Humanitarian Exchange articles tagged:Policy

In recent decades the drylands of the Horn of Africa have become one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. Drought in particular affects more people, more frequently than any other disaster. Drought periods were not always so disastrous but, combined with the region’s underlying economic, social and environmental vulnerability, the impacts upon dryland inhabitants are extreme. Despite calls for greater investment in preparedness, early response and long-term resiliencebuilding, the 2011 drought crisis in the region illustrates how this has not yet been translated into reality. It is an intuitive belief that investment in early response and resilience-building in…
In July 2011, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Working Group asked the Task Force on Humanitarian Space and Civil–Military Relations to review and update the IASC Non-binding Guidelines on the Use of Military and Armed Escorts for Humanitarian Convoys (2001). The primary concerns that led to the decision to revise the guidelines were the recognition of a growing reliance on armed escorts, the need to synchronise a more robust decision-making process on the use of armed escorts with the new UN Security Management System (SMS) and inconsistencies in the interpretation and application of the out-of-date guidelines. The revised guidelines, which…
With an annual budget of $650 billion and over two million military and civilian personnel, the US Department of Defense is the largest institution in the world. Since September 2001, its primary focus has been the ‘global war on terror’, a war of avowedly unlimited scope and duration. Its critical components include counter-insurgency and stabilisation operations, which have increasingly involved the US military in relief and development activities. NGOs have struggled to develop a unified response to the growing scope and pace of US military involvement in areas normally reserved for civilian leadership and action. Although regular dialogue has been…
The latest DAC peer review of Austria (November 1999) once again highlights Austria’s poor position of overseas development aid (ODA). This is characterised on the one hand by the small amount of money involved, and on the other by the lack of an overall aid policy and strategy that links all components to a clear set of development objectives. Total ODA of Austria in 1998 was 0.22 per cent of GNP (410m Euros), compared to 0.26 per cent in 1997. About one-fifth of Austria’s ODA still consists of components not primarily targeted at the development of the receiving country (for example, aid for refugees in Austria, indirect study costs in Austria,…
Most international NGOs (INGOs) delivering humanitarian assistance in disrupted societies have yet to design and implement concrete programmes that encourage substantive partnerships with local organisations, despite a broad and sincere effort to make such cooperation a centrepiece of relief and development. Enduring collaboration and capacity building depend on INGOs taking initiative and spending money on partnerships in politically charged environments, advocacy with donors and host governments, and serious institutional investment in local organisations. A Princeton University graduate research team visited five countries (Bosnia, Mozambique, Pakistan, Palestine, and Sudan) and interviewed more than 100 local and INGOs in November 1999 to assess the cooperative ventures between the two in politically disrupted environments. The study focused on four…
‘Principles of humanitarian aid have been turned on their head. Never before has politics had so much to say about humanitarian affairs’ Interview, diplomat, Belgrade, February 2000 The combined effects of three wars, economic transition and sanctions have caused massive political and economic upheaval in Serbia over the past decade, leaving an estimated two million people below the poverty line. Focussing on the energy sector, this article analyses how humanitarian responses to the country’s multiple crises have been shaped by international politics, and how the boundaries between humanitarian and political action have become increasingly blurred. Hot and Cold Wars: the problem of energy Maintaining energy supplies is a necessity in any country, particularly one which is urban and…
(Summary of ‘Assessment and Future of Community Humanitarian Activities’/‘Evaluation et Avenir des Activities Humanitaires de la Communaute’ (1999) Brussels: European Commission) The EU’s humanitarian assistance, mainly disbursed by the European Commission through ECHO, has been the subject of extensive evaluation. Independent consultants reviewed the work of ECHO between 1996 and 1998, while the EU’s humanitarian assistance was also included in an evaluation of the Community’s overall development assistance between 1991 and 1996. Since its creation in 1992, ECHO has disbursed some 4bn Euro, of which some 1.8bn between 1996 and 1998. The allocations for this later period went to NGOs (56 per cent), the UN (25 per cent), other partners, especially the…
Since the conclusion of the Maastricht Treaty, coherence of EU action has become a fundamental principle which is expected to guide all European policies that affect developing countries. Coherence has become a priority for development-minded actors such as NGOs, who are scrutinising EU policies to make sure that development priorities are not compromised. The main political battlefield has been the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), where inconsistencies with development aims have been widely documented and exposed. Other policy areas, by contrast, have attracted much less attention. A case in point is the coherence in EU policy between trade, conflict management, and the common foreign and security policy. In recent years, a growing number…
Koenraad Van Brabant, outgoing HPN Coordinator, interviews Christina ter Braak, MSF-Holland, Uzbekistan Koenraad Van Brabant Christina, how does a young woman from Holland end up working in Uzbekistan? Christina ter Braak My first six-month stay in Uzbekistan was in 1996, teaching Dutch and English at Tashkent University. After my Bachelor’s degree, I did a Master’s in development studies. For my thesis – on unemployment in Uzbekistan – I spent another three months there doing research; every single person I spoke to had an opinion on the subject. Subsequently, I applied for a job in the Tashkent office of Human Rights Watch (HRW), and was invited for recruitment tests in New York. But the reply…
This section offers members the opportunity to comment on previous Network publications and Newsletters. Relevant comments will usually be communicated to the authors and will be taken into account by the editors in future mailings. Comments received since the last mailing came from World Vision Canada, Frank Riely at Tulane University and from one of our ‘southern’ NGO members in Burkina Faso. Linda Tripp, Vice President of International and Government Relations at World Vision Canada, wrote to let us know that she would be sending Network Paper 5, Advancing Preventive Diplomacy in a Post-Cold War Era: Suggested Roles for Government…
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