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Relief Governance in Fragile Contexts: Applying a Political Settlements Lens

March 6, 2016 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Jan Pospisil, PSRP member, will present a paper on ‘Relief Governance in Fragile Contexts: Applying a Political Settlements Lens’ at 10am on Sunday, 6 March, at the World Conference on Humanitarian Studies in Addis Ababa.

Emergency and relief aid proves to be particularly challenging in situations of political instability or ongoing violent fighting. Well-known problems resulting from economic footprints of relief operations are exacerbated not only by the societal polarisations accompanying every violent conflict, but also by the risk of aid becoming a commodity of war. Despite its neutral mandate, humanitarian action in fragile and violent contexts hence is a highly political endeavour. This assessment has already been highlighted by numerous studies. However, besides the rather passive and often dysfunctional do-no-harm approach, structural ideas on how to deal with this challenge are still missing. Against the background of the relief operation in South Sudan as a result of the civil war, this paper will discuss the usefulness of the ‘political settlement’ approach for designing a relief governance in situations of fragility. In particular, the paper will explore how the assumed informal institutionalisation of political settlements could translate into guidance or rules for humanitarian action.

Full programme [PDF]


March 6, 2016
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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International Humanitarian Studies Association