When disasters happen in a conflict-setting, responses involve many state and non-state actors that try to reach affected populations. Who are these actors and do they work together? Who can affected communities trust to work for their interests? How are politics interfering in their actions?
These were some of the questions which directed research during the five-year research project When Disaster Meets Conflict. The research focused on the nexus between humanitarian aid and disaster governance. Case studies were done in high-conflict settings in Afghanistan, South Sudan and Yemen; in low-intensity conflict settings in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Myanmar, and in post-conflict settings in Nepal, Sierra Leone and Haiti.
The International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam organized the Online Conference ‘When Disaster meets Conflict: Lessons on Disaster Governance and Humanitarian Action’ on 13 and 14 October 2020 in collaboration with KUNO. During the conference the main findings of the research were presented and discussed with stakeholders that are active in the Disaster-Conflict nexus.
During these online working sessions, the researchers of the project discussed in-depth specific findings with a selected group of practitioners.
Workshop 1: Coordination, decision-making and targeting
- In conflict-affected settings, decision-making is not always decided upon needs alone and coordination can be challenging. How does this work in practice? How are disaster-related actions decided and coordinated? These – and other findings – were discussed in this working session.
Workshop 2: Localization
- The localisation of disaster response has mainly focused on transferring funds to local NGOs, but not on addressing the challenges of ‘shifting the power’ and the diversity of local actors. Therefore, the question remains: how is the localisation of humanitarian governance socially negotiated in practice? This – and other findings – were discussed in this working session.
Workshop 3: (De)politicization and humanitarian advocacy
- In conflict settings, politics permeate disaster response and negotiations taking place between the multitude of involved actors. Yet, the politicisation of the response is not always done in the open, making it difficult to address. This – and other findings – were discussed in this working session.
Webinar: When Disaster meets Conflict: Lessons on Disaster Governance and Humanitarian Action
During the webinar key findings of the research project were presented by prof. dr. Thea Hilhorst and discussed with stakeholders.
The panel of stakeholders consisted of:
- Flora Bawi Nei Mawi, Executive Committee Member, Community Care for Emergency Response and Rehabilitation (Myanmar),
- Saskia Carusi, External Relations Officer United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), regional office for the Americas and the Caribbean,
- Mihir R. Bhatt, Director, All India Disaster Mitigation Institute (India),
- Prof. dr. Thea Hilhorst, professor Humanitarian Aid, Erasmus University
You can access a recording of the webinar here. The research brief made with input from the workshops and the webinar will be published shortly.
The organization of this Online Conference was supported by the Platform for Humanitarian Knowledge Exchange in the Netherlands: KUNO.