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Date published
18 Sep 2023
Research, reports and studies
Humanitarian-development-peace nexus

The inclusion of the peace pillar in the nexus results from the recognition that violent conflicts drive a significant share of humanitarian needs, displacement and migration, and represent both an obstacle to sustainable development and a symptom of development failures. During the decade 2010-2020, the number of violent conflicts reached a record high. Conflicts also last longer and, for societies that have overcome violent conflict, the rate of relapse is high. Conflicts drive displacement, migration and humanitarian needs, which have also increased in number and duration. While the relationship between poverty and conflict is more complex than cause and effect, 80% of people living in extreme poverty will live in settings qualified as fragile by 2030, a majority of which experience violent conflict. 

At policy level, this recognition has led to the convergence of separate processes around acknowledging the centrality of prevention. The World Humanitarian Summit (2016) introduced a more human-centred approach to humanitarian crisis and consecrated the New Way of Working which provides that “there is […] a shared moral imperative of preventing crises […]”. The Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, through its Sustainable Development Goal framework and in particular Goal 16, recognizes that peaceful and inclusive societies, founded on accountable and inclusive institutions that guarantee access to justice for all and leave no one behind, are an enabler of sustainable development. Finally, within the peace and security pillar of the United Nations, a series of policy reviews all emphasized that the United Nations should shift its focus towards addressing the root causes of violent conflicts3. It promoted the concept of “sustaining peace” to reaffirm that peacebuilding encompasses post-conflict interventions and a wider scope of efforts ranging from prevention to longer-term peace consolidation. The convergence of policy discourses across pillars was best illustrated by the first address of the 9th United Nations Secretary General to the Security Council on 10 January 2017 when he stated that “prevention should permeate everything we do. It should cut across all pillars of the UN’s work, and unite us for more effective delivery”. 

In its progresses towards operationalizing, the Cameroon Humanitarian, Development and Peace (HDP) Nexus Task Force emphasizes the need for a people-centred approach that makes a difference in the lives of targeted populations. Previously considered a bastion of stability in the sub-region, Cameroon has seen a tragic deterioration of its security, social and economic context over the last ten years. The evolution of external and internal risk factors and their complex interaction led to the emergence on its territory of three concurrent complex humanitarian crises, including two armed conflicts. Against this backdrop, Cameroon volunteered during the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 to be one of the countries implementing the HDP Nexus and became a priority country for the UN Joint Steering Committee to Advance Humanitarian and Development Collaboration, and the joint United Nations and World Bank Humanitarian Development Peace Initiative. In May 2019, the Humanitarian Country Team of Cameroon established a Humanitarian, Development and Peace (HDP) Nexus Task Force, composed of government representatives, local/national and international nongovernmental organizations, donor agencies, private sector, and United Nations entities, which contributes to the emergence of a shared understanding of the nexus context and its operationalization in several geographical zones, known as convergence areas. 

This note provides triple nexus actors with policy and programmatic orientations regarding the “peace” pillar of the nexus approach in Cameroon. As in many other contexts, the inclusion of “peace” in the nexus has not been without controversies. Humanitarian and development actors expressed concerns that joining the nexus could result in a politicization of their work. Furthermore, some humanitarian actors feared an erosion of the very principles that make humanitarian action possible, particularly the principles of neutrality, independence and impartiality. This note aims at clarifying what “peace” aspects will be included under the nexus approach in Cameroon. It was developed by the Cameroon HDP Nexus Task Force.