The Humanitarian principles dictate Humanity, Independence, Neutrality and Impartiality. However, in the political environment today it is hard to avoid becoming entangled in political agendas, which has its effect on humanitarian practice. KUNO facilitates learning and reflection on the influence of the political environment on humanitarian aid: on how this affects the ability of humanitarian agencies to access affected populations and their ability to uphold humanitarian principles.

The influence of politics on humanitarian aid

The current polarized political climate is regularly deemed to be a cause of increasing security risks for aid workers and the increasing difficulty for emergency aid to reach affected populations. Humanitarian aid subscribes to the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality. These principles serve an ideological and practical function: they make sure aid is delivered with the right incentives to those who need it most, regardless of their background, and they make sure aid is delivered, regardless of the political context. In practice this is hard to achieve: the categories of aid worker, military or state representative blur in the eyes of local populations; policy of aid organizations is influenced by funding from donor governments; and aid organizations have to negotiate access to affected populations with non-state armed groups that don’t subscribe to international humanitarian law and the refugee convention.

Access, principles and the political environment

KUNO facilitates learning and reflection on access to affected populations, the humanitarian principles and the political environment in which humanitarian aid operates. Tackling questions such as: What is the impact of an ever-polarizing political environment on humanitarian aid? How does one avoid becoming an instrument of political agendas? What innovative tools are at the disposal of humanitarian organizations to gain access to populations in need? And what role do humanitarian principles have in current developments?

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