To mark World Humanitarian Day on August 19, Eric Schwartz and Susan Reichle look at lessons to be learned from humanitarian crises over the last decade and how the United States can become more effective in its civilian relief efforts across the globe.
A report coauthored by the Emergency Assistance Team (Burma) and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, detailing the Burmese government's reluctance to provide aid relief to the victims of Cyclone Nargis in May 2008.
Human Security Report Project compiles research on the trends, causes, and consequences of political violence. This Brief specifically focuses on three main issues: the threat of Islamist terrorism is not increasing as many experts claim; the number and deadliness of armed conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa has declined due in part to a significant increase in international initiatives; there has been little net change in recent years in the number of conflicts in which a government is one of the warring parties, but that other forms of political violence, including communal conflicts, have declined.
Lee Seymour, of the German Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, argues that events in Darfur may weaken the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and lead to a collapse of Sudan's tenuous peace settlement.
This report from UK development charity Oxfam says that UK foreign policy is at a crossroads, as one prime minister hands over the reins to another. It cautions that as foreign-policy discussions remain dominated by the debacle in Iraq, the danger is that UK foreign policy could lurch to a much more cautious approach, turning away from trying to solve the world’s worst crises, with potentially catastrophic consequences for people in them.
This paper from Oxfam reviews the performance of the United Nation’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in its first year. The Fund is designed provide a rapid response to sudden-onset disasters, and to bridge the funding gaps in under-funded emergencies.
Authors: David S. Bassiouni, Halvor Fossum Lauritzsen, and Howard Roy Williams
An independent report commissioned by the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator & Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
In recent years, humanitarian organizations have become increasingly effective in saving lives, alleviating human suffering, and advocating for the rights of people in need. Nonetheless, there still are considerable gaps in the ability of the humanitarian system to respond adequately to all humanitarian crises. Hence, we must, and we can, do better to be more predictable in our response to vulnerable populations around the globe.
In Paris, Stewart Patrick analyzes prospects for a French proposal in which the UN Security Council would adopt a “responsibility not to veto” norm in situations of mass atrocities. Despite tremendous challenges in implementing such a code of conduct, he concludes that it is ultimately a goal worth pursuing.
As civil war in Syria inches toward its four-year anniversary, the nation’s humanitarian catastrophe deepens. Some 7.6 million Syrians are now internally displaced, and another 3.3 million have fled to neighboring countries to avoid the complex three-way dogfight among Assad’s forces, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and Syrian rebels.
Poor governance and extreme poverty has contributed to the rise of Boko Haram, a radical Islamist movement, in the northeast of Nigeria. John Campbell argues that to defeat Boko Haram governments must focus on humanitarian assistance and work to improve the lives of northern Nigerians.
Laurie Garrett says before American cruise missiles reach their targets, serveral diplomatic steps must be taken in order to stop the further use of nerve gases by the Syrian regime against its own people and prevent the use of chemical weapons from becoming the region's "new normal."
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Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
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