This report analyzes how the humanitarian community and the emerging volunteer and technical communities worked together in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and recommends a four-part framework to improve coordination between these two groups in future emergencies. The report was researched and written by a team at HHI, in partnership with Vodafone Foundation, United Nations Foundation, and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
This report, sponsored by the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations and HHI, is based on interviews with senior managers affiliated with a variety of well-known INGOs. It elucidates ways that these organizations approach management and leadership development. It identifies best practice and lessons learned from their differing approaches; finds commonalities between their management programs; and proposes considerations for further expanding these efforts.
As rapid urbanization creates complex environments that concentrate the risks and hazards of man-made and natural disasters, it also presents a vital advantage that must be exploited. Urban humanitarian emergencies by their very nature occur within the geo-political sphere of a governing body, the municipal government, and as such they are the responsibility of that body. It is the duty of the municipal governments to prevent and prepare for and respoond to humanitarian emergencies that may affect their citizens. Preparedness at the city level, therefore, remains a valuable area for development to mitigate the effects of humanitarian crises. Rapid urbanization now allows a greater proportion of the population to fall under a responsible municipal government and an opportunity to promote and advance urban planning around preparedness.
In 2010, the Humanitarian Studies Course incorporated applied technologies into the coursework for the second consecutive year. The goal of this evaluation report is to reflect upon and determine the next steps for the Applied Technology Learning Module and to better understand its impact on participant learning during the 2010 Humanitarian Studies Course. This evaluation concludes that improvements in 1) didactics and preparation 2) integration of crowdsourcing and GIS technology 3) satellite communications and 4) volunteer capacity resulted in a successful educational experience for future humanitarian responders.
On March 23-24, 2011, we held a roundtable discussion, “Earthquake Relief in Haiti: Inter-Organizational Perspectives and Lessons for the Future” at Harvard University. We convened this meeting to provide a forum for discussing successes, challenges, and strategies for improving disaster response based upon the lessons learned from the Haiti earthquake. The summary at left highlights some of the key themes discussed during each focal topic and throughout the roundtable meeting. We hope this will be useful to a diversity of players in the disaster response sphere.
Rapid urbanization represents the most significant demographic change of the twenty-first century. 2008 marked the first time in human history that over half of the world population lived in urban settings. The process of urbanization, fueled by economic and social foreces, has particularly accelerated in countries in the Global South. By the year 2050, it is predicted that 70% of the world's population will live in urban settings.
Based on the totality of the evidence presented in this report, the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP) is issuing a human security alert for the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan, including the Kauda Valley. A human security alert is issued by SSP when evidence is collected indicating any of the following: a build-up of forces and/or an enhancement of infrastructure and logistical capabilities indicating either the intent and/or the ability of an armed actor to restrict civilian freedom of movement, detain or displace civilians, and/or attack civilian targets.
While the existence of monitoring, reporting and fact-finding (MRF) bodies in the international realm is not a new phenomenon, the recent proliferation of such institutions raises a number of policy and legal issues. One issue is that, as MRF bodies are increasingly called to make legal determinations and interpret existing unsettled rules or concepts of international law, these mechanisms’ role and practice in this regard attract more legal scrutiny. As a result, the way that MRF missions apply the law — as much as the methodology used to establish facts — can affect the mission’s credibility. This paper addresses this issue by focusing on the selection and application of legal lenses in MRF mechanisms. The paper aims at describing and analyzing the current practice to identify strengths, gaps, and challenges, with a view to presenting options to improve the ways that MRF practitioners articulate and apply legal frameworks.
A simple glance at recent news headlines reveals the growing prevalence of international missions tasked to monitor and report on potential violations of international law. In the past few months alone, the United Nations (UN) dispatched a team to monitor the ceasefire in Syria, and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) mandated a commission of inquiry to examine Israeli settlements in the West Bank, extended the mandate of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, and mandated a new Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment. These missions are part of a rapidly growing trend. The international community — imbued, since the end of the Cold War, with a new sense of responsibility for international legal accountability and civilian protection — has increasingly employed monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) mechanisms to collect information on the vulnerabilities of civilian populations and investigate potential violations of international law.
The Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University (HPCR) is a research and policy program based at the Harvard School of Public Health in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Program is engaged in research and advisory services on humanitarian operations and the protection of civilians in conflict areas. The Program advises organizations such as the United Nations, governments, and non-governmental actors, and focuses on the protection of vulnerable groups, conflict prevention, strategic planning for human security, and the role of information technology in emergency response. The Program was established in August 2000 in close cooperation with the Government of Switzerland and the United Nations.
This Working Paper presents HPCR’s research to date on dilemmas arising from the intersection between, on the one hand, counterterrorism laws and policies prohibiting engagement with certain non-state entities and, on the other, humanitarian access and protection of civilians in armed conflict. This Working Paper aims to provide HPCR’s initial analysis of these dilemmas and to suggest key areas for future research and policy engagement.
In the post-9/11 era, humanitarian organizations face a growing dilemma regarding access to vulnerable groups in internal conflicts. On the one hand, international actors have increasingly recognized the importance of engaging with non-state armed groups (NSAGs) to ensure the timely delivery of humanitarian assistance in crisis-affected territories. On the other hand, in recent years, political and policy actors operating at domestic, regional, and international levels have pursued security policies and enacted laws geared toward curbing relationships with NSAGs accused of executing acts of terrorism.
In recent decades, the international community has exhibited an increased devotion to civilian protection and promotion of international legal accountability. To activate this sense of responsibility, during armed conflicts and internal disturbances, international actors have created numerous monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) mechanisms to investigate potential violations of international law. But the academic and policy communities have not kept pace with the growing importance of these mechanisms, and MRF practitioners frequently suffer from a paucity of sufficient guidance. As a step toward filling this research gap, this article presents an in-depth examination of MRF mechanisms. The article first presents an analytical framework that examines key distinctions between different MRF activities and presents guiding principles applicable to all MRF mechanism types. Examining past MRF practice through the lens of this framework, the article then explores the process of creating MRF mechanisms. The article concludes by sketching possible next steps for the MRF community to build on this research foundation and develop standards for more effective MRF implementation.
Over the past few decades, governments have established various international criminal courts and tribunals (ICCTs), including several ad hoc entities — such as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) — as well as a permanent body in the form of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Additionally, international actors have also established a wide array of non-judicial monitoring, reporting, and fact-finding (MRF) missions, such as commissions of inquiry, monitoring components of peace operations, and special rapporteurs. This working paper discusses opportunities and challenges for achieving a greater degree of interoperability between international judicial and non-judicial accountability efforts.