Coherence in Conflict: Bringing Humanitarian and Development Aid Streams Together

Mowjee, T., Garrasi, D. & Poole, L.
Publication language
Date published
01 Nov 2015
Research, reports and studies
Development & humanitarian aid, Working in conflict setting, Conflict, violence & peace

The disconnect between humanitarian and development approaches has been a topic of policy debate since the 1990s, but there are now growing demands to re-focus and reconfigure international assistance and historic political opportunities to improve coherence and effectiveness across the ‘humanitarian-development divide’. 

An increasing proportion of the world’s poor people live in conflict-affected and fragile contexts and responding to the rallying cry of the Sustainable Development Goals to ‘leave no-one behind’ will require poverty eradication and development efforts in these most challenging contexts. Humanitarian action, meanwhile, is already heavily concentrated in these environments, with around two-thirds of humanitarian funding from members of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) spent in them annually. Consultations for the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in 2016 have issued regular calls for far closer collaboration with development actors to address persistent vulnerability and build resilience in protracted crises. Humanitarian and development actors, therefore, have a clear shared interest in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their engagement in protracted crises and conflict-affected contexts. 

In light of this appetite for change, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) commissioned a study to examine persistent challenges in the humanitarian-development nexus, which hinder coherent international responses. This study is based on case studies of Myanmar and Somalia, a document review, additional interviews conducted at global/ headquarters level and input from a high-level seminar hosted by the Danish MFA in Copenhagen in June 2015 to review and test preliminary findings.