A vital component of humanitarian action is the coordination among all actors involved in the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Coordination within this field allows for the most efficient, cost effective, and successful operations possible. Groups seeking access to beneficiary populations often share the same objectives in regards to addressing human need and allaying suffering, but wide variance in such principle elements as organizational structure, technical and/or geographic expertise, mission, mandate, and political interest may hinder or prevent natural coordination on the field. This brief focuses on the dynamics of humanitarian coordination in the context of humanitarian assistance, and the main elements of coordination in the field. For the purposes of this paper, coordination is defined as a “systematic utilization of policy instruments to deliver humanitarian assistance in a cohesive and effective manner.” A leading scholar in the field identifies three basic types of coordination: coordination by command, coordination through consensus and coordination by default; and the distinction between the three is important in discerning both the benefits and challenges offered by different approaches to coordination. While United Nations agencies played a central role in the systemization and institutionalization of the idea of coordination, effective coordination requires multi-sectoral and multifaceted perspectives, as well as a dual approach in which the importance of both operational and strategic coordination are recognized. The principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality are central to the provision of humanitarian assistance, and as such, warrant consideration in coordination strategies and policies. Other basic principles and elements of humanitarian coordination include strengthening the capacity of local actors, transparency and accountability, and mutual commitment and cooperation between the different actors. There are a variety of existing mechanisms designed to enhance and facilitate coordination between organizations providing assistance in a given context. These mechanisms range in function from enhancing coordination within and among groups to identifying gaps in responses as well as addressing important concerns relating to funding. While there are many challenges to implementation of coordination strategies, as well as concerns regarding the potential for increased bureaucracy in an already complex system, the benefits to coordination can be tremendous. Not only are humanitarian operations improved through the development and implementation of coordination strategies and mechanisms, but, more critically, the beneficiary population also gains from better coordinated activities.
The purpose of this Working Paper Series on Crisis Mapping is to briefly analyze the current use, and changing role, of information communication technology (ICT) in conflict early warning, crisis mapping and humanitarian response. The authors demonstrate that ICTs have the potential to play an increasingly significant role in three critical ways by: facilitating the communication of information in conflict zones, improving the collection of salient quantitative and qualitative conflict data, and enhancing the visualization and analysis of patterns.
A prominent issue in contemporary international law and policy involves civilians living in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (“OPT”)1 who wish to seek reparation for damage allegedly sustained as a result of Israel’s activities vis-à-vis the OPT, whether in the course of belligerent occupation or armed conflict. This policy brief provides humanitarian practitioners with a basic understanding of the legal framework applicable to that issue. Given the sensitive nature of the topic it examines, this policy brief aims to equip readers with the conceptual tools necessary to understand the various arguments from different viewpoints. The main question to be addressed is whether in the above-outlined context a victim of a violation of international law has a right to compensation. This paper does not take any position as to whether Israel has, or has not, violated international law in any of the instances discussed. Nor does the paper address whether individual persons acting on behalf of the State of Israel may be held criminally liable for their acts. Also outside the scope of this paper is the situation of Israeli civilians having suffered damage as a result of the situation.
On 14 April 2004, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon presented to President George W. Bush a Disengagement Plan designed, according to the Israeli prime minister, to improve the security of Israel and stabilize its political and economic situation. After the original disengagement plan was defeated in a Likud referendum in early May, the Israeli prime minister issued a revised version of his Disengagement Plan on 6 June 2004. The core component of this Plan is a unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the northern part of the West Bank, designed to allow a more effective deployment of Israeli military forces and reduce the friction with the Palestinian population. The proposed Plan is based on the assumptions that, in any future permanent status arrangement between Israel and its Palestinian counterpart, there are unlikely to be any Israeli towns and villages left in the Gaza Strip and that some areas of the West Bank are likely to be integrated with the state of Israel, including cities, towns, and villages inhabited by Israeli settlers as well as security areas, installations, and other places of special interest to Israel. The proposed disengagement raises a number of legal issues that will be reviewed in this policy brief.
In this working paper, the authors seek to assess the "nature and scale of violence in Darfur in a way that is both directly useful in the design of peace support missions and policies, while also more broadly demonstrating the importance of rigorous data collection before and throughout these missions in order to arrive at evidence-based conclusions about the nature of violence and effectiveness of applied responses." The authors explore the challenges of constructing an evidence base for peace support operations and the limits to inferences that can be made about civilian protection in Darfur using existing data sources.
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.
The idea of co-application of international humanitarian law and human rights law has drawn a tremendous amount of academic attention and a huge amount of innovation in international and domestic jurisprudence. Yet in the current headlong approach into convergence, rights and rights institutions may carry risks to the very goals many humanitarian-minded international lawyers seek to achieve. This article takes a bird’s-eye view of the debate and questions whether it is a good thing to insist on the extraterritorial applicability of human rights to armed conflict situations. In doing so, the article argues that parallel application is equally as bad for the Iraqi civilian as it is for the American soldier. As we pull back the layers of legalistic argumentation, the real role of rights discourse and the real function of human rights law on the battlefield seem much less thought-out than leading scholars suggest, and the implications for this new approach to international law seem much more problematic than the current debate on the issue presents.
A human security framework posits that individuals are the focus of strategies that protect the safety and integrity of people by proactively promoting children's well being, placing particular emphasis on prevention efforts and health promotion. This article applies this framework to a rights-based approach in order to examine the health and human rights of children affected by HIV/AIDS. The SAFE model describes sources of insecurity faced by children across four fundamental dimensions of child well-being and the survival strategies that children and families may employ in response. The SAFE model includes: Safety/protection; Access to health care and basic physiological needs; Family/connection to others; and Education/livelihoods. We argue that it is critical to examine the situation of children through an integrated lens that effectively looks at human security and children's rights through a holistic approach to treatment and care rather than artificially limiting our scope of work to survival-oriented interventions for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Interventions targeted narrowly at children, in isolation of their social and communal environment as outlined in the SAFE model, may in fact undermine protective resources in operation in families and communities and present additional threats to children's basic security. An integrated approach to the basic security and care of children has implications for the prospects of millions of children directly infected or indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS around the world. The survival strategies that young people and their families engage in must be recognized as a roadmap for improving their protection and promoting healthy development. Although applied to children affected by HIV/AIDS in the present analysis, the SAFE model has implications for guiding the care and protection of children and families facing adversity due to an array of circumstances from armed conflict and displacement to situations of extreme poverty.
This guide outlines the tools and techniques to establish a foundation for visual analysis and discusses how these techniques can assist in identifying notable landscape features pertaining to agriculture, settlements, water catchment, and livestock in northern Somalia. To the knowledge of the Signal Program analysts, there is no systematic open-source remote sensing documentation of frequently occurring natural and man-made features in Somalia. This guide helps users to identify and analyze these features, particularly humanitarian practitioners supporting activities in the Horn of Africa. This project, titled “Children on the Move: Using Satellite Data Analysis in Conflict/Famine-Affected Areas,” was carried out in collaboration with UNICEF, the GovLab at NYU, and the Signal Program on Human Security and Technology at Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.