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Informing the Integration Debate with Recent Experience

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 September 2012

Extract

The overriding challenge faced by policy-makers in the post–Cold War era is not, as many would have us believe, the achievement of integration of humanitarian action into the prevailing politico-military context. It is rather the protection of its independence. The debate, rather than focusing on fitting humanitarian action more snugly into the given political framework, should explore how to ensure the indispensable independence of humanitarian actors from that framework.

The experience of the Humanitarianism and War Project, an action-oriented research and publications initiative studying humanitarian activities in post–Cold War conflicts, suggests the essential elements of such independence. They include structural protection for humanitarian action against political conditionality; more sensitivity to local perceptions regarding humanitarian actors and action; tighter discipline within the humanitarian sector by those providing assistance and protection; increased attention to the origins of aid resources and of the personnel administering them; greater participation and ownership by local institutions and leaders in crisis countries; and an agreed overarching political framework that gives higher priority to human security.

Type
Roundtable: Humanitarian Aid and Intervention: The Challenges of Integration
Copyright
Copyright © Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs 2004

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References

1 Most of the Humanitarianism and War Project's publications are available at http://hwproject.tufts.edu .Google Scholar

2 For a more extended discussion, see Minear, Larry, The Humanitarian Enterprise: Dilemmas and Discoveries (Bloomfield, Conn.: Kumarian, 2002), pp. 132–34, 75f'f.Google Scholar

3 Médecins Sans Frontièrs, “MSF Pulls Out of Afghanistan,” July 28, 2004; available at http://www.msf.org/countries/page.cfm?articleid=8851DF09-F62D-47D4-A8D3EB1E876A1EoD.

4 Ibid., pp. 101102Google Scholar.

5 Egeland, Jan , “ Humanitarianism under Fire ,” Christian Science Monitor, August 5, 2004; available at http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0805/p09s01-coop.html .Google Scholar

6 Slim, Hugo , “ With or Against? Humanitarian Agencies and Coalition Counter-Insurgenc y” ( Geneva: Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, July 2004 ), p. 4Google ScholarPubMed.

7 Ingram, James, “The Future Architecture for International Humanitarian Assistance,” in Weiss, Thomas G. and Minear, Larry, eds., Humanitarianism Across Borders: Sustaining Civilians in Times of War (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1993), p. 183Google Scholar.

8 Sommers, Marc, The Dynamics of Coordination (Providence: Watson Institute, 2000 ), p. 41Google Scholar.

9 Report of the Secretary-General, UN General Assembly, 13th session, document A/3934, October 9,1958, para. 158ffGoogle Scholar.

10 Minear, Larry, van Baarda, Ted, and Summers, Marc, NATO and Humanitarian Action in the Kosovo Crisis (Providence: Watson Institute, 2000 ), p. 6768Google Scholar.

12 Telephone conversation between DPA headquarters official and the authorGoogle Scholar.

13 Comments made at the roundtable , “ Humanitarian Aid and Intervention: The Challenges of Integration ,” Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, New York, N.Y.,, October 30, 2003 .Google Scholar

14 Minear, , The Humanitarian Enterprise, pp. 102103Google Scholar.

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