Post date Monday, 10 December, 2018 - 15:02
Document Type Assessment Report
Content Themes Emergency Response, Strategic Response Planning
Sources Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Since the publication in 2011 of To Stay and Deliver, new conflicts have broken out and others have recurred, or intensified, in a range of locations. International humanitarian law (IHL) is increasingly disregarded in many of these contexts. Groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have emerged, and factions within long-standing armed groups such as the Taliban and Al-Shabaab have become more hostile toward humanitarians.

While some of the players involved in contemporary conflicts may be different and the geography of humanitarian insecurity may have changed (e.g., with some countries becoming more secure while others have become less so), other contextual dimensions remain similar to those that existed when To Stay and Deliver was published. State and non-state armed actors continue to affect, hinder, or deliberately obstruct access in many places, and political factors, including counterterrorism legislation, continue to pose dilemmas for principled humanitarian action.

This study identified a series of findings related to the overarching issue of whether humanitarian actors have become better at staying and delivering in an effective and responsible manner. These key findings include;

  • Humanitarians demonstrate a strong desire to stay and deliver amid insecurity, and it is evident that the key messages of the 2011 To Stay and Deliver study resonate with and have been internalized by a wide range of humanitarian actors. UN agencies and NGOs are deployed or maintaining a sizable field presence in some highly insecure contexts. They would not have done so five or ten years ago.
  • At the same time, the commitment of humanitarians to stay and deliver has not always led to maintained or increased presence and proximity in line with the recommendations of the 2011 study.
  • Many humanitarian organizations were still found to approach risk and key decisions surrounding evacuations, returns, and the use of remote management based on relatively weak analyses and vague perceptions rooted in media coverage of particular crises.
  • The increased use of remote approaches and assistance delivery via subcontractors are growing trends that help certain humanitarian actors to gain or maintain presence while also generating significant risks. Although the mechanics of remote management have improved over the past half-decade, the ease of adopting remote approaches – or working through subcontractors – means that this model is becoming the default choice for some actors in highly insecure environments.
  • There is sustained concern among humanitarians regarding humanitarian principles. Behavior and actions on the part of some humanitarian actors have resulted in “self-generated risks.”
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