Briefing Note | The Effects of Insecurity on Humanitarian Coverage

Publication language
Date published
01 Nov 2016
Factsheets and summaries
Conflict, violence & peace, Working in conflict setting, Protection, human rights & security, System-wide performance
Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria

In a small number of crisis-affected countries, humanitarian organisations work
amid active conflict and under direct threat of violence. This insecurity, attested to
by rising aid worker casualty rates, significantly constrains humanitarian operations
and hinders the ability of people in emergencies to access vital aid. How and to what
extent this happens is unknown, in part because humanitarian operational presence
itself has never been measured.

To assess concretely the impact of insecurity on humanitarian response, the ‘Secure Access in Volatile Environments’ (SAVE) study conducted field research in four of the world’s most insecure operational settings – Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria. The objective was to measure humanitarian field presence relative to the level of need in the particular contexts (i.e. humanitarian coverage), and to determine how this coverage was affected by security conditions.

This briefing note summarises the main findings of the SAVE research programme on
humanitarian presence and coverage.