Meeting Notes - August 14, 2013
Humanitarian Engagement in Contemporary Complex Emergencies
Jérémie Labbé, rapporteur
This meeting note presents a synthesis of discussions from IPI’s eighteenth annual New York Seminar, which explored old and new challenges to humanitarian action in contemporary multifaceted emergencies. Complex conflict-related crises, such as the one in Syria today, present significant challenges for humanitarian actors: aid risks becoming politicized; warring parties can divert it; nonstate armed groups may prevent access to affected populations; and sovereign states may be wary of outside interference. How have such complex emergencies changed in recent years? And how can the international humanitarian system adapt?
The report examines the rise of nontraditional humanitarian actors and addresses the issue of engaging nonstate armed groups for humanitarian access. It then draws out implications for the future of humanitarian action and for its fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, independence, and neutrality.
1. Increasing complexity: The biggest challenge to humanitarian engagement in today’s conflict-related crises lies in the increasing complexity of conflict settings and the proliferation of actors who get involved in these settings.
2. Opportunity for synergies: This proliferation of humanitarian actors also presents an opportunity to better meet the needs of affected communities by drawing on the comparative advantages of each actor.3. Decolonization of humanitarian principles: To ensure the continued effectiveness of humanitarian engagement in this changing landscape, efforts should be made to overcome perceptions of the international humanitarian system as a Western construct and to forge a more universal understanding of humanitarian action and its underlying principles.
The Global Observatory
Transforming Peacebuilding: Can the Internationals Put the Locals First?
International NGOs still struggle to achieve 'local ownership' in peacebuilding, but a new approach is working on putting local people in the lead.
Key Global Events to Watch in September
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
IPI produces a variety of publications as an integral part of its mission to inform international policymaking with cutting-edge research and analysis. These range from major, multi-author studies to monographs, policy papers, and meeting notes. Since 1998, IPI has extended its reach with the publication of over 200 books, meeting notes, and policy papers that are widely cited by government and international officials, scholars and the media.