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Connecting the pieces of the puzzle: The EU’s implementation of the humanitarian-development-peace nexus

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By Pauline Veron and Volker Hauck

Development, humanitarian and peacebuilding actors are increasingly called upon to work together to address protracted and complex crises and strengthen community resilience, building on their comparative advantages. This ‘triple nexus’ between humanitarian aid, peacebuilding and development has become a critical component of international efforts. For the European Union, the nexus will become even more relevant in the context of the programming of its new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI)–Global Europe, and a post-COVID-19 world.

Development, humanitarian and peacebuilding actors face challenges to implement the triple nexus and to align their approaches. This paper helps them understand the EU’s thinking on and approach to the triple nexus, to find effective ways to work together while respecting each other’s mandates.

A triple nexus approach means interactions at the EU institutional or headquarters level as well as with international partners, vertical exchanges between funding institutions and the field, and horizontal exchanges at field level. We outline a number of principles that can guide these complex interactions effectively and address implementation challenges.

We also offer guidance on how actors at headquarters and field level can implement the nexus throughout the different support phases, highlighting the building blocks of a triple nexus approach. Operationalising the triple nexus requires experimentation and creativity, as well as a good dose of pragmatism. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but, ultimately, working in an integrated way will require changes in mentalities and ways of working, as well as learning from experiences in other contexts. Moreover, it is key to always maintain a people-centered approach.