From Syria to South Sudan, from Mali to Myanmar: a growing number of protracted conflicts and unresolved crises, and the millions of refugees they have produced, have sparked renewed debate about the need to invest more in conflict prevention, stabilization, and peacebuilding. Many are looking to Europe and Germany in particular to step up and lead the way. Yet while Germany has slowly come around to the idea of playing a more active role in matters of peace and security policy, many questions about the “how” remain.
As the Islamic State of Iraq swept through central and northern Iraq in 2014, Iraqi forces crumbled and state control collapsed. A range of local, sub-state, and hybrid security forces mobilized to fill the gap, helping Iraqi Security Forces retake and hold territory. Although an immediate solution to the existential threat posed by ISIL, this mass mobilization and devolution of power to local and sub-state forces has left Iraq's security landscape fragmented. The sheer number of groups as well as weak command and control have undermined rule of law and governance.
by Sarah Brockmeier, Hannah Neumann
These days, there is no lack of international crises. During the new German government’s first couple of days in office, the Bundestag has already discussed six mandates for Germany’s armed forces. It did so with much controversy and media attention.
Chasing Shadows: UN Communications on Human Rights Defenders
by Janika Spannagel
Each year, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders receives a large number of submissions regarding individual cases of concern. Only a fraction of these cases are addressed by the rapporteur’s communications procedure. Nobody can determine with certainty how many cases have fallen through the cracks over the 17 years the mandate has been in existence, or who tends to benefit from the UN’s attention and who is often overlooked.
Par JONAS BERGMANN, JULIAN LEHMANN, THOMAS MUNSCH & WILLIAM POWELL
Reinforcing Border Control: What’s at Stake for Migrants?
by Jonas Bergmann, Julian Lehmann, Thomas Munsch & William Powell
Migration has become an issue that can decide elections. As a result, the policy of the day is to try to limit the irregular movement of people, a trend of particular prominence in Europe. As such, European governments are increasingly seeking to establish control over routes abroad that see voluntary and forced migrants moving alongside each other (so-called “mixed migration routes”).
by Charles Nyuykonge, Mwachofi Singo
by Erica Gaston, András Derzsi-Horváth
Ladies and gentlemen, we need you! We need your critical questions, your experience, your ideas and your suggestions. We should talk openly about what we are already doing well, and how we can become even better and more efficient.
The World Humanitarian Summit set ambitious targets to maximize existing resources in critical, emergency situations, including harmonizing and streamlining donor reporting. Donors and aid organizations committed to significant, but achievable harmonization measures by the end of 2018, including reducing volume, developing a common report structure and increasing the efficiency of reporting. To support the implementation of those commitments, this study analyzed existing processes to identify factors leading to reporting inefficiency and opportunities for harmonization.
by Julia Steets, Lotte Ruppert
Humanitarian response is “woefully underresourced”: it faces a financing gap of an estimated US$ 15 billion. At the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, more than 30 major donors and aid organisations agreed on the adoption of the Grand Bargain, a package of reforms that would seek to reduce the financing gap by improving the delivery and efficiency of aid. One year afterwards, donors and aid organisations reported on the extent to which they have followed up on their Grand Bargain commitments.
Takeaways from a Transnational European Discussion
by Julian Lehmann GPPi
This paper seeks to provide an overview of the operational challenges and emerging good practices in negotiations on humanitarian access with non-state armed groups (NSAGs) during humanitarian responses in high-risk countries. It draws primarily on research conducted for Secure Access in Volatile Environments (SAVE), a three-year research programme (2013–2016) exploring the question of how to deliver a high-quality humanitarian response amid high levels of insecurity.
In insecure environments, where humanitarian staff have limited opportunities for face-to-face interactions with communities, achieving accountability to affected populations is more complex and often requires a mix of approaches. Community feedback mechanisms can be a valuable tool to strengthen community engagement and to improve the quality of humanitarian programming.
In contexts where humanitarian organisations and communities are exposed to violence and insecurity, there are significant challenges not only in ensuring access to assistance, but also in assessing its reach and effectiveness. Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is critical for understanding the performance of aid, ensuring accountability to affected populations and donors, and allowing effective continuation of programmes amid insecurity.
Many humanitarian organisations work in active conflict zones under direct threat of violence. This significantly constrains their operations, and makes it difficult to deliver the aid people need. We looked at two questions: how many aid agencies are able to get access to the most dangerous places? And how do access constraints affect ‘humanitarian coverage’ – the degree to which people in need are being reached by the aid system?
In conflict situations, such as those in Afghanistan and Somalia, simple communication technologies can help researchers and humanitarian organisations collect more accurate data on the effects of humanitarian aid. Electronic surveys taken with smartphones, for example, can automatically assess collected data and prevent implausible responses from being entered. This toolkit weighs the benefits – and the risks – of technology used in aid and development.
This study analyses the drivers and inhibitors of change in the humanitarian system. It focuses on three reform efforts: cash-based emergency response, accountability to affected populations and protection. For each area, the study explores four questions to help explain why reforms are successful or unsuccessful, and to generate ideas for the more effective promotion of reforms: