996 $470 million was raised from the illegal sale of narcotics, representing 41% of…
Colombia is in the throes of one of the world’s largest crises of internal displacement. Since the mid-1990s, more than 3.2 million people have been displaced. On average, between 2000 and 2009 300,000 people a year fled in search of protection. In 2008, 294,000 left their places of residence. In late 2008, the government estimated that nearly 40,000 households (176,000 people) had returned to their places of origin with the accompaniment of the authorities.  The official Information System on the Displaced Population in Colombia is one of the most highly developed such systems in the world (www.accionsocial.gov.co). However, it does…
Trends in violence in Colombia have been changing over the past decade. Historically, the conflict has been fought mostly in rural areas. This has led to the massive displacement of rural populations to neighbouring rural areas, local cities and more distant urban areas. In recent years, however, the majority of violence (political and criminal) has taken place in urban areas, creating new forms of displacement. As a result, a full range of displacement patterns exist in Colombia: rural to rural; rural to peri-urban; rural to urban; and intra-urban, where individuals, families or whole neighbourhoods are forced to leave their homes…
The role of the armed forces in humanitarian operations has long been an issue of debate. With the end of the Cold War and the growing importance of humanitarian issues during the 1990s, the participation of military contingents in aid operations has been re-examined, and the UN has launched initiatives to address this issue and agree criteria to govern military involvement in humanitarian action. While some agencies, chief among them the ICRC and MSF, seek to avoid contact with the military, most humanitarian organisations at one time or another have worked with armed forces, particularly for logistical support and protection…
A cursory look at the Colombian government’s policy discourse would lead one to conclude that its efforts to tackle armed groups and organised crime are synonymous with protecting the civilian population. This article argues that a more nuanced assessment of the discourse demonstrates that the government’s security agenda, despite using the language of civilian protection and human rights, has in fact undermined respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and has failed to reduce levels of forced displacement and violence against civilians. The discourse of security Since the election of President Alvaro Uribe in 2002, the government has sought to enhance…
Anti-personnel mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) kill or injure approximately 1,000 Colombians each year, more than any other country in the world. For this reason, the government and the international community have sought to stop the use of these weapons and to assist Colombians affected by them. The Office of the Vice-President has developed a special programme to address the issue, and acts as a centre for the coordination of the National Inter-Sectoral Commission for Unified Action against Anti-Personnel Mines, a group comprising 14 state institutions. In addition, the government has passed a significant number of laws and established…
In early July 2009, following on from the closing weeks of fighting between the Sri Lankan army and Tamil Tiger rebels (LTTE),  a Times journalist raised the alarm on the mortality rate in the internment camps, opened by the Sri Lankan government. The article reported 1,400 deaths a week in Manik Farm camp, which then held around 280,000 people. Presenting no methodology or basis for this figure, and without naming any names, the journalist cited “a humanitarian source” [1]. This was a serious accusation, corresponding to a rate of 7 deaths per 10,000 persons per day.  The emergency threshold applied…
Famine and drought pose a regular threat in Eritrea, along with the rest of the Horn of Africa. Consecutive years of drought, high food prices and the global economic downturn all suggest that hunger and malnutrition levels are high. However, unlike in neighbouring countries no reliable national nutrition statistics are available to show this. There have been no comprehensive nutrition surveys since 2005, and World Food Programme (WFP) general food distributions have been suspended since 2006. The activities of international NGOs are restricted. In August 2008, CAFOD was alerted to a poor rainy season by its local partner in Eritrea,…
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