North America

In 2013, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's Women in War Program, in collaboration with Eastern Congo Initiative, released its new report, '"We Came Back with Empty Hands": Understanding the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Children Formerly Associated with Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.'

The mission of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) is to relieve human suffering in war and disaster by advancing the science and practice of humanitarian response worldwide.

In 2013, the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative's Women in War Program, in collaboration with Eastern Congo Initiative, released its new report, '"We Came Back with Empty Hands": Understanding the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration of Children Formerly Associated with Armed Groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.'

According to the Sphere Standards, disaster-affected populations should actively participate into the design, implementation and evaluation of humanitarian programs. Necessitating the involvement of beneficiaries is viewed as a way to lessen the inherent dependency in the aid relationship and inform the decisions of humanitarian planners and managers.

According to ALNAP there are currently over 200,000 individuals working in humanitarian assistance and protection globally. Growing at a pace of 6% per year, this workforce is expected to double in size by 2020.

Humanitarians are continually charged with the reevaluation of their work based on the evolution of conflicts and disasters. No longer satisfied with simply providing relief in times of crisis, the frontier of humanitarian action has expanded to include not only life-saving assistance but also prevention and rehabilitation activities.

In recent years, humanitarian organizations have seen a rise in constraints on their access to vulnerable populations in times of conflict or internal disturbance.

The humanitarian reform process, initiated by the United Nations in 2005, aimed to remedy gaps in humanitarian operations and improve the timeliness, effectiveness, and predictability of aid delivery.

In 2000, the Brahimi Report on United Nations (UN) Peace Operationsproposed a set of sweeping reforms geared toward building integrated UN peacekeeping missions.

Humanitarian organizations face an inevitable tension that arises from two separate accountability structures. One framework, established by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, holds organizations accountable to host states and donor states. A second framework, the human rights based approach, calls for accountability to individuals affected by hostilities.

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