Summarising ODI's Humanitarian Space Report

ODI's Humanitarian Policy Group recently launched the Report: Humanitarian space: a review of trends and issues. In light of my focus on emergency education, this post briefly summarises some of its key points and the issues raised at the launch event.

Key Points

  • The widely held belief that humanitarian space is shrinking is misleading.
  • Politics tends to be viewed as something removed from humanitarian work. Whilst it is often admitted humanitarian work has political consequences, the organisations often see themselves outside of this sphere. 
  • Agency space is not synonymous with humanitarian space. 
  • Discussion of the protection of civilians is absent from discussions of humanitarian space, rather focuses on the ability of international aid agencies to provide material assistance - we need to move away from this.
  • The fact that the majority of humanitarian organisations are from the global North leads to mistrust in various contexts e.g. neocolonial agendas; imposing Western values - as witnessed in Somalia. 
  • Requests from various 'beneficiaries' from Latin America to the Horn of Africa welcoming assistance with preventive measures not intervention. 
  • Where does the diaspora fit into humanitarian interventions?
  • Politics tends to be overlooked, instead technical issues tend to be focused upon. 
  • There is a need to depart from the equation of humanitarianism with the provision of material provision of relief. 

A worthy read encouraging self-reflection. Get the Policy BriefGet the full report

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