Humanitarian negotiations
by Humanitarian Practice Network August 2013

This edition of Humanitarian Exchange, co-edited with Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) Research Fellow Ashley Jackson, features humanitarian negotiations. In many contexts, negotiations with a wide array of actors – both state and non-state – are essential to gaining access to populations in need of assistance. This issue looks at field experiences of undertaking humanitarian negotiations, the challenges and compromises involved and the resources and tools that have been developed to support more effective engagement.

  • In their lead article, Gerard Mc Hugh and Simar Singh emphasise the need to preserve the integrity of humanitarian negotiations.
  • Stuart Casey-Maslen highlights the need for greater engagement with armed non-state actors (ANSAs).
  • Pascal Bongard outlines Geneva Call’s efforts to encourage ANSAs to sign ‘deeds of commitment’ to specific humanitarian norms.
  • Ashley Jackson examines Taliban attitudes and policies towards aid agencies and their work
  • Harry Johnstone describes the World Food Programme (WFP)’s experience of using contractors to negotiate access and monitor deliveries.
  • Antonio Galli writes on access negotiations with Hamas in Gaza
  • Jonathan Loeb explores the issues around humanitarian access to rebel areas in Darfur.
  • Finally, Kate Mackintosh and Ingrid Macdonald present the initial findings from an Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) study on the impact of counter-terrorism restrictions on humanitarian action.

The practice and policy section includes:

  • An article from Yves Daccord reflecting on the challenges facing humanitarian action on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRS).
  • Kristin Bergtora Sandvik and Kjersti Lohne analyse the implications of using drones in humanitarian operations.
  • Samuel Carpenter looks at humanitarian action in urban areas
  • Kamila Wasilkowska, Olivia Collins and Anne-Marie Schryer-Roy present the findings of a research study on the gender impacts of cash transfers in Somalia.
  • Margie Buchanan-Smith, Youssif El Tayeb and Abdul Jabbar Abdulla Fadul examine the impact of conflict on trade in Darfur
  • Bill Flinn ends the issue with a call for a shift in the international community’s approach to post-disaster housing reconstruction.
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