Displaying items by tag: Donors/governments

  In the span of a few months last spring, Pakistan witnessed one of the gravest internal displacement crises of the last two decades. Beginning in early May, each week hundreds of thousands of people streamed out of the districts of Swat, Buner and Dir into neighbouring lowland areas, driven from their homes by a sweeping military campaign against the Taliban. They joined over half a million already displaced in late 2008 by a similar campaign in the northern tribal agencies of Bajaur and Mohmand. At the height of the crisis, nearly three million people sought shelter in host communities…
The humanitarian funding system for the Pakistan emergency in the summer of 2009 did not work well. In the absence of an in-country pooled fund, many international donors gave their funding directly to UN agencies, to be distributed through a malfunctioning Cluster system. The decision to use UN agencies as proxy pooled funds sacrificed speed, effectiveness and transparency. NGOs with the capacity to deliver aid on the ground experienced long delays in receiving funds, with a serious knock-on effect on their ability to help affected people. The system also placed intolerable pressure on the Clusters themselves, making it difficult for…
  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…
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