Do they Really Care? Protection of Civilians and the Veto Powers

It was not until the advances of IS in Syria and Iraq turned into an international security threat that a military intervention was launched in September 2014. A horrendous civil war had then killed tens of thousands Syrian civilians and displaced millions without provoking any similar reaction. In this blog post I reflect on what… Read more »

Humanitarian Innovation, Humanitarian Renewal?

The continued evolution of the humanitarian innovation concept needs a critical engagement with how this agenda interacts with previous and contemporary attempts to improve humanitarian action. Accountability and transparency have been central to discussions of humanitarian action over the past two decades. Yet these issues appear generally to be given scant attention in the discourse… Read more »

Ebola: A Humanitarian Crisis or a Crisis of Humanitarian Governance?

With more than 8,000 confirmed, suspected and probable cases of Ebola and nearly 4,000 deaths, mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the impact of this Ebola outbreak far surpasses all previous outbreaks registered since the disease was identified in 1976. But what type of crisis is this? Is this just another humanitarian crisis in a year unusually crowded with… Read more »

Refugees are a Shared Responsibility

A record number of refugees have arrived by boat in southern Europe this summer. Norway should voice its support for a common European solution to the issue of boat migrants crossing the Mediterranean. Last year this would have been front-page news, but now each new arrival – or each refugee boat that is lost at… Read more »

Is it Acceptable to Lie for a Good Cause?

Humanitarian organizations may easily succumb to the temptation to misuse numbers and statistics in order to promote their own causes. Does the end justify the means? Disasters are most dangerous for moms reported Save the Children’s Carolyn S Miles in Huffington Post when presenting the organization’s State of the World’s Mothers report for 2014. The… Read more »

A Humanitarian Technology Policy Agenda for 2016

The World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 will feature transformation through innovation as a key theme. Leading up to the summit, OCHA has voiced the need to “identify and implement….positions that address operational challenges and opportunities” (OCHA 2013) relating to the use of information technology, big data and innovations in humanitarian action. In this blog post… Read more »

Lethal Autonomous Weapons: Issues for the International Community

On May 13-16 a United Nations (UN) expert meeting will discuss ‘questions relating to emerging technologies’ in lethal autonomous weapon systems. Such systems are distinguished by being mobile and selecting targets autonomously without direct human supervision. This type of expert meeting represents the lowest rung of the UN ladder. The Chair of the meeting will simply write… Read more »